Utah’s Economy Expected to Keep Humming in 2015

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Download a PDF copy of the Fall 2014 Economic Outlook here.

Chamber and CBRE provide economic outlook

SALT LAKE CITY- (October 30, 2014) The Salt Lake Chamber and CBRE released the 2014 Salt Lake County Economic Outlook, moving forward in a dynamic global environment. This bi-annual report summarizes key factors, including international and national geo-political instability, labor market changes, and demographics shifts and their effect on the economic future of Utah’s most populous county and the state in general. The report also details business activity, commercial real estate and notable projects such as the Salt Lake International Airport terminal redevelopment project and its impact on Salt Lake County and the economy in the coming years.

“Today’s global environment changes quickly and various forecasters, investors, policymakers, businesses and consumers are on edge while trying to understand developments here and abroad,” said Natalie Gochnour, Chief Economist, Salt Lake Chamber and Associate Dean, David Eccles School of Business, University of Utah. “Utah’s economy is becoming more and more global and world events can—and do—impact us locally.”

Due to the complicated nature of today’s economy, this report details both sectors and issues relevant to the state and metro outlook. Topics explored include the labor market, demographics, Utah’s tech sector, general trade and commerce, notable development projects and commercial real estate markets. Examination of these topics will provide a greater understanding of today’s complex economic environment.

Dynamic Global Environment

The report features how global events far from the mountain west are affecting the economic well being of Salt Lake County and Utah in general. Utah is more connected to the world than ever before as international trade supports 356,000 jobs within the state, and the share of jobs tied to trade more than doubled over the last two decades. Slowing emerging markets, conflicts in Russia, Syria and throughout the Middle East, an increasingly assertive China, and changing demographics all influence markets, sentiment and economic activity – impacting a more global Utah.

“Globally, the economic picture remains complicated,” said Darin Mellott, Senior Research Analyst, CBRE. “Though Utah’s economic growth is outperforming the national economy and looks bright, further examination demonstrates a very complicated global economic environment.”

Labor Market

The labor market is a focal point of economic discussion in Utah. With an unemployment rate of 3.5%, Utah now lauds the second-lowest unemployment rate in the nation. This is especially impressive considering that statewide unemployment peaked at 8.4% in January 2010. While this certainly indicates a recovery, experts close to the issue remain cautious. Unemployment rates alone do not provide a complete picture of conditions and must be considered in the context of other employment figures—some of which raise concerns about Utah’s labor market.

Traditionally, low unemployment rates are indicative of markets at full employment. But even as Utah boasts a low rate, wage levels have been slow to rise. In Salt Lake County, nominal wage growth averaged 2.1% per year over the last five years—which is essentially flat in real terms—and similar trends can been seen at a state and national level. This suggests Utah remains below full employment despite its low unemployment rate. Such a seemingly contradictory condition raises questions about the condition of the labor force itself, its makeup and skill.“Adding to the complexity of the economy is Utah’s student debt, having increased by 58 percent since 2005,” said Joseph Farrell, Research Analyst, CBRE. “Utah had the fifth largest increase in student debt from 2005 to 2012. More than half of this increase can be traced back to tuition hikes. Though Utah’s average student loan debt is among the lowest in the nation, decreased parental and state contributions leave Utah more reliant on debt to finance their education.”

Business Activity

Despite the mixed labor outlook, Utah has outstripped nominal values of venture funding by high profile tech hubs such as California and Massachusetts. A recent CNBC poll put Utah in first place for access to capital. Utah County alone outperformed 39 other states in terms of venture capital per capita. Overall, Utah placed third behind California and Massachusetts.

Notable Projects

Several notable projects across the valley will provide significant impact to the local economy. Most notable among them is the redevelopment of the Salt Lake International Airport. The $1.8 billion dollar project will not be funded by taxes or public funds. Passenger fees, retail rents, bonds and airport usage fees charged to airlines will cover the tab.

“Indicative of Utah’s growing global connections, we as a community are choosing to invest in a world-class airport,” said, Gochnour. “Prudent financial management and thoughtful economic leadership are allowing a project of this magnitude to move forward without a single tax increase.”

Commercial Real Estate

The industrial market has experienced strong demand; over 2.5 million square feet of industrial space broke ground during the first three quarters of 2014, and large amounts of new supply are planned to enter the market in coming months. Availability continues to remain favorably low, ending the third quarter of 2014 at 8.4 percent.

