This week on the Utah Business Report

Friday, April 18th, 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.

The Utah business community commends the Utah legislature for another great year for business. The 2014 General Session wrapped up in March.

Utah’s economy is in a spectacular position because of the leadership of our Governor, Legislature and our great business community working together to bring compromise for important progress for our state.

Throughout the legislative session, the Salt Lake Chamber Vote website monitored the course of 298 bills that had an impact on business in Utah. Through the Chamber Vote website, more than 9,800 emails were sent to state representatives, asking them to act on policy decisions.

Eleven of 13 business community priority bills passed, and the average of “yes” votes on priority bills stood at 83 percent. With a 93 percent passage of supported bills, 2014 was an excellent year for Utah’s business community.

The newly released Salt Lake Chamber 2014 Legislative Scorecard highlights how the business community’s policy priorities fared. You can find the Legislative Scorecard at slchamber.com.

The landscape of doing business is constantly evolving and women are stepping forward even more.

The fourth annual American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses Report indicates that Utah has an estimated 73-thousand women-owned firms, employing more than 58-thousand people and doing 13 billion dollars in sales. Since 1997, the national number of women-owned business has increased 68 percent. Utah alone has seen growth of 73.8 percent over that same period.

Talk about women making business happen.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s third annual Center for Women in Business Summit last month, celebrated the successes of business women around the country. This national summit also marked the launch of a new report, titled, “Women-Owned: Businesses Carving a New American Business Landscape.” This report highlights the growing impact of women entrepreneurs and small business owners on the national economy. The report also says that Utah is one of the top states for self-employed women with a special mention of the Chamber’s Women’s Business Center. You can find more information at slchamber.com.

When people think of the Red Cross they usually think of donating blood or large disasters, like the 2011 tornadoes and Hurricane Sandy. With all the attention received by major disasters, people don’t realize the most common disaster threats aren’t earthquakes or floods—it’s home fires and wildfires.

In fact, the Red Cross in Utah responded to more than 220 families who were affected by house fires in the last year. They help by providing families emotional and physical support, a warm place to stay, food and clothing to start with the recovery process. Red Cross also continually works with communities to be as prepared as possible.

During the months of May and June, the “Fire Hurts, Red Cross Helps” campaign will be drawing attention to this danger. They seek strong champions for this campaign and improve safety in our state. Fire hurts… and you can help too.

If you are business owner or individual wishing to participate please visit redcross.org/Utah. The American Red Cross is a non-governmental organization who relies on the generosity of our communities to continue our services.

Dental Select, a nationally recognized dental insurance company, recently released a new mobile identification card app for smartphones.

Staying current with technology, the app creates simple and quick access to dental and vision ID cards. Users can save or email a virtual ID card, making it simple to transfer records to the patient’s provider and eliminating the need to carry a paper ID card.

Dental Select’s mobile app is now available for Android and iOS devices. Downloads are free for all Dental Select subscribers of and covered family members.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Dental Select is a privately-held company with 25 of experience providing benefits for groups, families and individuals. Founded in 1989, Dental Select has licenses to sell its insurance plans in 19 different states.

Dental Select was named by Inc. Magazine as one of the 500 fastest growing privately held businesses in the United States and is ranked as Utah’s No. 1 dental benefits provider.

For the fifth year in a row, SelectHealth was ranked highest in member satisfaction among other health plans in the Intermountain West region. The J.D. Power 2014 Member Health Plan Study measures satisfaction among more than 34,000 members of 136 health plans in 18 regions in the county. SelectHealth received the highest ranking in each of the study’s categories.

At SelectHealth, member advocates work with patients to help them find the right doctor for their needs, schedule appointments or find a nearby health care facility with availability appointments.

The personal touch of SelectHealth resonates with consumers. One SelectHealth member recently noted their “tone and attitude let me know that they were on my side, which was a very pleasant surprise.”

At the end of the day, quality service is the key to superior customer experience and engenders a feeling of trust and dependability—something every business should be instilling in their customers. Congratulations, SelectHealth, for being among the best of the best!

For the full 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.

Resources available for women who want to be entrepreneurs

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

ABC 4 News invited the Chamber’s Women’s Business Center Director Ann Marie Thompson to do a feature on the resources that woman seeking to be entrepreneurs have available to them in Utah.

