Chamber celebrates 125 years of business leadership

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

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!

Lessons Learned: Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Follow your passions

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

As the Chamber celebrates its 125 years of business leadership, we have invited several members to share some of the lessons they’ve learned over the years. This post was authored in first person by Joan J. Woodbury, Co-Founder Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company.

Although Shirley Ririe and I founded Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in 1964, we actually worked together much earlier than that. We met in 1952 when I was teaching dance at the University of Utah and she was teaching at BYU. Our aspirations and love of dance were so similar that we immediately adored each other decided to make a dance together. We called it “On the Boards,” since it was about two Vaudeville performers competing with each other, and over the years “competition” has been anything but the case.  This year we share the 60th anniversary of our “Mutual Appreciation Society” and  next year, our 2013- 2014 season will be the 50th anniversary of our company.

As I begin to contemplate all of the wonderful lessons I have learned in the “life journey” of our company, I find myself smiling as I write.

-Choose what you want to do with your life and go there with great passion.  Choose what you love to do… no matter what. Don’t ever settle for less. However, if you find yourself in a job that is not your absolute first choice, direct your energies toward making it challenging and enjoyable.

-Dream a lot, and then follow those dreams.

-If you’re not sure what you want to do, think about the kind of  people you want to be around. My interest has always been those people who love the arts… dance, music, literature, the visual arts including film and sculpture, and peole who are creative, curious, interesting, talented, active, alive, flexible, who listen, want to contribute to the quality of life, are generous and sharing, and indeed, a little crazy.

-Align yourself with someone you like, respect and admire. My partnership with Shirley has lasted a very long time, far longer than most marriages nowadays. We respect and support each other while also having different strengths to bring to the company. This has kept the working process creative, surprising and very interesting.

-Seek out wonderful mentors who are willing to help along the way and give you’re their sound advice and encouragement. And then, be sure to listen to it.

-Hire the most creative people you can find, those who also want to work with you.

-Stay positive… let the little set backs be small and the dreams large.

-Stay out of debt.  Be financially responsible. We knew we didn’t have any individual “sugar daddies” to bail us out. As we were growing, one seemed to want to sponsor contemporary dancers with bare feet, who really have something incredible (yet perhaps sometimes a bit controversial) to communicate.

-Be persistent and stay committed to your cause.

-Let those who support you know that you appreciate them constantly.

-Enjoy every moment of the ride.

Lessons Learned: United Way of Salt Lake, we’re all connected

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

As the Chamber celebrates 125 years of business leadership, we have invited several members to share some of the lessons they’ve learned over the years.

The United Way of Salt Lake began over 100 years ago when a group of Salt Lake visionaries, called together by Reverend Elmer I. Goshen of the First Congregational Church, organized a society whose primary objectives were to discourage the growth of pauperism and grafting, and to promote the general welfare of the poor. Frustrated by increased and constant charitable requests and also by gaps in providing relief to the needy, the society aimed to become a clearinghouse for charitable causes. Thus the Salt Lake Charity Association was organized in October 1904. Reverend Goshen said the association will give businessmen the ability to make one donation to an organization that will ensure “there will not be a worthy man in the community without help, and not a grafter in the community who can get help” (Organized for Charity, Leading Citizens in the Movement, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1904).

Over the past century, United Way has undergone many name changes, from the Salt Lake Charity Association, to the United Fund, to the United Way of Salt Lake. Despite these changes, United Way has continued to function as an invaluable leader and partner in creating lasting changes in community conditions. United Way of Salt Lake still operates under fundamental principles outlined a century ago including:

-Be a bureau of information for the community
-Foster communication and harmonious cooperation between nonprofits and the broader community
-Check the overlapping of relief work
-Function without questioning religious or political beliefs and nationality

While we remain true to our fundamental principles, we know that in order to serve the community we also much embrace change since society and issues facing children and families become increasingly complex. This past year has been one of tremendous growth and transformation for United Way of Salt Lake. As we transformed our organization and adopted the Collective Impact approach to community problem solving, we learned many lessons from our history:

-Despite being more complex, the issues we have today are very much the same as they were 100 years ago. We must continue to focus on breaking down barriers for families to break cycles of poverty, lack of education, poor health and crime so that children and families have the same chance as everyone else to succeed in school and life.

