Top 10 – 11/10/19

A great aerial of Centene, Talus Apartment Homes and construction of Rockcress Commons, all in the Great Falls Med-Tech University District.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 17 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Great Falls Public Schools and hundreds of community members celebrated the ribbon-cutting of the HUB addition at Great Falls High School. The $40 million project, approved by voters in 2016, will provide students with state-of-the art culinary, electrical, physics, geology, metal fabrication, wood fabrication, and automotive classrooms, just to name a few. See Great Falls Tribune and KRTV stories, and Tribune photos.

2) Join us on Wednesday November 20th at 4:00PM or 7:00PM in the Missouri Room at the Great Falls Civic Center for the unveiling of development visions for attracting more great businesses and developers to invest in downtown Great Falls. After a charrette and online input from community members, LPW Architecture and AE2S took these ideas and created development visions that will be used to attract interest of developers and entrepreneurs – RSVP and be the first to see!

3) During the third quarter of 2019 four new businesses opened in downtown Great Falls and thirteen building permits totaling $1,864,562 were issued for downtown improvements. Volunteers invested 11,934 hours to support organizations and efforts downtown.

4) Do you have friends and family coming home for Thanksgiving? Gather Round Great Falls! On Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 27, we are hosting a gathering at Elevation 3330 from 6:30 – 8:30 PM to show friends and family who’ve moved away that it’s time to take another look at their hometown and learn about career opportunities. Gather Round Great Falls is a casual, professional networking event. We need your help to spread the word to our out of town guests. Send them this link to register. Questions? Call Nathan at 406-403-4937.

5) The Buffalo Crossing tax increment financing agreement was approved by the City Commission. Lewistown was named the happiest place in Montana and one of the happiest places in America by Zippia; see more at OnlyInYourState.

6) Seven entrepreneurs were in last week at various stages of evaluating business purchases. Of our online business planning tool, LivePlan, one said: “LivePlan is Awesome!” The LivePlan tool is helping her streamline her strategy in preparation for presenting to bank partners. We offer LivePlan licenses for free to active clients. Learn more about LivePlan on our website.

7) Congratulations to our loan client AgFertilizers, Inc. on their successful hemp information day. AgFertilizers hosted speakers from different elements of the evolving hemp industry for the full-day event. The Hemp 101 seminar was attended by farmers from across Montana and companies from California, Canada, Colorado, and Oregon, as well as the Montana Department of Agriculture. A live recording of the event is available.

8) We have several different options to help an entrepreneur realize their dream of owning or expanding their business. Just one of these options is the Gap and Bridge financing tools that we offer to help make a project happen. We love partnering with a bank on a project to allow more flexibility to the client within that project. This not only helps with the banks risk level but can also allow for a lower down payment from the client, leaving funds available for working capital. If you have a project that could use some support please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) Congratulations to the first group of construction apprentices at Dick Anderson Construction who graduated from the Great Falls College MSU new program! See KRTV for details. The Montana Department of Labor and Industry has Incumbent Worker Training grants available.

10) Fifteen entrepreneurs, business professionals, resource partners, bankers, and advisors logged into our statewide, monthly webinar series. November’s topic is titled: Business Valuation-More Art Than Science presented by Tom Kerr of WestPac Wealth Partners of Missoula. To watch this webinar or any of our 23 other recorded webinars, click here.

11) Hutterite communities have a significant positive economic impact on Montana, particularly in the Golden Triangle, as documented by a report issued by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research; see Havre Daily News story. Download report here.

12) Shared an overview of our work to the Grow Great Falls region with the Leadership Great Falls class. Economic development is a team sport and we need to engage more people in growing and diversifying our economy. Do you have a team, club, or other group that would be interested in learning more about economic development efforts across our region? Contact Jolene to set up a speaking engagement that fits your schedule, 406.750.4481.

13) The University of Providence announced it will offer a new online Pharmacy Tech program starting in January, and will be bringing back Accounting, Elementary Education, and Health and Physical Education programs; see KRTV. Teresa and Nathan took a tour of the new University Center. Nick Estrada gave a fascinating and informative tour of the University’s newly remodeled Galerie Trinitas. The new University Center allows for the showcasing of what was previously a hidden gem in Great Falls. The UC also has event space for groups from 30 to 700. This is a great addition to our community. If you would like to take a virtual flythrough of the space you can see it here.

