Top 10 – 8/1/19

Big Sky Montana food brands are renowned world wide. This is a photo of a sandwich I was served on my recent trip to work with economic developers on Saipan!

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 12 for the last two weeks, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy. Sorry for another delay in getting the Top 10 out to you. Fantastic summer days and evenings filled with biking, hiking, horse racing, baseball, the State Fair, and some fence painting make it a challenge! Luckily, there has been no summer slowdown in our client work and new leads. Please spread the word about our two new team position openings detailed below. Hope to see our economic development investors and future investors tomorrow morning for our August Development Coffee, 7 AM at TD&H Engineering.

1) Construction has started on the Five on Black building at West Bank Landing. Pizazz is expanding in downtown Great Falls, see Great Falls Tribune. Elevation 3330‘s “suspendlet” balcony opened downtown, see KRTV.

2) One of our coaching clients received Phase 1 funding approval through GFDA’s Brownfields Assessment program. This project would purchase and redevelop a property in Great Falls. The same client began working on his formal business plan using our newest tool, LivePlan. The LivePlan is a cloud-based planning tool that creates a traditional business plan in a more efficient, collaborative, and innovative way. Templates are customizable by industry, able to be integrated with QuickBooks or Xero software, and can auto-populate industry financial benchmarks. It’s a fantastic addition to GFDA’s tool belt. We believe it will make loan applications better and entrepreneurs more fully prepared. We are proud to offer it to our clients free of charge. For an informational video, check out our website or contact Jason at

3) The Federal Highway Administration is planning to rehabilitate Many Glacier Road. The 12.4 mile road entrance to Glacier National Park’s popular Many Glacier region will cost $15-20 million to reconstruct, and it sure needs it!

4) Worked with a Prime Contractor to identify subcontractors for a potential bid package on a federal contract. If you have questions about government contracting or finding potential contract opportunities, contact Lillian Sunwall at or (406) 750-1253 for more information.

5) The University of Providence and the McLaughlin Research Institute announced a new STEM partnership, see Tribune. Great Falls College MSU launched its new cyber security program, see KFBB. The College will offer 158 Montana Access Scholarships, each worth $1,000, over the next two years. Download flyer here to see how you can support this effort.

6) Received a loan application from a gentleman looking to start an exciting new non-profit in Great Falls. We are very happy to offer loans to non-profits providing valuable services to our community. We require the same business plan and projections as with all of our business loans, and we have to be confident of the organization’s ability to repay the loan, but as a non-profit ourself we recognize that sometimes great opportunities don’t exactly line up with your funding. When that happens, we are happy to try to help. If you have a business or non-profit that needs help financing exciting opportunities, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or

7) Congratulations to Cascade County Commissioner Joe Briggs on being elected to represent the west region at the National Association of Counties! See KRTV.

8) Three business education events are on our August calendar. Boots to Business for veterans, active duty, and military families will be August 7th and 8th. The LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop is also August 8th. Marketing Your Brand will be August 22nd, in partnership with the Montana Department of Transportation’s DBE program. Jason leads our business education events. Contact him with questions at

9) Lillian met with several businesses looking at potential building purchases and expansions to educate on tools available for environmental due diligence. Are you looking at a site or older building?  Contact Lillian Sunwall at or (406) 750-1253 for more information.

10) Mike met with loan officers in Conrad, Shelby and Cut Bank this week to bring them up to speed on all the services we are able to offer to businesses within our rural communities. If you have a business, or are thinking of starting a business, anywhere in the Golden Triangle and could use some help with financing, business advising, marketing, advocacy, market research or anything else please contact us at 406-590-1056.

11) Spoke about economic development incentives and Opportunity Zones at the Council of State Governments West conference in Big Sky. Led the annual Economic Development Research Partners’ retreat at the University of Michigan for the International Economic Development Council.

12) Thanks to our Investors in Economic Development, D.A. Davidson for their investment at the Pioneer Division, US Bank for their investment at the Advanced Division, Great Falls Montana Tourism for their Leadership Division investment, Days Inn of Great Falls, Cascade County Tavern Association, Great Falls College MSU and Macek Companies, Inc. for their Community Division investments, and Cargill for their Supporter Division investment. Your generous investments allow our team to move the needle in economic development more each week. In fact, your investment dollars are leveraged through various enhancements, including gap and bridge loans, EPA cleanup support, and business development and entrepreneurship assistance. If you have questions about investment or you need to renew your investment for the 2020 fiscal year, contact Teresa Schreiner at 781.9949 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.


“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.”

Estee Lauder


GFDA Job Openings

Commercial Loan Processor and Operations 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 receives, reviews and processes commercial loan documents, maintains loan application files and other duties related to the processing and servicing of the commercial loan portfolio.Reviews all gathered pending documents for accuracy, completeness, loan authority, lien position, insurance, flood insurance, collateral, appraisal, coding, risk rating, disbursements, etc. Reviews documents for compliance purposes, recognizes problems with documentation, and takes appropriate action.  Requires the ability to maintain accurate records, work with a wide variety of clients, and have 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.

Business Development Officer – Economic Development. Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for a super star to meet with existing businesses to identify needs, coordinate business development trips and events, and provide overall aid in our business development efforts. Involves coordination, event planning and management, market research, cold-calling, networking, relationship building, project management, advocacy, meeting with businesses, listening, and additional client business development services. Position may involve travel in region, U.S. and Canada. Looking for a star with demonstrated achievement in business 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 interest rate dropped to 4.011% and the 20-year to 3.914%, the 20-year REFI at 3.948% and the 10-year at 3.937%. These rates are inclusive of all ongoing 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 startup or expansion, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 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.