Leadership Utah Alumni Help Homeless Utahns

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

 

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Alumni from Leadership Utah gathered Tuesday with employees of the Salt Lake Chamber to participate in the Road Home’s annual clothing and fundraising drive.  While Leadership Utah has participated in the fundraiser for the past six years, this year’s participation was bolstered by providing hygiene kits for Utah’s homeless population.

“It’s amazing to think about how important such basic things can be to people who have the misfortune of being homeless,” said alumnus Donald Murray, an executive with United Health Care.

Kits contained the essential items for homeless individuals to maintain personal hygiene, including combs, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, and new hand towels.

Leadership Utah also stationed alumni at the Salt Lake shelter of the Road Home to help with the intake, organization and storage of donations given by Valley residents during the drive.

“It’s a good thing,” said Murray. “It’s a very exciting project and something we’re very happy to be a part of every year.”

Designed by the Salt Lake Chamber, Leadership Utah is a program intended to provide opportunities for business leaders to learn more about the challenges facing the community.  In its 24-year history, Leadership Utah has graduated more than 1,000 participants – all of whom are dedicated to making an impact on their community.

Leadership Utah gets inside look at welfare programs in Utah

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Leadership Utah participants got an inside look at the various organization that help less fortunate Utahns today.

The day’s activities began with a tour of the Fourth Street Clinic which is a health clinic for the homeless and heard from the clinic’s CFO, CEO and medical director. The clinic has 45 full time employees, $5.5 million annual budget to service some 6,000 patients each year. Fourth Street Clinic is a medical home for the homeless with a pharmacy, specialty clinics, and a physician. 

The group also toured Welfare Square, the humanitarian center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Class members learned about nutritional supplements and foods prepared for the less-fortunate and victims of disaster.

After lunch the group toured the Christmas Box House, a facility for children who have been affected by domestic violence.

The day concluded with a stop at the Road Home which opened in 1988 at a time when there were n o homeless shelters in Utah. The Road Home provides shelter for 700 people each night.

This is the 24th Leadership Utah class. Participants are introduced to the crucial issues and top leaders in the community. Experts explore issues affecting the community and discuss potential solutions with class members. Topics include local government, arts and education, law enforcement, religion and more. The schedule features ten monthly, day-long sessions.

More than just an educational course, Leadership Utah provides younger executives an opportunity to build lasting relationships that will benefit their organizations and the community for years to come.

Leadership Utah was formed in 1984 and began its first training program in January 1985. The Chamber is dedicated to providing the necessary direction to establish, train and support a network of aware and knowledgeable citizens ready to take on the challenges of an ever-changing society.

Business Women’s Forum celebrates holidays

Friday, December 18th, 2009

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The Business Women’s Forum of the Women’s Business Center held their holiday luncheon on Dec 15th at Red Butte Gardens. This year’s holiday luncheon featured guest speaker Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance and executive vice president of the Salt Lake Chamber. Mathis discussed the holiday happenings taking place in downtown Salt Lake City and how residents can enjoy the traditions and festivities this year.

Jason talked in particular about Downtown Alliance’s latest project the three-day celebration from Dec. 29-31 called “EVE” featuring great activities, music and a beer garden. A complete list of events, as well as restaurants and hotels that are offering EVE participants a discount, is at www.eveslc.com.

The Business Women’s Forum is a program of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Women’s Business Center helping business women and professional women network and strengthen professional and social relationships. The Women’s Business Center is a non-profit organization which provides free services to help local business professionals develop business knowledge, skills, and contacts. These programs are geared towards women, but are available to all local residents.

For further information about the Business Women’s Forum or the Women’s Business Center please contact Lavanya Mahate at 801-328-5066 or click here.

Protecting Education in Tough Budget Year Will Pay Off in Long Run

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

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By Mark Bouchard
Senior Managing Director, CB Richard Ellis & Chair, Salt Lake Chamber Education Task Force

Education is the key element to our long-term prosperity. The Salt Lake Chamber has challenged the legislature to hold both public and higher education harmless as it works to balance the FY 2011 state budget. Further cuts will hurt our students now and the larger state economy in both the immediate and long-term.

Recently a group of business leaders had the privilege of hearing from Dr. Pam Perlich, a world renowned researcher with the University of Utah who provided us a view into Utah’s workforce future based on compelling research analyzing our existing demographics.

