The New Frontier: Behind Every Company - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

The New Frontier: Behind Every Company

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In downtown Great Falls, in a large, bright office, was man named Eric, whose job was to keep one of Montana's largest industries growing.

"With the economic development, I'm actually relatively new to this business, directly."

Eric Bergman spent about six months as the director of the Food and Ag Development Center at the Great Falls Development Authority. It’s a new position in Great Falls, with only four other offices of its kind in the state. The paycheck is funded in part by grant money, but Eric, who is now working back on the family farm, told our Taylor Chase this spring the GFDA’s commitment to this industry will last far beyond the state’s help.

"Whether a position like mine, the funding is assisted through a grant program like it is, or not, our organization will continue to have somebody doing this work," says Bergman.

That work is a combination of business retention, expansion, and recruitment.

...and a lot of relationship building.

"But you do the work anyway, and you do it with enough companies that eventually you get a win and some folks locate here."

But for Eric, those relationships are natural. After growing up in Great Falls, Eric received degrees in biology and science education.

"It's applied biology, agriculture."

Almost ten years ago, he and his wife started a farm in Fort Shaw, and now practice some of the very trends Eric studied for his job, such as direct-to-consumer farming.

He admits business expansion can have its pros and cons, citing the controversial Madison Food Park as an example.

"In this line of work, I have my perspectives on the type of business I like, and the type of economic relationship and organization that I think has the best impact, but my job is not to design the economy and who sets up business here. It's very much client-driven work."

Eric wraps up our conversation: "Behind every company or corporation or business there are people making decisions."

Eric’s time as the Food and Ag Director is now over, but the Great Falls Development Authority is currently looking for someone to fill that spot. If you are interested or would like more information, visit the the GFDA website.

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