14) GFDA’s Board began our assessment of opportunities for growing digital/information technology industries in the Great Falls region by conducting a Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats (SWOT) discussion. If you would like to join our task force that will be forming to assess opportunities in these industries, email Jolene at JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org.

15) Please join us in welcoming a new GFDA board member. Kylie Carranza, serves as Chief of Staff to the President at the University of Providence. Kylie is a Great Falls native and is eager to engage in her position as a member of the GFDA Board. Welcome, Kylie!

16) Searched for more loan capital and learned the latest about a wide variety of tax credits, industrial development bonds, tax increment financing, Opportunity Zones, and revolving loan funds at the Community Development Finance Association’s annual summit. Presented opportunities to invest in the Great Falls trade area at the summit’s Marketplace.

17) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, The Fagenstrom Company and the Great Falls Voyagers for your Community Division investments. By investing in economic development, you are investing in the economic well-being of the region. Your investments allow our team to fulfill our strategic priorities- activities which are ultimately designed to promote high wage jobs and a diversified economy. If you haven’t yet invested this fiscal year, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org.

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Have a great week!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”
Peter Drucker

GFDA has three great career openings. We are on Equal Opportunity Employer and encourage everyone interested to apply! See descriptions below or download all our position openings and help us spread the word!

 

GFDA Job Openings

Commercial Lending Operations Specialist
Economic Development
Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

Experienced, dynamic, self-motivated lending administration professional sought for two-person lending team within 15-person nonprofit economic development Community Development Financial Institution. Responsible for loan originations and closings, maintenance of loan files, reports to public and private loan capital sources, loan portfolio management system, and borrower relations. Experience with EDA, USDA, CDFI, EPA and/or SBA 504 loans a plus. Help us to keep growing our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. This position receives, reviews and processes commercial loan documents, maintains loan application files and other duties related to the processing and servicing of the commercial loan portfolio. Reviews all gathered pending documents for accuracy, completeness, loan authority, lien position, insurance, flood insurance, collateral, appraisal, coding, risk rating, disbursements, etc. Reviews documents for compliance purposes, recognizes problems with documentation, and takes appropriate action. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients, and have computer and communication skills. Experience with SBA 504 loan servicing and/or economic development loan funds a plus. Must be detail oriented and organized with flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $40,000-50,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Talent Attraction Director
Digital Content Marketing, Events, and Recruitment Services

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for an experienced digital marketing leader who can learn and utilize best practices to design and implement a program with the goal of getting people to relocate in the Great Falls region. This public relations star will manage content on our website and social media platforms, engage partners and the community, conduct research, and implement PR campaigns to attract people to the Great Falls region. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Downtown Business Development Officer 
Main Street Economic Development  

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for a super star to lead downtown economic revitalization in partnership with the Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls (an accredited National Main Street program) and the Great Falls Business Improvement District. You will meet with existing downtown businesses to aid in their retention and expansion, conduct market research, work to attract businesses and developers to downtown, and provide overall aid in our downtown business development efforts. Involves coordination, cold-calling, networking, relationship building, project management, advocacy, marketing events, meeting with businesses, listening, and additional client business development services. Position may involve travel in region, U.S. and Canada. Looking for a star with demonstrated achievement in business development. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-55,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

 

October SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.48%; 20-year at 3.398%; 20-year refinance at 3.40%; and, 10-year equipment 3.553%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

 

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

Plan to attend the reveal of the downtown visioning process. Over 70 people replied online and over 100 attended the planning session. On November 20 we will have to sessions in the Missouri Room of the Civic Center, one at four and seven. RSVP here.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a PCQI Preventive Controls for Human Food Course, December 10-12 in Bozeman. The course will explain the regulatory requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). For more info and to register, click here.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering trainings later this month on Market Research for Early Stage Technologies and on Writing Winning SBIR/STTR Proposals. See more info here.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

Top 10 – 11/7/19

Congratulations to the developers of West Bank Landing on your outstanding progress to date and THANK YOU for tackling the most ambitious redevelopment in our City’s history! In this new aerial, you can see the Five on Black building under construction next to the Peak West Bank Landing.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 17 for last week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Eagle Jet Solutions is about to open the largest private hangar in Montana which it has constructed at Great Falls International Airport. See KFBB for details.

2) Studio Barre celebrated its one-year anniversary this week. Owner Keeley Baker has taken her passion and turned it into a great downtown successes. Curious what else might be possible in downtown Great Falls? Come to the Visioning Unveiling on November 20.

