Ben Kolendar Considers His Career Rewarding
“I was drawn into economic development during the Afghanistan war,” says Ben Kolendar. “I worked for a special mission task force out of the Pentagon that sought stability through strategic economic initiatives. That was my toe in the water.” And he was immediately hooked. Working in economic development and foreign affairs quickly became his passion, and he says that helping to build the Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development has been extremely rewarding. After Mayor Biskupski created the department in 2016, Mr. Kolendar has lead it to tremendous growth, retaining over 9,000 jobs and nearly a billion dollars in capital investment. He played a critical role in updating Utah’s Foreign Trade Zone process, as well as bringing the 68th United Nations Department of Public Information NGO Conference to Salt Lake City in 2019. Prior to his work with the city, Mr. Kolendar worked with the Obama administration as senior advisor to the executive director of SelectUSA, an initiative to attract and retain foreign business investment in the United States. As a presidentially appointed official, Mr. Kolendar provided guidance to create jobs, spur economic growth, and promote American competitiveness.