Top Ten August 14, 2022

Fifteen artists participated in a mural workshop on Friday to kickoff ArtsFest Montana 2022 in Downtown Great Falls. The artists will be creating new outdoor murals downtown throughout the week. See TheElectric and KFBB.

GFDA’s Top 10
 
Here is our Top 20 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) Exciting transactions have been announced for major energy assets in the Great Falls Montana region. Berkshire Hathaway plans to buy the Glacier I, Glacier II, and Rim Rock wind farms from NaturEner. The three wind farms along the Hi-line in the Great Falls trade area have a combined capacity of 399 MW. Several years ago Berkshire Hathaway purchased the MATL electric transmission line which connects Great Falls and Lethbridge. Calumet’s Montana Renewables has secured a $250 million investment from Warburg Pincus and Stonebriar Commercial Finance has provided an additional $350 million; see TheElectric.

2) Here is a rundown of business reports from intrepid local reporters. The River’s Edge Trail connection across the 10th Avenue Bridge officially opened. Chipotle plans to open a location on 10th Avenue South. Panda Express plans to open a second Great Falls location at West Bank Landing. Coffee Republic plans to open on August 26th. Mountain View Coop has started construction on a new facility at the intersection of Smelter Avenue and 10th Street North in Great Falls. Construction of the new Starbucks on 10th Avenue South is almost complete. A Tidal Wave Auto Spa and a Les Schwab are under construction on 10th Avenue South. Chad and Megan Taylor opened Digital Karma Tattoo in the Strain Building in Downtown Great Falls. Check out The Electric’s Business Bites and KRTV’s Eye on Great Falls.

3) Congratulations to Western Feed Corral on the grand opening of your new building! Celebrate the agriculture and ranching dealer at their Grand Opening on August 25-27 and check out their new building. They offer a complete line of feed and supplements for cattle, horses, miniature horses, goats, sheep, llamas, dogs and cats. If it eats, they have the feed for it. The open house will offer in-store specials, food, drink, drawings and giveaways. Visit with dealer reps from Milwaukee, Purina and Hardware Hank.

4) Join us for fun Business Pitch In events at Copper Creek Coffee in Choteau on Tuesday, August 23rd from 11 AM – 1 PM and in Conrad at Folklore Coffee on Thursday, September 8th from 11 AM to 1 PM. If you have a business idea you’d like to pitch or for more information, please reach out to Tony Peres at 406-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org. 

5) Triple Divide Boutique on Main in Choteau is satisfying the sweet tooth of residents and travelers through a variety of bulk candies at the downtown candy store. Owner Mischa Welch returned to her Montana roots after living in Arizona for many years. Learn more about Triple Divide Boutique on main in our Announcement of the Week.

6) We have launched another, new learning opportunity designed to support startup activity in our region. Part one of our new quarterly course, Becoming a Franchisee, explored how franchise-owned businesses are substantially more likely to surpass one, five, and 10-year failure milestones. We also discussed the two types of franchises and the pros and cons of this business ownership model. Special thanks to our guest speakers, Aaron Weissman, owner of Teriyaki Madness, and Cooper Thomas, owner of City Motor Company. To watch the recording of Part 1, click here. To join us for Part 2 on August 18th, please register here.

7) Local business leader Dan Bateman has purchased the former Cambridge Court assisted living facility in downtown Great Falls which has been vacant for years and plans to renovate it into 50 one and two-bedroom apartments. The City of Great Falls is considering supporting the development with a $1.2 million Community Development Block Grant loan. See The Electric. Great project Dan!

8) The hemp food and fiber industry is growing exponentially and centered here in North Central Montana! We attended the IND Hemp Montana Summer Summit and were able to engage potential processors on why they should locate their agribusinesses here. The summit brought industry leaders to Fort Benton from across the United States and round the world in the hemp grain and fiber industries to share, discuss, and collaborate business’s place in further developing the industry and supply chain for hemp foods and fiber in America. For more information on industrial hemp ask Justin Loch at GFDA 406-590-1301.

9) Showdown Montana ski resort purchased a hotel in White Sulphur Spring and has renamed it The Edith; see KRTV.