3) TODAY! For those of you considering the purchase of an existing business in the region, our next webinar will step through the process of how valuation professionals place value on a business. Business Valuation – More Art Than Science presented by Tom Kerr from WestPac Wealth Partners in Missoula is Thursday, November 7th from 11-11:30 AM. Our webinar series is produced in partnership with MSU-Extension, UM’s Accelerate Montana program, and the Montana Economic Developers Association. To join us live or watch the recorded content, please register for the November 7th webinar.

4) ALSO TODAY! Please join us for the Community Board Budget Meetings. Your involvement is important as Great Falls Public Schools begins to prepare the budget for 2020/2021. Thursday, November 7th, 5:30 PM at Giant Springs Elementary and Wednesday, November 20th, 5:30 PM at Great Falls High School New Addition (the HUB). Your input is needed – please come to these important gatherings.

5) We welcomed 14 entrepreneurs and business managers to our final QuickBooks course of 2019. QuickBooks Pro Advisor Wendy Weissman CPA, PC led participants through the nuts and bolts of bookkeeping, entering data into the program, and extracting reports to enable well-informed business decisions. Thank you as well to sponsoring partners at the Montana Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program.

6) This year’s Innovate Montana Conference celebrated a GFDA Investor. The Montana Ambassador Entrepreneur of the Year was awarded to David Erickson, founder of Water and Environmental Technologies (WET). David founded the engineering company with partners Elizabeth Erickson and Josh Vincent in 2000 in Butte. They started the company with 4 employees and have grown to over 70 today with additional offices in Anaconda, Bozeman, Kalispell and Great Falls. Thank you for keeping engineering and high wage jobs in Montana!

7) “All I have to say right now is that you’re AWESOME! I’m so glad I didn’t cancel this appointment.” Those are the words of a entrepreneur who initially came to us for guidance on buying a business. After some recommended due diligence procedures, she decided to not move forward with the purchase. However, her research process gave her a new idea and she has now pivoted to starting her own, unique business. GFDA does a handful of things to help startup businesses get started. We provide monthly pre-business classes and one-on-one coaching to facilitate startup activity. If you’ve got an idea and are in the Great Falls or Lewistown areas, contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org. If you’re in Glacier, Teton, Toole, or Pondera counties reach out to Rich at RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org.

8) Congratulations to local entrepreneur Aaron Weissman and the team at Teriyaki Madness for winning franchise of the year!

9) Our regional Procurement Technical Assistance Center was busy last week working with several businesses to improve their options on finding contract opportunities that fit their business profile.  We looked at creating capability statements to include in their marketing efforts to contracting officer and “Sources Sought” prospects and using the BID Match tool to find solicitations. For more information or assistance to jump into or enhance your government contracting efforts, contact Lillian Sunwall LSunwall@GrowGreatFalls.org or Shannon Clancy SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) Our region is proud to celebrate Great Falls’ own Channing Hartelius, who won one of the Montana Ambassadors’ Plenipotentiary Award at this year’s Innovate Montana Conference. Channing was celebrated and recognized by fellow Ambassadors for his four decades of legal leadership practice for the State of Montana.

11) Since the interest rates are so low, received several telephone calls inquiring about what the SBA 504 loan is and how it can benefit business owners. The Small Business Administration created this program to increase the accessibility of business property loans to entrepreneurs, with competitive interest rates and fees, fixed terms, and a low down payment. It is a loan that allows a business owner flexibility to maximize benefits while promoting business growth and job creation. If you have questions or want to know more about the SBA 504 loan program, please contact Jill Kohles at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-590-1056.

12) The Montana Farmers Union held its 104th annual state convention in Great Falls on October 25 and 26th. During the convention MFU members elected Geyser agronomist, rancher, and agricultural advocate Walter Schweitzer as president for a three year term. MFU is headquartered in Great Falls and is a part owner of Farmers Union Industries.

13) Montana State University held its Celebrate Ag Weekend on November 1st and 2nd, which included the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics’ Fall Economics Conference entitled “Managing Risk and Uncertainty in Agriculture.” The M.L. Wilson Lecture was presented by Dr. Barry Goodwin, Interim Department Head and William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor, North Carolina State University. His talk was entitled, “Climate Change and Agricultural Yield Risk.”

