Chamber president calls for vision, persistence and passion from CEOs of the Year

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Editor’s note: These are prepared remarks delivered by Lane Beattie, Salt Lake Chamber president & CEO at the Utah Business magazine event honoring the CEOs of the Year. Beattie was honored as CEO of the Year by Utah Business in 2010. 

Thank you very much for the opportunity to share a few moments with you on this wonderful occasion.

To our friends at Utah Business magazine, I thank you for honoring the good work that is done by the business community, and today by those who help lead the businesses that make our economy strong.

I express my heartfelt congratulations to our honorees. An engaged business community is influential and an influential business community is a force for good.

We’ve had a remarkable first quarter of 2012. In fact, I don’t remember too many weeks that could match this past week.

One week ago today, I had the privilege of participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open City Creek Center.

As I sat on the stage with great leaders—titans of industry, elected officials and leaders of a worldwide religion—all surrounded by the result of skilled design, superior craftsmanship and attention to detail, I was struck by the grander qualities that led us to that point.

I thought of the inspiring vision it took to take two fortress malls, outdated and dying, and turn them into a beautiful, pedestrian friendly, mixed-use shopping center.

Vision
President Gordon B. Hinckley was a community builder and a man of vision. He declared…

“Now is the time to build and beautify, to strengthen and bond, to be proud of our community and to do all we can to make of it a place which all can enjoy and for which all can be grateful.”

His vision to beautify, to strengthen and to bond has become a reality.

Persistence
As I listened to many involved in the project rightfully praise Bishop H. David Burton for the role he played in the City Creek project, I reflected on the importance of persistence and dedication.

Bishop Burton was unwavering in his diligence and in his optimism. He became the personification of the phrase shared by the authors of the Second Century Plan—the inspiration for Downtown Rising: “It can be done… by many combinations of easy steps.”

His persistence has paid off… for all of us.

Passion
As I listened to the heads of Taubman, Macy’s and Nordstrom, I thought of the importance of passion. These are leaders who love the business they are in, they are passionate about success and they are passionate about our community.

This was the long-awaited day of reward for their commitment to our community and their enthusiasm was palpable.

Earlier in the week, before the City Creek opening, I re-read the opening letter of the Downtown Rising vision, which reads:

“Great cities are like a relay race. Each generation has a chance to achieve greatness for its city before passing the baton to the next generation of city builders. It is a challenging process, and the work is never done.”

So we have celebrated a milestone but not the capstone to the grand project that is Salt Lake City. Among us this afternoon, both the group of honorees and in the crowd, are the leaders who must take up the baton and run the next leg of the race.

As we honor these CEOs for their leadership, for their vision and for their passion… let us be inspired to look to the horizon and see the challenges that approach. Let us be leaders of vision; let us be dedicated to our community, to our businesses and to the people who make them what they are and what they can be.

“The future is not a gift, but an achievement.”

Let us be passionate about making our boldest, noblest and grandest visions a reality.

Congratulations to you all.

Utah economy growing as business, government work together

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on ksl.com, March 27, 2012. 

Businesses create jobs, not government. But Utah greatly benefits from the cooperation between an engaged business community and elected officials that actively work to cultivate a pro-job creation environment. That partnership can be powerful and the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

New Utah employment numbers were released last week and while the state’s unemployment rate remained the same (5.7 percent compared to 8.3 percent nationally), the state economy is still trending in the right direction and creating jobs.

In the rolling 12-month period, from the end of Feb. 2011 to the end of Feb. 2012, the Utah economy created over 30,000 jobs. That’s a growth rate of 2.5 percent. Again, Utah is outperforming the nation as a whole as the U.S. economy is growing at a rate of 1.6 percent.

The Department of Workforce Services (DWS)—the state agency that tracks the unemployment numbers and works to connect Utahns to jobs—reports every sector of the Utah economy is growing except one: government.

I think we can all live with that.

Building a stronger economy
It should be noted that Utah is building things again. Nearly 5,000 jobs have been added in manufacturing in the past 12 months and nearly 3,000 new jobs have been created in the construction industry.

That’s particularly good news when you consider the completion of a major project like the City Creek Center, which at its peak employed nearly 1,800 workers. The upward trend means they are moving on to new projects, not to the unemployment line.

The strong construction job numbers also signal overall optimism. We build in good times and tend to put off construction in a rough economy.