10) Development can be complicated. This week alone members of our team have worked with one housing developer to help navigate state, local, and even national protocol to provide a clearer path to project completion. If you are considering a housing development or complex project in the Great Falls region, please reach out to Jake Clark at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org and let our team help you as well.

11) Alluvion Health has established a new medical clinic in Choteau. This brings complete healthcare diagnostics to the town including laboratory and radiology services. See KRTV.

12) We’ve invited 10 second stage companies in the region to participate in our first PeerSpectives Roundtable cohort in many years. PeerSpectives is a peer mentoring group for established companies looking to grow. The kickoff meeting will be held in September then the cohort’s confidential meetings will start in October. We have room for two more second stage companies. Contact Jason for more info at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org.

13) The Downtown Development Partnership of Great Falls board voted unanimously to support a proposed alley lighting project being undertaken by the Great Falls Business Improvement District.

14) Met virtually with leaders of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council who I met briefly at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in June. The Permitting Council can coordinate the environmental reviews of multiple federal agencies to speed permitting for some major projects. I applaud their efforts and hope we can take advantage of the Council for eligible projects in our region.

15) Early Stage Montana presents the 2022 Montana Startup Summit September 29-October 1 in Bozeman, a three-day weekend celebrating Montana’s innovation.

16) We expect to soon launch a new low interest loan participation product in partnership with the Montana Department of Commerce that will provide 50/50 loan participations with your bank or credit union. These funds are limited and will be put to work very quickly to help our economy recover and come back stronger than ever. If you have a business startup or expansion planned that could benefit from a loan participation, contact Brett at BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org.

17) Congratulations to the Montana Department of Commerce’s Export Montana program on winning a national E Award for Export Service from the U.S. Department of Commerce!

18) Met with the Board of the Helena Branch of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve who visited Great Falls. I tried to explain our need for loan capital to fill gaps and provide bridges that our bank and credit union partners can’t do.

19) The GFDA Board elected Mark Cappis of Cappis Consulting & Tax, LLC as Vice Chair and Forrest Ehlinger of Benefis Health System as Treasurer for FY 2023.

20) THANK YOU to our wonderful INVESTORS! They understand economic development is more important than ever during these times as we strategize for business growth and resiliency. Recent investments include: Leadership Division—BNSF Railway, and Dick Anderson Construction; and, Pacesetter Division—University of Providence. Investing in economic development helps to ensure that our community’s businesses are successful. We couldn’t do what we do without their support. To find out how you can invest in the community, reach out to Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

A great week in Great Falls with ArtsFest Montana, Big River Ruckus, Montana MultiCultural Fair, and The Russell western art events, along with continued excellent summer weather!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

Top Ten – August 7, 2022

 

Coffee Republic is one of the many new developments on the 10th Avenue South commercial corridor in Great Falls.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 12 for last week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) JobsEQ preliminary data for 2022Q1 indicates that the average annual wage in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) increased by 6.7% in the twelve months ending with March, 2022. In dollar terms, the average annual wage increased by $3,028 over twelve months to reach $48,173. Total wages in the Great Falls MSA grew by $183 million or 11.2% in the four quarters ending in March. That’s a great increase in local spending power. Employment increased by 277 from the end of December to the end of March which we were pleased with because the first quarter of the year is usually our slowest employment quarter.

2) Pitched our region to site selectors working in diverse industries from across the US who were attending the Logistics Forum in Colorado. This forum is limited to just 65 economic developers and provides learning sessions where the site selectors teach us how they approach their areas of expertise and how our community can amplify our presence. At this event we also have ample one on one time with the site selectors. Our favorite question posed was: is your community investable? Taking into account quality of life, quality of place, and quality of assets for businesses and industry. Reach out to Jolene with your thoughts or questions, 406.750.4481.

3) Alluvion Health is renovating the historic Rocky Mountain Building at 601 Central Avenue in downtown Great Falls to be the hub for all their healthcare services. Learn more about Alluvion Health’s expansion in the Announcement of the Week.