ABC 4 invited the WBC to join them because of their feature in the “Women-Owned: Businesses Carving A New American Business Landscape” report by the U.S. Chamber, which was released at the end of March.

Watch the interview above or click here to watch it on ABC 4 News.

Member Roundup

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Member Roundup is a weekly blog highlighting news from Salt Lake Chamber members. If you want to see your business’ news here, please send it to news@slchamber.com

*   *   *

New Members

Men Of Justice And Compassion
Certified Fire Protection
Colonial Flag
Wallaby Bags
TapSnap
Strongbook Group
Utah Technology Magazine
Austin Engineering
Weber Basin Water Agency
Washaki Renewable Energy
Pridestaff
Cranium Café
Listen Technologies
The Depot
Clock Tower Catering
Radiate Media
Syloet
LunaSoft
March of Dimes
Sprague Pest Solutions
Addictive Behaviors Motor Works
BOMA
Godfrey Trucking

 

Press Releases

Destination Homes Awarded Best of State for Residential Home Builder

Red Cross Offers Steps to Help Cope After Military Shootings

Dental Select Launches New Mobile App

League of American Orchestras’ Board Names Patricia A. Richards as Chair Elect

 

Upcoming Events

4/18 & 4/19 – Mahler Symphony No. 5 – Utah Symphony
4/25 – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Addictive Behavior Motor Works
4/25 & 4/26 - Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3 - Utah Symphony
4/29 – BBQ at the Box in Ogden – The Christmas Box International
4/30 - BBQ at the Box in SLC – The Christmas Box International
5/9 – 5/24 – “Sweet Charity” – Pioneer Theatre

See more on the Chamber’s Community Calendar here. 

Etc. 

FOX TV show Utopia is casting local business owners and entrepreneurs in the Salt Lake area during the Salt Lake Comic Con Fan Xperience this week. Find more details here.

Apply for the Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs Contest and enter to win up to $25,000 — presented by Comcast Business. Submissions due April 30.

*   *   *

If you want to see your business’ news here, please send it to news@slchamber.com

This week on the Utah Business Report

Saturday, April 12th, 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.

Rocky Mountain Power recently recognized Weber State University as the 2014 wattsmart Business Partner of the Year for their commitment to energy efficiency.

Since 2003, Weber State has taken advantage of Rocky Mountain Power’s energy efficiency programs to help reduce the energy use of lighting, heating and cooling, and other equipment to lower costs and attain environmental goals.

Weber State’s projects have achieved impressive results. The university has received approximately one million dollars in Rocky Mountain Power wattsmart Business incentives since 2003 to help offset efficiency upgrade costs. The improvements have reduced energy consumption by 30 percent, saving the school more than 10.8 million kilowatt-hours in electricity and 540-thousand dollars in energy costs annually.

If you’d like to learn more and see if Rocky Mountain Power’s wattsmart Business program is right for your business, visit wattsmart.com.

Cuisine Unlimited Catering and Special Events of Salt Lake City was recently recognized as one of seven regional finalists for the U.S. Chamber’s 2014 Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award. As the Western regional finalist, Cuisine Unlimited stood out among companies from Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah for its exceptional business practices and community involvement.

U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue said Cuisine Unlimited is a prime example of the powerful contributions small businesses can make not only in their communities and their states, but also to the country’s economic recovery.

The Dream Big Small Business of Year Award honors businesses that excel in strategic planning, employee development, community involvement, and customer service. The U.S. Chamber will recognize Cuisine Unlimited, the six other regional finalists and 100 Blue Ribbon Award winners at the 10th annual America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C., this June. During the summit, one regional finalist will be named the Dream Big Small Business of the Year and receive a $10,000 cash prize from the U.S. Chamber.

Join us in congratulating Cuisine Unlimited on this great recognition!

Because of the continued reliance on technology for both personal and business use, it’s important for everyone to have a basic knowledge of how to use technology.

The Applied Technology Foundation assists low income families and youth by providing computer equipment, technical support, and training in technology and computer skills. This community service is made possible through the generous donations of corporations and individuals.

Donated computers are wiped clean, refurbished and provided with new operating systems and necessary software. Computer equipment that cannot be given to those in need is recycled lawfully and in a way that preserves the environment.