DWS says the growth is particularly positive considering there is not, “any notable contribution yet from the home-building market.” There’s good news there as well, as home sales have risen for eight consecutive months in Utah, reaching their highest level in five years. High home sales reduce excess inventory that will ultimately lead to more new home construction.

More important than the month-to-month figures is Utah’s strategy to generate jobs now, to make sure they are the kind of jobs that will be around for a long time and to ensure we have the workforce to generate and fill those jobs for decades to come.

Boosting job creation
As the economy continued to struggle, the Salt Lake Chamber introduced the Utah Jobs Agenda, a 10-point private sector plan to create 150,000 jobs in five years. The list included a focus on education, international trade, infrastructure and more. More than a year after it was first introduced, we are on pace to reach the goal and it has been the focus on the keys to the Utah Jobs Agenda that have moved us forward.

During the recently concluded legislative session, our elected officials made important moves to build on Utah’s economic momentum while setting us up for long-term success.

To keep Utah’s economy growing, the governor and Legislature worked together to reduce the cost of doing business. By lowering the unemployment insurance rate and rejecting costly health care mandates, Utah businesses have more money to hire and expand.

By restoring previously-cut funding for the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative, we are in a position to continue attracting top research talent and external funding that totals over $66 million. The Legislature also opted in favor of tax credits for the life science and high tech industries that employ 25,000 Utahns and contribute $15 billion in revenue to the state.

The decision to continue our commitment to transportation investment shows a critical understanding of the important role mobility infrastructure plays in our overall economy.

The Legislature also continued its support of World Trade Center Utah, an organization that plays an important role in boosting Utah merchandise exports, which reached an all-time high of over $18 billion last year.

Investing in Utah’s future workforce
Utah is adding more jobs and attracting more businesses. One key to our growth is our young, well-educated, skilled workforce. The Legislature took steps to improve student assessments and better prepare students for college while allocating money to improve math instruction, fund enrollment growth and support educational excellence at colleges and universities.

The fact that more Utahns are going to work every day is one of many reasons to be optimistic.

City Council recognizes Chamber’s support of Clean Air

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

The Salt Lake City Council passed a resolution in support of preserving the environment by continuing to reduce greenhouse gas pollution last night.

The resolution specifically mentions the Chamber’s efforts to promote clean air as an economic development issue and to identify role of business and the public in keeping or air clean.

Here is the entire text of the resolution:

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF PRESERVING THE ENVIRONMENT BY CONTINUING TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS POLLUTION

WHEREAS,      the City of Salt Lake prides itself on being a leader in protecting the environment, with particular emphasis on clean air; and

WHEREAS,     the City  of  Salt Lake adopted a resolution on August 12, 2008 setting a goal to reduce its carbon emissions; and

WHEREAS,      the City of Salt Lake has shifted business practices and provided funding to achieve this significant goal; and

WHEREAS,     Salt Lake City is currently involved with The Climate Adaptation Planning Alliance, a collaborative process to explore climate change adaptation planning and enable continued learning, knowledge transfer, and regional collaboration between western cities with similar arid climatic conditions; and

WHEREAS,      the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere is approximately 392 parts per million[1] (ppm); and

WHEREAS,      many studies indicate that the optimal level for preserving the earth’s atmosphere is a CO2 level of no more than 350 parts per million, which requires governments, industries and individual efforts to make significant steps to reduce the CO2 level; and

WHEREAS,      a 2007 report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, supporting over 6,000 peer reviewed scientific studies, recognizes humans as a direct contributor to the increase of greenhouse gas emissions; and

WHEREAS,      major U.S. governmental organizations have acknowledged that climate change has human origins and have indicated plans to work to preserve the environmental and economic health of the country/state while reducing carbon emissions; and

WHEREAS,      under the Utah Clean Air Partner initiative established in 2012 by Governor Gary Herbert, a top priority is to achieve air quality goals and strategies to reduce carbon emissions; and

WHEREAS,      the Salt Lake Chamber intends to promote clean air as an economic development issue and identify the roles businesses and the public have such as taking steps to reduce auto emissions and promoting responsible business practices that improve Utah’s air quality; and

WHEREAS,      with the Clean Air Act, air quality in this country has improved significantly since 1970,  despite major growth both in our economy and industrial production; and

