Great Falls Regional Small Business Development Center

Counties Served: Cascade, Fergus, Glacier, Judith Basin, Pondera, Teton, Toole



Jason Nitschke, SBDC Regional Director
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Jason Nitschke joined the Small Business Development Center hosted by the Great Falls Development Authority in October 2014. The Great Falls SBDC has been named the Best Managed Center (2014) and Top Performing Center (2016). Jason received the U.S. Small Business Administration's Veterans Service Award in 2017 and the America's SBDC State Star Award in 2018. Jason returns to his hometown from the State of Illinois Department of Central Management where he served as an analyst in the Bureau of Benefits. Prior to his time in the Land of Lincoln, Jason spent 16 years as a professional journalist in Salt Lake City, Denver, Honolulu, Twin Falls, ID and Springfield, IL He also worked as the Sports Director at KFBB/KHBB-TV in Great Falls/Helena from 2004-2011. In addition, Jason has operated two small businesses. The first was as sole proprietor of JNitschke Photography in Denver. The second was as owner of Carondelet Estate Services, LLC in St. Louis. Jason is a 1997 graduate of the University of Montana-Missoula School of Journalism. He earned a master's degree in communication from Hawaii Pacific University-Honolulu in 2002. As the Small Business Development Center Director in Great Falls, Jason counsels entrepreneurs throughout the Sweetgrass Region in the start-up and growth process. He also works with existing businesses to maximize their market share and profit margins.

Jason's areas of expertise include: financial analysis, loan packaging assistance, communications, branding, business planning, and purchase psychology.

Jason's Certifications:

  • Growth Wheel Certified
  • National Development Council Economic Development Finance Professional
  • Association of Accredited Small Business Consultants Certified
  • Certified Export Counselor



Rich Gannon, SBDC Rural Business Advisor
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Rich Gannon joined the Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA) as an SBDC Rural Small Business Advisor in October 2019. Before joining the GFDA team, Rich was a website designer and online marketer with a decade of successful experience helping small businesses with their digital presence and online marketing needs. Rich helped businesses with website design, content creation, and search engine optimization. Before starting his website design work, Rich was a manager for a non-profit organization in Alaska, was an accountant for a large rural Alaskan school district, and was a dispatcher for a charter air service.

As an SBDC Rural Business Advisor, Rich helps businesses in rural communities of North Central Montana with marketing, operational, and financial growth. Rich was raised on a family farm and ranch in the Sun River Valley west of Great Falls and is a 1998 graduate of the University of Montana School of Business. Rich lives in Cut Bank with his wife Jen and their four children.



Lyndsay Bruno, SBDC Rural Business Advisor

Lyndsay brings more than a decade of experience in marketing and communications to her role as small business advisor for the SBDC hosted by Great Falls Development Authority. She holds a BA in broadcast journalism from the University of Montana -Missoula. Most recently Lyndsay worked in agriculture advocacy. Lyndsay specializes in digital marketing and assists clients in developing a marketing strategy to grow their business.  Lyndsay lives in Great Falls with her husband and two boys. 



 tony-cropped.jpgTony Peres, Small Business Navigator
(406) 750-2099

Tony Peres joined the Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA) as a Small Business Navigator in May 2022. Tony has 25 years of sales, relationship development and client management experience in the medical industry throughout Montana. over the last 14 years, he specialized in cultivating relationships with surgeons and medical providers in orthopedic sales and consulting. As the Small Business Navigator, Tony will focus on cultivating the entrepreneurial ecosystem to drive entrepreneurs into small business programs offered by and supported by GFDA. Tony is a fourth generation Montanan and has two adult children with his wife Jennifer as well as two grandchildren. Tony's passions are his family and the great outdoors. He holds a degree in paramedicine from Montana State University Great Falls and finds deep value in helping others.


Trainings Provided at Center:

  • The LaunchPoint (Monthly business strategies/pre-business class)
  • Boots to Business (at Malmstrom Air Force Base for transitioning service members)
  • QuickBooks
  • Profit Mastery
  • The Small Business Webinar Series