Great Falls Regional Small Business Development Center

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


To view a different region, choose from the choices below:
Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Havre, Helena, Kalispell, Miles City, Missoula or Wolf Point.




Rich Gannon, SBDC Rural Business Advisor
406.836.2078 |

Rich Gannon joined the Great Falls Development Alliance (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.



Christian Nichols, SBDC Business Advisor
406.799.9385 |

Christian Nichols joined the Great Falls Development Alliance (GFDA) as a SBDA Advisor and Brownfield Project Manager in September 2023. Before joining, Christian owned and operated RPP Fitness, a small local gym, prior to selling. While owning the gym, he kept busy as the Head Coach and lead programmer. Christian also spent 14 years Active Duty Air Force where he started as an Armament Weapons Specialist, transitioned to the Unit Fitness Programs Manager, and finished his career as an Airmen Leadership School Instructor where he taught promotable Non-Commissioned Officers how to lead and supervise subordinates.

As an SBDC Advisor, Christian helps businesses throughout the “Golden Triangle” with marketing, operational, and financial growth. Christian was raised in a small town in Colorado and upon retiring from the Air Force, made Great Falls his home where he resides with his wife and two children.



Jason Nitschke


Jason Nitschke, Zero to Five Senior Child Care Business Advisor
406.402.2455 |

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Jason joins Zero to Five Montana as a Senior Child Care Business Advisor after eight years in economic development as Vice President with the Great Falls Development Authority (GFDA) and Regional Director of the Great Falls area Small Business Development Center (SBDC). He will be delivering educational opportunities and one-on-one consultation support to entrepreneurs and communities starting, growing, and expanding childcare and early education solutions.

Since 2014, he has advised and trained nearly 4000 entrepreneurs and business professionals, helped start over 100 businesses, supported 2800 jobs, and helped in attracting nearly $75M in capital investment into area businesses. He was the 2022 recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Boots to Business Instructor of the Year, a national award recognizing the top five presenters of the SBA’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship curriculum for active-duty military and veterans. In 2018, he was named the Montana State SBDC Star honoring the top 1% of business advisors in the U.S.

Prior to joining the economic development community, Jason owned two businesses and spent 16 years as a print and broadcast journalist. He is an award-winning broadcaster, native Montanan, and is a proud daughter-dad. Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Montana and a master’s degree in Communication from Hawaii Pacific University-Honolulu.

He is a certified business advisor, Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP), and certified Profit Mastery and PeerSpectives facilitator.


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