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Top 14 for 5-19-2013

Here's the GFDA Top 14 for this week, celebrating great things happening to move Great Falls Forward!
1) The Great Falls metro area unemployment rate dropped to 5.0% in April from 5.8% in March. Since January, our labor force has grown by 335 and employment is up by 765. We're off to a good start. Let's keep this up for the entire year!
2) Frontier Airlines began seasonal service at Great Falls International for the second summer in a row; this time with 138 passenger Airbus jets.
3) We submitted the Big Sky Trust Fund grant application for EMTEQ to the MT Dept. of Commerce for 70 new primary sector jobs.
4) Responded to two national site selector requests for information about Great Falls.
5) Worked on the architecture for our new web site, basing it on 11 best in class economic development web sites in the U.S. and Canada.
6) Published a new retail, dining and hospitality attraction marketing piece in preparation for the RECON commercial real estate meeting which started today.
7) Participated in the National Brownfield conference and spoke on a panel discussing using brownfield loan funds to foster redevelopment. The downtown Great Falls Easter Seals Goodwill brownfield clean-up was the featured project for EPA Region 8.
8) Reviewed four business plans, 3 for start-up companies and one for a local business expansion; provided coaching plans with market research packages to three of the entrepreneurs.
9) Two projects were presented to the City's Design Review Board: the new 26,440 SF commercial building for Goodwill; and, the Voyagers' new picnic awning for Centene Stadium.
10) We contracted with the University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research to develop an index of economic diversification for the Great Falls trade area. Every three years, we'll use the index to measure how diversified our economy is in comparison to Billings, Missoula and the entire state. The first report should be ready in a couple of months.
11) Ballots were mailed to High Plains Financial members to elect and re-elect Board members. Nominated for new Board seats were Todd Hanson with the Norsman Group in Havre and Mike Hawthorne with First Montana Bank in Missoula.
12) We set the dates for two strategic planning mornings in June for the GFDA Board. Every year we examine our strategic plan and update it to insure we're maximizing return on investment for GFDA investors. If you are a GFDA investor member and would like to participate, contact Jolene Bach at
13) Half the available seats for the June 19-20 Thought Patterns training have been taken. To learn more about the 2-day training that will stop workplace negativity, contact Rebecca Engum at
14) Montana was ranked #1 in the American Dream Composite Index developed by Xavier University and the Strengthening Brand America Project. Based on surveys of residents in 2012, the index gauges the extent to which people living in each state are achieving the American Dream. The composite index is based on five sub-indexes. In addition to first place in the overall composite index, Montana scored 1st in the Economic Conditions and Well-Being sub-indexes. A companion survey of business executives found that 64% of executives would use the American Dream index rankings to differentiate between locations that were finalists in the site selection decision process.


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Great Falls, MT 59401
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