Utah’s strong economy is supporting demand for commercial investment properties. Asset prices in Salt Lake are favorable relative to many larger metro areas, thus providing investors with higher returns compared to primary markets. Going forward investor activity is expected to remain strong with higher levels of market activity through the end of 2014.

To learn more about the 2014 Economic Outlook, visit http://slchamber.com.

About the Chamber

The Salt Lake Chamber is Utah’s largest business association and Utah’s business leader. A statewide chamber of commerce with members in all 29 Utah counties, the Chamber represents 7,700 businesses and approximately 500,000 Utah jobs—nearly half the workforce of our state. With roots that date back to 1887, the Chamber stands as the voice of business, supports its members’ success and champions community prosperity.

Utah Business Leaders Reveal a Collaborative Five-year Plan to make Utah a Top Ten State in Education

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Plan focuses on reversing Utah’s downward trend in reading, math, high school completion and college degrees to ensure the state’s quality of life


Business and community leaders unveiled a five-year plan to elevate Utah into the top ten in U.S. educational systems, at an Academic Excellence conference held at the Grand America Hotel, Tuesday, Oct. 28. Business, education and opinion leaders collaborated on the plan that provides a framework to move Utah forward in reading, math, high school completion and post-high school certificates and degrees.

“Across America, the most vibrant economies put education first, and this five year plan is a big step in that direction in Utah,” said Richard Kendell, former commissioner of Higher Education and Education First board member. “Countless research shows that a person’s earning power and the economic strength of communities are directly tied to academic achievement. Consequently, our children’s education is critical for creating a legacy of prosperity for Utah.”

Utah’s education system is in on a downward trend according to some of Utah’s key academic metrics highlighted at the conference. For example, Utah’s standardized test scores have not fallen, but peer states have innovated and left Utah behind. Utah’s fourth grade students ranked 22nd in the national in math and reading, and eighth grade students ranked 27th in math and 13th in reading.

The plan, derived from extensive collaboration with educators and policymakers, includes the following goals to raise Utah to the top ten in five years:

1) Improve 4th and 8th grade math performance with technology devises, technology-based math assessment tools, endorsements and technology training for teachers, professional learning communities and STEM endorsements for teachers.

2) Improve 4th and 8th grade reading performance with K-3 reading curriculum, professional learning communities, voluntary pre-school, community schools, support for at-risk students and optional full-day kindergarten

3) Increase High School graduation rates with additional counselors and mentors, counselor training, student advocates, academic couches and tutors

4) Increase post-secondary certifications and degrees with rewards for colleges that increase completion rates; access and outreach initiatives for underserved students; programs that meet high-wage, high demand workforce needs; financial aid and scholarships for lower and middle income students

Governor Gary Herbert, businesswoman Gail Miller, and Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie voiced their support for education. Data show that young people who graduate high school and go on to achieve degrees and certifications, are more likely to become leaders, innovators and achievers, and are better prepared to support the growth of crucial business sectors including technology, science, health and medicine. Utah is globally recognized for its pro-business climate and remarkable economic recovery in recent years, but there is room for improvement. Much of Utah’s forecasted job growth is for low-wage jobs, Utah’s GDP has grown, but only modestly; Utah’s household income has stalled for the last 15 years; and of the state’s 20 largest employers, most are government and only four are private sector companies.

“In order to continue to be an economic powerhouse, Utah needs to make strategic investments and reforms,” said Beattie. “That is why we’re making the education of Utah’s children a top priority, by developing this five-year plan.”

The plan calls for an investment in education of $672.5 million over five years, which is described as affordable by collaborators.

The conference also featured compelling success stories by Utah and out-of-state educators who have innovated to boost academic achievement. Sara Krebs, M. Ed., Literacy Coordinator for Cache County School District, described the impact working in small groups can have in helping children achieve reading proficiency rates 10-20 points higher than the state. Gina Butters, principal of Roy High School spoke of the collaborative effort of elementary, junior high and high school staff to help more students graduate from high school. Melissa Miller Kincart, assistant commissioner for outreach access in the Utah System of Higher Ed, described the state’s innovative and nationally-recognized approach to training school counselors to better prepare students for college. David Pattinson, founder and CEO of David Pattinson’s American Future, a non-profit focused on developing solutions to youth unemployment, described his innovations to improve the career planning and development process for youth. And, Eric Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute of Stanford University spoke, of his numerous, highly-cited studies on the effects of class size reduction, high-stakes accountability, value-added assessments of teacher quality and other education-related topics.

