Top 10 – 6/9/19

Roof of the Atlanta Falcons stadium, parts of which were fabricated right here in Great Falls by the ADF International team!

Here is our Top 21 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Exhibited and networked with food ingredient companies at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Expo in New Orleans. GFDA hosted a booth to engage with food processors and their decision makers about locating in the Great Falls Trade Area, as well as give Montana based companies an opportunity to participate in the expo to expand their markets. Montana Specialty Mills attended as part of the GFDA hosted booth and was able to engage with existing and potential customers. For more information, contact Barnett at (406) 750-3285 or

2) Make plans to attend the Kids Education Yes! annual lunch, this Wednesday June 12th, 11:30 AM-1:00 PM at the History Museum. RSVP by Monday June 10th to Gerry Jennings at or 788-5099.

3) Congratulations to the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB on winning the Omaha Trophy for best missile wing in 2018!!! See KRTV.

4) We work to stimulate entrepreneurial activity throughout the region. If you are or know someone interested in starting a business in north central Montana, our next pre-business workshop, The LaunchPoint is this Tuesday, June 11th from 4-5 PM. Please register to attend here. This content is also available for viewing online.

5) The Montana Expo Park Improvement Strategy is moving forward! This week community members were invited to learn more and share their ideas. Learn more about the strategic planning for the future of Montana Expo Park by clicking here.

6) 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.

7) Congratulations to Chuck and Gerry Jennings on being recognized as the 2019 Paris Gibson Award winners!! See Great Falls Tribune.

8) GFDA’s Food and Ag Development Center Director Barnett Sporkin-Morrison networked at the Plant Based World Conference & Expo in New York City, and toured innovative grocery and retail locations to keep apprised of food and consumer trends. The visit helped to continue GFDA’s engagement in the alternative protein space, resulted in new contacts, and reinforced our ability to provide technical assistance rooted in real-world knowledge of the agricultural supply chain from farms in Montana to grab-and-go stores in New York City. For more information, contact Barnett at (406) 750-3285 or

9) JobsEQ preliminary data for 2019Q1 released Friday indicates that average wages in the Great Falls MSA increased for the 21st consecutive quarter, generating more disposable income for local workers. The industry seeing the largest employment growth from 2018Q1 to 2019Q1 was Admin and Support, increasing 7.4%, driven by FCR‘s continued expansion in downtown Great Falls.

10) We published our Quarterly Investor Letter. Our partnership efforts to create new apartments in Great Falls was featured in an article in the Association of Defense Community’s newsletter.

11) GFDA’s Board approved our Brownfields Advisory Committee’s recommendation for a Phase 1 environmental study on a potential purchase of a vacant property. This would be for a business expansion. We’re excited to assist businesses with tools to expand and grow. If you are looking at a property or building, but unsure what environmental impacts may exist, give us a call so we can talk about how we can help. Just a reminder, in order to qualify for EPA Brownfields help through GFDA, a Phase 1 or AAI must be completed prior to property purchase. Contact Lillian Sunwall at or (406) 750-1253.

12) Ft. Benton secured a major grant to improve its airport, see Tribune. A new hot dog stand opened in downtown Great Falls, see Tribune. The Great Falls Business Improvement District has issued a call for artists to paint more traffic signal boxes. Snits Bar opened downtown, see Tribune.

13) Began underwriting loans for three projects this week – one for a downtown retailer and two SBA 504 hotel loans. We are excited about all of the loan activity we’ve had recently but there is always room for more. If your business is starting, growing or expanding and you could use help financing your projects please contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or

14) Congratulations to the 2019 Historic Preservation award winners recognized by Great Falls-Cascade County Historic Preservation Advisory Committee! See for details. We are proud to have played a small part in one of the award winners, the C.M. Russell Home restoration at the C.M. Russell Museum. We provided a brownfield grant for asbestos removal.

15) Met with and learned about Great Falls Minot Builders Supply. Great Falls is the largest of the company’s four locations and employs about 50 people here. They specialize in doors, siding, and trusses. We’re happy to have them as part of the Great Falls business landscape! We routinely go out to businesses to learn about what they do and what they need to be successful here. If you have a business we should visit, contact Jolene at or 406.750.4481.

16) The Montana Department of Agriculture has created a new show to promote Montana beverage manufacturers. The Montana Beverage Show will be held on November 4th in Helena. Details and sign up to participate here.

17) GFDA’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) worked with Northrop Grumman to find qualified businesses in Cascade and Fergus counties to participate in their GBSD Industry Day Event this past week. Businesses were able to present their capability overview with GBSD program leadership. Northrop Grumman is continuing to accept Capability Statements and Company information. The industry sector businesses they are looking for are as follows:  Construction, Remediation, Environmental compliance, Surveying, Armed security, Transportation, Supply warehouses (including people who manage: stocking, storing, issuing, packaging and handling), Back shop maintenance (hydraulic, electrical, battery, air conditioning), Field maintenance, Vehicle repair and maintenance, Fueling of equipment (diesel and propane, access to fuel sources and fuel drops or placement at the sites), Bus/transportation services (Local movement of people and/or material) and HR staffing businesses to staff the Distribution Center.  If you were unable to attend the event, we can help get your business signed up on their Supplier List. For more information or copies of the Supplier Information Forms, contact Lillian Sunwall at or (406) 750-1253.

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

19) GFDA has now trained over 200 people in our region and across Montana through our statewide monthly webinar series. Our June webinar was on the topic of converting marketing leads to paying customers. To watch the recording, please click here. Two GFDA investors will present our next two webinars, Wendy Weissman will talk about accounting on July 11th and Colin Lee from Cogswell Insurance will talk about best practices for entrepreneurs in the insurance industry on August 1st. Our webinars reach a statewide audience. If you’re a GFDA investor and are interested in presenting a webinar for us this fall, please contact Jason at

20) The Montana Housing Partnership Conference is being held in Butte on June 17-19. Details and registration here.

21) We are excited to announce that Alex Houtz has joined our team for a summer internship. Alex recently graduate in Economics from MSU. He will be attending law school in the fall.

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

“Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.”

Michele Jennae

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.