4) The Great Falls International Airport won a Small Community Air Service Development grant that will be used to try to attract a new direct flight to Dallas Fort Worth. Thank you to the Low-Cost Airfare Initiative Partners, organized by the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, who pledged matching funds for the grant and to Great Falls Tourism that has pledged to fund a $132,000 marketing campaign during the first two summers of service. GFDA is proud to have pledged $7,500 toward the effort. See The Electric and Chamber press release.

5) We’ve already started seeing responses from Christian’s trip to Downtown Boise a few weeks ago. He went at the request of a developer and made good use of his time while he was there, visiting with other Developers and Restaurant groups. Since that trip, we’ve had 3 developers reach out to start conversations about possible investments in Downtown Great Falls, and the most recent one is looking to fly out to discuss opportunities in our market. If you have a great lead on a developer that is doing great projects in other Downtowns, send them over to Christian at CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

6) If you are looking to support entrepreneurs in the Great Falls region, look no further than the Great Falls Farmers Market. The Great Falls Farmers Market aims to grow commerce through community. The market runs every Saturday from the first week of June until the last Saturday of September. The market showcases over 100 vendors each week with offerings of fresh produce, baked goods, crafted items, and much more. There are still plenty of Saturdays left, so stop on by the Great Falls Farmers Market!

7) The GFDA Board voted to move ahead with the purchase of 224 acres of land in the Great Falls AgriTech Park. This first purchase of land will strengthen our ability to quickly close on future business investments and make us eligible to compete for infrastructure grants to build out future Park phases. Thank you to Cascade County and First Interstate Bank for helping make this possible.

8) We expect to soon launch a new low interest loan participation product in partnership with the Montana Department of Commerce that will provide 50/50 loan participations with your bank or credit union. These funds are limited and will be put to work very quickly to help our economy recover and come back stronger than ever. If you have a business startup or expansion planned that could benefit from a loan participation, contact Jill Kohles at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org

9) Met with Livability Media to begin planning the content of the 2023 Great Falls Livability talent attraction digital and print magazine.

10) Met with a major regional housing developer team on their 6th visit to Great Falls this year as they pursue local project opportunities. We continue to work daily with this developer and with several local developers on several potential housing development projects.

11) Participated in the annual retreat of the Economic Development Research Partners of the International Economic Development Council. GFDA is the only economic development organization in Montana to be part of this work that produces cutting edge practical economic development research that helps us continually improve our work to maximize impact on Great Falls and the surrounding 13-county trade area.

12) GFDA relies on the support from our INVESTORS. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to provide entrepreneurs & businesses with the resources and help they need to succeed. Recent investments include: Leadership Division—Montana Credit Union; Pacesetter Division—General Mills. Our community is thriving thanks to these and other investors. If you are interested in being a part of the team that is growing Great Falls, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

So much activity! That’s my excuse for being so late in getting this out.

Enjoy the fantastic summer Montana weather!

Brett Doney

Top Ten for July 31

We’re excited to be a sponsor of the Montana Multi-Cultural Fair that will be held on the 400 block of Central Avenue in Downtown Great Falls on August 18th.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 18 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) The Rib & Chop House this week announced their newest location in Downtown Great Falls, Montana! Their new location will be situated on the ground floor of the remodeled 1914 Wells Fargo building on 1st Ave. North. The restaurant will feature 225 seats and a 40 seat outdoor patio. We’re excited to welcome the Rib & Chop House community into Downtown Great Falls. Head over to KRTV to read more about the project and hear from the CEO of Rib & Chop House. Another new restaurant, La Cocina Mexican, is opening on Fox Farm Road; see The Electric.

2) We expect to soon launch a new low interest loan participation product in partnership with the Montana Department of Commerce that will provide 50/50 loan participations with your bank or credit union. These funds are limited and will be put to work very quickly to help our economy recover and come back stronger than ever. If you have a business startup or expansion planned that could benefit from a loan participation, contact Jill Kohles at JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.

3) Farm Power Malt in Power recently broke ground on their new facility. This new facility will focus on creating its own American Single Malt that is created from grain grown right on the 105 year old family farm in Power. Once the facility is complete it will house a distillery, bottling line, and tasting room. Farm Power Malt provides high quality malt to breweries across Montana and beyond.