14) The U.S. agricultural sector is currently facing low commodity prices due to a variety of reasons ranging from global supplies to U.S. trade policy. The effects of low commodity prices don’t just hit agricultural producers, they also affect input and service sectors associated with agriculture. Building resiliency within businesses to weather economic downturns is important. GFDA’s Food and Ag Development Center Director Barnett Sporkin-Morrison is available to work with companies in the fields of agriculture, agro-tourism, bioscience, biofuels, food and beverage, and natural resources and can be reached at Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406-750-3285.

15) We celebrated the first morning of November with another invigorating and filled room at NeighborWorks Great Falls discussing development, growth, jobs, housing and talent attraction. Thank you for engaging in the conversation. The more folks at the table, the better the partnership. This Investment Director’s biggest to take-away from the morning- “Success attracts Success.” Remember to celebrate success. The more successes we have, the more resources we have. The more resources we have, the more options for investment in our region.

16) GFDA’s Food and Ag Development Center Director Barnett Sporkin-Morrison and Small Business Development Center Rural Business Advisor Rich Gannon made joint visits to entrepreneurs in Northwest Glacier County this week. GFDA’s economic development professionals work as a team to help entrepreneurs throughout the Great Falls trade area.  Whether it’s a small start-up in Babb, second-stage business in Conrad, multi-national corporation in Great Falls, or a loan client in Ft. Benton, GFDA is a results oriented organization with a strong team dedicated to producing results for our clients and our regional economy.

17) Thank you this week’s Investors in Economic Development, NorthWestern Energy, for renewing their Advanced Division Investment, Montana Credit Union and Stockman Bank, for their Leadership Division Investments, Taylor’s AutoMax, for their Pacesetter Division Investment, Hygienix, for increasing their investment at the Community Division and Wendy Weissman, CPA, for renewing their investment at the Supporter Division. Teresa met with many investors and potential investors this week and, through her interactions, garnered consistent feedback from business leaders. In general, business leaders are excited about our rural and talent attraction efforts, appreciate staff engagement and continuous communication, and projects that lead to some tangible benefit for the region. Thank you for your investment and feedback. To meet with Teresa, call or email at 406.781.9499 or TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org.

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Brett Doney
President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“Momentum begets momentum, and the best way to start is to start.”
Gil Penchina

GFDA has three great career openings. We are on Equal Opportunity Employer and encourage everyone interested to apply! See descriptions below or download all our position openings and help us spread the word!

GFDA Job Openings

Commercial Lending Operations Specialist
Economic Development
Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

Experienced, dynamic, self-motivated lending administration professional sought for two-person lending team within 15-person nonprofit economic development Community Development Financial Institution. Responsible for loan originations and closings, maintenance of loan files, reports to public and private loan capital sources, loan portfolio management system, and borrower relations. Experience with EDA, USDA, CDFI, EPA and/or SBA 504 loans a plus. Help us to keep growing our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. This position receives, reviews and processes commercial loan documents, maintains loan application files and other duties related to the processing and servicing of the commercial loan portfolio. Reviews all gathered pending documents for accuracy, completeness, loan authority, lien position, insurance, flood insurance, collateral, appraisal, coding, risk rating, disbursements, etc. Reviews documents for compliance purposes, recognizes problems with documentation, and takes appropriate action. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients, and have computer and communication skills. Experience with SBA 504 loan servicing and/or economic development loan funds a plus. Must be detail oriented and organized with flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $40,000-50,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Talent Attraction Director
Digital Content Marketing, Events, and Recruitment Services

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for an experienced digital marketing leader who can learn and utilize best practices to design and implement a program with the goal of getting people to relocate in the Great Falls region. This public relations star will manage content on our website and social media platforms, engage partners and the community, conduct research, and implement PR campaigns to attract people to the Great Falls region. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Downtown Business Development Officer 
Main Street Economic Development  

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for a super star to lead downtown economic revitalization in partnership with the Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls (an accredited National Main Street program) and the Great Falls Business Improvement District. You will meet with existing downtown businesses to aid in their retention and expansion, conduct market research, work to attract businesses and developers to downtown, and provide overall aid in our downtown business development efforts. Involves coordination, cold-calling, networking, relationship building, project management, advocacy, marketing events, meeting with businesses, listening, and additional client business development services. Position may involve travel in region, U.S. and Canada. Looking for a star with demonstrated achievement in business development. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-55,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

 

October SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.48%; 20-year at 3.398%; 20-year refinance at 3.40%; and, 10-year equipment 3.553%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