WHEREAS,      between 1970 and 1990, the six main pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act — particulate matter and ground-level ozone (both of which contribute to smog and asthma), carbon monoxide, lead, sulfur and nitrogen oxides (the acid gases that cause acid rain) — were reduced by between 47 percent and 93 percent, and airborne lead was virtually eliminated.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Salt Lake City Council and Mayor Ralph Becker, on behalf of the residents of Salt Lake City, pledge to do our part to reduce carbon in the atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million through:

·                     Educating the public; and

·                     Purchasing products and equipment that minimize negative effects on the environment; and

·                     Continuing to establish operational practices that maximize the use of clean energy and reduce pollution, and

·                     Maximizing flexibility in City transportation, land use and other regulations to encourage a walkable City, support transit, support local food growth, protect and support the urban forest; and

·                     Supporting Utah’s community efforts to encourage everyone to take significant steps that contribute towards reducing the CO2 level; and

·                     Supporting the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce in its efforts to point out that clean air makes good business sense, and the business community will be a significant part of the solution; and

·                     Supporting regulations, including The Clean Air Act, that protect the environment.

 

Ralph Becker
Salt Lake City Mayor

Soren Simonsen, District Seven
Salt Lake City Council Member, Chair

Charlie Luke, District Six
Salt Lake City Council Member, Vice Chair

Carlton Christensen, District One
Salt Lake City Council Member

Kyle LaMalfa, District Two
Salt Lake City Council Member

Stan Penfold, District Three
Salt Lake City Council Member

Luke Garrott, District Four
Salt Lake City Council Member

Jill Remington Love, District Five
Salt Lake City Council Member

Utah ShakeOut: Being prepared for an earthquake

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Geologists have noticed a pattern in Wasatch Front earthquakes—they occur every 350 years. And Utah is very near that time again.

Utah businesses need to be prepared for the potential of an earthquake-related emergency. The Chamber gladly supports efforts to prepare Utah businesses.

The Utah ShakeOut is April 17 at 10:15 a.m. It will be the largest earthquake drill in Utah history, with well over 700,000 Utahns registered already including individuals, schools, businesses and more.

To participate, register either as a company or individual on the ShakeOut website.

For businesses, you want to download the drill manual for instructions on the four different kinds of drills you can do on the morning of April 17 (or another day if necessary). Employees should be taught how to react and what to do in case of an earthquake prior to the drill. During the drill, have your employees practice the Drop, Cover, and Hold On — the earthquake equivalent to “Stop, Drop and Roll” — for at least 60 seconds.

When the drill is done, it’s important for employees to discuss what happened during the drill and how to be better prepared.

Afterwards, Utah ShakeOut wants you to share your experience through photos, stories or videos. If you decide to tweet about it, include #UtahShakeOut in the text.

Visit ShakeOut.org/Utah to learn more or if you want to be a ShakeOut event sponsor.

Metro areas driving national export growth

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

The Utah Jobs Agenda is a 10-point, private sector plan to create 150,000 jobs over five years. One of the key components of the Agenda is to grow is to double the value of international merchandise exports during that time period.

Utah has been a leader in export growth—increasing exports by 142 percent in the past five years, reaching our all-time high of over $18 billion last year.

Utah exports create high paying Utah jobs.

The Brookings Institute recently found exports have played a major role in driving the U.S. economy forward in the past two years, contributing to more than 46 percent of the nation’s growth in 2010. In fact, total exports that year almost reached pre-recession levels.

Export Nation highlights that metropolitan areas contributed to 84 percent of the nation’s exports while the top 100 metros accounted for 65 percent of U.S. goods and services sold abroad. All large metro areas also experienced positive export growth rates between 2009 and 2010. Exporting is now being looked at as mostly a metropolitan enterprise.

Brookings says exports supported 600,000 new export-related jobs and 10.7 million jobs altogether in 2010. Of those, large metropolitan exports supported over 67 percent of export-production jobs even beyond the metro boundaries. New York was the biggest metro exporter to support the largest amount of jobs (329,000) with Los Angeles following close behind.

Of the largest 100 metro areas, 11 achieved export growth sufficient enough to meet the nation’s goal of doubling exports. It may seem a small number, but it’s double the number of metros that had this kind of growth rate between 2003 and 2008.

Utah was among states where metropolitan area exports account for over 60 percent of the export total for the state. Others include California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania along with several others mostly along the eastern seaboard.

Utah has led the U.S. in merchandise export growth for the past three years with 39.5 percent growth, jumping from $13.8 billion in 2010 to $18.93 billion in 2011.

