August 6, 2012

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CEO of the Year

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EDCUtah Hits High for Jobs Created, Retained

Di Lewis

August 6, 2012

More than 11,500 jobs were created or retained during EDCUtah’s 2011-2012 fiscal year, which is an all-time high for the organization, said Jeff Edwards, president and CEO.

He said they also set a record for site visits and open projects, at 100 and 301, respectively.

“Over last five years it’s been kind of a steady progression of jobs,” Edwards said. “There was a big downturn in 2008, but ever since then we’ve had slow and steady growth until this year, which is an all-time high.”

In the way EDCUtah defines progress, Edwards said, “The number of jobs created is the real metric that drives what we do.”

The organization measures both jobs created—jobs new to Utah either through a company coming to the state or jobs added to existing operations with the use of incentives—and jobs retained within companies that were looking to other states and were convinced to stay in Utah.

The reason so many companies are looking to come to Utah or choose to stay in Utah is driven by the success they have in Utah and its workforce, he said.

The state has also seen a boost from Utah being ranked high on several national lists for various business-friendly measurements. Edwards said companies have been on the sidelines for a few years because of the recession, but many are starting to come back and have begun making inquiries about Utah.

Edwards thinks the upcoming year will be similar to the last one. While companies are waiting to make any moves until the national elections are over, many of them are collecting data now and will make moves soon. Companies simply can’t wait any longer to make improvements, moves or modernizations.

“Regardless of who gets elected in the fall, there will be a resurgence of activity in the first quarter of next year,” he said. “And I think we’ll be the beneficiary of that.”

The results of EDCUtah’s fiscal year will be discussed in more detail at its annual meeting and 25th anniversary celebration on Sep. 27. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman will be the keynote speaker at that event.

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