Plan to attend the reveal of the downtown visioning process. Over 70 people replied online and over 100 attended the planning session. On November 20 we will have to sessions in the Missouri Room of the Civic Center, one at four and seven. RSVP here.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a PCQI Preventive Controls for Human Food Course, December 10-12 in Bozeman. The course will explain the regulatory requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). For more info and to register, click here.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering trainings later this month on Market Research for Early Stage Technologies and on Writing Winning SBIR/STTR Proposals. See more info here.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

Top 10 – 10/27/19

Developers have confirmed to the City that they have financing in place for a $17.1 million redevelopment of Buffalo Crossing on the Great Falls Missouri River urban corridor.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 12 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Networked with site selection consultants and Canadian leaders at the Area Development FDI Consultant Forum in Edmonton. Networked with Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) colleagues across the country at the Opportunity Finance Network annual conference in DC. Published our GFDA Index 2019Q3.

2) Dick Anderson Construction completed renovation of the Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park. Great work to all involved! See details in Great Falls Tribune.

3) Trick or Treat? There are no tricks when it comes to the low FIXED interest rates for the SBA 504 loan program! The treat is October interest rates for the 25-year note is at 3.48%, the 20-year note is at 3.398%, the 10-year note is 3.553%, and the 20-year refi rate is 3.40%. Even more of a spooky surprise is the business owner could end up paying as little as 10% for their equity contribution. If you would like more information on how you can take advantage of financing your commercial real estate and/or equipment , please contact Jill Kohles at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

4) NeighborWorks Great Falls, NeighborWorks Montana and Wells Fargo announced a new homebuyer education and downpayment grant program, called NeighborhoodLIFT, for low and moderate income families. See www.MontanaLift.org for more details.

5) As subscribers to our Top 10 know, GFDA offered dozens of entrepreneurial education courses each year. One of our cash flow and profitability classes, Profit Mastery, can be a powerful tool. This week, Action Plumbing Plus reported their financial impacts since taking Profit Mastery in February 2019 and subsequently implementing it as a tool. As part of operational efficiency and cash management improvements, profitability has grown by over 300%! As a result, their cash position is allowing them to plan for acquiring a new building. “Tears of Joy,” Kayla Weiss said. “Your services have been invaluable to us as a company.” Could your company be the next success story? Contact Jason to schedule a private session of Profit Mastery at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

6) An accurate set of books is a critical tool enabling entrepreneurs to make well-informed business decisions. Seats are filling up quickly for our final QuickBooks class of the year. Join us for this full-day training Friday, November 1st by registering here.

7) The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a PCQI Preventive Controls for Human Food Course, December 10-12 in Bozeman. The course will explain the regulatory requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). For more info and to register, click here.

8) The Great Falls PTAC presented a workshop on “Win the Bid” on RFPs for five businesses at GFDA’s offices this week. If you are interested in doing business with government agencies, contact Shannon Clancy at (406) 590-1184 or SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) We have loan funds available to fill gaps, provide bridges and cleanup hazardous materials. We have funds available anywhere in the Golden Triangle, so if your business startup or expansion, real estate development, or nonprofit services project is held up for lack of financing, we may be able to help. Contact Jill Kohles or have your banker if you prefer, JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org or 1-406-590-1056.

10) Plan to attend the reveal of the downtown visioning process. Over 70 people replied online and over 100 attended the planning session. On November 20 we will have to sessions in the Missouri Room of the Civic Center, one at four and seven. RSVP here.

11) Development Coffee this Friday, November 1, 7:00 AM at NeighborWorks Great Falls.

12) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Great Falls Montana Tourism, for their investment at the Leadership Division, KLJ, for their investment at the Community Division, and Wendy Weissman, CPA for her investment at the Supporter Division. GFDA continues to grow and diversify our regional economy. If we are going to improve our opportunities, quality of life and overall market competitiveness, we know it is going to take resources. Simply put: the more we do, the more investment opportunities we have. If you want to take part in growing our regional opportunities, call Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or email at TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org.

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Brett Doney
President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“Frustration is the fuel that can lead to the development of an innovative and useful idea.”
Marley Dias

GFDA Job Openings

GFDA has another new career opportunity. We’ve partnered with the Great Falls Business Improvement District to create a Downtown Business Development Officer position. See description below or download all our position openings and help us spread the word!

