December 6, 2013

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Head of the Class

Professional Development Keeps Employees’ Skills Sharp and their Minds Engaged

By Rachel Madison | Illustration by Mike Bohman

December 6, 2013


Utah’s ludicrous land grab must stop. Its appalling and frivolous lawsuits over dirt roads on public lands must stop. The anti-federal posturing must stop. If the governor and Utah’s congressional representatives are serious about supporting businesses and the local economy, then it’s time they stop biting the hand that feeds them. If Utah’s pipe dream of permanently managing these lands were to come true, the result would be disastrous for our economy. Utah has had enough trouble funding its own state parks, the size, complexity and responsibility of which does not begin to compare with the responsibility of managing the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service areas we have in Utah. (That’s leaving aside the fact that attempting to seize these lands constitutes outright theft from the rest of the country.)

If the governor and Utah’s congressional representatives are serious about supporting businesses and the local economy, then it’s time they stop biting the hand that feeds them. Our economy’s vitality is already substantially dependent on the recreational benefits and beauty of our federal lands. By embracing that ownership and a higher level of protection for the truly iconic and unprotected landscapes that define Utah, we would be securing our long-term sustainable economic future. Unfortunately, we appear currently to be engaged in an ideological form of economic hara-kiri that puts our future economic well being at risk.

David Utrilla

CEO, U.S. Translation Company

We are competing in a global economy. In order to get the most benefit for trade missions from Utah that take place in other countries, we need to have the presence of the governor or lieutenant governor there. The power of that position allows more doors to be opened than in any other way. It draws more attention in the media, and sparks the interest of business leaders both from Utah and from the destination country.

The business environment here in Utah is excellent. It is also great to see that the unemployment rate is down; however, there is a growing concern that it is becoming more difficult to find available talent. It is important that we keep encouraging our students to work hard, graduate from college and become the best future employees that they can be.

Additionally, it would be great to see more advertised information that educates people in the community about buying products and services that are produced here in the state of Utah. As a business owner I understand well the advantages of this. The results from purchasing locally when possible benefit all of us directly and indirectly making a win/win situation for everybody.

Mike Cameron

CEO, Christopherson Business Travel

We have offices in Utah, Colorado and California. Our largest office is in Utah. The combination of lower taxes, lower business regulations, an excellent workforce and great quality of life all combine to make Utah a great state to do business in.

Gov. Herbert has continued the legacy of Utah’s business-friendly state CEOs. Our residents will continue to benefit from our positive employment environment if we maintain this job-friendly focus.

One danger, as we continue to grow, is increased transportation congestion. This will impact the quality of life and our ability to do business easily. Utah benefited from a major refresh of our transportation infrastructure in preparation for the 2002 Olympics. We need to make sure that we stay ahead of the curve going forward. The freeway traffic congestion in Denver gives us a peek at what Salt Lake City could look like in 10 years if we don’t plan and invest properly.

We also need to stay on course with the Salt Lake City International Airport expansion plan. The airport in is the early stages of a 10-year master plan to construct a new terminal and two new concourses. The two concourses will be attached with an underground automated train. The plan is for the existing terminal and concourses to be demolished to leave room for additional expansion in the future. This expansion is necessary for us to remain competitive and meet the needs of our growing business community.

David Entwistle

CEO, University of Utah Hospital

I have two suggestions. Number one: Expand Medicaid. This has a significant positive impact on our economy as outlined by the PCG report submitted to the governor. Expanding will provide needed health insurance coverage to over 100,000 Utah citizens, providing thousands of jobs in Utah, which positively impacts tax revenue, and offsets what companies in the state are funding in healthcare costs because of cost-shifting.

Number two: Fund K-12 and higher education. Our ability to compete in the technology, banking and energy sectors is fueled by an educated populace—software, healthcare, biotech, medical device, new technologies for fossil fuel industry, mitigating environmental impact all require students who have been trained. We should compete with Oregon who has Intel and Genentech plants in the state because California is too expensive—and those industries need an educated workforce. The education investment is not simply to build the workforce, but also attract companies (e.g. Goldman Sachs or UBS).

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