Top 10 – 6/2/19


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GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 16 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Closed a $2.271 million bridge loan package to the Madison Food Park to support the development of Big Sky Cheese. The new cheese manufacturer which will produce a variety of cheese products made from milk sourced from local and regional dairy producers. We want to see more value-added ag producers in our region. If you have been thinking of turning some of our abundant agricultural commodities into new products and could use some help with the planning or financial aspects of your business, please get in touch! Eleven months into our fiscal year, we’ve closed 17 loans totaling $6,526,751.

2) The April unemployment rate in the Great Falls metro area was 2.9%, our lowest April rate on record. If your business could benefit from diving deep into labor market data throughout our region, we subscribe to the powerful JobsEQ system.

3) Worked with several primary sector companies looking to expand in Great Falls Montana! We are here to help you every step of the way. Call Jolene to chat about your project 406.750.4481. We have a new GFDA Services & Team flyer and a new Great Falls AgriTech Park flyer.

4) Congratulations to Heather Palermo on winning the Judy Martz Women in Leadership Award from the Montana Chamber of Commerce! Heather will use the prize money to attend the Said Business School at Oxford’s Women Transforming Leadership program this fall.

5) The GFDA’s PTAC has been assisting Northrop Grumman to find subcontractors to participate in a Small Business Supplier Day event on June 5th. In conjunction with the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, this event will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn starting at 10:30 AM. For more information on the industry sectors they are looking for or the documents you will need to provide, contact Lillian Sunwall at (406)750-1253 or You can also RSVP (including the names and titles of not more than two representatives per company) to Cascade Mittman at or (310-812-7820.

6) The Great Falls downtown pedlet effort — creating outside dining spaces — was featured by the Montana Rural Health Initiative. Enjoy our wonderful downtown!

7) We have two training events coming up in the next couple weeks. Our next webinar, Lock Down Your Sales Funnel, will present ideas for entrepreneurs and sales people to convert marketing leads into paying customers. The live presentation is June 6th at 11 AM. We share the recorded content to everyone who’s registered. Next week, we invite anyone interested in starting a business in the region to attend our monthly pre-business workshop, The LaunchPoint, on Tuesday, June 11th. To inquire about any of GFDA’s business education events, contact Jason at

8) The National Science Foundation awarded a $20 million research and education project on water quality in Montana. The project, titled the Consortium for Research on Environmental Water Systems, or CREWS, is a partnership between the University of Montana, Montana State University, Montana Technological University, Salish Kootenai College and Little Big Horn College to study Montana water systems and water quality issues. The CREWS project will focus on three study sites: the upper Clark Fork River, the Judith River Watershed and the Powder River Basin.

9) We have worked with Great Falls Montana Tourism to make it easy for you to share positive messages through your own social media channels. Once you sign up you’ll receive emails that allow you to approve content postings before sharing. Check it out here.

10) Speaking of Visit Great Falls Montana tourism efforts, take a look at their new fifteen second videos featuring RoadHouse Diner and the CM Russell Museum.

11) If you are interested in the proposed new events center and other improvements at the Montana ExpoPark, the first community task force meeting will be held this Tuesday, June 4th, 7 AM in the ExpoPark Atrium Building. Contact Rebecca Engum of Great Falls Montana Tourism at for more info.

12) Make plans to attend the Kids Education Yes! annual lunch, Wednesday June 12th, 11:30 AM-1:00 PM at the History Museum. RSVP by June 6th to Gerry Jennings at or 788-5099.

13) Before buying a commercial building, we recommend you have a Phase One environmental assessment done as part of your due diligence. If you don’t do a Phase One, you are taking on 100% of the risk without the ability to access resources to help. Call Lillian to learn more about assessment, 406.750.1253.

14) Our New Markets Tax Credit partner, MoFi, won a new $70 million allocation of credits. If you are interested in exploring creative financing structures for your proposed project, contact Mike Archer at or 406-284-1789.

15) Join us this Friday, June 7th for another installment of our Development Coffee. Engage with investors and potential investors for enlightening and entertaining conversation regarding issues, projects and the potential in the Golden Triangle. Location: GFDA’s office, The Portage Building at the West Bank Landing, 405 3rd St NW, Suite 203. Time: 7 AM.

16) We’d like to recognize our newest Investors in Economic Development, Klinefelter’s Insulation, Alanna Ballard, and Jason and Ali Brantley of Notable Properties, LLC for their Community Division investments. You understand that investment in GFDA’s work increases the economic health and well-being of our economy. On behalf of our team, our Board of Directors and fellow investors, thank you!!!

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.

“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

John F. Kennedy

SBA 504 Loans

SBA 504 rates were down yet again in May! The 25-year note came in at 4.387%, the 20-year note at 4.260%, 20-year refi at 4.293% and the 10-year note at 4.351%. Contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 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

Great Falls Events Weekly Email

Are you bored? There is always something to do in Great Falls! Check out this week’s listing of things going on and get ready to experience our community. Want the list emailed directly to you? Sign-up to get this weekly event notice. Thank you Great Falls Tourism for putting this together!

Events, Business Training & Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

The Downtown Great Falls Association published an exciting Calendar of Events for 2019.

The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.

USDA is hosting two opportunity workshops in Great Falls on June 6 for businesses, farmers and ranchers: Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) in the morning; and, Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) in the afternoon.