The implications are far reaching and compelling. The “New Age” workforce will dramatically change the landscape from what the “Current Leadership Generation” is confronted with today. As Dr. Perlich suggested, visit any 3rd grade classes in any part of the state and you’ll have a better understanding of what the workforce will look like within the next two decades. These 3rd grade classes are more diversified and require a re-engineered approach to education. From 2000-2007, the number of minority students enrolled in Utah public schools increased by 65 percent, nearly double the rate of white, non-Hispanic students. For every 100 Latino students enrolled in elementary school, only 4 will earn a bachelor’s degree compared to 26 white, non-Hispanic students. As our population becomes more diverse, we must either work to improve both rates or we will be inadequately prepared for the future economic challenges. This “New Age” workforce requires added attention both in funding and in other resources. We can only depend on the volunteer community for so much and our educators require real world solutions.

Utah’s demographics are changing. We face new challenges and new burdens, on an already taxed education system, both Higher and Public.

Copy of 081028_slcc_board_0036There are consequences for being last in the nation in our spending per student, having the lowest paid educators (K-12) in the country, potentially capping enrollment in higher education and eliminating programs and eliminating opportunity for so many. We simply cannot afford to ignore the statistics and research provided us by some of the finest minds in the country.

Experienced business professionals appreciate what increased demand for services coupled with the elimination or reduction of available capital to run a business produces. The result is a reduction in quality and a taxing of your workforce impacting culture and effectiveness.

We should never confuse efficiency with quality. Statistics suggest no one in the country is more efficient than Utah educators at providing quality education. Our test scores, although declining, are still some of the best in the country (we score particularly well on Advanced Placement and SAT). We are efficient; what we risk is quality. Increased demand by way of 12,000 students per year in grades K-12 and 12,500 in higher education, in conjunction with the increase results in a dramatic reduction of our spending in education, creating the perfect storm. The logical result is the erosion of the very foundation of our workforce future.

Over the next few months, through the end of the legislative session, there will be many ideas tossed around as the legislature meets its constitutional obligation of balancing the state budget. As options, plans and variations of plans are debated we emphasize our firm belief that education—both public and higher education—are too critical to the long-term prosperity of our state to face further cuts.

A highly educated workforce is the most critical long-term strategy for a vibrant economy and healthy society. Like other state funded departments, education absorbed cuts last year. These cuts in education coincided with an increase in demand as enrollment increased to the point that many Utahns who wanted to return to school found there was simply no room for them.

Balancing the budget is the immediate concern but the long-term requires an investment in our human capital. A well-trained workforce is the single most important element to maintaining and enhancing Utah’s reputation as a great place to do business. Further reductions in public and higher education put our workforce at risk.

Education funding must be protected as we balance the state budget.

First Night expands into EVE—a new three-day celebration of the New Year

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

After a successful sixteen year run, First Night, Salt Lake City’s traditional New Year’s Eve event is more than tripling in size and scope to become a three-day celebration called EVE. On Dec. 29, 30 and 31, tens of thousands of people will gather for celebrations in streets, squares, plazas, theaters and performing arts venues throughout Utah’s capital city.

“It seemed like the right time to expand First Night, creating a multi-day event that celebrates everything that binds us together as a community,” said Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance. “We wanted to create an inclusive ritual that commemorates the past year and celebrates a brighter future for everyone.”

EVE will include fine art performances, live local music, dance parties, ski and snowboard action sports competitions, DJs, film screenings, laser shows, art installations, world music, activities for kids and pet lovers, interactive resolutions, story telling and a spectacular midnight fireworks show on Dec. 31. A new community giving project called eBay It Forward will give Utahns an opportunity to contribute treasured items to a massive art installation, raising funds for local charities.

“We reached deep into our imagination to dream up the evolution of Salt Lake’s premiere winter festival,” said Jeffrey Berke, EVE’s artistic director and creator. “EVE will be a colossal indoor/outdoor urban extravaganza, with snow on the ground, fire in the sky, music in the air and a party in the streets.”

A three-day EVE Pass wristband is $15 and provides access to all activities. Passes are available online at EVEslc.com and at retail locations including Fresh Markets (formerly Albertsons), Beans and Brews Coffee Houses and the concierge at The Gateway. Downtown restaurants and hotels are offering EVE packages and special pricing for the three-day event.