Downtown Business Development Officer 
Main Street Economic Development  

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for a super star to lead downtown economic revitalization in partnership with the Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls (an accredited National Main Street program) and the Great Falls Business Improvement District. You will meet with existing downtown businesses to aid in their retention and expansion, conduct market research, work to attract businesses and developers to downtown, and provide overall aid in our downtown business development efforts. Involves coordination, cold-calling, networking, relationship building, project management, advocacy, marketing events, meeting with businesses, listening, and additional client business development services. Position may involve travel in region, U.S. and Canada. Looking for a star with demonstrated achievement in business development. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-55,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Commercial Loan Processor and Operations Assistant
Economic Development
Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development lending team. Help us to keep growing our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. This position receives,reviews and processes commercial loan documents, maintains loan application files and other duties related to the processing and servicing of the commercial loan portfolio.Reviews all gathered pending documents for accuracy, completeness, loan authority, lien position, insurance, flood insurance, collateral, appraisal, coding, risk rating, disbursements, etc. Reviews documents for compliance purposes, recognizes problems with documentation, and takes appropriate action. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients, and have computer and communication skills. Experience with SBA 504 loan servicing and/or economic development loan funds a plus. Must be detail oriented and organized with flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Talent Attraction Director
Digital Content Marketing

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for an experienced digital marketing leader who can learn and utilize best practices to design and implement a program with the goal of getting people to relocate in the Great Falls region. This public relations star will manage content on our website and social media platforms, engage partners and the community, conduct research, and implement PR campaigns to attract people to the Great Falls region. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

 

October SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.44%; 20-year at 3.398%; 20-year refinance at 3.40%; and, 10-year equipment 3.553%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

 

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Great Falls Business Improvement District issued a Request for Proposal for Downtown Wayfinding. Questions can be directed to Joan Redeen at 406.77.5403 or info@greatfallsbid.com. Deadline for submission is November 8, 2019 at 12:30 PM MST.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering trainings later this month on Market Research for Early Stage Technologies and on Writing Winning SBIR/STTR Proposals. See more info here.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

Great Falls Economic Development Quarter Index 2019 Q3

3rd Quarter 2019 Index

Great Falls rank amongst all U.S. cities in Top Cities Where Americans Start the Most Businesses:  23rd
Great Falls rank amongst cities under 150,000 population:  9th

Record number of businesses in City of Great Falls with covered employees at end of 2018Q4:  2,875

Buffalo Crossing anticipated investment:  $18 million
Love’s Travel Stop anticipated investment:  $12 million

Great Falls MSA average annual wage increase 2018Q2-2019Q2:  5.3%
Montana increase:  4.4%
National increase:  3.6%

Great Falls MSA average annual wage increase over past 5 years:  20%
Increase in total wage earnings in Great Falls MSA over previous 4 quarters:  $5.14%
Total increase in wages earned:  $78 million

New project leads into GFDA pipeline during quarter:  24
New companies into GFDA pipeline during quarter:  22
New active projects:  21
Business retention and expansion outreach visits during quarter:  11

Amount Great Falls GTF air travelers have saved over the 7 years since launch of Low-Cost Airfare Initiative:  $32 million

Number of $1,000 Montana Access Scholarships being granted by Great Falls College MSU:  158

GFDA out-of-state business development trips in FY 2019:  18

New jobs supported just from 1,000 person increase in Cascade County population:  170
New households created by 1,000-person increase in Cascade County population:  412

U.S. workers who say they are somewhat or extremely likely to relocate for a new job in the next five years:  46%
College-educated people age 25-34 who say they choose the city in which to live before looking for a job:  64%
People who reported that their impression of a community was formed by internet research:  62%

Downtown building permits issued during 2019Q2:  16
New downtown businesses opened during 2019Q2:  3
Downtown volunteer hours donated:  10,854

Number of local entrepreneurs and businesses coached by GFDA during quarter:  243
Of these, number of new coaching clients:  36
Number of local entrepreneurs and businesses coached by GFDA during FY 2019:  224
Number of business training sessions offered during quarter:  10
Number of training participants:  59
Number of business training sessions offered during FY 2019:  40
Number of training participants:  434
Professional webinars hosted by GFDA recorded and available online to entrepreneurs:  23
Number of businesses started or bought by coached clients during quarter:  2
New capital secured by entrepreneur clients during quarter:  $120,000

Amount of loans closed during quarter:  $80,558
Amount of additional loan fundings during quarter:  $465,344
Loan commitments issued during quarter:  $320,558
Number of gap and bridge loans closed during FY 2019:  16
Amount of loans closed during FY 2019:  $6,413,751
Private investment leveraged by these loans:  $15,896,915