4) Met with a company based that spun off from MIT. They are an aerospace/defense contractor creating shared situational awareness applications and hardware. They have plans to expand an engineering team in Great Falls Montana. Watch for more announcements in this industry sector!

5) Our Announcement of the Week features Lofts at the Station, a five-story apartment building connected to the Milwaukee Station in Great Falls. Lofts at the Station will offer city life perks and upscale living steps away from the Missouri River and Trail. This development is a great step forward for the Great Falls region!

6) Northwest Drywall and Roofing Supply will be moving to their new location 1800 Vaughn Rd. Great Fall on Aug 1st. We invite everyone to come out to our open house on the Aug 17th. Lunch for the first 100 customs with several door prize drawling available. A Family Dollar/Dollar Tree combo store is scheduled to open in Choteau on August 11th; see Choteau Acantha. The Missouri River Medical Center and the Benton Medical Clinic cut the ribbon on their new 4,500 square foot facility; see KRTV.

7) Why do entrepreneurs participate in peer-to-peer roundtables? Because there is no substitute for hearing about the struggles of others at a similar stage of business. We have received 8 applications for our new PeerSpectives roundtable for second stage companies, but need 2-4 more. If your company is second stage, this structured and confidential just-in-time-learning opportunity helps navigate the pitfalls of operating a growing business. Contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org to complete a participant application.

8) The Sun River Watershed Group won a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior to make improvements on Muddy Creek, a tributary of the Sun River. See News Release for more details.

9) Jake and Jolene helped facilitate a pre-project planning meeting with a housing developer and the Great Falls City Planning and Development department. We always recommend that developers engage with the City early and often so that projects move along smoothly. If you would like to discuss your upcoming project, you can reach the Planning Department directly at (406) 455-8430 or reach out to Jake Clark to make an introduction at Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering some great workshops: Lean 101: Lean Lego on August 17th in Missoula; Demystifying Cybersecurity for Small Business live webinar on August 3rd; FSPCA Preventive Controls for Human Food (offered by TechHelp) at the University of Idaho in Post Falls on August 15-17; a CISA Region 8 Critical Manufacturing Sector Security Roundtable in Billings on August 30; and free Value-Added Product Sales Under the Local Food Choice Act workshops in Missoula on August 18, in Kalispell on August 19, and in Great Falls on September 30.

11) Do you have open government contracts? Is your SAM.gov registered due to renew in the next few months? SAM.gov continues to have issues with the transition from the DUNS Number to UEI SAM. It is recommended that businesses start early to renew their registration to keep from going inactive. If you are having trouble getting through the process, contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for assistance.

12) The Montana Indian Equity Fund (IEF) business grant is now open and accepting applications. Members of Montana’s eight federally recognized tribes are eligible to apply for up to $14,000 of business funding. This highly competitive grant program closes August 31st. For more information on the grant visit the IEF website. If you’d like help applying for the grant or have additional questions, call or email Rich Gannon at 406-836-2078 or RGannon@GrowGreatFalls.org

13) We’re excited to announce that the US Bancorp Community Development Corporation has approved a $1 million low interest loan to GFDA to expand our available loan capital. This will enable us to move forward with providing a bridge loan for one of several new apartment developments in the works in Great Falls. Thank you US Bank!

14) As we continue our deep-dive strategic planning effort, our Health/Bioscience Steering Committee of met virtually with TrippUmbach, the consultants we retained to help us develop an Bioscience Economic Development Strategy for the Great Falls Region. We discussed their preliminary findings and potential areas that the strategy could focus on to take advantage of the region’s assets. We plan to bring TrippUmbach back to Great Falls in the fall for a daylong working session with the steering committee, partners, and GFDA investors.

15) Invest Downtown 2022 will be held on October 20th from 10 AM-Noon at The Newberry and planning is currently underway. If you know of a great Downtown businesses to highlight or if you have an opportunity that is ripe for development, please email Christian at CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org or call 406.836.0136.

