November 14, 2013

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Governor, EDCU President Tout Utah as Economic Powerhouse

By Rachel Madison

November 14, 2013

Hundreds of business professionals from across the state gathered together Wednesday for the Economic Development Corporation of Utah’s annual meeting and report on the state’s economic outlook.

Gov. Gary Herbert said it was proven during the 2012-13 fiscal year that Utah is a great state for business—something that’s shown year in and year out.

“We’ve reached new heights in our successes,” he said. “We’ve created an environment that’s conducive to economic growth. We have impeccable tax rates, regulation reform through eliminating nonsensical regulations, good infrastructure and a good labor force. Utah is the brightest star on the flag in terms of economic development.”

Jeff Edwards, president and CEO of EDCU, said during the 2012-13 fiscal year, more than 11,000 new jobs were added in the state, which is an all-time record for Utah. The state also saw 82 site visits from companies outside of Utah that are considering moving to the state. The number of companies that have expanded or moved to Utah is 31.

“We now have more projects on our books than ever before at 354,” Edwards said. “This means there are 354 companies that are considering Utah as a site for their projects. Utah is also being considered for major, large scale projects, and the IT sector is a major force for growth. Our IT workforce is now deep enough that talented people have opportunities in Utah.”

Edwards also commented that during the recession, ECDU set records for growth, and because of this, many companies are looking at Utah at a possible place to expand or relocate.

Two awards were given during the event. The Thayne Robson Award for service to economic development in the public sector was given to Sandy City Mayor Tom Dolan. The Nick Rose Award for service to economic development in the private sector was given to Harris Simmons, president and CEO of Zions Bancorporation.

In addition, a new chairman and several members of the board of trustees of EDCU were sworn in during the meeting. The new chairman is Scott Anderson, CEO of Zions Fist National Bank, who replaces Ron Jibson.

The meeting’s keynote speaker was Erik Weihenmayer. He is the only blind person in history to climb the tallest peak on every continent, including Mount Everest. His inspiring and motivational speech told of the obstacles he’s overcome in his life. He told the audience to be prepared, have a “rope team” of colleagues they can trust and never give up on goals, even when adversity strikes.

His speech summed up EDCU’s meeting theme of “climb on,” which urged business professionals to continue finding ways to increase economic development in the state.

Overall, Herbert said, Utah is in an excellent position for economic development, but “there’s still a lot more work to be done.” He said this can be done through teamwork, having a vision for the future, working hard and being in the people business by serving others.

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