Jolene Schalper, CEcD, has been promoted to Senior Vice President of the Great Falls Development Authority. Jolene will continue to lead our Businesses Development efforts and manage our growing team’s focus on high value client services and mission-related impact. Jolene joined GFDA in the spring of 2012, starting as Investment Director, then transitioned into Business Development. She was promoted to Vice President of Business Development several years ago. In 2018, she earned the prestigious Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) certification from the International Economic Development Council, becoming one of only five certified professional economic developers in Montana. Jolene launched our Food & Ag Development Center two years ago and has led key business expansion and attraction efforts including FCR which is growing to 450 employees in downtown Great Falls.
Jason Nitschke has been promoted to Vice President of the Great Falls Development Authority. Jason will continue to serve as Regional Director of our growing Great Falls area Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
Jason has led our SBDC since joining GFDA in the fall of 2014. He has coached nearly 500 existing businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. He has also trained over 1,300 business owners and managers throughout the region. His efforts assisted the launch of 65 area businesses, supported over 1,400 jobs, with nearly $50 million dollars of capital investment into local businesses.
Jason created our monthly pre-business workshop, The LaunchPoint, designed to encourage startup activity. He also created the Small Business Webinar Series, a statewide online training partnership with Montana State University-Extension and the Montana Economic Developers Association.
He has earned state and national recognition during his time with GFDA, most notably being awarded the Montana State Star in 2018, representing the top 1% of business advisors in the U.S. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also recognized his work with the military and veteran community with the 2017 Veterans Service Award. Jason is a certified and accredited business and export advisor, as well as a certified Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP).
Please join me in congratulating these extraordinary leaders! We are very proud to have them on GFDA’s team!!