Chamber to host Veterans Hiring Fair

Monday, October 31st, 2011

The Salt Lake Chamber is teaming up with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Davis Chamber, Ogden/Weber Chamber, Utah Department of Workforce Services and the Utah Veterans and Military Employment Coalition, to  host “Hiring Our Heroes – Salt Lake City,” a hiring fair for the region’s veterans and their spouses.  The event is part of the U.S. Chamber’s 100-city “Hiring Our Heroes” initiative, which thus far has connected more than 30,000 veterans with more than 1,700 employers, helping 2,600 veterans land jobs.

The are over one million unemployed veterans in the country according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Just under 5,000 live in Utah–the 10th lowest figure for any state in the nation.

Just last week, the Chamber held a panel discussion with local business leaders who have jobs they cannot fill simply because they cannot find workers with the right skills and education levels. Many veterans have skills that will help fill these jobs.

Potential employers have an advantage when hiring veterans. Those who have served in the military bring intangible skills to the workplace that often don’t show up on a resume. They are disciplined, hard working and often posses leadership skills beyond those of non-veteran workers.

This event is one of the largest fairs to date, bringing Salt Lake-area employers together with hundreds of local veterans. The event spans two days, Nov. 1 features a veterans job search seminar and a veteran business ownership workshop. The Nov. 4 event features a government contracting seminar from 9 a.m. to noon and a Hiring Our Heroes Job & Veterans Benefits Fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants include companies ranging from America’s biggest employers to dozens of small companies from across the state.  These companies are looking for veterans of all levels of rank and experience.

You can find more information HERE.

Education’s impact on the Utah economy

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

While unemployment numbers and a sluggish economy dominate the headlines, there is an underlying factor that rarely finds its way into the discussion: education. Utah businesses have jobs they can’t fill simply because they cannot find the workers they need to fill them.

The Salt Lake Chamber hosted a panel discussion with three local business leaders and a national expert. Their stories show how under achievement in education has significant negative impact on the economy.

Thatcher Pharmaceutical lost out on a $32 million contract to produce a product for a Fortune 500 company because the client didn’t have the confidence Thatcher could fill the jobs it would have to in order to make the product.

“We rely on strong technical resources,” said Tom Thatcher, president of Thatcher Pharmaceuticals. “We lost a huge contract because we were looked at as education poor. It cost us revenue and a profit of $13 million. It’s a costly impact.”

Cheryl Oldham, vice president and executive director of the Institute for a Competitive Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says education is the product, and the schools produce the product. Businesses need to see each other as allies in a business-education alliance. Prosperity 2020 shows Utahns know the most important investment in an economy is education.

“It’s time to put the kids first, because our economy is dependent on it,” said Oldham. “If we want to stay first-class, we must invest more in education and have high expectations.”

ATK Aerospace Structures has struggled to find the employees with the specialized skills they need. ATK plans to hire 800 people over the next 20 years. These workers need to be trained to work the composites and multi-million dollar equipment.

“When we get new employees, they often don’t have the basic math skills they need,” said Joy de Lisser,  vice president and general manager of ATK Aerospace Structures. “We have to do additional training to get them up to par.”

Salt Lake City based advertising firm Richter7 has recently had to fill three positions–approximately 10 percent of its workforce. One position, filled just this week, required searching outside of Utah. Using a professional recruiter cost Richter7 20 percent of the new hire’s first year salary, not to mention the relocation costs.

“It’s a big risk to bring in someone from out of state and whether we can meet their needs,” said Peggy Lander, a partner at Richter7. “University students come in all the time from Utah schools and they are woefully unprepared as seniors to meet our needs.”

Thatcher says it makes it much more difficult when you have to recruit outside the state. He says it affects a whole spectrum of people.

“It trickles down the line,” said Thatcher. “If businesses don’t want to come here, then you’re trying to ship product all over the country instead of staying here. We need to create an environment so people will relocate to Utah, not just do business in Utah.”

Each panelist was asked to point out one thing they would change to improve the quality of workers produced by the educational system.

“Schools need to make sure they are in tune with what our needs are now,” said Lander. “Students need to develop themselves and have a good core foundation from the school. We need to be ahead of the curve and too often we are five years behind the curve.”

De Lisser says students need to be more motivated to prepare for the workforce. “We need to get them passionate about what a career in aviation could be and how they could grow,” she said. “The passion and the understanding  is what they need.”