There are several ways you can help this cause. Donate your old or unused computer equipment. Volunteer your techn ical skills to help refurbish computers for a worthy cause. Help train and mentor those in need with technical skills.

Applied Technology Foundation will pick up your donation for free, or you can take your donation to their office in Bountiful. For more details, visit AppliedTechnologyFoundation.org.

Tonight is one of the Salt Lake Chamber’s biggest events of the year as we honor former Utah Governor Michael O. Leavitt as a Giant In Our City. The Giant In Our City award is the most prestigious business award given in Utah. It’s our great honor and privilege to honor Governor Leavitt, who will be the 35th person to receive this award.

From his public service to his success in the private sector, Governor Leavitt has had the vision and determination that has elevated the quality of life for all Utahns.

Elected to office three times, Leavitt served as Utah’s chief executive from 1993 to 2003. During his tenure as governor, Utah had the longest sustained economic expansion in modern state history. He was appointed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in 2003, then secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in 2005 by President George W. Bush.

The Giant In Our City gala will take place at the Grand America Hotel tonight. To learn more about this award and event, please visit slchamber.com/giant.

If you’re looking for a fun vacation this year, the Salt Lake Chamber is taking not one, but two international trips in 2014. We’d love for you to join us!

Now is the perfect time to start planning your summer vacation. Cruise with the Chamber in May as we set sail for the Eastern Mediterranean onboard the Norwegian Jade, “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line.” Enjoy five ports of call in Italy, Croatia, Greece and Turkey on this 9-day trip. The price includes airfare and taxes.

And in October, we will explore the Wonders of Thailand. This international trip includes visits to Bangkok, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai. Visit golden temples, ride an elephant and marvel at the beauty of Bangkok on this unforgettable trip. You can book and save on the trip to Thailand until May 1.

Chamber International trips are open to all; you do not need to be a member to travel with us. You won’t want to miss our trips to Thailand and the Eastern Mediterranean. For more information on our international trips coming up this year, visit slchamber.com.

For the full 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.

A Giant In Our City – Michael O. Leavitt

Friday, April 11th, 2014

On Thursday, April 10, the Salt Lake Chamber honored former Utah governor Michael O. Leavitt as A Giant In Our City, one of the most prestigious business awards in the state. You can learn more about the award here.

To a crowd of more than 1,500 people, from business and community leaders to politicians and more, former Massachusetts governor and former presidential nominee Mitt Romney shared a handful of personal memories, including those involving Gov. Leavitt’s love for practical jokes.

It was a wonderful evening as we honored such a great man. As Salt Lake Chamber President & CEO Lane Beattie said, “One of the best things about the Giant In Our City award is the inspiration these Giants give us all–to be better people and to do our part.”

See photos from the Giant in Our City event on Flickr.

Press release: http://slchamber.com/news-room/read/article/256

Media Coverage – Fox 13  |  Deseret News  |  Salt Lake Tribune 

*   *   *

This was Gov. Leavitt’s acceptance speech at the Giant In Our City gala on April 10, 2014. 

Shortly after the 2008 election, Jackie and I joined Mitt and Ann, and some other friends for a short stay in a tiny Caribbean country. We were escorted to the customs office. It consisted of single desk in what looked like a warehouse building next to the airport.

While filling out the required papers Mitt came to the blank requiring occupation. He said, “Hmmm, occupation—how should I answer that?”

A member of the group made a suggestion. “Mitt, put—President, searching for a country.”

In about a year, our country will again be searching for a President. If you’re available, I, and countless others, will once again, be at your side.

A few years ago, I represented the United States at international meetings held in Russia. As part of the trip, I met with a member of the Russian Duma (their Congress). It turns out, he was a famous polar explorer. He regaled us with stories of his conquests, and displayed his awards. Let’s just say, he had a big personality.

As we stood to leave, we exchanged business cards. Underneath his name was listed his title: “Hero of the Russian People.” Now there’s a great title. Tomorrow, I’m going to order some new business cards. They will simply say, “Mike Leavitt, Giant In Our City.” How good is that?

So, thank you very much.

In all seriousness, this designation is far more than a great title. It is a singular honor. Being included on the same list as the true giants, who have previously received this honor, is among the most notable and kindest things ever expressed about me.

