Top 10 – 8/11/19

Visited Lethbridge last Friday and we stayed in one of five newer national brand hotels right across highway from a successful meat processing plant. Enjoyed a great flight of beer at craft brewery right next door. Lethbridge is one of the fastest growing communities in Alberta.

GFDA Top 10

Here is our Top 14 for the last two weeks, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) California-based Susteen, Inc. plans to develop a blockchain model data center in the former Rainbow Dam powerhouse. NorthWestern Energy has requested approval of the plan from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. See Great Falls Tribune for details.

2) GFDA’s Food and Agricultural Development Center Director Barnett Sporkin-Morrison was in New Zealand last week to give the keynote opening talk at ProteinTECH 2019 in Auckland. Barnett walked a diverse audience from largely New Zealand and Australia through what the future of protein looks like, focusing on changing consumer demand drivers and opportunities for both livestock producers and the alternative protein space. While at the conference networking with attendees, Barnett was interviewed by Radio New Zealand (RNZ) for their national Country Life program and his interview was run on RNZ’s nationwide broadcast this week.

3) Construction started on the new $19 million Missile Maintenance Facility at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls. See more details on

4) Hosted a prospect visit by a Canadian company. Submitted a proposal for a new industry sector to enter our market. We listen to client needs, compile the information, and create a package to help companies choose Great Falls. If we can help you with data or a pitch package, give Jolene a call at 750.4481.

5) D.A. Davidson Companies and Sletten Construction have been renovating their headquarter offices in Great Falls. It’s great to have these two outstanding companies headquartered here and continuing to make major investments!

6) Lower airline ticket prices saved Great Falls travelers over $32 million since the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce launched the Low Cost Airfare Initiative seven years ago. The Chamber is raising funds for a new incentive pool to attract more direct flights to GTF. GFDA has supported this effort from the start. Last week we pledged $2,500/year for three years to continue our support, and urge our investors to consider supporting this important effort. Contact Shane Etzwiler at 750-9600 or

7) Scheel’s is expanding its Great Falls store. Pizzaz opened its expanded store downtown. See for details. The Cascade County Commission approved a 78-lot subdivision, see

8) SBA 504 rates came in at insanely low levels in August. The 25-year note came in at 3.626%; 20-year at 3.526%; and, 20-year refinance at 3.559%. There was no 10-year equipment debenture sale this month but July’s sale came in at 3.922%. These rates are FIXED for the life of the loan and are inclusive of all on-going fees. If you would like to find out how to get financing for commercial real estate and equipment at potentially lower rates than you’re paying for your home mortgage, please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or

9) The Blackfeet Nation, in partnership with the University of Montana’s Department of Native American Studies, won a $2 million grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to support sustainable agriculture efforts. See details in Glacier Reporter.

10) In an effort to reach a larger audience in our rural communities, GFDA has started broadcasting our training events live over the internet. In our initial broadcast, five people from Kalispell to Shelby to Miles City dialed into The LaunchPoint: A Pre-Business Workshop. We plan to do this as often as possible when it makes logistical sense. If you are an entrepreneur interested in professional development, contact Jason at

11) The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a wide array of programs and trainings for Montana manufacturing companies. Visit the MMEC web site for more information.

12) To maximize the Opportunity Zone capital gains investment opportunity, investments must be made by the end of this fiscal year. This week we worked with an area attorney who has put together an Opportunity Fund of investors looking to capitalize on this. We also worked on two projects located in Opportunity Zones interested in investments. For a map of Montana Opportunity Zones, Call Jolene to discuss your project 406.750.4481 or

13) The Montana Department of Commerce’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.

14) Thank you to our Investors in Economic Development, Central Plumbing, Heating & Excavation, for their Advanced Division investment, Great Falls Public Schools, for their investment at the Leadership Division, Sletten Construction, for their investment at the Pacesetter Division and Anderson Family Pharmacy, for their Supporter Division investment. Investment drives a healthy and diverse economy; and your investment continues to allow us to push for growth in ways that couldn’t otherwise happen. We are hungry to Grow Great Falls, so thank you for furthering these efforts! If you haven’t engaged in Investment or have further questions, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499.

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 can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.”

Herbert Bayard Swope


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.

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.