Putting It All Together: The Story of ADF
In 2012, ADF, a Quebec based steel fabrication company, began a multi-state and province search for locations to build their western facility a 100,000 square foot, $40 million project. Their top risk factors in choosing a location were:
- Speed of execution
- Financing and Incentives
- Support through the process
During the site selection process Great Falls, Montana, rose to the top of the list. We knew it was imperative to the speed of execution that we fully understood their needs. We sent a team that included city representatives, Great Falls Montana Economic Development specialists, Great Falls College MSU Industrial Tech Trades and Welding Program Director, and others to ADF. There we spent a few days on the shop floor meeting with ADF workers, managers, and executives. The goal was to aid in their speed of execution and long-term stability by having a comprehensive understanding of the company’s immediate and long-term needs. We identified two immediate needs. As a community we determined we would be well positioned to secure both of these attributes immediately and would benefit regardless if ADF selected us or not.
First it was identified that in order to ship product into Canada and across the United States, welders would need to be certified in both the US and Canadian standards. The Great Falls College MSU welding program was able to gain certification from both the Canadian Welding Bureau and American Welding Society. We are proud to say that we were the first duel certified welding program in the United States.
Second, we identified the need to move super high and wide modules into Canada. We worked with the Montana Department of Transportation to secure a pre-approved, super high and wide corridor from Great Falls to the Canadian Border.
“Starting a greenfield project and someone taking us by the hand and leading us through the maze of what to do and opening the right doors; that was not only comforting but helped us in a much more efficient way and within a year we had our plant up a running. And that in itself is a testimony to the work and help we got.” Jean-François Boursier, ADF Group.
A more long-term company need was the talent pipeline. Great Falls Public Schools were able to identify specific skills necessary for a multitude of positions and incorporate the skill training into curricula; additional specific certification programs were identified and secured; and pathways to advanced degrees, when necessary or desired, were established.
Additional, non-degree, custom training programs through Great Falls College MSU are on-going to aid the company in further workforce development. We are proud of our work as a community to identify and meet long-term talent needs of ADF. We have utilized this approach since then and will do the same for your company.
As with all large projects, ADF had to make sense financially. While ADF saw the long-term benefit of our overall low operating costs, we needed to work with them to aid in start-up of their new facility. Working with ADF we were able to secure a $7.3 million incentive package and an additional $4 million in low cost financing to aid in their expansion.
The ADF incentive package included:
- Big Sky Trust Fund Grant of $950,000.
- Primary Sector Workforce Training Grant of $600,000.
- Tax Increment Financing Infrastructure of $750,000.
- Montana Board of Investment Infrastructure $5,000,000.
The low-cost financing included:
- Montana Board of Investment Participation Loan of $3,000,000 with very low interest rate.
- GFDA Revolving Loan of $1,000,000 for 20 years.
The final piece was ensuring that from selection through to now ADF has a local cadre of professional, community support. During the development process, Great Falls Montana Development Authority had one business development specialist that was a key, on the ground liaison for ADF. This specialist was able to attend meetings, advocate for the project, connect the company with resources and local firms – whatever ADF needed to move the project forward.
We make a similar commitment to you. We will be here to support your project in every way we can. We will work with you every step of the way from initial site selection to your ten-year anniversary and beyond. We live our motto: Results Matter.