The Cascade County Zoning Board of Adjustment unanimously approved a special use permit for Big Sky Cheese. The 20,000 square foot plant will be built north of Great Falls.
GFDA Top 10
Here is our Top 17 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.
1) Preliminary 2019Q2 data released by JobsEQ indicates that the average annual wage in the Great Falls MSA (Cascade County) increased 5.3% over the preceding four quarters, beating the average Montana increase of 4.4% and the national average of 3.6%. The local average annual wage was $42,256. It has increased 20% in five years. Total wages earned in the Great Falls MSA increased $78 million from the previous four quarters, 5.14% growth.
2) Cattlemen’s Cut Steakhouse opened in the Great Falls Marketplace. Business Insider published a great article and photos about the recent Mission Over Malmstrom air show at Malmstrom AFB. We issued our GFDA 2019Q2 Index.
3) We are growing! The Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA) is adding four new positions to expand our team, including Business Development Officer, Commercial Loan Processor and Operations Assistant, Rural SBDC Business Advisor, and Talent Attraction Director. See descriptions below or download here. We announced the promotions of Jolene Schalper to Senior Vice President and Jason Nitschke to Vice President.
4) Our affiliate High Plains Financial approved a $200,000 SBA 504 loan for a Montana business that has been leasing a space they are outgrowing. With the SBA rates being so low this business decided it was time to own. Take advantage of the low FIXED rates for the life of the loan. If your commercial space isn’t keeping up with your growing business or you’d like to buy instead of lease, contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.
5) Great Falls continues to have the lowest utility costs (water, wastewater and stormwater) in Montana for systems serving greater than 5,000, according to the 2019 Utility Rate Survey published by AE2S Nexus.
6) Our next webinar is coming up this Thursday, September 4th from 11-11:30 AM. “Rethinking Innovation in Montana” presented by Barnett Sporkin-Morrison, Director of the Great Falls Food and Ag Development Center. He will discuss how small business owners can create customer experiences that attract and retain customers. For those interested in the topic but unable to attend live, please register and we’ll send you the recording once it’s posted.
7) The Great Falls Retail Association and partners are holding a Great Falls Job Fair, 4-7 PM at the Holiday Village Mall lower level. Interested employers should email the Association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8) We approved a $40,000 loan for a non-profit business that is opening in downtown Great Falls. This business will be providing a well needed service in Great Falls in a very convenient location! If you have an idea for a business that would work well downtown or if you own a business downtown and want to expand, contact Jill Kohles 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org to find out how we can help.
9) The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is offering a full slate of events and trainings this fall for manufacturers across the state. Visit their calendar for details.
10) GFDA’s Food and Ag Development Center Director assisted an out of state company with their search to secure long-term sources of agricultural products and ingredients from Montana. If you are or know of a company or firm that is open to new market opportunities in the agricultural and food space, Barnett can be reached at Barnett@GrowGreatFalls.org.
11) Made in Montana, run by the Montana Department of Commerce, set the date for the 2020 Made in Montana Show, March 13-14, 2020 in Helena. They will begin accepting exhibitor applications on October 15. Learn more about the program and event here. Artisans, check out https://handmademontana.com.
12) Investors and potential investors. Curious about what’s going on in the Great Falls regional economy? Please join GFDA at TD&H Engineering this Friday, September 6th at 7 AM for our monthly Development Coffee. For questions about Development Coffees, or if you are interested in hosting, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499.
13) Just a reminder that the State of Montana Procurement Bureau along with MT DOT will be presenting a workshop on “How to Contract with the State of Montana.” This training will be held September 12th at 9:00 AM to noon at GFDA. To register, click on this link. You can also contact Shannon Clancy at SClancy@GrowGreatFalls.org for more information.
14) GFDA earned the 2019 Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. Less than five percent of U.S. nonprofits have earned a Gold Seal.
15) Great Falls Public Schools kicked off the school year with its annual Convocation with the theme, “Who helps you grow.” Superintendent Tom Moore and Parent Advocate Elizabeth Hill spoke with gratitude about the GFPS staff who provide growth to the students in the district. See Great Falls Tribune and KRTV.
16) Participated in the Denver regional conference of the Economic Development Administration (EDA). Met with EDA, EPA and SBA regional and national leaders to discuss upcoming economic development efforts in Montana and the Great Falls trade area.
17) Thanks to this week’s Investors in Economic Development, Ferrin’s Furniture and Opportunity Bank, for their Community Division investments. Your investment dollars have a significant impact on our local and regional community. Economic investment increases our local tax base, facilitates job growth, and utilizes existing businesses and infrastructure. To discuss investment, contact Investment Director 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.
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.
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
GFDA Job Openings
Business Development Officer
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, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.
Commercial Loan Processor and Operations Assistant
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 $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.
Rural Business Advisor
Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
Motivated, innovative, and impact-driven professional to boost our entrepreneurship coaching and training efforts in rural North-Central Montana. Work with entrepreneurs, business owners, and stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to address some of rural America’s economic challenges. This new position will coach, counsel, and advise existing rural businesses, stimulate startup activity, and deliver meaningful trainings primarily in rural Cascade, Glacier, Teton, Toole, and Pondera counties. Our mission is to stimulate innovation, increase collaboration within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and deliver impact to employers and innovators. Day-to-day responsibilities will include providing advisory support to business owners, helping them identify and solve the problems that arise in entrepreneurship. Requires excellent communication skills. Prefer five to seven years’ experience in business management, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, human resources, or related field. Bachelor’s degree required. Salary range $40,000-$50,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, and flexible work environment.EOE. We encourage candidates who live, or would like to live, in one of our wonderful rural communities to apply. Remote work available. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.
Talent Attraction Director
Digital Content Marketing
Dynamic, self-motivated professional sought to join our passionate, creative, fast-paced, results-driven economic development team. We are looking for an experienced digital marketing star who can create and implement a content-driven workforce recruitment effort for our community and region. Engage our business leaders and residents using Social Toaster and social media, help us use Linked In and other platforms to help our companies attract talent to relocate to Great Falls. 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 $35,000-45,000 with excellent benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, and flexible work environment. EOE. Cover letter and resume to Brett Doney, President, BDoney@GrowGreatFalls.org. Open until we find a great candidate.
SBA 504 Loans
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 JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.org.
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 JSchalper@GrowGreatFalls.org
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
The Great Falls Tourism Business Improvement District is offering a major grant opportunity of up to $100,000 to spur creation of a new multi-day events that will attract visitors to the city during the non-summer September through mid-June season. New events are events that have not previously been and are not currently being held in Great Falls. Proposals submitted shall comply with the instructions and procedures outlined in the detailed Application Instructions available to download at www.VisitGreatFallsMontana.org/Opportunities. Apply by submitting a proposal electronically in PDF format to Rebecca@VisitGreatFalls.org by 5:00 PM on September 30.
The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center offers a great array of workshops and trainings for all sizes of manufacturing companies.
The Montana Department of Commerce’s Film Office is offering powerful new incentives to promote filming and production in Montana. Click here for details.