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

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

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

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, 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, 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, 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

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


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.