Top Ten for March 20

Rendering of the Great Falls Clinic Hospital $58 million expansion. This week the Clinic announced a $5 million expansion of its Cancer Center to include a new TrueBeam linear accelerator (LINAC) to further enhance radiation oncology services.

GFDA’s Top 10 for March 20

Here is our Top 27 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) Benefis Health System broke ground on its new clinic in Helena; see KRTVJersey Mike’s plans to open in West Bank Landing on January 23rd with a promotion supporting Special Olympics of Montana; see KRTV. United Airlines is starting Denver/Great Falls service with a 126-passenger Airbus 319 on June 3rd; see KRTVCordova Farms in Power has expanded production to serve businesses in Great Falls; see KRTV.

2) Thank you to the developers, employers and partners who helped us host the Great Falls Housing Production Summit. The Concord Group presented the highlights of the market assessment documenting demand for more than 4,500+ new housing units in Great Falls. Major employers presented increased need for housing to support over 1,000 new jobs. To meet this demand, we heard from developers with nearly 800 units in various stages of completion, just scratching the surface of our market demand. See The Electric and The Great Falls Tribune. Missed the event? Watch the 2022 Housing Production Summit Here. Interested in exploring housing development opportunities? Contact Jake Clark at 1-406-403-4937 or

3) The new Housing Production Task Force will kick-off on March 29 at 4:00 PM. If you would like to participate in the task force, email me at The task force is going to brainstorm creative ways we can make more housing development happen in our market, then work to implement the best ideas.

4) Networked with innovative companies at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference in Washington DC this week. Spoke with several businesses excited about Calumet’s Montana Renewable Diesel project. Growth in biofuels, biochemicals, bioplastics, and biopackaging industries offer opportunities to put Montana’s agricultural products to higher value use right here in our region.

5) The Montana Department of Labor released labor market data that showed more people employed in the Great Falls MSA in January 2022 than pre-pandemic in January 2020. This reflects great progress in COVID recovery for Cascade County.

6) Networked with developers and businesses involved in entertainment, dining and retail at the Entertainment Evolution Experience conference in Los Angeles. We’re looking to support more creative entrepreneurs to invest in downtown, riverfront, indoor and outdoor entertainment and recreation, and more. Contact Christian to learn how we can help make your concept happen; 1-406-836-0136 or

7) The Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce released its 2022 Community Guide. For a digital copy, click here.

8) Submitted a Big Sky Trust Fund Job Creation grant application for Touro College Montana. These awards are for primary sector businesses providing above average wages for Montanans. The next deadline should be in June. If you are a primary sector company (over 51% of revenue comes from outside of Montana) planning to create new jobs with above average wages, give Jake a call to discuss your opportunities, 1.406.403.4937.

9) Nine new micro-courses have been launched by our partners at the new Women’s Business Center at the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership Lab of the University of Montana. Check out the nine new offerings here or contact our newest business advisor Marguerite Thordarson at

10) Special thanks to Corinna Dahlin (Navy veteran; owner of Corinna Dahlin Real Estate Photography, LLC and Chronic, LLC) and Zach Huber (Air Force/Guard veteran; Action Plumbing Plus Inc) for guest speaking at our quarterly presentation of Boots to Business. Eleven service members participated in this introduction to entrepreneurship course delivered to active duty military, veterans, and military families in partnership with the SBA and the Veterans Business Outreach Center.

11) Nominations are open for the 2022 The Fire Within – a celebration of women entrepreneurs! We are seeking nominations of female entrepreneurs from throughout the Golden Triangle for Aspire Candidates, women who have been in business under five years, and Inspire Candidates, who have been in business over five years. The awards are achieved by showing strong business acumen and a track record of business success. The event will be on May 12 at 5:30 PM; details to come. Nominate your candidates here.

12) Lillian and Shannon presented the final two webinar trainings on the 4-Part Module Series “Creating A Responsive Proposal” and “Impact of Change: A Transition Overview”. If you are interested in viewing any of PTACs webinar trainings, they will be available next week on the GFDA website under Government Contracting. For additional information or assistance, contact Shannon at

13) The Montana Department of Health and Human Services has put out a scam notice. Child care providers in Montana are being targeted by a scam/phishing email to click on a link to receive their ARPA funds. DPHHS will electronically deposit or mail your ARPA Child Care Stabilization Grant payments to you. You will not be asked to click on a link to receive your funds. For more information on phishing scams, visit

14) The US Small Business Administration has announced additional deferment of principal and interest payments for existing COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program borrowers for a total of 30 months. The extended deferment period is from your existing loan’s inception date on all approved COVID EIDL loans. The COVID EIDL program is not accepting new applications.

