Industry is part of the fiber of Utah. The beehive, a local symbol of industry, is seen throughout the state as a symbol of hard work and dedication to building something better. On this day 125 years ago–all the way back in 1887–a group of local business leaders came together to cultivate an environment where businesses could thrive.
From the beginning, the Chamber has played a major role in building Utah’s economy. We have united the community on tough issues, promoted the state and focused on improving the state’s infrastructure.
The Chamber played a critical role in developing the Salt Lake International Airport and in convincing Delta Air Lines to make it a service hub. In fact, former chairman of the Chamber’s aviation committee, Ben Redman, was the nation’s first airline passenger.
The Chamber has worked tirelessly to bring new industries and new jobs to our state. Today we boast a diverse economy that is among the fastest growing in the nation, attracting business to the Intermountain West while helping locally-started Utah businesses grow.
Even the sports landscape would look different in Utah without the Chamber’s help. Former Chamber President Fred Ball played a key role in bringing the team to Utah from New Orleans. Ball and the Chamber sold the first 6,000 season tickets for the team–convincing then owner Sam Battistone to move the club. The Jazz have become one of the most recognizable symbols of our state. When Gov. Herbert led a trade mission to China, he was frequently asked about the Jazz and was surprised to see just how much Chinese officials appreciated his gifts of autographed basketballs.
The Chamber also played a big role in securing the bid for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. No single event has done more for the state’s worldwide visibility. Utah continues to reap the benefits of being an Olympic host city to this day and the Chamber strongly supports the recently announced effort to host the 2022 Games.
Today, the Chamber represents some 7,700 businesses scattered across each of Utah’s 29 counties. We represent over 500,000 Utah workers–more than half the workforce of our state. Embracing a new era of business leadership, the Chamber fights for business in a number of ways. We tackle economic development issues. We are pushing for investment and education in our future workforce through the Prosperity 2020 movement. We continue to strongly support investment in our mobility infrastructure. We champion the Utah solution to the immigration issue. We support clean air policies. We fight to contain rising health care costs. We support the responsible development of Utah’s energy economy. We also partner with World Trade Center Utah to boost international exports and with the Downtown Alliance to strengthen our capital city.
We thank the thousands of businesses who are actively engaged in the on-going process to help Utah reach its potential. From our roots as the Commercial Club of Salt Lake to our undisputed position as Utah’s Business Leader today, the Salt Lake Chamber has stood as the voice of business, supported our members’ success and championed community prosperity for a century and a quarter.
Here’s to another 125 years of business leadership!