Theresa Foxley: Bringing economic prosperity to Utah
You might say Theresa Foxley was predestined for her career path. She has always taken a keen interest in promoting the health and vitality of Utah’s economy. In her new role as president and CEO of the non-profit organization EDCUtah, she is charged with just that. Foxley’s number one responsibility is to bring quality jobs and capital investment into the state.
“I get to learn about all the cool things that are happening statewide, and I can tell you there’s just no shortage of good ideas and wonderful people in Utah,” she says.
Born and bred in Utah, Foxley did her undergraduate work at Utah State University before receiving a law degree from the University of Utah. From her early days as a lawyer, practicing business and finance law, Foxley knew she wanted to work promoting Utah’s multi-faceted economy. The opportunity presented itself when the law firm she worked for set up a new program with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). She arranged for a one-year leave of absence to work for GOED.
“I was a young attorney and Utah was in the early parts of the recession. I felt like the work that we were doing was really meaningful,” says Foxley. After her stint at GOED, she returned to the law firm, then worked for a venture-backed health information technology company, and eventually found her way back to GOED when it experienced leadership changes.
“I enjoyed seeing the multiplier effect. When the economy is healthy it leads to full tax coffers, which leads to smoother roads, better education and the ability to fund all of the quality of life assets we love,” notes Foxley. Foxley has enjoyed several highlights throughout her career. When practicing law, she worked on a large-scale renewable energy project in Parowan. “It was a $300 million capital investment project supplying 80 megawatts of clean power that was built in Utah, by Utahans, and sold into the Utah market. It really kicked off some of that great renewable energy development in a part of the state,” she says.
In her new role with EDCUtah, Foxley works with state and local government and private industry to attract and grow competitive, high-value companies to Utah. The end result is to drive the expansion of Utah businesses.
Utah enjoys one of the most diverse economies in the country, partly because EDCUtah strategically focuses on six different industries where the state enjoys a competitive advantage. These industries include outdoor products and recreation, energy, life sciences, information technology, aerospace and defense, and financial services.
There are many wonderful things about being in statewide economic development, notes Foxley. “I really enjoy the endgame of my job. We’re trying to create quality jobs, and we won’t stop until the prosperity that has been felt in so many different communities in the state is felt statewide,” she says.
Foxley also likes that EDCUtah is a membership-based organization. In addition to its 200 private-sector members, it has about 40 public-sector members. “I get the opportunity to understand what makes our members unique, what their goals are and the vision they have for their community,” she says. “That is the most rewarding part of my job.”