Top 10 – 7/14/19

Congratulations to Precision Wood Works on winning a contract with the National Park Service to create a unique desk counter for the Logan Pass Visitor Center. It’s beautiful!

Our PTAC coach has been helping them go after smaller federal contracting opportunities.

GFDA Top 10

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

1) Many positive steps forward to celebrate! The new grandstands at the ExpoPark opened, see The Choteau, Conrad and Stanford airports in our region won grants for improvement projects, see Great Falls Tribune. Great Falls International Airport won a $1.6 million grant for improvements, see Great Falls Tribune. We have a new ice cream truck in Great Falls, see KRTV. Tracey’s re-opened downtown, see Tribune. Pizazz is expanding downtown, see

2) Two pieces of great news to keep our regional economic development effort going strong! Our Great Falls Food & Ag Development Center has been extended for another two years by the Montana Ag Development Council and the Montana Department of Agriculture. And, our Procurement Technical Assistance Center has been approved to expand from 0.5 FTE to 1.0 FTE beginning August 1st.

3) The Love’s Travel Stop and Country Store annexation was approved by the City’s Planning Advisory Board, see Hallie Thompson, 16-year old second place winner of this spring’s Electric City Shark Tank competition, has opened Wholesome Hal’s, a healthy smoothie and protein bowl food stand at the Farmers Market, see KRTV. Ed DesRosier’s, owner of Sun Tours, was named a Top 50 Business Entrepreneur by Native Business Magazine, see Tribune.

4) We came about as close as we could to having all of the effective SBA 504 interest rates under 4% this month! The July 25-year note came in at 4.011%, the 20-year at 3.914%, the 20-year REFI at 3.948% and the 10-year at 3.937%. These rates are inclusive of all on-going fees and are fixed for the life of the loan. Now is the time to make that commercial real estate or equipment purchase you’ve been thinking about. If you would like to find out more about the SBA 504 program or how we can help you finance your business start or grow, contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or

5) Brilliant Stream published an article about the black lentil ale produced by Jeremiah Johnson Brewing in collaboration with Timeless Seeds — two great GFDA clients working together! Geraldine and Teton County won Community Development Block Grants from the Montana Department of Commerce for infrastructure improvements.

6) We received six excellent proposals from consultants and teams for the Downtown Block Development Visioning project. The Downtown Development Partner organizations met to score the proposals, selecting the LPW Architecture/AE2S Communications team. Thank you to all who submitted such competitive proposals!

7) The Central Montana Agricultural Research Station held its annual field day on July 10th at the Moccasin research station. With a thematic focus on small grains, MSU researchers discussed variety trials, as well as winter nitrogen mineralization, soil microbe activity, and diversification of dryland cropping systems. Dr. Jamie Sherman of MSU’s Barley Breeding Program discussed the program’s new malt barley called “Buzz” which improves on “Hockett” with lower proteins and improved malt quality stability. To learn more about MSU’s Barley Breeding Program, which has also been screening winter barley from around the world, contact Dr. Jamie Sherman at

8) The Association of Defense Communities published a nice article about the Montana National Guard camp for military kids at Camp Rotary. In 2018, Great Falls saw 1,029,502 overnight visitors, according to a report issued by the University of Montana’s Institute of Tourism and Recreation Research. Great Falls Public Schools won a Golden Achievement Award from the National School Public Relations Association for its Business Goes to School event in collaboration with the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.

9) Our Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) reviewed a proposal for a local business looking to bid on a large federal contract. Are you looking at bidding on an upcoming solicitation? PTAC is dedicated to showing your company how to find, bid and win government contracts. We can help make the contracting process clearer and easier so you can concentrate on pursuing opportunities. Whether you are located in a remote, rural area of Montana or on main street, you can take advantage of our PTAC services. For more information, contact Lillian Sunwall at or (406) 750-1253.

10) We have another new position opening to help us continue to expand our lending. Commercial Loan Assistant — Economic Development — Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development lending team. 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 involves servicing closed loans, maintaining loan files and databases, compiling loan fund reports, conducting annual loan visits to borrowers across the state, responding to client and bank inquiries. Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients, 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 $35,000-40,000 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.

11) The Great Falls Region Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Committee hosted its first annual Future of Ag Tour. The tour brought together the Great Falls business and education sector for a networking event focused on learning about agriculture. The tour spent time in Teton County viewing Cargill’s canola trials near Dutton and chickpea fields near Choteau, as well as included a tour of Cargill’s Great Falls facility, a talk about hemp, and a reception at the Celtic Cowboy. Lunch was taken at the Lightner Family’s idyllic Agawam Oasis just North of Choteau. The tour wrapped up with a reception at the Celtic Cowboy’s Darkhorse Hall.

12) Did you know LinkedIn is testing a new app that will aid in promotion of business events? We were fortunate to have a free consultation with Andrew from LinkedIn while he was visiting for the Fourth of July holiday. We highly recommend building your LinkedIn network and utilizing it to promote your business and brand. Connect with GFDA at

13) Don’t miss out on exhibiting at the 3rd annual Montana Food Show organized by the Montana Department of Agriculture–deadline to sign up is July 24! The MT Food Show will be held in the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse at MSU in Bozeman on Friday, September 27, 2019. Buyers from local, state, and national companies are expected to be in attendance, and international buyer teams from Canada and Mexico will be attending this year as well. Learn more at

14) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, KRTV, for their investment at the Leadership Division and Catalyst Commercial, for their investment at the Community Division. We leverage your economic investments to better capitalize on the economic health and vitality of our Golden Triangle. As we close out a banner fiscal year for investment, we hope to make FY2020 an even more successful year for our team. If you have questions about how investment benefits your business and our entire trade area, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or

15) GFDA’s Board elected officers for our new fiscal year. Congratulations to Len Watkins of Gusto Distributing, Board Chair, Errol Rice of Transystems, Board Vice Chair, Dianne Meinhardt of Cogswell Insurance Agency, Board Secretary, and Mark Macek of Macek & Co., Treasurer. Here is a current GFDA Board list and a current Investors in Economic Development list. And, here is a FY 2020 Calendar.

16) The Board appointed GFDA’s Executive Committee for FY 2020, which will include our officers and Ron Nelson of Church, Harris, Johnson, Williams, Immediate Past Chair, and Joe Briggs, Cascade County representative. Additional Executive Committee positions include: AgriTech Park Chair, Nate Weisenburger of AE2S; Brownfield Advisory Chair, Tim Peterson of LPW Architecture; Digital Economy Chair, Heidi Hockett of NorthWestern Energy; Downtown Development Partnership Liaison, Mark Cappis of Anderson ZurMuehlen; High Plains Finance Board Liaison, Rebecca Engum of Great Falls Tourism; Investment Chair, Ted Lewis of First Interstate Bank; and, Loan Chair, Travis Neil of Dick Anderson Construction. Len Watkins will continue to represent GFDA on the Montana Defense Alliance Executive Committee, and I will represent GFDA on the boards of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Great Falls Tourism, Great Falls Downtown Development Partnership, and Montana Economic Developers Association.

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.

“Relax, Recharge and Reflect. Sometimes it’s OK to do nothing.”

Izey Victoria Odiase

GFDA Job Opening

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.

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

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.