By Natalie Gochnour, executive vice president and chief economist
Collaboration breeds success in our hyper-connected, fast-paced and complex world. Many believe collaboration represents the next frontier of human productivity as technology combines with people skills to break down barriers, solve problems and improve efficiencies. For these and other reasons I am enthused about a recently signed memorandum of agreement between the Salt Lake Chamber – Utah’s largest business association – and the Utah Technology Council – Utah’s premier high tech and clean tech industry association. In the agreement, both entities commit to collaborate on common priorities such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning opportunities in Utah schools.
The Utah Technology Council (UTC) does amazing things in this state. Utah is home to 5,500 tech companies and technology jobs are growing at a clip more than twice the state average. Tech companies pay wages 65 percent higher than the status quo. Better yet, tech companies bring all sorts of interesting and talented people to our state. Look no further than the extraordinary Adobe building in Lehi. A diverse group of long-time Utah residents and newcomers work in this iconic structure, which serves as a symbol of Utah’s recent tech accomplishments. The UTC played a pivotal role in supporting the funding, workforce development and innovative spirit that attracted Adobe to expand in our state.
Rich Nelson leads the UTC. I’ve known Rich since the late 1990s when we worked together to attract Boeing (then McDonnell Douglas) to the Beehive State. Rich played a leading role in supporting the Utah Fund of Funds, the Utah Science, Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative, and other high priority technology endeavors. Through the UTC, he belongs to a national network of over 90 like-minded technology organizations and works closely with seven trade associations that keep the United States on the leading edge of technology in the world. I credit Rich and the UTC for keeping Utah’s tech community vibrant.
I’m a staunch believer in collective impact – the notion that large scale community improvement requires broad cross-sector coordination. The Salt Lake Chamber’s recent agreement with UTC is one of 35 like agreements we have signed with chambers of commerce and business associations throughout the country, and even the world. That’s right, we’ve reached out to chambers of commerce in nine countries to advance Utah’s international trade. The Utah economy wins when organizations like the Salt Lake Chamber and Utah Technology Council work together to create a prosperous and promising future for our state.