Top Ten July 17


Big Sky Aquatics and Recreation Center construction progresses

Can’t wait to see the Aim High Big Sky Aquatics & Recreation Center rise from this site!

See update on KFBB.

Top Ten – July 17

Here is our Top 13 for this week celebrating work and successes to grow and strengthen the Great Falls regional economy — Montana’s Golden Triangle. And, sharing business resources and skill-building opportunities to empower your success.

1) Congratulations to KDS on their continued success in providing high speed cost-effective broadband services in the region! KDS is building out a network designed to support future 10G per household. They have opened the North Data Center in downtown Great Falls and Wisp Assist, a 24/7 call center to provide customer support. They have also launched support companies Fiber Tech Services and Fiber Box, a design company created to design and produce KDS’ special outdoor boxes. These boxes are now being sold to several ISPs nationwide.

2) Touro College and University System is on track to open its first medical school class in July 2023! see The Electric.

3) The Cascade County Commission allocated $13.3 million of pandemic recovery funds to 51 projects, including $1 million to GFDA to support the Great Falls AgriTech Park, one of our key economic development efforts to make the county more competitive in attracting higher-wage career business investments that also create significant long-term tax base. The projects include many important infrastructure investments, support for NeighborWorks Great Falls’ permanent supportive housing redevelopment of the Baatz Building, funding for the new CDL truck driver training program at Great Falls College MSU, a new building at the C.M. Russell Museum, and important improvements for a number of public and nonprofit community services, facilities, and equipment throughout Cascade County. See The Electric and Great Falls Tribune for the entire list of projects. Thank you Commissioners for your support!

4) Hosted Site Selectors for a virtual visit to Great Falls Montana. This was in collaboration with our partners from Montana World Trade Center, State of Montana, and economic developers in Billings, Butte, and Missoula. These quarterly zooms allow us to reach more corporate site selectors increase our deal flow!

5) Renovations are underway on the historic Sullivan Building in Ft. Benton; see KRTV. Denton celebrated the new Wolf Creek bridge as the community recovers from the winter fire; see KRTV and Great Falls Tribune. The owners of the historic Bunkhouse Inn in Augusta that burned down in 2020 plan to move forward with building a new Inn; see KRTV.

6) We published our GFDA Index 2022Q2.

7) Congratulations to Senior Airman Monica Figueroa Santos at Malmstrom AFB on being named one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year! See KRTVGreat Falls College MSU is creating an addiction counseling program with the first class scheduled to start this fall; see KFBB.

8) This week Traci Rosenbaum with the Great Falls Tribune features Fire Within Award winners Paulette Wright of Mrs. Wright’s Pastys and Sophia Spark, owner of B Spark Architecture. Congratulations to Paulette and Sophia. Thank you for inspiring female entrepreneurs in our region to take the leap and start their own business!

9) We’re co-hosting the Montana Economic Development Conference at The Newberry in downtown Great Falls November 14-16; see Montana Economic Developers Association. The Building a Winning Montana Team conference will feature exciting panels discussing key Montana economic development issues such as housing, business attraction, talent attraction, tourism and economic development, tribal economic development, and value added agriculture. Keynotes will bring perspectives from other states and provinces, and from leading Montana industry associations and state leaders. Workshops include economic development ethics, new financing collaborations, and supporting local entrepreneurs and existing businesses. Download preliminary agenda. Sponsor a session! Contact Rebecca Myers at or me at

10) As summer moves into the hottest times of the year, that also brings the increased chances of hail which can lead to severe crop damage. Producers have until August 15th to purchase state hail coverage. The Montana State Hail Insurance Program was created at the request of producers in 1917 to provide basic hail insurance coverage on any crop grown in Montana. For more information on hail crop coverage, contact Justin at 406-590-1301 or visit the Montana Department of Ag website.

11) A number of past graduates of our cash flow and profitability workshop, Profit Mastery, recently connected to share how the class affected their businesses. Record revenue and profit, pricing accuracy, a better ability to negotiate, and most importantly – better decisions are all some reported impacts. On July 15th, five more local entrepreneurs and 5 Billings and Butte-based economic developers graduated from our most recent Profit Mastery class with goals of similar outcomes. If any of those impacts are top of mind for your business, connect with Jason about how this resource can work for you at 

12) We were excited to host a visit from Frederick Van Den Abeel and Jaimie Charon from the Montana Department of Commerce. Both Frederick and Jaimie are partners with GFDA for business attraction within the state. Frederick has been to Great Falls before, but it was Jaimie’s first time. They were able to tune in live from the GFDA office to a statewide site selector event, tour the AgriTech Park and a downtown tech-ready building for lease, as well as other development sites in town. If you know of a company that would be successful locating in Great Falls, please reach out to Jake Clark, we have a great network of resources and support from the State!

13) GFDA relies on the continued support from our INVESTORS. They are the reason we can continue to provide a wide range of services to our community and bring more opportunity to the region. Recent investments include: Advance Division—Wells Fargo. They are helping to grow our economy each and every day! If you want to help with our community’s growth, reach out to Investment Director Jenn Gallmeier at 406-781-9499 or

I’m sending this out early because I am back on Saipan on a volunteer economic development disaster recovery trip with the International Economic Development Council. In 2019 I was part of the first visit team to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands to kick off a three-year volunteer assistance effort to help the islands develop strategic and projects for economic recovery after two massive typhoons. We’ve returned to help plan efforts to continue typhoon recovery as well as pandemic recovery. Imagine if our economy was mostly dependent on tourism — when the pandemic hit, visits to Saipan dropped from over 500,000 people/year to practically zero.

Enjoy a wonderful Montana summer weekend!


Brett Doney
President & CEO

Curious to see how these projects pencil out?For each of the vision projects we have project analysis that includes Project Descriptions, Cash Flow Projections, and Rent Roll Summaries.