15) Sweetgrass Development is offering a free Digital Marketing Workshop on March 28 in Conrad from 8 AM – Noon and an Advanced Marketing Small Business Workshop in Shelby on March 31.

16) USDA Rural Housing Service opened the application process for 514 rural off-farm labor housing loans and 516 off-farm labor housing grants, due April 25. The Rural Housing Service has several programs designed to help build or improve community housing or essential community facilities. USDA also has the Value-Added Producer Grants round open, also due April 25. These grants help producers generate new products, create marketing opportunities, and increase incomes through value-added activities. If you are interested in additional information, reach out to Justin Loch at or 1-406-590-1301.

17) The Fire Within 2022 is back in person and is poised to be our best yet! We have a high value marketing/sponsorship package available that you won’t want to miss out on. If you are interested in becoming the sponsor of this event celebrating female entrepreneurs, reach out to Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

18) The Community Food & Agriculture Coalition is offering a Certified Farm Startup Program through Farm Link Montana. This is a certification program for aspiring farmers that will utilize performance based teaching methods to deliver the skills and tools needed to access farmland and start a farm business.

19) GFDA’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC)’s national association released its national impact report. To view the Montana SBDC’s impact report and statewide successes, click here. According to the report, for every $1 of federal investment, businesses served through the SBDC were able to attract $44.87 dollars in new capital to start and grow. To find out how GFDA’s SBDC can support your business, contact Jason at

20) Mission West Community Development Partners, part of the Montana Food & Ag Development Center network, is offering HACCP – Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point training on April 4-5 and Better Process Control Schools (BPCS) training on April 6-7.

21) We hosted the monthly IEDC webinar Pitches & Proposals to Make Your ‘Home Opener’ Stand Out. Guest speaker Jay Garner, author of Economic Development is not for Armatures, was among the panel and spoke about how the site selectors’ process has changed and how to identify the best industries to attract. Our Business Development team will take some of these best practices and put them to use. The next webinar in the series is on April 21st, Using Multimedia as a Showcasing Tool. If you would like to join us for the next webinar, we will be showing this in our conference room. Space is limited, contact Christian at 406.836.0136 if you would like to join.

22) Met with federal officials at the National Association of Development Organization’s annual policy conference in DC. Focused on discussions with NTIA in regard to resources to enhance broadband and with USDA to increase utilization of programs to support food processing industries in our region. Supported efforts to reauthorize the Economic Development Administration which has been a strong partner in our regional economic development efforts.

23) This week GFDA earned GuideStar Candid’s 2022 Platinum Seal of Transparency. It’s the third consecutive year we have earned the highest level of nonprofit transparency. Less than 1% of Montana nonprofit organizations have earned Platinum and no other economic development organization in the state has even earned the lowest Bronze level.

24) Excited to announce that Heidi Gibson is joining the GFDA staff team as our new Resource Director. Heidi brings extensive experience in both public and private grant research and writing. She will lead our efforts to secure more resources to put to work to create economic opportunity and improve quality of life in Great Falls and the surrounding 12 county rural and tribal region. Heidi served as Executive Director for the Center for Mental Health Foundation in Great Falls and as State Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association. She has been working as an independent consultant since 2013. Heidi earned a BA at Gonzaga University. Please join us in welcoming Heidi!

25) We received and signed the financial award agreement from the Community Development Financial Institution Fund that we were awarded late last year. The grant (match 1:1 by our fantastic local investors) and loan (matched 1:1 with a loan from the Montana Board of Investments) will help us to continue to meet the gap and bridge financing needs of existing businesses, startups, non-profits and real estate developments in Great Falls and the surrounding north central Montana region. If you need help with financing, contact Jill at or 1-406-590-1056.

26) Submitted a request to the Environmental Protection Agency for supplemental Brownfield Revolving Loan Funds that would enable us to make more redevelopment projects happen throughout Cascade County. We identified over a dozen potential projects that would rejuvenate contaminated underutilized property. Need help with property contamination assessment or cleanup (including lead paint and asbestos)? Contact Lillian at or 1-406-750-1253.

27) Our investors are crucial to the growth of our area. Because of them our community is thriving growing! Recent investments include: Pacesetter Division—Opportunity Bank; Community Division—Sharon Virgin, REALTOR Dustin Young & Co. Just like our community is growing, so is our list of supporters and investors. If you would like to join the list that is helping to Grow Great Falls, contact Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

Brett Doney

President & CEO


Curious to see how these projects pencil out?For each of the vision projects we have project analysis that includes Project Descriptions, Cash Flow Projections, and Rent Roll Summaries.