EVE is hosted at venues throughout downtown including Gallivan Plaza, The Gateway, Temple Square, Pierpont Avenue, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Broadway Cinema, Joseph Smith Memorial Building and Off Broadway Theater. Corporate community partners include American Express, USANA, eBay, Comcast, City Weekly, Intermountain Healthcare, Coca-Cola and the LDS Foundation.

Presented by the Downtown Alliance, EVE has been created by Jeffrey Berke Productions for the people of Utah. For more information on EVE, visit EVEslc.com.

The Downtown Alliance is dedicated to building a dynamic and diverse community that is the regional center for culture, commerce and entertainment. For more information, visit downtownslc.org.

222 Main welcomes business leaders

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

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Utah business leaders got an inside look at the newest addition to the skyline of Salt Lake City at Breakfast with the Board, held at 222 Main.

“This building is an amazing addition to the city,” said Lane Beattie. “Everything about the building is first class and it stands as a tribute to the commitment Hamilton Partners has shown to the city and our community.”NORRIS_20090701-_MG_4905-Edit

The state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly, 22-story office tower located across the street west from Gallivan Plaza in Downtown Salt Lake City, is nearing completion, with the Grand Opening set for December 3rd.

Bruce Bingham, partner at Hamilton Partners, the developers of 222 Main, pointed out some of the features that make 222 Main unique. A great deal of efficiency planning, and a number of significant components have gone into the construction:

  • 222 Main will be Salt Lake City’s first LEED-certified high rise office tower, designed to operate 15 percent under State of Utah energy code usage guidelines.
  • The structure incorporates high efficiency HVAC systems, and tenant lighting standards for reduced operating costs.
  • The projected annual electric energy savings, when the building is fully occupied, is more than $69,000.
  • 222 Main has been constructed using non-toxic or low-volatile organic compound (VOC) adhesives, sealants, paints, carpets, and composite wood materials, to create a healthy indoor air quality for future inhabitants.
  • The exterior surface is of the beautiful building is covered with more than 3,600 pieces of glass, weighing more than 1,139,000 pounds!
  • There are a total of 6,257 pieces of structural steel and bracing in the structure.
  • The building has more than 201 miles of electrical wiring and electronic cable; that’s roughly enough to cover the distance from Salt Lake City to Afton, Wyoming.

Hamilton also encouraged those who have not yet joined the Salt Lake Chamber, to play an active role in improving our community by actively supporting the Chamber’s efforts.

“If you are not a member of the Chamber, you should join right now,” said Bingham. “You will get more mileage for the money spent and you will not regret your investment in our community.”

Keep higher education strong with investment and local student loans

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Business leaders know that education is the engine for long-term economic prosperity, so we celebrate recent news of record higher education enrollment, plus the lowest student loan default rates in the nation.

Consider these recent reports:

  • Some 12,632 new students enrolled in public colleges and universities this fall. More than 152,000 students attend Utah’s nine public colleges and universities. Those who have lost jobs know that education is the path back to stability.
  • The U.S. Department of Education ranks Utah student loan borrowers best in the nation for repayment, thanks to an innovative recession strategy deployed by the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority. Utah’s default rate is 2.1 percent, one-third the national average.

The basic formula for personal and state prosperity is pretty simple. The more training and advanced education students get the more they earn. Just two examples: bachelor’s degree holders earn $46,000 per year, compared to high school graduates, who earn $26,000. And the more they earn, the more efficient they are at paying back their student loans. The investment has paid off.

But this is just the beginning. The real multiplier of a well-educated population comes from creating a knowledge economy – a society of people with the smarts to create new businesses on the cutting edge of medicine, technology, new energy and other frontiers of knowledge. An example: an average of 21 businesses spin off from the University of Utah every year. Only MIT ranks higher. And all these smart businesses need well educated employees to grow and prosper and create jobs for the next generation.

So what’s wrong with the math here in Utah? Well, two problems. Investment and Washington, D.C.

Problem 1: investment in higher education: when it comes to enrollment, our colleges and universities are at a breaking point. They have absorbed 17 percent enrollment increases with concurrent budget cuts of 17 percent. This 34 percent swing decreased funding per student by $1,300, according to Bill Sederburg, Utah Commissioner of Higher Education. Many people mistakenly believe that tuition pays for a college education, but tuition covers only 25 to 30 percent of the costs.