Your kindness is rightly shared by my wife and partner in everything, Jackie. She is the giant in my life. She is the North Star of our family. She is the person living at our address who most deserving of admiration.

I wish to recognize my children and extended family. They provide me unwavering love and support. A quick story captures a glimpse of their sacrifice.

I had been governor about for about a year. Often I sent the highway patrol security detail home when I had no public duties. An errand needed to be run, so I took our son Chase and we drove to the store in our family’s car. Chase was about eight years old at the time. When we reached the store, he looked around and said, “Daddy, what about the police?”
“The police?” I said.
“What if the police catch you not working?”

I realized he thought that the highway patrol traveled with his dad to make sure he never quit working. I knew at that moment, my life needed an adjustment.

For a young family, living in the governors’ mansion is an adventure. One day I called the family quarters at the mansion. Westin, who was about three, answered the phone. The conversation went something like this:

“Hello?”
“Can I talk to Mom?”
“She’s busy.”
“What about Anne Marie?”
“She’s busy too.”
“What are they busy doing?”
“Looking for me.”

One summer morning, our teenage sons, asked if it was okay to have a few friends over to the mansion on Friday night to see a boxing match on television. There is a large room in the basement and on nights like that, it was not uncommon to have a big group of their friends over to watch a sporting event of some sort. I would go down and enjoy it with them.

Just after dark, Jackie and drove down South Temple street, returning from an event at the University. From about 9th east I could see this very strange glow on the side of the governor’s mansion. As we got closer I could see that the entire east side of the mansion had been covered in white. The boys had used PVC pipe, rope, old bed sheets and masking tape to create a massive movie screen and draped it over the entire east side of the mansion. It looked like a drive-in movie. I could see boxers that we 30 feet tall all the way from 8th east. As I got closer I could see kids, lots and lots of kids, sitting on the lawn, noisily cheering the fighters.

As we walked up the drive way, I said to the head of the mansion security,
“What in the world is going on here?”
“Guv,” he said, “the boys said you were okay with this.”

Jackie, not a fight fan, said, “I think you need to handle this.” She retired to the house, only to find our bedroom was now covered by the backlit images of sweaty boxers.

As I got to the backyard, I noticed Mike and Taylor busily working the crowd, and their five year old brother Westin and sister, Anne Marie, at the back gate collecting admissions to cover the cost of pay-per-view. And the kids, well, they just kept coming. By the time the main event arrived, there were hundreds. To their credit, they were noisy but behaved.

I thought—what’s a guy to do at this point? I found a place on the grass and enjoyed what turned out to be a great fight night.

To our son Taylor, a teenager, the mansion was an endless opportunity for practical jokes. He had a very realistic rubber arm he would occasionally use to startle someone. I was okay with that until a particular night when we were entertaining an arts group in the main parlor. A harpist played as people mingled. As I spoke with a rather prominent woman, I could tell from her eyes that she was a bit startled and distracted—eyes focused on the fireplace. As I turned around, there it was, the arm—dangling from chimney.

There’s not much to say at a moment like that. I said, “Do you have teenagers?” The good news was, she did.

It is a tribute to Jackie, that each of our five children weathered the experience and are productive and responsible adults, in whom we are enormously proud. Best of all, they are producing grandchildren, several of whom are here tonight. Likewise, my parents and several of my brothers are here.

Being governor is a wonderful experience. Being a member of the governor’s family sometimes isn’t. They have all endured moments of ironic unfairness and remained wonderfully supportive.

As many of you know, my father’s name is Dixie. He preceded me in Utah politics, representing southern Utah in the legislature for many years. St. George is known as Utah’s Dixie. Early Mormon pioneers thought the area reminded them of the south. The word Dixie has been written in giant white letters across the red rock mesa, visible to the entire town. Tonight, I am prepared to confession that I was 15 years old before I figured out that my Dad didn’t really write his name on that mountain.

Likewise, this audience is peppered with colleagues, legislators, business leaders, supporters and friends I worked side by side with. Thank you for yet another expression of support. I will acknowledge, for all of us, what a remarkable privilege public service is. The best rewards are a sense of accomplishment and friendships. Both last forever.

