2023 Utah Business Leaders of the Year: Jim Grover
Utah Business is proud to present the inaugural cohort of our Utah Business Leaders of the Year award. These 12 honorees represent the greatest accomplishments of Utah’s business community in 2023 and were selected by the Utah Business editorial team.
Jim Grover’s journey began amidst the bustling streets of downtown Salt Lake City, shadowed by the imposing Utah State Capitol building—a daily reminder of the civic pulse he would one day help steer.
“I grew up in a three- or four-block area passing between West High School and the Capitol building every day. I was naturally curious about what happened there,” Grover says.
Grover’s business acumen was nurtured at his family’s bedding and drapery firm, where he honed skills ranging from marketing and budgeting to accounts receivable, laying the foundation for his future.
“Working in the family business, I juggled various roles daily, from procurement to marketing,” Grover says. “This experience in a dynamic, small business environment was a pivotal part of my growth.”
After completing his MBA at the University of Utah, Grover had an opportunity to interview with the state. What stuck out to him about the opportunity was how he could impact his community.
“They emphasized that a career in government offers a unique opportunity to hone invaluable skills and apply my knowledge to positively impact the state of Utah,” Grover says.
Grover described his initial role as a budget and policy analyst in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget as a “collaborative and communicative process integral to Utah’s economic development operations.” Grover quickly learned that “getting consensus with state and local leadership before moving forward with projects is the Utah way.”
“Getting consensus with state and local leadership before moving forward with projects is the Utah way.”
Eventually, Grover transitioned to the role of managing director of Grants and Incentives in the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity. In October 2022, he and his team learned that Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) was potentially interested in building a 300-millimeter semiconductor wafer fabrication plant in Utah. On hearing this news, they went to work.
“We knew that other states had gotten the same call, and they wanted to knock Utah off the economic top tier,” Grover says. “We wanted to win this. We wanted to be part of the solution to diversify our economy as part of the CHIPS and Science Act.”
After months of negotiating externally with TI and collaborating internally with the State of Utah and Lehi City officials, Grover and his team were notified they had won.
“We were so excited that all our hard work had paid off,” Grover recalls. “At the same time, we had to contain our excitement. … Until we could publicly announce it, we were in a silent jubilation type of moment.”
On February 15, 2023, TI formally announced its $11 billion investment in Utah, which marks the largest economic investment in state history. It will also create approximately 800 direct and thousands of indirect jobs.
During the recent groundbreaking ceremony on November 2, 2023, Governor Cox reflected on this achievement, “We are proud that semiconductors—made in Utah by Utahns—will power the innovation that is foundational to our country’s economic and national security.”
Grover’s eyes are again set on the horizon, ready to meet the next challenge—starting with broadband.
“The federal government has provided us with $317 million to help unserved or underserved locations in Utah over the next five years,” Grover says.