Brownfield redevelopment assessments provided for free during quarter:  6
Brownfield redevelopment assessments provided for free in FY 2019:  8

U.S. nonprofits that have earned GuideStar Gold Seal of Transparency in 2019 as GFDA did during quarter:  5%

Percent of Montana GDP in 2017 that resident and tourist outdoor recreational activities accounted for:  5.1%

Number of certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI’s) in country:  1,083
Number of certified CDFI’s in Montana:  13

Square miles in the 7 counties covered by GFDA’s Small Business Development Center:  17,711
Number of states with smaller square miles:  9
Square miles of New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and DC combined:  16,823

Number of small business advisers GFDA now has to cover the area:  2.5
Number we had for many years:  1

Montana State Fund workers comp dividend issued in 2019:  $30 million
Dividends issued to policyholders since 1999:  $286 million

Professionals worldwide on LinkedIn:  590 million

Average cost of 1GB of mobile data in U.S. in November 2018:  $12.37

Average cost in India:  $0.26

In Zimbabwe:  $75.20

Top 10 – 10/20/19

Want to know what a population increase will do for our economy? In 2017 we hired the experts at Chmura Economics to conduct a population growth impact study. Just 0.85% growth would have a first year economic impact of $13 million, growing exponentially over the years! Check out the full report here. GFDA is about to launch a talent attraction effort.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 12 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) We closed a $40,000 gap loan to RE Family Services, Inc. that the startup non-profit in downtown Great Falls needed for equipment and working capital. For more information on the gap financing options that GFDA may be able to help with, please contact Jill Kohles at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

2) Congratulations to GFDA Investor Best Bosses! Dick Anderson of Dick Anderson Construction named best boss by the Helena Chamber and Nick Schlueter of VisionNet named best boss by the Great Falls Chamber!

3) Our first Triangle Pitch Night was a roaring success. Twenty-seven entrepreneurial-minded folks in the Golden Triangle joined us in Cut Bank to talk about innovation, meet like-minded people, and pitch business ideas to those gathered. We heard 11 different pitches from nine people at Cut Bank Creek Brewery. Thank you to all who attended. And stay tuned. We plan to put on more Triangle Pitch Nights across the region.

4) The Great Falls Business Improvement District issued a Request for Proposal for Downtown Wayfinding. Questions can be directed to Joan Redeen at 406.77.5403 or info@greatfallsbid.com. Deadline for submission is November 8, 2019 at 12:30 PM MST.

5) Two educational events are on our agenda over the next two weeks. Win the Bid: How to Prepare a Proposal walks businesses through the process of writing a winning proposal with local, state, or federal governmental agencies. Space is limited. Please register here. Seats are also filling up for our final QuickBooks class of the fall. To reserve your spot, click here. Contact Jason with any questions on any of GFDA’s Business Education Calendar events at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

6) The Great Falls Downtown Development Partnership discussed the input presented at the downtown charrette and from 75 people who submitted ideas through the online portal. Work on the development visions has started. Thanks to everyone for the great, creative ideas for new private investment downtown!

7) GFDA team members were out on the road again this week. Jolene and I invested part of the week at the International Economic Development Council’s annual conference, learning new best practices from industry leaders, and networking with site selection consultants, BNSF and others. We were both featured speakers to share what we’re doing in the Great Falls region. Talent attraction strategies were a hot topic, something we are just getting into. As was building more resilient regional economies. We received our reaccreditation plaque. Congratulations to Big Sky EDA on winning an award!

8) Jill attended the annual meeting of NADCO, the trade association for SBA 504 lending. This was an opportunity to network with other experts in the 504 industry, and learn about upcoming changes from the SBA. Contact Jill for up to date info on how SBA 504 loans can support your business acquisition, startup or growth, JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

9) Teresa networked at the 2019 Innovate Montana Conference in Butte, taking the opportunity to strengthen existing relationships, and develop new ones, with potential businesses and developers for the Great Falls regional market.

10) How do you pitch Great Falls? We all have the opportunity to pitch our community to out of town colleagues, family members, strangers on airplanes, and others. Your challenge this week is to take a moment to think about how you pitch our community. Think about various audiences and your absolute favorite/surprising tidbits about our region. We had the chance to compete (and won) against 45 other economic developers in a quick pitch competition. Here’s Jolene’s winning pitch for Great Falls that placed first at the IEDC annual conference!