16) The Biden-Harris Administration’s new Priority Programming Series is now live through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This monthly professional development initiative for economic development professionals nationwide trained 180 people on the topic of childcare. Jason Nitschke joined two other trainers from Texas and Connecticut, sharing best practices in advising childcare centers. This type of national exposure illustrates the quality of our efforts to support providers starting and growing. If your business wants to be part of the childcare solution, connect with Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org. 

17) GFDA’s Small Business Navigator, Tony Peres, virtually attended the International Economic Development Council’s Entrepreneurial & Small Business Development Strategies Course this week. The knowledge and proven strategies learned in this course will be put to work right here in the golden triangle to assist entrepreneur/startup businesses and current small businesses achieve and find success. For assistance with your small business or small business idea please reach out to Tony Peres at 406-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org.

18) The continued support we get from the community is paramount. They choose to invest their dollars into growing our economy. Recent investments include: Pacesetter Division—Eagle Beverage and Great Falls College MSU. These and other investors are actively helping to bring more opportunities to the region. If you want to join the team that is growing Great Falls, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Thanks!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

Top Ten July 24

Tony Peres met with MSU Extension Ag Agent Kim Woodring at the Marias Fair in Shelby to discuss economic educational offerings for entrepreneurs and small businesses across the Highline.

GFDA’s Top 10

Here is our Top 15 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) With our partners from the Montana Department of Commerce and the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, GFDA hosted a visit from an exciting Aerospace company looking for big skies of opportunity. This company has unique needs, which may be best served by partnerships in multiple Montana cities. We have incredible resources at the state level and a strong sense of team with other economic developers throughout the state, which can help us make Great Falls the best place to land for large innovative companies. Do you know of a company looking to expand or locate in the West? Reach out to Jolene at JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org. 

2) Congratulations to Jeremiah Johnson Brewing on the opening of the Blackstar Brew Pub in Whitefish! Jeremiah Johnson Brewing is brewing all the beer in-house. See KRTV.

3) Our Downtown Business Development Officer completed his 1,500 mile journey through Idaho and Montana, visiting six communities, networking with over 20 people, and meeting with seven developer and restaurant groups while leaving plenty of shoe leather along the way. He was able to attend the grand opening of the Warehouse Food Hall in downtown Boise and spent some one-on-one time with the CEO of Hendricks Commercial Properties who is the developer on the project. He toured all six community downtowns and received inspiration and new targets along the way to bring back to Downtown Great Falls. We’ve already started receiving emails from developers that heard we were in their town. If you have a great company you think would make a great fit in Downtown Great Falls, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 or CLeinhauser@GrowGreatFalls.org.

4) Carter Commons, an affordable senior housing development next to Carter Park, is in the running for Montana Board of Housing federal tax credits. We spoke in support at the Great Falls City Commission meeting. They are collecting letters of support through August. This is a highly competitive process. Carter Commons is the only Great Falls project and one of just seven finalists. Three to four projects across the state will receive funding. If you’d like to submit a letter of support for this much needed senior housing project, contact Jake Clark, Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org.

5) Great Falls Clinic is expanding hospital operations. The $58 million dollar project will bring 125 new jobs to the community and expand healthcare services. Learn more about the expansion in the Announcement of the Week. 

6) Calling female business owners of growing companies! We are seeking participants for our new peer-to-peer mentoring program, PeerSpectives, designed specifically for growing, second stage companies. We are halfway to our applicant goal, but most of the applicants are men. If your company is facing growing pains and meets the definition of “second stage,” learning from the shared experiences of others may help you navigate those challenges more efficiently. To join our initial PeerSpectives cohort, please contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org to complete an application.

7) Great Falls College MSU is offering four industrial technology courses this fall. Industrial Safety & Rigging and Fundamentals of Mechanical Systems begin on August 22nd. Fundamentals of Hydraulics & Pneumatics and Machine Shop begin on October 24th. Email Karry Hardman at karry.hardman@gfcmsu.edu or call him at 406-771-4366.