And of course, I wish to thank the SL Chamber of Commerce, the sponsor of this dinner for choosing to honor me in this way. Lane Beattie, President of the Chamber, requires a special and personal thank you. Over the years, Lane and I have served shoulder to shoulder. For the entire time I was governor, Lane was either majority leader or President of the Utah Senate. As you know, the relationship between governors and legislatures are designed to produce tension. However, in the end, things have to be done, agreement has to be reached. The process requires leaders who have the confidence of their colleagues and a knack for knowing when to facilitate the deal. Many of the things history will point to as shaping the state’s future, Lane Beattie was a major force in making it happen.

The Chamber of Commerce, under Lane’s leadership, and with the support of his remarkable board, has become a powerful influence for good in our state. The organization provides important leadership in this state and a voice of reason.

We have a great state with a proud tradition of success and prosperity. I have come to understand that public leadership is a generation relay.Many of the most profound problems are not ours to solve with finality, but rather to incrementally improve during our temporary stewardship.

The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce is a part of the foundation of this great state. Thanks to them for honoring me. Thanks to all of you for attending.

Scott Parson – Getting employees involved in legislative process

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

During the the 2014 General Session, the Salt Lake Chamber Vote website monitored the course of 298 bills that had an impact on business. Through this website, upwards of 9,800 emails were sent to state representatives, asking them to act on policy decisions.

Staker & Parson Companies was responsible for sending a majority of those emails because of the engagement of their president and CEO, Scott Parson. The Salt Lake Chamber was so impressed by the company’s participation that we brought Scott in for a brief conversation about how he was able to engage employees and have his employees take action in the political process. He shares his insights on why business leaders should support employees’ involvement in the political process and how they can become a great asset for important issues. See the interview here.

To see how Utah’s business community’s policy priorities did on Capitol Hill this year, see the Chamber’s 2014 Legislative Scorecard.

This week on the Utah Business Report

Friday, April 4th, 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.

I’d like to congratulate Sue Johnson of Futura Industries for being honored with the 2014 Athena Award by the Davis Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Committee.

The prestigious Athena International Award is given to individuals who demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession; who actively assist women in realizing their full leadership potential; and those who provide valuable service to improving the quality of life for the community. Sue embodies all of these things and more.

As president and CEO of Futura Industries, she inspires a culture of interdependence, trust and uncompromising integrity among all employees. Among other accolades, Futura Industries has been named one of the top ten Family-Friendly Employers in Utah for the past 12 years.

Utah Business Magazine has recognized Sue as one of the top 10 business leaders and top five corporate leaders. She serves on the boards of Utah State University and Zions First National Bank. She also chairs the boards of Northern Utah Academy of Math, Engineering and Science, as well as the Employer’s Council. I applaud the Davis Chamber for picking such a wonderful woman to honor as their Athena winner.

April showers bring May flowers… but sometimes floods too.

A couple of weeks ago, the American Red Cross announced its new Flood App to help save lives and reduce losses from floods and flash floods.

This free app gives iPhone, iPad and Android smart phone users instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after a flood. The content is available in English and Spanish based on the user’s language settings on their mobile device. The app includes location-based, audible flood and flash flood watches and warnings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And you get these notifications even if the app is closed.

The app is the latest in the series of Red Cross emergency preparedness apps that put lifesaving information right in the hands of people whenever and wherever they need it.
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year and helps people get ready to respond to emergencies by providing these preparedness apps for free.

The Flood App, along with the others, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android.

Thanks to a partnership between the Utah Transit Authority and Salt Lake City, any Salt Lake City resident is able to purchase a Hive Pass—a one-year transit pass that’s good for all UTA modes of transportation, including TRAX, FrontRunner, the new Sugarhouse streetcar and buses. This resident pass program is the first of its kind in the country. This is a great way to improve air quality by strengthening access to public transit.

The Hive Pass is $350 for residents who pay for the pass up front, or $30 a month with a $30 initial deposit for 12 months for those who want to spread out the cost.

Just six round trips in a month cover the cost of the pass alone. So if you’re a frequent transit user—or would like to be—you could be saving hundreds of dollars over the course of the year.

To get a Hive Pass, you will be required to bring a valid Utah driver’s license or ID card, payment and proof of residency. Residents must live within Salt Lake City boundaries to qualify.

Hive Passes can be purchased at the Salt Lake City & County Building, the Salt Lake Public Utilities Office, and other locations and events. Visit RideWithHive.com for a list of events where Hive Passes will be available.