11) GFDA was featured in a recent press release from the Montana Department of Commerce. The release highlighted our stepped up economic development efforts in the rural communities of the Golden Triangle. Check it out here.

12) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, KRTV, for their investment at the Legacy Division and NAPA Auto Parts for their investment at the Community Division level. Your investments are creating more opportunities for growth. We do not take this for granted. Your investments are the reason that we are the enviable place to work and play. If you have not invested, contact Teresa Schreiner at TSchreiner@GrowGreatFalls.org or 406.781.9449

We are HUNGRY to Grow the Great Falls regional economy, create higher wage jobs, build our tax base, improve our market competitiveness, and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of Great Falls, Cascade County, and the entire 13-county Great Falls trade area.

Brett Doney
President & CEO

Connect with me on LinkedIn to network with the Great Falls region.
Forward the GFDA Top 10 to friends and colleagues. You can join our distribution list HERE or text GFDA to 22828.

“Networking has been cited as the number one unwritten rule of success in business. Who you know really impacts what you know.”
Sallie Krawcheck

GFDA Job Openings

GFDA has another new career opportunity. We’ve partnered with the Great Falls Business Improvement District to create a Downtown Business Development Officer position. See description below or download all our position openings and help us spread the word!

Downtown Business Development Officer 
Main Street Economic Development  

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for a super star to lead downtown economic revitalization in partnership with the Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls (an accredited National Main Street program) and the Great Falls Business Improvement District. You will meet with existing downtown businesses to aid in their retention and expansion, conduct market research, work to attract businesses and developers to downtown, and provide overall aid in our downtown business development efforts. Involves coordination, cold-calling, networking, relationship building, project management, advocacy, marketing events, meeting with businesses, listening, and additional client business development services. Position may involve travel in region, U.S. and Canada. Looking for a star with demonstrated achievement in business development. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $45,000-55,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Commercial Loan Processor and Operations Assistant
Economic Development
Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development lending team. Help us to keep growing our gap and bridge financing efforts to support entrepreneurs, businesses, developers and non-profit organizations throughout the Great Falls trade area and across Montana. This position receives,reviews and processes commercial loan documents, maintains loan application files and other duties related to the processing and servicing of the commercial loan portfolio.Reviews all gathered pending documents for accuracy, completeness, loan authority, lien position, insurance, flood insurance, collateral, appraisal, coding, risk rating, disbursements, etc. Reviews documents for compliance purposes, recognizes problems with documentation, and takes appropriate action. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients, and have computer and communication skills. Experience with SBA 504 loan servicing and/or economic development loan funds a plus. Must be detail oriented and organized with flexibility to help achieve our overall team mission. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

Talent Attraction Director
Digital Content Marketing

Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for an experienced digital marketing leader who can learn and utilize best practices to design and implement a program with the goal of getting people to relocate in the Great Falls region. This public relations star will manage content on our website and social media platforms, engage partners and the community, conduct research, and implement PR campaigns to attract people to the Great Falls region. Requires excellent writing, computer, and communication skills. Live on the Missouri River along the Rocky Mountain Front and work with a great team! Salary range $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.

 

SBA 504 Loans

SBA 504 rates came in even lower in September. The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.44%; 20-year at 3.553%; and, 20-year refinance at 3.388%. There was no 10-year equipment debenture sale this month but July’s sale came in at 3.553%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all on-going fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Cost-Effective Rail-Served Industrial Sites Available

If your company needs a rail-served, BNSF-Certified, shovel-ready site with all municipal services at your door, we have lots available for immediate construction in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. Contact Jolene Schalper at 1.406.750.4481 or JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org

 

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

GFDA’s PTAC is accepting registrations for the upcoming training, Win the Bid: How to Prepare a Proposal on October 23rd from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. For more info, call Shannon Clancy (406) 590-1184.

The Montana Downtown Conference will be held October 23-25 in Missoula. This is always a great conference with lots of idea sharing. More info here.

Our fall QuickBooks class is now taking registrations. This full-day training event on November 1st, presented by GFDA investor Wendy Weissman CPA PC, helps participants understand how QuickBooks can be used most effectively to manage financial statements. It is designed for users with basic to no knowledge of the tool as well as more advanced users to get more out of it. For more information or to register, click here.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering trainings later this month on Market Research for Early Stage Technologies and on Writing Winning SBIR/STTR Proposals. See more info here.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.