Top 10 – 9/30/19

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GFDA Top 11

Here is our Top 11 for this week, celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy.

1) Join Neighbors, Developers, Property Owners, Resource Providers, and more on Wednesday, October 2nd at 5:30 PM for a visioning session on what we hope our downtown can be! We will focus our efforts on three blocks that have the most potential for private development. Pizza and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. Please RSVP so we know how much to pizza to order, click here!

2) Jason is now a certified LivePlan Expert Advisor. LivePlan is our newest, cloud-based business planning tool. We’ve found LivePlan makes the planning process quicker by increasing collaboration, streamlining financial analysis and projections, and managing tasks. If any of our bank partners or other resource partners are interested in learning more about this high powered tool, please contact Jason at JNitschke@GrowGreatFalls.orgClick here to view LivePlan.

3) Congratulations to the University of Providence on the Grand Opening of the University Center! This is a beautiful addition to campus and features a 300 seat meeting room. Thank you for your capital investment in Great Falls!

4) Join investors and developers for Development Coffee Friday, October 4 at 7 AM in the NeighborWorks Learning Center 509 1st Avenue South. Thank you NeighborWorks for hosting!

5) We are planning Ignite 2020 and looking for capital investment projects that will start or open in 2020! Let’s kick off the calendar year with exciting announcements. Save the date of January 10th from 8 to 10 AM at Meadow Lark Country Club. Contact Jolene to discuss your project, 406.750.4481 or

6) Received sign off from EPA & DEQ to begin testing on a site in downtown Great Falls that may facilitate cleanup/a purchase and redevelopment of the property.  Working with MT DEQ on a cleanup project that has been complicated by petroleum contamination for many years.  Do you have a building or site that may have potential or perceived contamination? Give us a call and see how we can work with you to move your project forward, Lillian Sunwall at 406-750-1253 or

7) The SBA approved a $200,000 SBA 504 loan as part of a $480,000 purchase of commercial real estate in Columbia Falls, MT! This new real estate will house Montana Build, Inc, a company that specializes in luxury custom homes locally and beyond. Thanks to the great and proactive work of their banker, Alex Hermann, of First Interstate Bank in Kalispell; Montana Build will now enjoy low, fixed interest rates on the SBA portion of their loan for 20 years and will only have to provide a down payment of 10%. Because of the low down payment the company will be able to complete renovations and maintain working capital, which is so important for growing businesses. If your business needs money to grow please contact Jill Kohles at 406-590-1056 or JKohles@GrowGreatFalls.orgto find out how we can help.

8) You’re invited to a strategic visioning and planning session for the Miracle Mile (the gates of Malmstrom Airforce Base along 2nd Ave N to 57th St N) on Thursday October 10th, 6:00 PM at Loy Elementary. During this process participants will be able to share their ideas and identify top redevelopment priorities. If you have questions reach out to Lillian Sunwall at 406-750-1253 or

9) Linkedin hosts over 590 million professionals who represent the largest group of influential, affluent, educational people anywhere. Find out what content to share, which products suit your needs, and how much time you’ll spend daily or weekly to ensure your brand stays in front of the people who matter most to your business. This is a 30-minute webinar presentedby Tyler Menzales will occur on October 3 from 11-11:30 AM Mountain Time. This training event will be presented online and archived for future reference click here to RSVP.

10) Thank you to this week’s Investors in Economic Development: General Distributing Company for their Advanced Division Investment, North 40 Outfitters and Talus Apartment Homes for their Leadership Division Investment, Hoven Equipment for their Pacesetter Division Investment, Macek Companies, Inc., K&K Trucking, Inc. & Mighty Mo Brewing Company for their Community Division Investments. Join our current investors, become a champion of the Golden Triangle. In doing so, you or your company will help bring new money to the region, improve your community’s downtown, and increase your skilled workforce. To join our Investors in Economic Development, email Teresa Schreiner or call (406) 781-9499.

11) Too often we hear that people feel disengaged or out of the loop regarding business development in our region. We need your help sharing the Top Ten. These weekly e-blasts are meant to inform and engage. If someone reads the top ten they are more aware of resources that exist to help businesses. As a community, the more awareness generated the more we grow! Please share this link on your social media or in an email to colleagues. Sign up for the Top Ten with this link Thank you for sharing!

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.

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”
Joel Barker

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

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.