One week from today, the Salt Lake Chamber will recognize former Utah Governor Michael O. Leavitt as a Giant In Our City. The award is the most prestigious business award given in Utah. Governor Leavitt will be the 35th person to receive the award in its 44-year history. The keynote speaker for the gala will be Mitt Romney.

From his public service to his success in the private sector, he has had the vision and determination that has elevated the quality of life for all Utahns.

Elected to office three times, Leavitt served as Utah’s chief executive from 1993 to 2003. During his tenure as governor, Utah had the longest sustained economic expansion in modern state history. He was appointed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in 2003, then secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in 2005 by President George W. Bush.

The Giant In Our City gala will take place at the Grand America Hotel on the evening of Thursday, April 10, 2014. Join us in recognizing this remarkable statesman. You can register for the Giant In Our City gala at slchamber.com/giant.

If you’re looking for a fun vacation this year, the Salt Lake Chamber is taking not one, but two international trips in 2014. We’d love for you to join us!

Now is the perfect time to start planning your summer vacation. Cruise with the Chamber in May as we set sail for the Eastern Mediterranean onboard the Norwegian Jade, “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line.” Enjoy five ports of call in Italy, Croatia, Greece and Turkey on this 9-day trip. The price includes airfare and taxes.

And in October, we will explore the Wonders of Thailand. This international trip includes visits to Bangkok, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai. Visit golden temples, ride an elephant and marvel at the beauty of Bangkok on this unforgettable trip. You can book and save on the trip to Thailand until May 1.

Chamber International trips are open to all; you do not need to be a member to travel with us. You won’t want to miss our trips to Thailand and the Eastern Mediterranean. For more information on our international trips coming up this year, visit slchamber.com.

How the 2014 General Session impacted business

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

The Utah business community commends the Utah legislature for another great year for business. The 2014 General Session wrapped up in March, and the newly released Salt Lake Chamber 2014 Legislative Scorecard highlights how the business community’s policy priorities fared.

“Utah’s economy 
is in a spectacular position because
 of the leadership 
of our Governor, Legislature and
 our great business community working together to bring compromise for important progress for our state,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber.

The Salt Lake Chamber Vote website monitored the course of 298 bills that had an impact on business through the legislative session. Through that website tool, more than 9,800 emails were sent to state representatives, asking them to act on policy decisions. Eleven of 13 business community priority bills passed, and the average of “yes” votes on priority bills stood at 83 percent. With a 93 percent passage of supported bills, 2014 was an excellent year for Utah’s business community.

Here’s what the Utah’s Legislature helped accomplish this year:

STRENGTHENED COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION

•  Provided $62 million to public education, increasing the weighted pupil unit by 2.5 percent and
another $62 million to fund 10,300 new students
• Invested toward goal of 66 percent of adults with a postsecondary degree or certificate, providing $50 million to equalize funding and increase capacity in our state’s higher education institutions
• Expanded efforts to reach goals of 90 percent proficiency in reading and math among Utah students, allocating more than $7 million for preschool and early intervention programs for at-risk children, and $20 million to STEM education

ENHANCED COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY

• Approved a multi-decade effort to support the development of a convention center hotel, benefiting
the entire state
• Authorized $400,000 in business marketing, corporate recruitment and business expansion efforts, as well as $15 million in tourism marketing
• Addressed critical community issues through investing $100,000 to incentivize employers to hire the homeless
• Tackled issues of panhandling and solicitation around Utah’s highways and sidewalks that negatively impact the ability to conduct business in a safe manner
• Partnered to fund $400,000 for the Your Utah, Your Future quality growth initiative

ACTED TO IMPROVE AIR QUALITY

• Funded a $500,000 air quality education campaign
• Provided $1 million in scientific research to help better understand the causes of air pollution
• Established a $200,000 fund to help small businesses reduce air emissions through new technologies and programs
• Created a $250,000 fund to incentivize the conversion of sole-source wood burning homes to cleaner energy heating
• Addressed mobile emissions through enabling enhanced infrastructure for electric vehicles,
providing tax credits to purchase alternative fuel vehicles and mandating 50 percent of the State’s vehicle fleet to be highly efficient vehicles by 2015

ESTABLISHED PLATFORM FOR FUTURE ACTION

• Jump-started a robust conversation to address both the $11.3 billion funding gap outlined in the 2040 Unified Transportation Plan and the significant need for increased education funding
• Moved toward improving Utah’s air quality and set the stage for further discussions on issues such as Tier 3 fuels and improving statewide transit systems

The 2014 Legislative Scorecard also has a bill-by-bill tally of priority bills and their impacts on Utah business. To see the PDF of the 2014 Legislative Scorecard, click here

 

This week on the Utah Business Report

Friday, March 28th, 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.