U.S. exports to developing countries are increasing and metropolitan areas that produce what those emerging markets need are in a good position to take advantage of the growth opportunities. World Bank works with sponsors nationwide to help get those products to development projects in those nations—thus helping the U.S. export numbers. As a Private Sector Liaison Officer, the Chamber helps Utah businesses procure contracts for projects funded by the World Bank.

Selling products to customers outside the U.S. can bring a big boost to businesses of all sizes.

City Creek Center opens in Downtown Salt Lake City

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Editor’s note: These are prepared remarks delivered by Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie at the opening of the City Creek Center.

This is a day of gratitude for Downtown Rising. And on behalf of Utah’s business community we say thank you.

Thank you to our friends at Taubman and City Creek Reserve for their vision, leadership and investment in this stunning new heart for our capital city.

Thank you to the thousands of worker who have labored so diligently to prepare for this day.

Thank you to the residents, retailers, restaurants and renters who will make this center come to life, and by extension, breathe new life into the rest of our capital city.

The impact of City Creek Center extends far beyond these two blocks.

You see it in the confidence of Hamilton Partners who built 222 South Main because they saw what was happening here, and knew that this is a city on the rise.

You see it in the new OC Tanner flagship store across State Street.

You see it in the new businesses streaming into Main Street, the Broadway District, along 100 South and at The Gateway.

This truly is a city on the rise.

And this rising tide extends beyond Salt Lake City.

You see it throughout the region – a sense of optimism and hope for the future, all inspired by this rising urban center.

And you see it in our future:  with plans for a performing arts center, privately-led convention hotel, public market, film and media center, new residences and new office towers all in the works.

All contributing to the growth of Utah’s capital city and the economic strength of the entire region.

We can see today, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

Success has a thousand authors, and so to the thousands who have worked so hard to make this day a reality we say thank you.

Today doesn’t mark the end, but a new chapter in the storey of this great American city, our capital city, in the heart of the new American West.

Today we celebrate a downtown on the rise.

Downtown Rising anniversary ushers in City Creek Center

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Today we mark the fifth anniversary of the Downtown Rising vision. The plan we shared that day quickly became a movement and has since resulted in an unprecedented and unsurpassed renovation of our capital city.

Few and far between are the occasions when overstatement simply isn’t possible. For business in downtown Salt Lake City—tomorrow will be such a day.

After years of dedicated work and heightened anticipation, the City Creek Center will officially open. While the City Creek project was not part of the original Downtown Rising vision, it has become an important part of the fabric of our city.

The lesson: when we combine great vision with skill, industry and determination to elevate our community, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

Throughout our history we have proven this time and time again. Industry, making something of great worth and benefit from the available resources, is in the very make-up of the people of this state.

As we open a new chapter in the long and rich history of Utah’s capital city, I express my admiration for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its unwavering dedication and unmatched contribution to Salt Lake City. I express appreciation for the Taubman Company for the new and critical role it will play in downtown.

To Nordstrom and Macy’s, we are grateful for your commitment to the city and to this project. You belong downtown, we are grateful you are here and we hope you always be a part of our community. We welcome the new retailers and restaurants to our city, as well.

To all the businesses that played a role in making the City Creek Center project evolve from a vision to a blueprint to a parcel of open land to a frame work and finally to the remarkable finished project we will open tomorrow, thank you all.

This is a great day for Salt Lake City.

Welcome to your new downtown

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

This is an important week for Downtown Rising. The opening of City Creek will transform our urban center, Salt Lake City and the larger regional economy. It also coincides with sold-out shows of Beauty and the Beast, Utah Symphony performances, the LDS general Young Women meeting, Tumbleweeds Film Festival and a Utah Jazz game. Wow! For anyone who has ever dreamed about a more vibrant city center, congratulations! Your dreams are about to come true.

And we are ready to welcome everyone. With 5,000 new parking spaces at City Creek and new street parking pay stations that accept credit cards, downtown is more accessible than ever. We’re encouraging everyone to use TRAX or other mass transit to get downtown. If you drive, we encourage you to park once and take advantage of the free fare zone. (CLICK HERE for more tips on getting to downtown and finding a space when you get here.)

Our friends at Taubman and City Creek Reserve deserve great credit for their vision, leadership and investment in building this new heart for our capital city. Thousands of construction workers, engineers, architects and planners have also worked very hard to make this center a reality. We are excited for Nordstrom, Macy’s, Tiffany & Co.  and all the rest of the new stores and restaurants, in addition to the remarkable architectural features of this new downtown asset.