“Businesses need to get much more involved with educators,” said Thatcher.  “We have got to have an avenue for graduates so they have someplace to go, otherwise they will go somewhere else. They can’t just get their degree here and then go somewhere else to work. We need a business climate for the quality workforce to go to.”

Oldham says the high level of business engagement in education demonstrated in the Prosperity 2020 movement is a reason to be optimistic.

“All of you are so engaged on this and you have a powerful voice,” she said. “Your engagement is key on this. Remain passionate about this and you will get there.”

Institute for a Competitive Workforce discusses Prosperity 2020

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Nearly 100,000 Utahns awoke this morning ready to work but had no job to go to. Ironically, in a time of high unemployment, many Utah businesses have jobs they cannot fill simply because workers with the right education and skills are not available.

Education plays a critical role in our recovery from the longest, widest and deepest recession since the Great Depression and it is the key to long-term prosperity.

We sat down to discuss the tie between education and a strong economy with Cheryl Oldham, vice president and executive director of the Institute for a Competitive Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber President shares leadership insight

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie delivered a keynote presentation on leadership today at Woodbury School of Business at Utah Valley University. During his remarks he highlighted ten aphorisms, shared his favorite quotes on leadership and identified his top ten “must reads” for business executives. Each of these is shared below:

Ten Aphorisms on Work and Life

1.    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

2.    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

3.    You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.

4.    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

5.    You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.

6.    You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.

7.    You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

8.    You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.

9.    You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence.

10.   You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

Leadership Quotes

Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.
-       Thomas A. Edison

There is always room at the top, but the elevator is not running. You must walk up the stairs on your own feet.
-       David Starr Jordan

Success or failure depends more on attitude than upon capacity…Successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something. Soon it becomes a reality. Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will be amazed at the positive results.
-       Dr. DuPree Jordan, Jr.

You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.
-       Dwight D. Eisenhower

The right of commanding is no longer an advantage transmitted by nature; like an inheritance, it is the fruit of labors, the price of courage.
-       Voltaire

Must Reads

The Game of Work
- Charles A. Coonradt

The Richest Man in Babylon
-       George S. Clason

Think and Grow Rich
-       Napoleon Hill

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
-       Stephen Covey

Man’s Search for Meaning
-       Viktor E. Frankl

Dress for Success
-       John T. Molloy

Good to Great
-       Jim Collins

Swim with the Sharks
-       Harvey Mackay

The Greatest Salesman in the World
-       Og Mandino

The Road Less Traveled
-       M. Scott Peck

Mayor Becker meets with Capitol Club

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker fielded questions from the Salt Lake Chamber Capitol Club this morning.

Mayor Becker is campaigning for a second term in office. He discusses everything from the Occupy Salt Lake movement to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance to his plans for the next four years should he win re-election.

The mayor said this is the biggest time of change in our city since the valley was originally settled.

“I meet with other mayors from around the country quite often and I’m almost emberassed to talk about SLC and what’s going on here,” said Becker. “There is so much positive news in our city, it’s a stark contrast to the rest of the country.”

Mayor Becker fielded a question about the city’s handling of the Occupy Salt Lake City protests. He praised the Salt Lake City Police Department for its calm approach. He said Occupy Salt Lake City is certainly costing us more for police protection but, “that’s the price of protecting free speech.”

Becker also answered questions regarding the non-discrimination ordinance. He said the support of so many in the community, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was key to it’s passing and to what he called the, “seamless transition.”

Looking ahead, economic development throughout the city and energy conservation will be a priority. Education is another issue he would like to take on.

Becker says his plans are still in the early stages but he did mention the need to better utilize technology and measuring achievement.

“Education is a great economic development tool,” said Becker.

Chamber weighs in on immigration on Sunday Edition

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Salt Lake Chamber Public Policy Director Wesley Smith was a guest on KSL’s Sunday Edition yesterday. Smith joined Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff to discuss immigration policy in the United States and specifically here in Utah. The Chamber is one of the original signatories of The Utah Compact and was a significant supporter of the Utah Guest Worker Program.

Smith and Shurtleff discuss the impacts of immigration reform on law enforcement, the Utah economy and the upcoming “Forging a New Consensus on Immigrants and America.” It’s a four-state immigration summit in Salt Lake this week bringing together leaders from business, law enforcement, faith and government–with the goal to discuss the value of immigrants and immigration in America.