Alan Hall, chair of Prosperity 2020 summed up the day by saying, “This conference and five-year plan are a starting point for moving Utah’s academic achievement forward. The plan is a work in progress, and we welcome business owners, elected officials, educators and parents to get the plan, get involved, and get behind this movement to take Utah’s education system to the next level. We cannot be complacent. Our children and our children’s children deserve the very best.”

To read the plan and see video and written highlights of the conference, visit Educationfirstutah.org. To keep up to date on the top ten education movement, follow #UTED2Top10 and @Education1stUT on Twitter.


Public Policy – October Update

Monday, October 27th, 2014










Public Policy – October Update

As the “Voice of Business” and Utah’s statewide Chamber, the Salt Lake Chamber leads out on critical issues that impact Utah businesses and our community. In the coming weeks, here is how we plan to “move the dial” to grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah, as well as ways for you to participate for the month of October and beyond.

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Public Policy 

Natalie Gochnour, Associate Dean in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah and chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber, addresses the Utah state budget in her article published on October 3 in the Deseret News. The Salt Lake Chamber will be working over the next few months with key partners, legislators and the Governor’s office to address Utah’s big three — education, transportation and water — which all have significant needs. A growing economy requires investment in human and physical capital. As a high-growth state, Utah must provide Utah’s workforce with the skills of the 21st century and constantly maintain and invest in roads, pipelines and other infrastructure. It costs a lot of money to stay in front of the curve.

In addition, the Salt Lake Chamber’s executive board will be reviewing and approving the 2015 policy positions in the coming months. The public policy guide serves as the platform for the business community’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session, desired action in Washington and other key community issues. You can find the 2014 Public Policy Guide here.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Energy and MineralsFall Energy Trip (Oct. 21-22) 

The next Energy Mineral Task Force meeting will be held November 12th from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m.

Last week the Salt Lake Chamber and Utah Office of Energy participated in the 2014 Fall Energy Excursion into Utah’s coal country and southeastern energy producing counties. The one-night, two-day excursion built on the success of previous excursions to the Uinta Basin (Fall 2013) and Milford/Beaver (Spring 2014). A report of this successful trip will be at the upcoming Task Force meeting.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Prosperity 2020

On Tuesday, October 28, Prosperity 2020 and Education First will announce a 5-year plan to take Utah’s education to the top ten by 2020. The plan is the result of collaboration over the past few years with education stakeholders and will serve as a starting point for a long-term state plan to improve education outcomes in Utah.

Key drivers of performance have been identified in discussions at the Governor’s Commission on Educational Excellence, the Legislative Education Task Force chaired by Senate and House leadership, Legislative education committees, in focus groups with superintendents, principals, teachers and others, and elsewhere.

The plan will be announced publicly at the AcademicXL conference to a select group of 300 leaders in education, government, businesses and parents. Details will be shared through social media throughout the morning.

Review the plan and sign up to support education by following prosperity2020.com. Tune in on October 28, 8:30 a.m. to noon to follow the discussion.

Please contact Allyson Bell at abell@slchamber.com or Jana Scott jscott@prosperity2020.com for information.

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Natural Resources Business Council

The Natural Resource Business Council represents an inclusive approach to multiple sectors of Utah’s economy. The Council is the guiding body for the water, energy and minerals, and outdoor recreation and tourism task forces.

Every other month, we meet as a group of four-task forces and then in the off months each task force meets independently. This not only drives unity, but helps the Chamber maximize its staff resources and alleviate conflicts and silos.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com. 

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Clean Air: 4th Annual Clean Air Summit Scheduled for Early December

The Next Clean Air Task Force meeting will be held November 4th.

This month the Clean Air Task Force met with the Natural Resources Business Council to discuss Envision Utah’s Clean Air Action Team Policy recommendations. The recommendations include actions related to Tier 3 fuels and vehicles, addressing wood burning, investing in public and active transportation, adopting a rule to require supplies to sell only ultra-low NOx water heaters and adjusting new building codes to promote energy efficiency. The Chamber is currently in support of several recommendations, but is not endorsing or adopting all the recommendations at this time. In addition, the Clean Air Task Force heard from Representative Becky Edwards to discuss legislation regarding the state’s air quality regulatory powers. Additionally, the Task Force will begin work on the second Inversion Mitigation Effort, through which we encourage the business community to do what they can to reduce emissions during our winter inversion season.  The Task Force will continue to develop an agenda for the 4th Annual Clean Air Summit scheduled for December 4, 2014.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Ryan Evans at (801) 328-5063 or REvans@slchamber.com.