8) KFBB ran a great story about the importance of housing development efforts in Great Falls. Montana Housing of the Montana Department of Commerce announced a new Multifamily Loan Program that can be used for new construction, or an acquisition with substantial rehabilitation. Eligible applicants include for-profit, non-profit, and government entities.

9) Participated in the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Future of Ag Tour. This event gave citizens in the Great Falls area the opportunity to see agriculture production and manufacturing in the Great Falls region. Stops on the tour included seeing crop fields of industrial hemp, yellow peas, and barley. Ag businesses that hosted stops on the tour included Sustainable Oils (Great Falls), IND Hemp (Fort Benton), Golden Triangle Brewing (Fort Benton), EGT grain shuttle loading facility (Carter), Jeremiah Johnson Brewing (Great Falls), and MT Pints (Great Falls). For information on opportunities to expand and diversify the region’s food, ag and bio processing industries, contact Justin at 406-590-1301 or Justin@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) Congratulations to Western Feed Corral who recently moved into their new building and location at 2502 Vaughn Road in Great Falls. The Western Feed Corral offers livestock feed for all species along with farm and ranch supplies.

11) This week Tony Peres, our Small Business Navigator, traveled north to Choteau, Conrad, and Shelby to meet with city officials, chamber members, port authority officials, and agricultural agents across the region to forge relationships and identify needs in rural communities that will help create and further economic development through collaborative efforts within the Golden Triangle. Connect with Tony at 406-750-2099 or Tony@GrowGreatFalls.org.

12) Avmax’s leasing arm, Avmax Aircraft Leasing, announced that it has placed an order with Universal Hydrogen Co. to convert 20 regional aircraft to run on green hydrogen. See story in North American Clean Energy.

13) Two more GFDA team members finished their Economic Development Finance Professional 101 course last week. Jake and Christian finished the course and will now join Jill in the next course on their way to becoming certified Economic Development Finance Professionals.

14) Montana is the Best State to Start a Farm or Ranch, 4th Best State to Live Off the Grid, and 18th Best State for Female Farm Producers, according to LawnLove.

15) Investing in GFDA is investing in the community. Every dollar we receive is put into helping our economy grow! Recent investment include: Leadership Division: Pepsi of Great Falls/Admiral Beverage; Pacesetter Division: McDonald’s of Great Falls; Community Division:  Culligan Water Great Falls and Great Falls BID. Without these INVESTORS, our work wouldn’t be possible. If you want to join the team that is helping our economy grow, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

Great to be back in Great Falls after spending time on the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota helping the economic development recovery efforts of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands.

Have a great week!

Brett Doney
President & CEO

 

Top Ten July 17

 

Big Sky Aquatics and Recreation Center construction progresses

Can’t wait to see the Aim High Big Sky Aquatics & Recreation Center rise from this site!

See update on KFBB.

Top Ten – July 17

Here is our Top 13 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) Congratulations to KDS on their continued success in providing high speed cost-effective broadband services in the region! KDS is building out a network designed to support future 10G per household. They have opened the North Data Center in downtown Great Falls and Wisp Assist, a 24/7 call center to provide customer support. They have also launched support companies Fiber Tech Services and Fiber Box, a design company created to design and produce KDS’ special outdoor boxes. These boxes are now being sold to several ISPs nationwide.

2) Touro College and University System is on track to open its first medical school class in July 2023! see The Electric.

3) The Cascade County Commission allocated $13.3 million of pandemic recovery funds to 51 projects, including $1 million to GFDA to support the Great Falls AgriTech Park, one of our key economic development efforts to make the county more competitive in attracting higher-wage career business investments that also create significant long-term tax base. The projects include many important infrastructure investments, support for NeighborWorks Great Falls’ permanent supportive housing redevelopment of the Baatz Building, funding for the new CDL truck driver training program at Great Falls College MSU, a new building at the C.M. Russell Museum, and important improvements for a number of public and nonprofit community services, facilities, and equipment throughout Cascade County. See The Electric and Great Falls Tribune for the entire list of projects. Thank you Commissioners for your support!