The impact of City Creek Center extends far beyond 100 South. You see it in the confidence of Hamilton Partner’s brand new 222 S. Main building. You see it in the new OC Tanner flagship store across State Street. You see it in the new businesses streaming into Main Street, the Broadway District and along 100 South. We gladly welcome Pallet, Becket and Robb, Ray’s Barbershop, Manhattan Finds, 10,000 Villages, Twisted Roots and Pebbles & Twigs, along with other new store-front shops throughout downtown.

Our friends at The Gateway have also been preparing for this week for some time. Since it opened, The Gateway has served as one of Utah’s most successful mixed-use developments and premiere shopping destinations. It is home of Urban Outfitters, the Apple Store, Anthropologie and Abercrombie. This will continue with store openings and future arrivals of Bettie Page, Epic Board Shop, Francesca’s Collection and G-Star Raw.

And more change is on the horizon. Momentum is building with a new performing arts center, convention center hotel, public market, film and media center, new residences and new office towers across downtown.

It may be tempting for some to look at the opening of City Creek Center as the final chapter of the Downtown Rising story originally envisioned by community leaders in 2007. But it’s really just a very exciting chapter in the larger narrative of Utah’s capital city—an urban engine for economic growth and a downtown that is on the rise. It’s an amazing time to be associated with downtown Salt Lake City, and I thank my lucky stars every day to be living and working right here, right now.

The Larger Story of Downtown Rising

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Editor’s note: This op-ed originally ran in the The Salt Lake Tribute, Sunday, March 18, 2012. Lane Beattie is the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Jason Mathis is the Executive Director of the Downtown Alliance.

This week marks an important Downtown Rising milestone with the opening of City Creek Center. The Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance applaud the optimism that this project embodies and we are grateful for the investment it represents.

Much will be written about City Creek this week, and it is just one chapter of a much broader story about downtown. We are equally excited about the strength and momentum of other downtown retailer centers on Main Street, Broadway and The Gateway.  A rising downtown tide may create some waves, but it will also lift all ships.

As one of our community’s great treasures, The Gateway generates retail, office and residential momentum that continues to transform the western half of downtown. Since it opened, The Gateway has served as one of Utah’s most successful mixed-use developments and premiere shopping destinations. This will continue. The Gateway is critical to Salt Lake City’s continued success and a fundamental part of our past, present and future.

Amenities like the Olympic Legacy Plaza, Discovery Gateway, the Clark Planetarium and Megaplex 12 set The Gateway apart from other shopping destinations. Retailers like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Z Gallerie, the Apple Store, and Ambercrombie & Fitch create a distinct shopping experience. Underscoring The Gateway’s continued vitality, new stores including Bettie Page, Epic Board Shop, Francesca’s Collection and G-Star Raw have recently opened or been announced.

Our optimism about the future of The Gateway is also driven by the way it is integrated into the larger neighborhood. The Gateway has a symbiotic relationship with the Utah Jazz and EnergySolutions Arena. The LDS Business College and the BYU Extension at the Triad Center bring students and faculty to the neighborhood. The Hyatt Place Hotel opened at The Gateway a few years ago, and the next phase of office development, Gateway Six, is scheduled to open in June with 100 percent occupancy.

We are also confident about The Gateway’s long-term success because of leadership from property owners. Inland Western and The Boyer Company should be credited for their past investments and their commitment to our community. The have built a retail center that will stand the test of time. We stand with them.

We also stand with the independent merchants who are building local businesses throughout the rest of downtown. The urban renaissance inspired by Downtown Rising extends to the nearly 100 downtown store-front businesses that have opened their doors in the past three years. They are an essential part of downtown’s story. Linked by a free-fare TRAX zone, complemented by cultural amenities, supported by 30,000 parking spaces and 70,000 daily commuters, downtown truly is on the rise. With plans for a performing arts center, convention headquarters hotel, street car system, public market, film and media center, new office towers, and thousands of new residents, downtown’s future is bright.

The waves that may come from this rising tide are not unexpected. We have been preparing for the opening of City Creek Center for years, and the ribbon cutting on March 22 has been highly anticipated. It is part of the inevitable change that drives any dynamic community.