I have great news about Utah’s economy. This month, the Chamber and Governor Herbert announced that Utah’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent. The unemployment rate hasn’t been below 4 percent since November of 2008. This is a five-year low for our state.

Currently, the national unemployment rate is 6.6 percent, which is 2.7 points higher than it is here in the Beehive State.

This is a testament to the great work of Utah’s private sector business leaders for helping create jobs. In the past 12 months, Utah has added nearly 35,000 jobs to the workforce, contributing to a 2.8 percent job growth rate. Thanks to this, Utah’s economy is gaining momentum and moving towards a strong 2014.

Utah’s economy and business climate continues to be strong, thanks to sensible and stable taxes, a well-educated workforce and our continued investment in infrastructure. These are things we need to sustain and support to keep this kind of economic progress in motion. With the collaborative spirit of Utah, I believe that’s something we can certainly do.

Utah is a great state to do business, so it’s not a wonder why businesses from all over the country look to the Beehive State for expansion or relocation.

I’d like to welcome a business that expanded to Utah recently. The Competitive Edge sharpened its edge by expanding to Salt Lake City from Alaska in their Xerox division. They are now located at 307 West and 200 South in Salt Lake City.

Owners Dan and Carol Johnson are very excited about the economic climate for small businesses in Utah. They are also excited that Utah has placed a strong emphasis on building that growth compared to other parts of the country.

Established in 1994, The Competitive Edge Office Systems, Inc., offers high quality and cost-effective office equipment. As a Xerox Authorized Channel Partner, customers get the technological prowess of the world’s leading document output company backed and supported by a local team of professionals.

Welcome to Utah, Competitive Edge! I’m sure you’ll be a great addition to our community.

Happy National Women’s History Month! Since 1911, the United States has celebrated Women’s History Month—an annual month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

This year’s theme, “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment,” honors the extraordinary accomplishments, determination and tenacity of women. Against social convention and often legal restraints, women have created a legacy that expands the frontiers of possibility for generations to come.

Throughout the month of March, the Salt Lake Chamber, Women’s Business Center and Downtown Alliance will highlight women making a difference in Utah business and the local community. These features will be located on the Chamber blog here.

The Chamber started this National Women’s History Month recognition program last year. The response was so tremendous that we decided to bring it back this year to recognize the great businesswomen of Utah.

Comcast Business with Inc. Magazine is holding an “Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs” Contest aimed at entrepreneurs who resourcefully leverage technology to enhance customer and employee experiences. The contest entry period is from now through April 30, 2014. Eligible business owners must be at least 18 years of age, located within Comcast Business service area and own an independent, non-franchised business with 50 employees or less.

Once entries are judged, two winners will be selected in each of Comcast Business’s 16 regions. One winner will be recognized for the best use of technology to enhance the customer experience, and one will be recognized for the best use of technology to enhance the employee experience.

Each winner will be awarded a five-thousand dollar cash prize, Comcast Business Internet and TV services for two years, and up to $2,500 Comcast Business Account Credit services. Winners are also eligible for the grand prize worth up to 40-thousand dollars.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to visit business.comcast.com/i4E to submit their application and essay. Entries are due by April 30, 2014.

In just a couple short weeks, the Salt Lake Chamber will recognize former Utah Governor Michael O. Leavitt as a Giant In Our City. The award is the most prestigious business award given in Utah. Governor Leavitt will be the 35th person to receive the award in its 44-year history.

From his public service to his success in the private sector, he has had the vision and determination that has elevated the quality of life for all Utahns.

Elected to office three times, Leavitt served as Utah’s chief executive from 1993 to 2003. He was appointed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in 2003, then secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in 2005 by President George W. Bush.

During his tenure as governor, Utah had the longest sustained economic expansion in modern state history.