Watch the Video

Chamber economist gives insight to small business leaders

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

The Chamber kicked off a week filled with events to help small business with an economic overview from Natalie Gochnour, the Salt Lake Chamber chief economist. The event was sponsored by Sam’s Club.

“We are in the middle of a once in a lifetime economic event—it’s an historic inflection point,” said Gochnour. “We have to come together to find a way out of it, and there’s no education like adversity.”

Gochnour turned to the British government’s poster printed but never distributed during World War II, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” She says this message is just as beneficial today as we face economic uncertainty as it was originally.

The Great Recession was the longest, deepest and broadest since the Great Depression. That recession ended, officially, in June 2009, meaning we have had two years of slow growth. Of concern—even to small business in Utah—is the looming debt crisis in Europe, as well as the threat of another recession in the U.S.

“This is not a fundamental issue with the market, it’s a crisis of leadership,” said Gochnour.

The good news, we are in a two-speed economy. Utah is growing at three times the national average. Our fiscal responsibility is stellar.

“There is not a state in the nation that is better managed,” said Gochnour. “There are a number of things the Utah Legislature has done to safeguard the local economy.”

Gochnour also pointed out the importance of the growth in downtown Salt Lake City. “That’s not happening in most places in America,” she said.

Gochnour shared messages from four books with the group:

-Too Big to Pail – Andrew Ross Sorkin
-The Dip – Seth Godin
-That Used to Be Us – Thomas Friedman
-Driven – Larry Miller

After asking the audience to list words that describe the U.S. (the list included inept, lost, apathetic, entitled, reactionary, and lazy), Gochnour added a few of her others she has heard lately: skiddish, vulnerable, sour, glum, dispirited and angry.

But the window of opportunity to turn things around has not closed. Pulling from Friedman’s That Used to Be Us, she said we need to both raise taxes and cut spending to have a tough decade and to avoid the disastrous decade.

Gochnour called on those in attendance to become more civically engaged. When small business owners get involved, they will ensure the issues important to their prosperity are part of the overall discussion.

A group of around 50 people attended the event, which was sponsored by Sam’s Club and the Small Business Council.

Doing what does not come naturally

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Editor’s note: this post is taken from prepared remarks delivered by Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie at the Utah Foundation’s Improving Utah’s Quality of Life breakfast.

Many of you may be familiar with the great Irving Berlin musical “Annie Get Your Gun.”

There is a number in the production in which Annie, a gun-tottin’ sharp shooter, explains her simple ways to hotel owner Frank Wilson.

The number is called, “Doin’ what comes natur’lly.”

My uncle out in Texas can’t even write his name.

He signs his checks with “x’s”

But they cash them just the same.

If you saw my pa and ma,

You’d know they had no learning,

Still they’ve raised a family

Doin’ what comes naturally

Despite Annie’s argument that things are best when you do “what comes naturally,” we know that isn’t always the case.

Some challenges require the courage to do what does not come naturally.

Overcoming challenges requires extraordinary effort.

This is particularly true in the face of economic challenges we face today.

We must summon the courage to overcome the natural tendency to turn inward, to protect what we have and to hunker down.

Getting our economy back on track will require hard work, trust and vision.

This morning more than 100,000 Utahns woke up, ready and able to go to work, but they had no job to go to.

That is unacceptable.

The good news is the Utah economy is adding jobs, and we are attracting the jobs of the future.

Twitter is bringing jobs to Utah; FL Smidth (Schmidt) is adding 150 jobs to its newly completed building in Midvale and Goode Ski Technologies is moving its entire production line form China to Ogden.

We are now home to the second largest Goldman Sachs operation in the Americas.

We have strengthened our homegrown businesses like Overstock.com, Fusion i-o and Café Rio.

Intermountain Healthcare is adding 300 jobs as it establishes the Homer Warner Center for Informatics Research.

Harmons is adding 500 jobs both as a great example of transit oriented development having just opened a new store next to the FrontRunner station in Farmington, and also as a key part of the Downtown Rising movement as they have a new store set to open in the near future in downtown Salt Lake City.

During the Great Recession, we have out-performed the nation. In fact, during the month of August the Utah economy created more jobs than the entire U.S. economy! (Let’s be honest…that is scarier than it is comforting, but true nonetheless.)

Today, the Utah economy is poised to lead the nation.

