Top 10 – 9/25/19

GFDA Top 10

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

1) Embark CU will be the Presenting Sponsor for the tenth annual Fire Within! Thank you to the forward thinking financial team at Embark CU for supporting women in business! Be sure to get the event on your calendar March 26, 2020, 5:30 – 7:30 PM at the Meadow Lark Country Club and share with any women you know that own a business or want to start one. Click here to join the Fire Within mailing list to get the nomination form and other information about the Fire Within delivered to you. 

2) Networked with commercial developers, brokers and retail/hospitality/dining brands at the International Council of Shopping Centers western division event in Los Angeles.

3) Jason presented to a Business 101 class at Great Falls College MSU – in partnership with the Montana Cooperative Development Center – on the Main Street Employee Ownership Act. This effort raises awareness of how the cooperative model can be used as a pathway to ownership for employees of existing companies. Employee Stock Ownership Plans and Worker Cooperatives may be excellent option for groups of people to come together to keep a business alive under new ownership. We are especially interested in helping maintain essential businesses in rural communities. For more information on buying or selling your business or using a cooperative model to purchase an existing business in the Golden Triangle, contact Jason at or Marilyn Besich at

4) We need your help identifying primary sector businesses in the Golden Triangle. We are looking for companies that the majority of their revenue comes outside of the region. We want to learn and listen. A majority of a communities growth will come from existing businesses expanding. We’d hate for a business to lose out on opportunity if we can help! Reach out to Jolene with your ideas: or 406.750.4481.

5) One of our key values is transparency. Another is return on investment for our investors. Our audited financial statements for fiscal year 2019, that ended on June 30, details how we put our investors’ funds to work towards accomplishing our mission of growing and diversifying the Golden Triangle of NorthCenteral Montana.  We are pleased to distribute our FY 2019 Audited Financial Statement, audited by Douglas Wilson & Company. We are excianother clean audit and positive financial year! We would like to thank our amazing GFDA staff team, our Board and volunteers, our investors, our agency funders, our partners, our auditors, and most importantly our clients for helping us achieve another great year.

6) We’d like to thank Mark Andrews, D.A. Davidson, for his service on the GFDA Board of Directors. We wish him the best as he relocates out of Great Falls. We are happy to welcome Jacquie Burchard as the new D.A. Davidson representative on our board!

7) We are excited to enter into a partnership with the Great Falls Business Improvement District to hire a Downtown Business Development Officer! The GFDA Downtown Business Development Officer will undertake economic development work to bring greater economic vitality to the Great Falls Downtown Master Plan area with an emphasis on the BID area. The work shall be guided by the principles of economic vitality of the National Main Street program and economic development best practices. The work will include business retention and expansion, market research, business and developer attraction, and investment marketing. This is an exciting step for Downtown Great Falls!

8) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development: Energy West Montana and Central Plumbing, Heating and Excavation for their Advanced Division investments. AT Klemens, Inc. and Northern Directory Publishing for their Pacesetter Division investments. Global Credit, LLC and Napa Auto Parts of Great Falls for their Community Division Investments. Morrison-Maierle, Inc. for their Supporter Division investment. GFDA values your investments and we work hard to leverage your dollars to ensure that you receive a bigger return. As such, we are working hard to bring you increased wages, more specialization and a diversified economy. If you haven’t invested this fiscal year or you have questions about investment, contact Teresa Schreiner at 406.781.9499.

9) Join Neighbors, Developers, Property Owners, Resource Providers, and more on Wednesday, October 2nd in the Missouri Room at the Civic Center for a visioning session on what we hope our downtown can be! We will focus our efforts on blocks that are ready to transform! Pizza and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. Please RSVP so we know how much to bring!

10) Want to hear weekly about great events and entertainment, sign up for The Eventory, an enewsletter listing of events happening in Great Falls published by Great Falls Tourism.

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.

Jolene Schalper
Vice President

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.

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”
Paul Meyer

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 $35,000-45,000 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.


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, 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, 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

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

Events, Business Training, and Opportunities

2019 GFDA Business Education Calendar

Join us at the third annual Montana Food Show! This tradeshow will provide opportunities for food buyers and food producers to connect and find ways to get more Montana foods on Montana plates. 100 Montana fresh produce, meat, food and beverage companies will be showcasing their products at theBrick Breeden Field House in Bozeman on Friday, September 27. Buyers can register and learn more at Questions? Contact Marty Earnheart with the Montana Department of Agriculture at 406.444.9126 or

The Montana Downtown Conference will be held October 23-25 in Missoula. This is always a great conference with lots of idea sharing. More info here.

The Montana Innovation Partnership is offering trainings later this month on Market Research for Early Stage Technologies and on Writing Winning SBIR/STTR Proposals. See more info here.

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 Apply by submitting a proposal electronically in PDF format to 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.