Colleges and universities have laid off employees – some 940 in all – at the same time they squeezed more students in the door. This translates into more part time faculty, fewer class sections, fewer counselors, and delayed graduation rates. Yes, there is efficiency that comes with cost containment. But a 34 percent swing is beyond efficiency – it’s eroding basic quality.

These are difficult times for everyone, but Utah’s path out of these difficult economic times is investing in the right things, including colleges and universities. Our state leaders will have hard choices in the upcoming legislative session, but we can’t mess up the math of investing in our future by investing in education.

Problem 2: D.C. initiatives to create direct student loans. The reason Utah’s student loan default rate is one third the national average is that we have a local program that works. Most Utah students take out their loans from Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority. And they pay them back there too. All this at no cost to state taxpayers.

The Direct Student Loan Program would change all that. The president wants to have loans made and repaid in Washington, D.C. The problem is that a bureaucrat in D.C. is not going to provide the personal assistance to meet a borrower at home and help them figure out a repayment plan. They don’t send handwritten letters reminding them to pay the bill. That’s the service students get from locally administered student loans.

The Salt Lake Chamber appreciates the leadership of Senators Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett to preserve Utah’s low student loan default rate by keeping student loans local.

All in all, there’s much to celebrate about Utah higher education and also a lot of work to be done to keep our successes on track. We stand behind our state elected officials and U.S. senators to show courage in advancing the right solutions – investment in higher education and keeping student loans local.

State investment in Goldman Sachs great for Utah

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

By Lane Beattie, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber

I support the state’s recent incentive for Goldman Sachs to expand their regional presence in Utah. The reason is simple: it will contribute to sustained economic growth creating wealth and opportunities for Utahns. Goldman Sachs is investing in Utah and it is right that we invest in them.

The “Great Recession” has impacted every Utah family and business. Approximately 82,500 Utahns are unemployed, exceeding anything we have experienced in more than half a century. There has never been a time when economic development has been more important to the well-being of every Utahn. The obligation of our decision makers is to administer our economic development resources prudently and well. The Goldman Sachs incentive meets this test.

Economic development is about growing the economy. It’s about training a great workforce, it’s about investing in infrastructure that sustains commerce and it’s about creating an environment where business can thrive. Fair and reasonable taxes, a fair regulatory environment and smart, well-researched incentives are critical components of this mix. Bringing Goldman Sachs to our state will pay big dividends now and in the long-run.

If someone offered to swap you 47 cents for $1.57 you would be foolish to turn down the deal. The actual figures are much larger but the state just lured one of the world’s largest and most prestigious bank holding companies, by trading $47 million of incentives to generate at least $157 million in new tax revenue over a 20 year period—a net gain of $110 million or a remarkable 234 percent return on investment. Of that revenue, over $100 million goes directly to the education fund.

That’s a great deal by any measure.

This is a risk-free situation for Utah tax payers. Goldman Sachs will pay all applicable taxes and receive the incentive based on eligible dollars only after meeting the requirement. The state doesn’t give back the dime until they receive the dollar and the dime came from Goldman Sachs in the first place. Only taxes paid by Goldman Sachs will be used to fund this incentive.

The old adage teaches us you have to spend money to make money—but rarely is the rate of return so certain and favorable. The incentive package secured a deal that will bring at least 690 new jobs to Utah. Over time, the job increase could exceed 1,000. During a time when we watch unemployment figures like we used to watch the Dow, the job creation alone is a welcome bit of good news.

And it’s not just the quantity of jobs, it’ the quality. These jobs will provide employment for highly skilled employees at more than one and a half times the average Salt Lake County wage including company contributed health benefits. Jobs generate income tax revenue and high paying jobs create expendable income which comes back to the state as sales tax and to local businesses that sell everything from houses and furniture to computers and clothing.

Utah has a lot to offer. Our low energy costs, educated workforce and unbeatable quality of life are sufficient draws for many companies but they are not enough to trump the incentives offered by other states. In this case, the state made a competitive offer and then let the other factors tip the scales in our favor.

The arrival of a prominent company not only adds to the buzz about business-friendly Utah, it attracts companies that want to do business with Goldman Sachs. The effects of this deal are far reaching and all beneficial.

This is a great trade that makes sense for our state budget and all who reap the benefits from the proceeds.

Lane Beattie is president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. Utah’s largest statewide business association, the Chamber represents over 5,300 companies and more than one in every three jobs in Utah.