We have the workforce, infrastructure and pro-business policies to make it happen.

Back in January of this year… the Salt Lake Chamber introduced a plan to put Utahns back to work. We call it the Utah Jobs Agenda.

The Utah Jobs Agenda is a private sector plan to create 150,000 jobs over the next five years.

It consists of economic fundamentals, when combined with purposeful and effective business leadership, will help create 150,000 Utah jobs over the next five years.

We allowed for a bit of a ramp-up on this agenda so we set the first year goal at 18,000 jobs. So far we are on pace.

The Utah Jobs Agenda covers ten points:

-Education

-Transportation

-International Business

-Energy

-Business Costs

-Corporate Recruitment

-Immigration

-Tax Policy

-Air Quality

-Rural Development

I’d like to focus on just three of these today—specifically the three elements wherein our natural reaction is to turn inward when we need to do just the opposite to produce the results we are after.

Free Trade Agreements

The first is international business, specifically free trade.

When economic storms arrive, opponents of free trade are quick to label our export policies as part of the problem. They call for isolationist policies.

International trade keeps prices low, increases our competitively and creates jobs. If putting up barriers and protecting what you have worked, North Korea would be the most prosperous nation on the planet. It is not.

Just last week, the President sent free trade agreements to Congress for approval. If things go as expected we’ll have new FTAs with South Korea, Panama and Columbia. These agreements will create and further support hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country.

Our natural instinct is to turn inward… our best path forward requires us to turn outward.

Immigration

The second point I would like to discuss is immigration.

This is another issue where fear and uncertainty give rise to extreme viewpoints. One sees 100,000 Utahns are out of work and hears the estimate that there are 110,000 undocumented workers in our state. They put two and two together and come up with 22. It’s simple but it is the wrong conclusion.

There is broad agreement among mainstream economists that market-driven immigration increases productivity, boosts real wages and grows the economy.

Immigrant labor not only complements native labor, it spurs innovation and entrepreneurship, two hallmarks of economic progress in the 21st Century.

Immigrant labor, ingenuity and purchasing power are critical components of the Utah economy. Utah immigrants – both documented and undocumented – comprise a large and vital part of the Utah economy as business owners, workers, consumers and taxpayers.

Our immigration system in this country is broken. The federal government has ignored the problem for far too long. Last year, the Chamber joined a group of organizations in signing The Utah Compact. This simple, succinct document changed the course and tone of the immigration discussion in our state.

Ultimately, we passed and signed into law the Utah Guest Worker program, set to go into effect in 2013. We now have our back-up plan in place.

As stated in the first principle of The Utah Compact, immigration is a federal issue.

The Chamber has and will continue to urge our federal delegation to push for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level.

We need more high-skilled workers and lower skilled workers. Those that come to our nation and are educated in our schools should be encouraged to stay here and create jobs.

Our instincts may tell us to protect the jobs we have and to look at others with suspicion.

Doing what comes naturally is not a viable option.

We need comprehensive reform that helps businesses get the best, the smartest, the most determined and the hardest working to help drive the American—and the Utah—economy.

Education

The final policy I would like to discuss is education.

Businesses in our state—large and small—all rely on one key ingredient.

We’ve all heard the saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Well, a business is only as strong as its employees.

More than tax structure, more than overhead costs, more than supply chains… it’s the people that do the work, that make the decisions, that bring ideas to life… People make businesses successful.

Businesses cannot thrive without a well-educated workforce.

The time has come for business to be more involved in education in our state.

If you think about it… business is education’s largest customer.

Today’s students are tomorrow’s employees. Before you know it they will be managers, then directors, the executives.

We have worked hard to lay the foundation of a thriving economy.

We need to ensure that those who will inherit the fruits of today’s labor are prepared to advance our efforts.

The Salt Lake Chamber is committed to working with chambers of commerce throughout the state, and organizations including:

-Citizens for Educational Excellence
-Economic Development Corporation of Utah
-Friends for Utah Higher Education
-Governor’s Office of Economic Development
-Junior Achievement of Utah
-United Way Salt Lake Chamber… and
-Utah Technology Council

We’ve come together to create Prosperity 2020.

Our vision is that Utah’s well-educated and trained workforce will propel us to enduring prosperity, improved quality of life and the strongest economy in the nation.

A business led movement will naturally embrace business principles. We will set goals and work toward achieving them. And we will measure our progress.