-We have learned that there are many great organizations doing amazing things, but together, we can make a more significant impact on the lives of children and families. One organization working alone cannot solve our community’s problems. However, dozens of partners working together across community sectors—business, foundations, schools, churches and nonprofits—can change the odds for entire communities.

-We have learned that research and data is the key to ensuring results. We must continue to be a “bureau of information for the community”—tracking and reporting on our progress while we continuously alter the way problems are addressed. This takes innovation and courage. It’s not easy to admit when something isn’t working and change is sometimes hard. But it is the only way to know if we are truly making a difference.

-We know that everyone has a role to play. No matter how much time an individual has to engage in the community, every minute counts toward making a difference in someone’s life. We can all be the change. Beyond giving, individuals can lend their voice as advocates for change, and their time as volunteers.

Over the years, the most important thing we have learned, we have learned from our partners, our volunteers, our donors, our community leaders and the thousands of kids and families who are impacted by our work. It is not really a lesson, but a belief we hold true—the belief that as members of this community, we are all connected. We all win when a child succeeds in school, when neighborhoods turn around, when families are financially stable, and when people are healthy and productive. Over the course of our 100 years, we have never lost sight of that belief.  It motivates and drives our work. We know that when we think of others’ lives as linked to our own and to our community, our compassion and ability to make real and lasting change grows.

As we look back, we feel very proud of our strong history. As one of the first established nonprofit organizations in Salt Lake City, we know we have a huge responsibility to continue to serve the community and lead social change efforts.  We feel very fortunate that we have caring, dedicated and compassionate champions of our work who generously give their time, talent and resources to advance the education, income stability and health of our neighborhoods. We feel so honored to work side by side with so many individuals and organizations that work to improve lives and build a stronger community for us all.

Lessons Learned: U.S. Translation Company, customer satisfaction equals success

Monday, April 16th, 2012

As the Chamber celebrates 125 years of business leadership, we have invited several members to share some of the lessons they’ve learned over the years.

In 1993, Peru was under attack and in the midst of being overthrown by the Maoist Sendero Luminoso terrorist organization. They bombed power plants, compromised water sources, killed over 25,000 police officers and infiltrated universities to spread their communist rhetoric.

Born and raised in the capital city of Lima, David Utrilla was a college student studying economics and politics when Sendero Luminoso began invading his university. Bombs shook the capital and machine gun fire filled the streets. Utrilla and his family had limited water supply and electricity rations of 1-2 hours a day.

Dreaming of something better and harboring a desire to excel, Utrilla knew he had to leave his home. Speaking little English with no job, no home and $200 in his pocket, David Utrilla took the greatest risk of his life and came to the United States on a political asylum visa. A friend from Peru, living in Ogden, gave him a place to live and helped him get a job. Utrilla quickly enrolled at Weber State University and began studying business administration.

Utrilla learned English, worked and volunteered, trying to assimilate to his new home. After realizing that many of the educational materials from Peru were the same as those used in the U.S., just in different languages, he opened U.S. Translation Company (USTC) to provide professional written translation.

Utrilla learned that in order to run a successful business, he had to provide a high-quality product on time. Although these elements were built into the business model, clients needed proof. In order to establish credibility, USTC achieved ISO 9001:2000 certification in 2004, making it the first SBA 8(a) language firm to do so. Since then, USTC received its ISO 9001:2008 certification upgrade in the fall of 2009 and the European EN 15038 standard in 2010. Finally, to position itself against industry “giants,” Utrilla made a commitment to exceed client’s expectations by providing unparalleled personal and eager customer service—something lacking in this industry. That same pursuit and passion for customer service thrives today. In 2010, the GSA randomly polled 20 of USTC’s clients and reported a customer service rating of 99 out of 100.

Utrilla’s 2010 induction as Utah’s Honorary Consul to Peru was one of the greatest accomplishments of his personal and professional career. Utrilla was selected for this volunteer position due to his extensive knowledge of business, his passion to help corporations in both countries succeed abroad and because of how well he is respected by both his peers and top officials. The President of Peru and the U.S. Department of State made this designation official.

In 2007, the Salt Lake Chamber recognized USTC with the Minority Small Business of the Year award.

Since receiving that award, U.S. Translation Company has grown 139 percent, added 10 employees and relocated their headquarters to downtown Salt Lake City. Since becoming a member of the Salt Lake Chamber, USTC has leveraged international events to better understand the international business community’s needs and meet prospective clients to help grow local, national and international clientele.