Top 10 – 6/23/19

Honored to join the Taiwanese business delegation for a special dinner at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, DC earlier this month.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 16 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy. This is our 400th GFDA Top 10!!!

Better yet, I’m typing this at 7:00 PM on Sunday from Saipan while it’s 3:00 AM Sunday in Great Falls. I travelled here to help the economic development agencies on the Northern Marianas Islands figure out new economic development strategies to recover from two Typhoons that did great damage last fall, along with a team of three other volunteers for the International Economic Development Council.

1) Average Annual Pay Growth from 2013-2017 in the Great Falls MSA ranked 11th best amongst all 370 U.S. metro areas, according to a report released by the Walton Family Foundation. Creating higher wage jobs is the cornerstone of our economic development strategy.

2) Hosted an international prospect visit that could result in another new agri-processing project in our region. Stay tuned!

3) Congratulations to Roger Sammons of Pardue Grain for earning SQF 2 Certification. The Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program is a rigorous and credible food safety and quality program that is recognized by retailers, brand owners, and food service providers world-wide. This certification makes Pardue Grain one of the premier facilities of its kind nationally. If you’re looking for more information regarding certifications such as this, please reach out to Barnett Sporkin-Morrison,

4) Please join us this Tuesday, June 25th from 4-5 PM for the GFDA Annual Meeting. Each year we celebrate the year discussing capstone achievements at a successful business site. Join us Tuesday as we share in these successes at Play N’ Learn Academy, 4241 2nd Avenue North, Great Falls. Reagen Breeden, the business owner who recently won Women-Owned Small Business of the Year for Montana by the Small Business Administration, is generous enough to host the event. Contact for details.

5) Great Falls Montana Tourism held their Annual Meeting this week. Overall non-resident visitors who spent a night in our community was up 23.6% this year! Tourism also launched the Great Fall Champions program that makes it easy to promote and share positive Great Falls Montana news and information on a regular basis. Click here to learn more and sign up!

6) Prepared written testimony to the Cascade County Zoning Board of Adjustments in support of the Big Sky Cheese project.

7) Unemployment in Cascade County (the Great Falls MSA) was 2.7% in May, according to data released by the Montana Department of Labor. That is the lowest May rate in Great Falls going back to at least 1990, and ties the lowest ever month back in September 2007. Still, 1,043 residents were looking for work last month and thousands more were looking for better opportunities.

8) Completed underwriting a loan to start a new downtown retail store in Great Falls and had conversations with two new SBA 504 loan prospects – one here in Great Falls and one in Kalispell. We have a number of different financing tools we can use to help you start or grow your business. If you are in need of financing assistance, please contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or

9) The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center’s new business advisor for the Great Falls region, Doug Roberts, started work. Welcome Doug! We’re proud to provide free office space to the MMEC to support the work they do for manufacturers of all sizes throughout the state. You can reach Doug at or 1-937-489-3985.

10) Participated in a board meeting of the Great Northern Corridor Coalition hosted by North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. GFDA joined the Coalition to support the critical northern freight corridor and logistics development throughout the Great Falls trade area.

11) Spoke at the North Dakota Economic Development Association conference in Mandan and traded ideas with economic developers, state officials and community leaders.

12) High Plains Financial, our SBA 504 lending Community Development Corporation (CDC), held its annual meeting. Thank you to the wonderful volunteers who serve on the board!

13) Support from our investors is enabling us to expand our business development efforts. We have a new position opening for a

Business Development & Marketing Officer – Economic Development. Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. Help businesses in Montana’s Great Falls trade area to grow and attract new businesses to invest in our region. Create digital content that promotes business and talent opportunities. Involves market research, cold-calling, networking, relationship building, project management, marketing materials, digital content, web and social media, proposal writing, advocacy and client business development services. Position may involve extensive travel in region, U.S. and Canada.Looking for a star with demonstrated achievement in business development, marketing and/or economic 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.

14) We agreed to purchase two full page ads in the talent attraction magazine and digital marketing effort we partnered with Livability Media to produce. One ad will pitch economic development opportunities in the region and the other will pitch relocation opportunities. Thanks you to all who have invested in this effort!

15) We get some of the best deals and data from you! Our business development team is busy working with clients on deals that create primary sector jobs, grow our commercial tax base, expand local markets for agriculture producers, diversify our economy, and improve our community competitiveness. Many of these deals come from community member referrals. If you have someone we can assist or should reach out to, or if you’re interested in learning more about how you can be part of the team that is working hard to, call Jolene at 406.750.4481.

16) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, City Motor Company, for their Flagship Division investment and NeighborWorks Great Falls, Prairie Mountain Bank and 1st Liberty Federal Credit Union for their Community Division investments. Thank you to all who have committed to growing our community as well as the Golden Triangle. As we near the final weeks of our fiscal year, we are just a few pledges away from our goal. If you have not yet made your pledge, please 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.


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.

“Once you’ve weighed the possibilities, you have to take that final leap of faith.”

Ted Turner

SBA 504 Loans

The 25-year June SBA 504 loan debenture came in almost 1.5% below prime at 4.086%. The 20-year note faired even better at 3.978%. When was the last time you obtained business financing with an interest rate that started with a 3? SBA 504 interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all on-going fees. If you are looking to finance commercial real estate or equipment now is the time! Contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or to find out more.

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

Cybersecurity Workshop offered through the Montana PTAC by Northrop Grumman, July 2 in Bozeman. See details and registration here.

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.