To achieve our vision we have set some initial goals:

-We want 90 percent of 3rd graders reading at grade level.
-We want 90 percent of elementary students to achieve math and reading proficiency.
-And two-thirds of Utahns should achieve postsecondary training by 2020.

To be a prosperous community we must be a well-educated community. All our other efforts are driven by the steady flow of educated workers.

The temptation with education is not so much to turn inward but to kick the can down the road.

Difficult economic times will send weaker men and women running in different directions. The challenges will cause some to think only of themselves and protecting what they have.

Our challenge is to work together, to see the vision of what Utah can be, to chart our course and to move steadily toward it.

I truly believe there is no place like this on earth. Our sense of community will propel us through the challenging times and we will lead the nation on the road to prosperity.

Thank you very much.

Fred Ball visits Chamber Board of Governors meeting

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Fred Ball, the man who led the Chamber for a quarter of a century, paid a visit to the Board of Governor’s meeting this morning. He provided a brief history of his time at the helm of Utah’s business leader.

“This Chamber had a long and proud history,” said Ball. “Since Lane Beattie has taken over the Chamber it has become a truly great organization.”

Ball (above, right, with chairman of the Chamber Board of Governors, David Golden) served as Chamber president from 1971 to 1996. His visit helped kick off the Chamber’s 125th anniversary–coming up April 23, 2012.

Ball mentioned the Chamber’s efforts to bring the Jazz and the Winter Olympic Games as two of the biggest highlights of his tenure.

“Fred built a great organization and laid the groundwork for everything we do today,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “We thank Fred for all he has done for our community.”

Chamber formalizes relationship with World Bank to help Utah business grow

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

The Salt Lake Chamber formalized a relationship with the World Bank to act as the state’s Private Sector Liaison Officer (PSLO).  The relationship will help Utah businesses and businesses throughout the Intermountain West gain access to projects funded by the World Bank in developing countries.

“There are so many projects across the globe that can benefit from Utah businesses and Utah businesses should be eager to benefit from the projects,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “Our mission is to strengthen the Utah economy and this relationship with the World Bank has the potential to significantly help our members.”

The World Bank provides loans to developing countries for large-scale projects designed to improve living standards and reduce poverty. These projects – building health clinics or schools, investing in roads so farmers can get goods to market, or improving telecommunications or sanitation, for example – frequently involve International Competitive Bidding under guidelines established by the World Bank. These guidelines help level the playing field for U.S. companies. The PSLO will guide Utah companies through the procurement process, creating better understanding and more opportunities to bid on these projects.

“There are billions of dollars worth of projects financed by the World Bank,” said the Chamber’s director of international relations, Elizabeth Goryunova (pictured, right), who will serve as the private sector liaison officer to the World Bank. “We’re here to help Utah businesses recognize opportunity and to take advantage of some of these opportunities.”

Last year, the World Bank provided $46.9 billion for 303 projects in developing countries worldwide. Included in that were $1.6 billion of contracts awarded to consultants and $2.9 billion for goods.

Businesses in Utah and throughout the Intermountain West interested in opportunities available through World Bank funded projects can contact the Chamber directly to begin the process. The Chamber will hold its first procurement seminar Dec. 2, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. Registration will open later this week at www.slchamber.com.

“Businesses shouldn’t simply assume this is for someone else,” said Beattie. “No matter what size business you run, there are opportunities that can help you grow and strengthen your bottom line. It’s not a simple process but we’re prepared to help.”

The Salt Lake Chamber and its strategic partner the World Trade Center Utah are committed to strengthening Utah’s economy and helping business enter profitable global markets. International business is a growing in Utah; merchandise exports have doubled over the past five years reaching $13.6 billion last year. Products made in Utah and shipped to benefit World Bank projects add to that total.

About the World Bank Group
The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. Their mission is to help people help themselves and their environment by providing resources, sharing knowledge, building capacity and forging partnerships in the public and private sectors, with the goals of promoting economic growth and overcoming poverty.  Bank commitments to developing countries totaled over $57 billion in the last fiscal year.  Projects supported by these loans/credits are a source of business opportunities for local and international organizations.

Companies, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and individuals from member countries of the World Bank are eligible to compete for these business opportunities. Within any given project, there can be literally hundreds of business opportunities varying in size from as little as a few thousand dollars to as large as tens of millions of dollars.