Top 10 – 1/30/2020

Soren Chargois, our new Talent Attraction Director, and Marlena Halko, recruiter at Calumet Montana Refining, at the launch of the Great Falls Livability recruitment magazine.

GFDA Top 10

1) The Great Falls Livability relocation magazine was officially launched at The Hub in Great Falls High School. Here is the online link to the magazine — a new tool for recruiters and HR departments to help attract high-quality talent to the Great Falls region by highlighting what our community has to offer, from education to outdoor recreation to housing to local breweries! For printed copies, and to have a conversation about best practices for recruiting employees, email Soren at Let’s talk Talent Attraction! See KFBB.

2) The Golden Triangle is home to many amazing women entrepreneurs, and we want YOU to tell us about them! Nominations for The Fire Within, sponsored by Embark Credit Union are open through tomorrow January 31st. The process is simple – answer a few questions on the nomination form, and click submit. Then save the date for the 10th Annual Fire Within on Thursday, March 26th.

3) Malmstrom AFB is wrapping up construction of the new $17.4 million tactical response force alert facility and the new $18.7 million missile maintenance dispatch facility. Part of the funding for the planned $237 million weapons storage facility is in this year’s budget. Up at the Montana Air National Guard, the new $4 million firing range has opened and the construction contract for $9 million in apron improvements is about to be let. See for more details.

4) Do you have ideas for businesses on or along the Urban Missouri River that runs through the middle of Great Falls? We want to hear about them. The Missouri River Corridor Pitch Fest is an evening sharing, discussing, and supporting business on and along the Missouri River. What do you want to open? How do you want to help? What is missing? We want to connect ideas with people who can make them happen. We’ll bring business coaches, financial professionals, and others – you bring ideas! Click here to register.

5) The December unemployment rate in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) was 3.4%, down from 3.7% in December 2018. This was the second lowest December unemployment rate in Great Falls’ history. Data released by the Montana Department of Labor showed a growth in our labor force of 1.1% since December 2018, adding 413 people, and an increase in employed of 530 people. There were 1,287 people looking for work in December, another 1,000 residents we could draw into the labor force if we can increase our labor force participation rate to the state average, and thousands looking for full time employment and better jobs.

6) Worked with property owners and MT DEQ on strategies to move contaminated properties into redevelopment with site planning and cleanup using Brownfields funding.  Received approval for a Phase 1 on a potential downtown property purchase. We have Brownfield Clean-Up money that we want to put to work! Our low interest Brownfield Loans can be used to clean up hazardous materials including but not limited to lead paint, asbestos, etc. Are you working on a project that could use some clean up? Call Lillian today to discuss eligibility 406.750.1253 or

7) The Montana Department of Commerce has a special tourism event grant round opening February 1st; see more info here. Nominations are being accepted until February 16 for state tourism awards. Mark your calendar for the Governor’s Conference on Tourism & Recreation, April 26-28 in Billings.

8) Twenty advisors to entrepreneurs joined us in Choteau last week to network, collaborate, and share best practices. This was the second gathering we’ve recently hosted of federal, state, local, and private resource partners serving entrepreneurs in the Golden Triangle. The goal of these meetings is to cultivate a more collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Great Falls region.

9) Congratulations to Great Falls Public Schools on its annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Career Day where over 400 female middle school students heard from 32 women STEM leaders in our community! See KRTV. And more congratulations to GFPS for holding a Reality Fair for high school students at the Paris Gibson Education Center! See KFBB.

10) Last week, our social media posts reached over 6,915 combined followers on all our GFDA social media accounts. Follow “Great Falls Development Authority” and “Choose Great Falls” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for great content delivered daily to your timeline!

11) Malmstrom AFB will be hosting their second Career and Education Pathway Fair on March 19, 2020 from 2:30-5:30 PM. The focus is military members and military spouses as well as military members/families who will be transitioning out of the military — providing information on how to pursue careers i.e. required education, certification, or how to utilize the resources you offer. The event includes a hiring fair for businesses/companies that have open positions. This will be open Active Duty Military, Guard, Reserve, DoD Civilian, and dependents. For any questions, call Carmen Kubiak at (406) 731-3060 or email

12) Downtown Great Falls is GROWING! Last week we networked with 5 developers and 6 downtown businesses. If you have a business, are thinking of opening Downtown or even know someone who has an idea, contact Christian at or text/call 406-836-0136.

13) Congratulations to the Town of Belt on winning a $26,250 CDBG grant from the Montana Department of Commerce to develop a subdivision and zoning regulation plan, and to the City of Havre on winning $46,500 for a preliminary architectural study of Eagles Manor and to the City of Lewistown on $35,000 for its Eagles Manor. See

14) The Federal Government buys everything from paper clips to nuclear submarines and everything in between. Check out this upcoming workshop in February on the basics of government contracting.

15) Did you know that 55% of manufacturing companies view the arts as helping to recruit and retain employees. This was one of the many things covered in the first International Economic Development Council webinar of 2020 titled “Drawn Together: Art and Economic Development.”  You can join us for any of the 2020 IEDC webinars; see the entire series here. The next IEDC Webinar will be “Making the Most of Your Opportunity (Zone)” Thursday, February 20 from 12:30 – 2:00 PM at GFDA.

THANK YOU to all you DOERS out there making great things happen in our region!!!

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.

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.

“A good compromise is one where everybody makes a contribution.”
Angela Merkel

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

January SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.71%; 20-year at 3.641%; 25-year refinance at 3.712% and 20-year refinance at 3.641%; and, 10-year equipment 3.791%. 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

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a Business Transition Readiness workshop in Great Falls on February 13 from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Although the focus is on manufacturing companies, any business owner who does not yet have a succession plan will find this workshop to be very valuable. Details and registration here or download flyer. MMEC is also offering an excellent Lean Principles 101 introduction to lean manufacturing in Great Falls on March 26. Download flyer here.

The Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC) is accepting applications for its new Montana Historic Preservation Grant program. Deadline is February 28th. MDOC’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is offering grants to help businesses pay for translation of marketing materials to boost exports. The program also offered trade show grants and assistance.

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.

Wholesale Buyers can register for the Made in Montana Tradeshow, March 13-14 in Helena. The 2020 show will feature 150 Made in Montana producers including more than 40 new exhibitors and a Native American Made in Montana Pavilion.

All 26 of our recorded monthly business strategy webinars are available online for viewing anytime, click them out here.

The Montana Department of Commerce is accepting applications for it’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grants. This program reimburses for trade show expenses and travel stipends to attend and exhibit at international trade shows. For more information visit the ExportMontana website at

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.