Top 10 – 12/15/19

Another downtown Great Falls development vision we’re putting together with the Downtown Development Partnership and our consultants LPW Architecture and AE2S Communications. Let’s make it happen!

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 19 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Toured cheese manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin with some of the Big Sky Cheese team. Can’t wait to buy still warm cheese curds made in Cascade County!

2) Back in Great Falls, The Fox Farm Diner opened. The City of Great Falls and AE2S won an award from the American Council of Engineering Companies for the Missouri and Sun River water pipelines project. Congratulations! See KFBB and for details.

3) Our second Triangle Pitch Night is set this for Thursday, December 19th, 6 PM at the Coyote Club in Shelby. Triangle Pitch Night is designed to give Golden Triangle dreamers, thinkers, makers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and community members the space to share ideas, pitch crazy stuff, and meet like-minded peeps. If you have a business idea, want to meet other entrepreneurial-minded people, want to hear ideas and see how you can be part of something, network with does, or just sit back and have a good time, join us! For more info, contact Barnett at or visit to help spread the word.

4) The National Defense Authorization Act includes long-awaited federal recognition of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians as well as critical projects for the Air Force and Malmstrom AFB, including $59 million for construction of a new Weapons Storage and Maintenance Facility. The bill passed the House of Representatives and is on to the Senate. See Great Falls Tribune for details — Defense and Little Shell.

5) We want your first-born child – really! Send your kids, grandkids, and classmates who no longer live in Great Falls to The Front Brewing Co. on December 26th from 6:30-8:30 PM and we will convince them to Get Back to Great Falls. Get Back to Great Falls is a casual networking event where folks who no longer live in Great Falls can network with local employers with excellent career opportunities – the first drink is on us. RSVP here!

6) The Great Falls economy grew 7.4% in 2018 according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) increased by $288 million, topping $4 billion for the first time. Our real GDP growth (after inflation) was 3.8%, beating Missoula (3.3%), Flathead (2.0%), Yellowstone (1.9%), Lewis & Clark (1.3%) and Silver Bow (0.8%) counties. In the last five years (2013-2018) our GDP grew 25%. The private sector portion of GDP grew 29% during the same period. In the last ten years (2008-2018), our GDP grew 42%. The private sector portion of GDP grew 48% during the same period.

7) The projects are starting to come in, and boy are we excited! Attend Ignite 2020, presented by PayneWest Insurance, and hear from a multitude of regional businesses who are starting up, expanding, making real estate developments, and more that will either start or open in 2020. Reserve your spot here.

8) Congratulations to the Montana Grain Growers Association for another successful annual convention in Great Falls. The conference included an impressive line-up of speakers and guests including USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, as well as an announcement by Montana Grains Foundation President Dale Schuler that fundraising for the $5 million endowment for the Winifred Asbjornson Chair in Plant Sciences at Montana State University has been successfully completed.

9) Northwestern Energy plans to issue an RFP in January for 280 MW of electricity. See for details. Hey, let’s build some of that here!

10) Networked at the Montana Organic Association annual convention in Bozeman. Organic growers from Montana and neighboring states, as well organic buyers from across the country were in attendance. During a plenary session presented by Dr. Stephen S. Jones of Washington State University (WSU), he highlighted the involvement of Power, Montana, based Blue Truck Bread in WSU’s Bread Lab Collective project focused on supporting whole grain baking that can appeal to all consumers.

11) Glacier Electric Cooperative announced that they will be returning $940,850 in capital credits back to their members. The Cut Bank based utility will be paying members who purchased power from 2002-2003. Electric Co-ops pay back capital credits when the cooperative is strong enough financially and member equity levels are high enough.

12) Did you know that the Great Falls PTAC hosted by GFDA not only covers Cascade County, but also Chouteau, Hill, Liberty, Pondera, Teton & Toole Counties? If you are a business looking to expand into federal, state or local government contracting, contact Shannon Clancy at or (406) 590-1184 for information.

13) Montana was named the 10th Best State for Millennials by See Fairfield Sun Times for details. Montana has launched a Become an Alum program to help residents finish their college degrees. See the Missoulian for details.

14) BNSF donated $75,000 to support STEM education at the Boys & Girls Club in Havre! See the Havre Daily News for details.

15) “We get amazing applicants!” “Our employees stay with us until they retire!” “Our employees say this is the best place they’ve ever worked!” Is this you? We want to hear best practices in employee attraction, retention, and culture. Contact Jolene 406.750.4481 or

16) The Alliance for Youth is working to create a Youth Resource Center in Great Falls for homeless teens in Great Falls. See details in Great Falls Tribune.

17) Do you live in Great Falls but work elsewhere either by commuting or via remote work? We’re interested in you. We want to learn more about Great Falls’ remote workers and gig economy. Call or email Nathan to be part of the discussion, or 406.403.4937.

18) Glacier County Extension is offering a Ranch Profitability workshop series Jan. 7, Jan. 21 and Feb. 11. See the Shelby Promoter for details.

19) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, KYSO Corporation, for your Advanced Division investment, HIMCO, McDonald’s, for their Legacy Division investment and City Bar, for their Community Division investment. As 2019 draws to a close, consider supporting your community through an investment with GFDA. As a 501(c)3 charitable organization, we will put your dollars to work with lead generation and deal closing, client service and, now, talent attraction! To make your year-end investment, call Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or email at

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.

“Success is dependent on effort.”


GFDA Career Opportunity

GFDA has a great new career opening. We are on Equal Opportunity Employer and encourage everyone interested to apply! See description below or download all our position opening 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, Open until we find a great candidate.


December SBA 504 Loan Rates

The 25-year loan effective rate came in at 3.64%; 20-year at 3.579%; 20-year refinance at 3.581%; and, 10-year equipment 3.852%. 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

Join us at the Montana Chamber‘s Business Days in the Capitol, January 6-7.

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.

All 24 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.