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Water: Water Task Force

The next Water Task Force meeting will be held November 20th.

Natalie Gochnour, Associate Dean in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah and chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber, spoke at the Utah Water Law Conference about the future of Utah. The conference included keynote speakers Tage Flint, CEO of Weber Basin Water Conservancy District and Warren H. Peterson Vice President of Farmland Reserve. Water conservation remains a critical issue for the state. As we enter the 2015 legislative session it is important to make water a continual priority.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Outdoor Recreation & Tourism

The Outdoor Recreation Office has been working on new policy initiatives. The first concerns HB 133, which established priorities for opening and maintaining Utah’s national monuments, national forests and national recreation areas during fiscal emergencies. The second initiative is to advocate new legislation to fund backcountry rescues. New legislation would establish a secondary source of funding for the existing search and rescue programs. Additonally, a voluntary search and rescue card could be purchased by individuals or families. Utah has suffered heavy financial burdens from search and rescue assignments and the SAR cards would provide an insurance against costs of rescue within the state. Colorado and New Hampshire have implemented similar programs. It is important to continue to promote best practices to help overcome issues within the outdoor recreation industry.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Jesse Dean at (801) 328-5045 or jesse@downtownslc.org.

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Utah Transportation Coalition: Unified Plan Needs a Unified Front to Fund Transportation

The Utah Transportation Coalition will be holding their next executive committee meeting on November 13th.

Later this fall the Utah Transportation Coalition will be unveiling their public education campaign to communicate the value of transportation in local business communities. Last week the Utah Transportation Coalition hosted a roundtable discussion with former New York City Transportation Commissioner, Janette Sadik-Kahn, at the Salt Lake City Chamber. We’re excited to announce that the Utah Transportation Coalition Chairman, David R. Golden, was invited to speak at a Colorado Transportation Summit at request of the Colorado Department of Transportation. In addition, H. David Burton has stepped down as co-chair of the Utah Transportation Coalition because of his recent appointment as Chair of Utah Transit Authority; we deeply appreciate H. David Burton’s leadership and contributions to the coalition during his role as chair.

For more details visit www.utahtransportation.org or contact Michael Merrill at (801) 328-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com. 

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Downtown Alliance: Downtown Still Rising

Downtown property owners met with Salt Lake City planning staff to discuss the Downtown Master Plan after it received a favorable recommendation for the Salt Lake City Planning Commission. The Master Plan is intended to be a 25-year vision and implementation plan that will guide future growth and development downtown. Property owners voiced several concerns to the city over the regulatory nature of some of the visioning principle,s as well as the lack of a cohesive economic development strategy that will help to define downtown’s future as the regional center for culture, commerce and entertainment. The plan and its subsequent recommendations from the business community, are set to be reviewed before being adopted by the Salt Lake City Council in November.

For more information on the Downtown Master Plan, please visit downtownplanslc.com. If you are interested in learning more please contact Director of Urban Development, Jesse Dean, at jesse@downtownslc.org.

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Health System Reform 

The next Health System Reform Task Force meeting will be held November 20th.

The Health System Reform Task Force hosted a casual breakfast discussion with 4th District Congressional Candidates Mia Love (R) and Doug Owens (D). Both candidates addressed their views on implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Immigration Reform Efforts, Federal Transportation Efforts and Federal Regulations. Expect more updates from the Task Force in the upcoming weeks. In the most recent meeting, the Health Systems Reform Task force addressed Governor Herbert’s Healthy Utah report. The Governor has decided to not call a special session for the plan, and instead wait for the legislature to address it in the upcoming 2015 session. An article about the Governor’s plan can be seen here.

If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Justin Jones at (801) 558-9371 or jjones@slchamber.com.

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International: Utah Global Forum

World Trade Center Utah is hosting Rural Utah International Business Forum on November 3rd from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in Vernal. The Forum will discuss opportunities for rural businesses to participate in the global economy and the process for international expansion and exporting. Registration is free, but is limited to 90 attendees. Register online here.

For questions regarding the Utah Global Forum please visit: http://www.utahglobalforum.com/.

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This Week in the Utah Business Report

Friday, October 24th, 2014

In case you missed one or more of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Business Reports on KSL NewsRadio, here is a recap of what we talked about this week.