The Giant In Our City gala will take place at the Grand America Hotel on the evening of Thursday, April 10, 2014. Join us in recognizing this remarkable statesman. You can register for the Giant In Our City gala here.

For the full 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.

This week on the Utah Business Report

Friday, March 21st, 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.

Next month, the Salt Lake Chamber will recognize former Utah Governor Michael O. Leavitt as A Giant In Our City. The award is recognized as the most prestigious business award given in Utah. Governor Leavitt will be the 35th person to receive the award in its 44-year history.

From his public service to his success in the private sector, he has had the vision and determination that has elevated the quality of life for all Utahns.

One of only two Utah governors to be elected three times, Leavitt served as Utah’s chief executive from 1993 to 2003. He was appointed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in 2003, then secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in 2005 by President George W. Bush.

During his tenure as governor, Utah had the longest sustained economic expansion in modern state history.

The Giant In Our City gala will take place at the Grand America Hotel on the evening of Thursday, April 10, 2014. Join us in recognizing this remarkable man. You can register for this event here. 

Job creation is one of the Chamber’s top priorities, and it’s great to hear about companies helping to reach our goal of creating 150-thousand jobs in five years. The most recent is the Kroger Company. In fiscal year 2013, the Kroger Company’s total active workforce grew by more than 7,000 jobs. Approximately 90 percent of the new jobs are in the company’s supermarket divisions.

The Smith’s Food & Drug division added 499 new positions in 2013 throughout Utah, Nevada and New Mexico. 221 of those jobs were in Utah.

Over the last six years, Kroger has created more than 40,000 new jobs. This figure does not include jobs created as a result of capital investment, such as temporary construction jobs. When combined, Kroger employs more than 375,000 associates.

Not only that, but Kroger has hired more than 22,000 veterans since 2009. Kroger has been a part of the “100,000 Jobs Mission,” which has a goal of hiring more than 100,000 transitioning service members and veterans by 2020—a goal they reached seven years ahead of schedule this January.

Happy National Women’s History Month! Since 1911, the United States has celebrated Women’s History Month—an annual month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

This year’s theme, “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment,” honors the extraordinary accomplishments, determination and tenacity of women. Against social convention and often legal restraints, women have created a legacy that expands the frontiers of possibility for generations to come.

Throughout the month of March, the Salt Lake Chamber, Women’s Business Center and Downtown Alliance will highlight women making a difference in Utah business and the local community. These features will be located on the Chamber blog, which is located at slchamber.com here.

The Chamber started this National Women’s History Month recognition program last year. The response was so tremendous that we decided to bring it back this year to recognize the great businesswomen of Utah.

Starting your own business is never easy. Do you need the tools, support and financial resources to turn your business idea into a reality? The Salt Lake Banking on Women program can help you plan, launch and grow your own business!

Banking on Women is a comprehensive program that provides women entrepreneurs with the training, mentoring and microloans to build their businesses. This program is designed to give you the right combination of support you will need to succeed in your microenterprise, or small business.

If you are admitted into the Banking on Women program, you will participate in a 12-week hands-on business fundamentals training, engage in mentoring opportunities with GE Capital volunteers, access microenterprise loans through the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund, and attend special events with program participants and partners.

Banking on Women is for women entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their small business but aren’t able to access traditional sources of funding. To apply, visit gecapital.com for more information. That’s gecapital.com.

AT&T is collaborating with DonorsChoose to help make resources available to teachers and students that don’t have the materials they need in the classroom.

Teachers can post classroom projects for which they need funding on DonorsChoose, an online platform that makes it easy to help classrooms in need, where they can spread the word to let other people know about the program. It’s a little like a wedding or baby registry—just with less monogramming. As soon as a project is funded, the books, art supplies, field trips, technology, and other resources needed to create new, engaging learning experiences are shipped to the school. Donors then receive updates, photos and thank you letters from the classroom showing how the materials were used.

For the next few weeks, as part of AT&T’s commitment to education through AT&T Aspire, the company is doing a $250,000 matching campaign for classroom projects costing below $2,000 at schools in high need. So, if a Utah high school biology teacher creates a project requesting microscopes costing $1,000, once the project receives $500 in funding, AT&T will match the remaining $500 to complete the project. What a great way to help improve education!

For the full 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.