Great Falls, Montana
Regional Strategic Plan
Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA) is a 501(c)3 regional public-private economic development organization that serves the 13-county Great Falls, Montana trade area in north central Montana. Since the late 1970’s, the Great Falls regional economy has not kept pace with other more prosperous Montana communities. Following the closure of its largest employer in 1980, a copper smelting facility that operated for nearly 70 years, the region saw its economy beginning to decline. This resulted in a loss of talent as young people have left to seek career opportunities elsewhere. The Great Falls region has suffered from low wages as compared to the state average. Against this backdrop, GFDA engaged Upsize Marketing Strategies and three other partners to develop a strategic plan that includes an environmental scan, SWOT analysis, industry cluster analysis, marketing strategies, Action Plan, and strategic recommendations.
GFDA Regional Strategic Plan
Great Falls Development Authority
UMS Principal Christine Wong Rambo, CEcD, MBA facilitated multiple community outreach and visioning sessions for the GFDA Board of Directors and the public. Upsize conducted 21 one-on-one, in person and virtual SWOT interviews and eight in-person and virtual focus group meetings. UMS led the development of the industry cluster analysis and environmental scan, and contributed to the SWOT analysis and Action Plan. She served as a project manager, ensuring the project stayed on track and provided quality assurance.
The strategic plan was completed in October 2022. The collaborative strategic plan processing helped GFDA to elevate its program of works, reinvigorate its Board and redouble its entrepreneurial program. Based on recommendations from the Strategic Plan, GFDA created a task force focused on product improvement and finetuned marketing and business development strategies. Also as a result of the strategic planning process, community engagement and involvement in economic development have improved. GFDA now has a comprehensive blueprint and action matrix with economic development strategies that will diversify the economy, enhance workforce development, and strengthen the business climate and infrastructure. The Great Falls Regional Strategic Plan will improve the region’s competitiveness in attracting private investment and business opportunities, quality of life, and standard of living for its citizens.