For the full recorded reports from this week and weeks past, visit KSL NewsRadio online. Remember to tune in between 12:30 and 1 p.m. to KSL NewsRadio every week day on 102.7 FM or 1160 AM. If your business is doing something great, let us know and we may feature it on the Utah Business Report.

Are you looking to save a little money at the pharmacy?

In just two years Utahns have saved $12,311,092 on prescription drug refills by using the Utah Drug Card. The card is available through the Salt Lake Chamber, offering savings of up to 75 percent on prescription drugs.

The cost of health care has risen dramatically in recent years and it’s having a very real impact on businesses, families and individuals. We continue to work on our efforts to drive down health insurance costs for business in our state but this allows us to provide intermediate relief as a statewide business organization and as a good community partner.

The card can be used at more than 56,000 pharmacies across the country. The Utah Drug Card provides Utah residents with a simple solution to the confusing maze of discount prescription programs that have appeared in recent years. Many of these programs only cover certain drugs, charge fees, and some have membership restrictions such as age and income requirements.

Take a moment to check out this great community benefit. For more information visit slchamber.com or Utah drug card.com.

President Barack Obama has appointed Holland & Hart Partner Jody Williams as Commissioner of the Bear River Commission. For more than 30 years, Williams has focused her practice on water law and helped clients navigate the complexities of doing business in the Mountain West. Throughout her career she has been involved in the complex water issues in the Bear River Basin.

With a national reputation for water law, she understands the complex, competing demands for water across the West and the political, economic and social contexts in which disputes arise.

As a long-time problem solver and Chamber member, Williams has negotiated resolution of these conflicts with agencies, diverse stakeholders and public interest groups. She is recognized throughout the industry for her knowledge of water rights, natural resources, commercial real estate transactions and energy law.

She has been an essential voice for getting the Salt Lake Chamber engaged in the water conversations. Congratulations, Jody! For more information visit hollandhart.com.

We need your help in shaping the future of the Central Wasatch Mountains with the Mountain Accord initiative!

Mountain Accord is a multi-phase initiative that seeks to make critical decisions regarding the future of the central Wasatch Mountains. It will holistically evaluate and address issues and goals centered on four topic areas: environment, recreation, transportation and economy.

Mountain Accord is a collaboration between public and private interests, including state and local governments, federal agencies and business and grassroots organizations. Public involvement is an important component of this effort, and input received from the public will be used to inform and guide the process.

Few places in the world have a natural asset as valuable as the Central Wasatch Mountains are to the communities surrounding them. The mountains provide us with water, easy access to superb recreational opportunities, landscape-scale habitat protection and they serve as the place-maker for our region.

Visit mountainaccord.com today to be part of this great effort.

While it may not jump immediately to mind, superior wastewater handling ranks among the necessities that contribute to our high quality of life.

The South Valley Sewer District provides service to an area of approximately 108 square miles in southern Salt Lake County and northern Utah County with nearly 58,000 connections.

South Valley Sewer District completed energy efficiency improvements at its Jordan Basin Water Reclamation Facility in Riverton with help from Rocky Mountain Power’s wattsmart Business program.

The improvements reduced annual electricity use by 2 million kilowatt-hours and provide cost savings of more than $122,000 per year. They also received technical expertise and cash incentives from Rocky Mountain Power totaling more than $252,000.

To find out if Rocky Mountain Power’s wattsmart Business program is right for your energy efficiency project, visit wattsmart.com.

Kimberly Angeli-Selin, Senior Director of programming and events of Downtown Alliance, was recently recognized with a Slow Food Utah “Snail Award.” During the non-profit culinary organization’s annual “Feast of Five Senses” Dinner and Fundraiser, Kim was recognized as a Community Leader in Utah’s Food world, due in part to her dedicated work with the Downtown Farmer’s Market at Pioneer Park. Her support and passion for our community’s farmers, growers, food purveyors and her love for our community is evidenced in this work and in the thriving market that happens for 20 weeks out of every year.

Slow Food Utah’s Snail Awards were launched in 2012 as a way of recognizing those people who are ardent supporters and believers in the Slow Food mission; which is to provide good, clean and fair food for everyone. Slow Food people are connoisseurs of taste, protectors of food heritage and champions of local producers.

Congratulations, Kim!