4) Hosted Site Selectors for a virtual visit to Great Falls Montana. This was in collaboration with our partners from Montana World Trade Center, State of Montana, and economic developers in Billings, Butte, and Missoula. These quarterly zooms allow us to reach more corporate site selectors increase our deal flow!

5) Renovations are underway on the historic Sullivan Building in Ft. Benton; see KRTV. Denton celebrated the new Wolf Creek bridge as the community recovers from the winter fire; see KRTV and Great Falls Tribune. The owners of the historic Bunkhouse Inn in Augusta that burned down in 2020 plan to move forward with building a new Inn; see KRTV.

6) We published our GFDA Index 2022Q2.

7) Congratulations to Senior Airman Monica Figueroa Santos at Malmstrom AFB on being named one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year! See KRTVGreat Falls College MSU is creating an addiction counseling program with the first class scheduled to start this fall; see KFBB.

8) This week Traci Rosenbaum with the Great Falls Tribune features Fire Within Award winners Paulette Wright of Mrs. Wright’s Pastys and Sophia Spark, owner of B Spark Architecture. Congratulations to Paulette and Sophia. Thank you for inspiring female entrepreneurs in our region to take the leap and start their own business!

9) We’re co-hosting the Montana Economic Development Conference at The Newberry in downtown Great Falls November 14-16; see Montana Economic Developers Association. The Building a Winning Montana Team conference will feature exciting panels discussing key Montana economic development issues such as housing, business attraction, talent attraction, tourism and economic development, tribal economic development, and value added agriculture. Keynotes will bring perspectives from other states and provinces, and from leading Montana industry associations and state leaders. Workshops include economic development ethics, new financing collaborations, and supporting local entrepreneurs and existing businesses. Download preliminary agenda. Sponsor a session! Contact Rebecca Myers at medaexec@gmail.com or me at BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org.

10) As summer moves into the hottest times of the year, that also brings the increased chances of hail which can lead to severe crop damage. Producers have until August 15th to purchase state hail coverage. The Montana State Hail Insurance Program was created at the request of producers in 1917 to provide basic hail insurance coverage on any crop grown in Montana. For more information on hail crop coverage, contact Justin at 406-590-1301 or visit the Montana Department of Ag website.

11) A number of past graduates of our cash flow and profitability workshop, Profit Mastery, recently connected to share how the class affected their businesses. Record revenue and profit, pricing accuracy, a better ability to negotiate, and most importantly – better decisions are all some reported impacts. On July 15th, five more local entrepreneurs and 5 Billings and Butte-based economic developers graduated from our most recent Profit Mastery class with goals of similar outcomes. If any of those impacts are top of mind for your business, connect with Jason about how this resource can work for you at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.org. 

12) We were excited to host a visit from Frederick Van Den Abeel and Jaimie Charon from the Montana Department of Commerce. Both Frederick and Jaimie are partners with GFDA for business attraction within the state. Frederick has been to Great Falls before, but it was Jaimie’s first time. They were able to tune in live from the GFDA office to a statewide site selector event, tour the AgriTech Park and a downtown tech-ready building for lease, as well as other development sites in town. If you know of a company that would be successful locating in Great Falls, please reach out to Jake Clark Jake@GrowGreatFalls.org, we have a great network of resources and support from the State!

13) GFDA relies on the continued support from our INVESTORS. They are the reason we can continue to provide a wide range of services to our community and bring more opportunity to the region. Recent investments include: Advance Division—Wells Fargo. They are helping to grow our economy each and every day! If you want to help with our community’s growth, reach out to Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or Jenn@GrowGreatFalls.org.

I’m sending this out early because I am back on Saipan on a volunteer economic development disaster recovery trip with the International Economic Development Council. In 2019 I was part of the first visit team to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands to kick off a three-year volunteer assistance effort to help the islands develop strategic and projects for economic recovery after two massive typhoons. We’ve returned to help plan efforts to continue typhoon recovery as well as pandemic recovery. Imagine if our economy was mostly dependent on tourism — when the pandemic hit, visits to Saipan dropped from over 500,000 people/year to practically zero.

Enjoy a wonderful Montana summer weekend!

Brett

Brett Doney
President & CEO