Top 10 – 7/2/19

Rockcress Commons

Rockcress Commons affordable apartment homes are well on their way! Congratulations to NeighborWorks Great Falls and GMD Development on this great project!

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 10 for last week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) The Oakland family and City Motors donated $500,000 to upgrade the new Career and Technical Education Center at Great Falls High School! See Great Falls Tribune.

2) Barnett was in the Midwest this week meeting with leading multinational food company executives and emerging food startup innovators. GFDA continues to expand the horizon for Montana’s agricultural sector and is working to increase the linkage effects of Montana’s agricultural production. If you are interested in helping to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem that can result in deal-flow and help increase venture capital and private equity investment in our region, contact Barnett at  and 406-750-3285.

3) The Downtown Development Partnership and Great Falls Tourism are partnering to create the first Great Falls Downtown Mural Festival in August. See

3) Received six excellent proposals from consultant firms/teams for the Downtown Block Development Visioning project we are undertaking with the Downtown Development Partnership and the City of Great Falls.

4) Federal recognition of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe advanced a step further with approval by the U.S. Senate. See KRTV.

5) We held our GFDA annual meeting at Play N Learn Academy. Our top six accomplishments for FY19 included increasing our digital media footprint, investing in our staff team through the addition of dynamite new members and through continuing education and credentialing, progress on several catalytic projects such as downtown development and West Bank Landing, increasing our overall economic development resources, securing additional loan capital, and expanding our investor base. Thank you for making FY19 such a great year! We look forward to more success in FY20.

6) Carmen Mee launched her business, Graceful Stone, LLC. Carmen produces handcrafted stone jewelry. In eight short days, GFDA’s Small Business Development Center walked Carmen step-by-step through the best practices of officially organizing a business. GFDA offers a free, monthly workshop to help facilitate entrepreneurial activity in and around Great Falls. The next LaunchPoint is August 15th or get the same information anytime online. Graceful Stone can be found on Facebook or at the July 13th Farmer’s Market. Congratulations Carmen on your entry into entrepreneurship!

7) Great Falls has a new açaí bowl and waffle food truck (actually a bus) called Purple Gold. See Great Falls Tribune for details.

8) GFDA investors re-elected Tim Peterson of LPW Architecture and Len Watkins of Gusto Distributing for new Director terms. New Directors elected to the Board are Sherrie Arey of NeighborWorks Great Falls, Andreas Geranios of Geranios Enterprises, Harley Huestis of Fall Construction, Alex Huffield of KLJ, and Dan Reardon of Liberty Electric. Becky Fink was appointed to the Board by Advance Division investor US Bank. New Superintendent of Great Falls Public Schools, Tom Moore, also joined the board. Welcome all!

9) The GFDA loan committee approved a loan for the expansion of a downtown business. We love to see all of the activity going on downtown these days and we want to see more! If you have an idea for a business that would work well downtown or if you own a business downtown and want to expand please contact Mike Archer at 406-284-1789 or to find out how we can help.

10) Aiding existing business with growth is a predominant role of economic development. We are currently identifying and reaching out to existing businesses listening to their current reality and planned future and linking them with potential resources. We need your help identifying additional businesses. Please give your ideas to Jolene at or 406.750.4481.

11) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Dick Anderson Construction for their investment at the Leadership Division, CTA Architects for their investment at the Pacesetter Division and Klinefelter’s Insulation, Stewart Title and K&K Trucking for their investments at the Community Division. Each investment is impact-driven. We leverage your dollars to enhance, implement and pursue capital projects. If you have not invested before, need to renew your investment or have questions about what investment means to the Golden Triangle, contact our Investment Director, Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499 or We continue to move the needle, and how we do so can help your business!

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.

“Nothing makes the earth so spacious as to have friends at a distance.”

Henry David Thoreau

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

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.