For more information visit slchamber.com

A Proposed Plan of Action for Education in Utah

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, Prosperity 2020 and Education First will announce the 5-year plan to take Utah’s education levels back to being in the top ten.

Utah has a robust pro-business climate that has rebounded nicely from the recession, and that is recognized nationally by multiple authorities. Yet the overall health of Utah’s economy still shows signs of weakness that, if not addressed, spell trouble for Utah’s ability to sustain long-term prosperity for Utah’s communities and families. The good news is that virtually every one of these ailments can be remedied through targeted investments in education, investments that will produce a tremendous economic return as they increase both K-12 and post-secondary achievement for Utah residents.

Did you know that Utah no longer ranks as high as it once did in key educational metrics such as third grade reading and math? The plan being presented to the Governor and Legislator will be a turning point for Utah’s falling trend of educational performance. It is the result of collaboration over the past four years with business leaders and education stakeholders statewide and will serve as a starting point for a long-term state plan to energize education.

Across America today, the most vibrant, economically healthy cities and states are those with the highest numbers of college graduates, while those on economic life support encompass substantially smaller populations of adults with postsecondary credentials. Recent research by Stanford economics professor Rebecca Diamond found that economic regions producing large numbers of college graduates attract high-skill, high-wage jobs, that then attract even more college graduates, lifestyle amenities, and high-wage employment in an escalating pattern that rapidly builds the region’s quality of life. Of course, the reverse is also true; those regions that fail to prioritize high levels of college completion face an economic death spiral of low educational attainment, loss of jobs and personal income, housing blight, and urban decay.

The plan will be announced publicly at the Academic XL Conference of over 300 leaders in education, government, business and to parents from across the state.

To learn more, visit prosperity2020.com and educationfirstutah.org. Leave your comments and sign up to support education in Utah. We need your input on this plan! During the conference you can follow the conversation by following #UTED2Top10 from 8:30 to noon.


Communities Report Progress at Annual Wasatch Choice for 2040 Consortium

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Long-term planning continues with statewide “Your Utah. Your Future.” initiative

Thursday, October 23, hundreds of community leaders will gather for the Wasatch Choice for 2040 Consortium meeting to highlight planning efforts and provide a progress update on six large-scale improvement projects fulfilling the Wasatch Choice for 2040 Vision to create more livable communities throughout the state.

Featured projects are currently underway in American Fork, Draper, Ogden, Provo, Salt Lake City and South Salt Lake. The development and planning of these projects utilized the principles espoused by the Wasatch Choice for 2040 Vision and the tools created by the effort that were released last year. These tools allow cities to test planning scenarios and help them implement their plans as they relate to the regional vision. The Consortium meeting will also highlight the recently launched “Your Utah. Your Future.” initiative, which will take a multi-generational look at the top issues facing the state.

The Wasatch Choice for 2040 Consortium meeting will include more than 450 elected officials, planners, engineers, business and community leaders whose purpose is to create a better plan for the state’s future. This event will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center and interviews with Wasatch Front Regional Council Executive Director Andrew Gruber, Provo Mayor John Curtis, American Fork Mayor James H. Hadfield  and Draper Mayor Troy K. Walker will take place.


The Wasatch Choice for 2040 Consortium—comprised of the American Planning Association, Envision Utah, the Mountainland Association of Governments, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, the University of Utah, the Utah Department of Transportation, the Utah Transit Authority, the Wasatch Front Regional Council and many other public and private partners came together to develop tools and implement the Wasatch Choice for 2040 Vision. The annual Consortium provides an opportunity to continue a collaborative approach to shaping the region’s future.

Ogden and Salt Lake Rank in the Top 5 U.S. Cities for Young Computer Professionals

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Research from Change the Equation has named Ogden and Salt Lake City as two of the top five cities for young computer professionals. Here’s a link to the blog posting about the list: http://changetheequation.org/blog/top-5-us-cities-young-computer-professionals.

“You might think computer science is a young person’s game dominated by whiz kids in hoodies. Think again. Nationally, a mere six percent of the computing workforce is younger than 25, compared to 13 percent of the workforce as a whole. What’s more, the computing workforce is aging. This year, 43 percent is 45 or older, up from 35 percent in 2001.”

“Yet a handful of metro areas are attracting far more than their share of young computing professionals. Don’t expect to see the usual suspects on this list. (Less than four percent of San Jose’s computer professionals are under 25, for example.) Young people are finding computing careers far from Silicon Valley.”