The goal for city officials and business leaders is to manage inevitable change in ways that ultimately strengthen the larger community. We will continue to adapt to changing economic dynamics and shifting demographics as we thoughtfully plan for the future. As we celebrate the opening of City Creek Center this week it is helpful to note that it is but one more chapter in the larger story of Utah’s capital city.

Chamber launches program to help businesses become Clean Air Champions

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

The Salt Lake Chamber is launching a program to help Utah businesses enhance their commitment to clean air and benefit their bottom lines. Businesses can become Clean Air Champions by enrolling in the program at www.cleanairchampion.com and indicating practices already in place or by implementing new Clean Air programs.

“Many businesses across the state already do a lot to preserve our clean air,” said Jonathan Johnson, president of Overstock.com and chair of the Chamber’s Clean Air Task Force. “For those that want to do more than they’re doing now, this program provides motivation and recognition and it helps them see what actions other businesses have found to be most effective.”

The Clean Air Champion program is a private sector approach to motivate Utah businesses to make decisions that improve our air quality and strengthen our economy. Poor air quality hinders corporate relocation efforts, places additional regulatory burdens on business, increases health care costs and places Utah’s federal highway funding at risk. The Business community can make a difference.

“Clean air is a business issue,” said Kelly Sanders, president and CEO of Kennecott Utah Copper. “It’s very easy to look at our air quality and say it is someone else’s problem, but the business community needs to be involved in formulating and implementing the solution. We’re proud to be a Clean Air Champion and we hope other Utah businesses will join us.”

A call to action
The Clean Air Champion website serves as a reference point for best practices and encourages businesses to get involved. By implementing three of the eight suggested practices or by coming up with an original or industry-specific approach, a business can earn the distinction of Clean Air Champion.

Suggested Clean Air best practices include:

1. Utilizing teleworking options for employees and corporate meetings
2.Operating or converting to a clean air fleet consisting of either natural gas, electric, hybrid, alternative fuels or cleaner burning gasoline vehicles
3. Offering/subsidizing transit passes for employees
4. Operating a carpool/vanpool program for employees
5. Encouraging employees to use alternative modes of transportation on Red Air Days
6. Encouraging employees to use active transportation, such as walking and biking
7. Establishing a TravelWise integration plan
8. Participating annually in the Clear the Air Challenge

Leading by example
As Utah’s business leader, the Chamber is also determined to set a good example. The Chamber offers UTA transit passes to employees at no cost and one-in-four employees uses alternative transportation methods on a daily basis. Employees receive notifications on Red Air Days and are encouraged to use alternative forms of transportation. Directions to events and meetings include public transit options, as well.

The Chamber also operates as a Salt Lake City recognized E2 Business, emphasizing conservation and recycling programs. The Chamber’s strategic partner, the Downtown Alliance, is also working on a Bike Share program. The Chamber is an annual participant in the Clear the Air Challenge.

Several Utah businesses have already been named Clean Air Champions. These businesses are demonstrating a commitment to environmental stewardship while reaping the financial benefits.

Kennecott Utah Copper has installed an idling management system in its light and medium vehicles. The system reports any vehicle idling more than two minutes. Since implementing the system three years ago, Kennecott Utah Copper has saved more than $5.3 million.

Hale Centre Theatre converted its vehicle fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, installed a fueling station and now provides CNG to employees at no cost. The program has resulted in annual savings of $5,000 per fleet vehicle.

Waste Management is in the process of converting its garbage collection fleet to CNG. Additionally, it has converted its truck maintenance shop for lighter-than-air fuels and is installing a public CNG fueling station. The organization expects to save approximately $16,000 per truck.

A history of clean air
Clean air is not a new issue to the Chamber. In the early Twentieth Century, the Salt Lake valley was powered and heated by burning coal. Trains, smelters and manufacturing plants all ran on locally-mined coal, covering the city in a layer of soot.

The 125 year old Salt Lake Chamber began its fight against smoke early, almost from its founding. In 1914, the Chamber recommended Salt Lake City hire a smoke inspector and in 1920 the Chamber supported educational efforts to help coal-burners understand better technology, and to help businesses remodel their plants. The City in turn passed smoke-control ordinances, set up monitoring programs, and began seeking out violators. Smoke inspectors roamed the city or watched from atop the Walker Bank building by day, and at night searchlights played on smokestacks to catch violators.

The Chamber even provided an airplane to help the city in its smoke inspection program during the winter. It made observation trips in the morning to help determine the origin and movement of smoke, and also helped spot violators.