“Based on our analysis of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, here are the the top five cities for young computer professionals:

5. McAllen, Texas

4. Salt Lake City, Utah

3. Ogden, Utah

2. El Paso, Texas

1. Madison, Wisconsin”

Office Depot Member Benefit

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Dear Salt Lake Chamber Member,

The Salt Lake Chamber serves the regional business community by connecting members with trusted solutions and resources that provide true business impact. As you may be aware, one of our member benefits is a series of member discounts that help our members save time and money on business-critical products and services.

Our partnership with Office Depot provides Salt Lake Chamber members access to a $70 million group purchasing program.  The program includes a very aggressive 650-item core list, an 18,000 item non-core “market-less” pricing structure and even customized pricing. In addition to online ordering and next day delivery, Chamber members have retail store access that includes a program for all of your employees, copy and print pricing and so much more.

While many members of the Chamber have discovered this program, many more have not and there is an especially good opportunity for huge savings with a company like yours.  There is an added benefit; when members participate in this program, Office Depot provides financial support that allows the Chamber to continue serving the local business community through our advocacy, business development and educational programming.  It’s a win-win proposition.

The best way for us to help you understand it is for us to introduce our Office Depot team to you to discuss the benefits of the program. In the next few weeks, you can expect a call from a team member to schedule an appointment.  There is no obligation and ALL of the programs and pricing are available to you as a member of the Chamber.  Office Depot will even do a price analysis to demonstrate your potential significant savings opportunity.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Warren Schroer at 801-918-4329 or warren.schroer@officedepot.com    


Brian Lemke

Vice President of Business Development

Salt Lake Chamber


This Week in the Utah Business Report

Friday, October 17th, 2014

In case you missed one or more of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Business Reports on KSL NewsRadio, here is a recap of what we talked about this week.

For the full recorded reports from this week and weeks past, visit KSL NewsRadio online. Remember to tune in between 12:30 and 1 p.m. to KSL NewsRadio every week day on 102.7 FM or 1160 AM. If your business is doing something great, let us know and we may feature it on the Utah Business Report.

CLEARLINK employees completed Walk 4 Water 2014 and raised $40,000 for clean water in Rwanda. After walking from Las Vegas to Salt Lake over two weeks, CLEARLINKers celebrated on the final stretch from Salt Air to CLEARLINK headquarters on Friday, October 10. On Friday walkers were shuttled from CLEARLINK’s office to Salt Air. The 10-mile stretch from Salt Air to CLEARLINK along the North Temple frontage road was the final stage of Walk 4 Water this year.

For this company initiative, 300+ employees walked hundreds of miles and nearly eight million steps as a way to bring a clean water system to Rwanda. Phil Hansen, CEO of CLEARLINK, had a strong desire to connect employees to a cause and purpose outside of their day-to-day and it has been a huge success. Working together to fundraise has been a great way to build employee camaraderie and morale.

For more information about this event visit #walk4water2014 across all social properties. You can also visit clearlink.com

Way to go CLEARLINK employees and volunteers!

HealthInsight, a local non-profit that aims to achieve quality and effectiveness in health care, is seeking dedicated employer representatives to participate in a community coalition, the Advisory Board for the Utah Partnership for Value. The “Partnership” is a forum that brings together providers, payers, purchasers or employers and the public to improve healthcare quality and reduce costs.

The Advisory Board is meeting actively but is in need of additional employer representation. Candidates for the Advisory Board should have some knowledge of the health care system as a whole, have the ability to offer their organization’s support for initiatives and share a commitment to collaborative leadership. An exciting example of an upcoming project will be a collaboration with Consumer Reports to encourage employees to appropriately avoid unnecessary imaging services for low back pain, a significant driver of low-value health care expenditures.

Interested parties should contact Suzy Wickens: swickens@healthinsight.org.

U.S. Bank, through the U.S. Bank Foundation, is awarding a total of $68,000 in grants to 17 nonprofit organizations in the Greater Salt Lake. The grants are being awarded for organizations that support arts and culture, economic opportunity and education in the Greater Salt Lake community.

Educational grants are provided to innovative programs that help low-income and at-risk students succeed in school and prepare for post-secondary education, provide financial literacy training or offer effective mentoring programs.

The U.S. Bank Foundation contributes to the strength and vitality of local communities through partnerships that improve the educational and economic opportunities of low- and moderate-income individuals and families and enhance the cultural and artistic life of the communities in which U.S. Bancorp operates.

U.S. Bank is a proud to be a part of the Salt Lake City community. Statewide, U.S. Bank has 73 branches and employs more than 400 people.

For more information visit usbank.com

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Utah’s leading real estate services company, is also one of the best companies to work for, according to a newly released report.

The brokerage company ranked among the top 50 companies in Utah to work for, according to a report by the Deseret News and the career site Glassdoor.com. The list includes the top 50 non-governmental companies on Glassdoor.com with at least 25 reviews and a Utah location.

The workplaces were ranked using employee responses on Glassdoor.com about company culture, work-life balance, benefits, opportunities and management. All stats are taken from employee feedback on Glassdoor.com, including average pay for the most common position listed on Glassdoor. Almost half of the companies are headquartered in Utah.

Congratulations Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage! For more information about this company visit UtahHomes.com.

Cranium Cafe is a unique communication platform that adds value to student services departments for new and current students, leveraging the power of instant communication from any location or device. Cranium Cafe is pleased to announce its first social icon, the Café Now Button. This is a smaller & more sleek version of the Cafe vCard in that it has the same functionality — someone visiting your website can still initiate a Cafe with you if you’re online, and they can still schedule a later appointment if you’ve set your Cafe hours. All of that convenience has been condensed into this effective button.

The Cafe Now Button has three different sizes and color schemes so you can pick whatever fits your business needs. To play around with these options, or if you decide you want a Cafe Now Button on your website, head to the “get your button” page on craniumcafe.com. Once you decide what you like, javascript code will be generated for you to copy and paste right into your webpage. To activate it, just contact Cranium Cafe and you’ll be set to go.


Utah Broadband Project Releases Statewide Broadband Plan

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Plan focuses on leveraging, enhancing and strengthening state’s broadband infrastructure

Wednesday, October 8, the Utah Broadband Project released the Utah Broadband Plan, which details strategies and key initiatives to help increase broadband deployment, adoption and connectivity throughout the State of Utah.

“In upcoming years, broadband access will become increasingly more important,” said Kelleigh Cole, manager of the Utah Broadband Project. “This plan outlines strategic goals and initiatives to help Utah continue to be a nationwide leader in broadband deployment and adoption, and most importantly drive economic development. ”

The plan highlights nine strategies to strengthen Utah’s economy through broadband development. It focuses on using broadband technologies to support economic development, education, transportation, public safety and other key sectors by teaching best practices to local governments and better connecting rural Utah to the global economy.

Specifically, these initiatives include developing the nation’s first commercial broadband map, working with partners to connect Utah’s remaining schools and libraries to broadband networks, encouraging broadband deployment best practices, teaching urban and rural communities businesses strategies to leverage broadband deployment and continuing strategic partnerships, particularly the Utah Broadband Advisory Council.

“Utah is already a leader in economic growth because of its commitment to broadband,” said Val Hale, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “As the economy continues to shift online, broadband must continue to be a priority to maintain our economic growth and preserve our recognition as one of the best states for business and careers.”

The Utah Broadband Plan is the culmination of a five-year process which included the development of seven regional broadband teams, analysis on broadband adoption trends and soliciting the feedback of stakeholders across Utah. The Utah Broadband Project will be working with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Utah Broadband Advisory Council and other key stakeholders to determine the appropriate implementation process for the plan.

A full version of the plan can be found at the Utah Broadband Project’s website at broadband.utah.gov.

About the Utah Broadband Project

Web: broadband.utah.gov

The Utah Broadband Project is a joint effort between the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Public Service Commission (PSC), and the Department of Technology Services’ Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC) to develop a statewide map of available broadband services and a plan to increase broadband adoption and deployment in Utah. The Project maintains Utah’s interactive broadband availability map, and works with broadband providers to gather and verify data twice each year. The Utah Broadband Project has won several awards, including a 2011 GovMark Council Award and the 2011 January Achievement Award from the Utah Product Management Council.

About the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development

Web: business.utah.gov

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development charter is based on Governor Gary Herbert’s commitment to economic development statewide. The mandate for this office is to provide rich business resources for the creation, growth and recruitment of companies to Utah and to increase tourism and film production in the state. GOED accomplishes this mission through the administration of programs that are based around targeted industries or “economic clusters” that demonstrate the best potential for development. GOED utilizes state resources and private sector contracts to fulfill its mission. For more information please contact: Michael Sullivan, 801-538-8811 or mgsullivan@utah.gov.