This week on the Utah Business Report

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

In case you missed one or more of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Business Reports on KSL NewsRadio, here is a recap of what we talked about this week.

For the full recorded reports from this week and weeks past, visit KSL NewsRadio online. Remember to tune in between 12:30 and 1 p.m. to KSL NewsRadio every week day on 102.7 FM or 1160 AM. If your business is doing something great, let us know and we may feature it on the Utah Business Report.

On Tuesday, August 26th, the Salt Lake Chamber will celebrate our past, present and future as we pay tribute to our valued partners at the 127th Annual Meeting. The Chamber will honor Chamber Champions and Outstanding Corporate partners—individuals and companies who commit their abilities, resources and time to help further the Chamber’s mission and strengthen our state.

Today I’d like to tell you about someone who’ll be honored as a Chamber Champion: Jonathan Hafen from Parr Brown Gee and Loveless. Jonathan has been a champion of the Chamber International Committee and a catalyst for collaboration between the Chamber, the World Trade Center Utah and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development on bringing innovative product to Utah companies that are looking to succeed in challenging global markets. The result of this partnership is the Utah Global Forum, a signature international event that takes place on September 24th and features experts on all aspects of international business development from Utah and beyond.

To learn more about the Annual Meeting luncheon on August 26th, please visit slchamber.com.

On Tuesday, August 26th, the Salt Lake Chamber will celebrate our past, present and future as we pay tribute to our valued partners at the 127th Annual Meeting. The Chamber will honor Chamber Champions and Outstanding Corporate partners—individuals and companies who commit their abilities, resources and time to help further the Chamber’s mission and strengthen our state.

Today I’d like to tell you about someone who’ll be honored as a Chamber Champion: Camilla Edsberg from Hope Gallery.

Camilla has been a chamber member for a number of years and most recently served as the Chair of the Presidents Ambassador Committee. She has a wonderful talent for organization and the ability to lead by example. The past year the committee has seen wonderful growth and great organization in part to Camilla’s leadership. Camilla leads from the front rather than commanding from the back.

To learn more about the Annual Meeting luncheon on August 26th, please visit slchamber.com.

On Tuesday, August 26th, the Salt Lake Chamber will celebrate our past, present and future as we pay tribute to our valued partners at the 127th Annual Meeting. The Chamber will honor Chamber Champions and Outstanding Corporate partners—individuals and companies who commit their abilities, resources and time to help further the Chamber’s mission and strengthen our state.

Today I’d like to tell you about someone who’ll be honored as a Chamber Champion: Debra Hoyt from Questar.

Debra has been involved with the Chamber for many years in various capacities. She has served different roles including Chair of the Women Business Center and chair of Women in Business Conference Committee. She exudes a calm confidence. With her leadership, the Chamber’s Women’s Business Center has seen valuable growth and a stronger foundation. Thank you, Debra, and congratulations!

To learn more about the Annual Meeting luncheon on August 26th, please visit slchamber.com.

On Tuesday, August 26th, the Salt Lake Chamber will celebrate our past, present and future as we pay tribute to our valued partners at the 127th Annual Meeting. The Chamber will honor Chamber Champions and Outstanding Corporate partners—individuals and companies who commit their abilities, resources and time to help further the Chamber’s mission and strengthen our state.

Today I’d like to tell you about someone who’ll be honored as a Chamber Champion: Abby Albrecht from Google Fiber.

Abby has had significant involvement in the Chamber for many years. She’s served on our board for six years, and one of the driving forces behind the Chamber’s influence on transportation issues. Initially chair of our original transportation committee, Abby helped start what is now the Utah Transportation Coalition. She ensures the Chamber taking the broad-based and pro-economy stance in regards to how we move goods and people in our community. She embodies the definition of leadership by always exceeding expectations through doing more than what is expected.

To learn more about the Annual Meeting luncheon on August 26th, please visit slchamber.com.

Clear the Air Challenge Results—2014

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

In July, 6,876 Utahns from all over the state worked together to eliminate 2,249,613 miles and 143,353 vehicle trips during the 6th Annual Clear the Air Challenge. 2014 Challenge participants saved $782,946 and over 669.1 tons of CO2. We thank this year’s participants and we are thrilled about saving nearly 2.25 million miles- that is an impressive achievement. Way to go, Utah!

We are also excited to announce our top finishers!

Top Overall Teams:

1. Fidelity Investment

2. Utah Dept. of Workforce Services

3. U of U Facilities

4. Utah Department of Environmental Quality

5. Goldman Sachs

6. Department of Public Safety

7. Questar Corporation

8. DWS –Admin North

9.Overstock.com

10. SLCoHealth

11. UDOT

12. Utah DEQ: DAQ

13. L3 Communications

14. Salt Lake City Corporation

15. Department of Technology Services

 

Top Small Teams:

1. 90.9 KRCL

2. PPBH

3. KUER

4. Architectural Nexus

5. Salt Lake Chamber / Downtown Alliance

6. Wasatch Front Regional Council

7. VCBO Architecture

8. Impact Hub

9. The Buckner Company

10. 3form

11. MHTN Architects

12. FFKR Architects

13. Parleys 6th Ward

14. Dixon Neighbors

15. UCAIR

 

Top Individuals: Trips Saved

1.Soren Simonsen

2. Robert Ford aka Clean Air Bob

3. Rob Kent

4. Xavier White

5. Michelle Bell

 

Top Individuals: Miles Saved

1. Jennifer Gordon

2. Lynn Kunzler

3. John Strong

4. David Harding aka Dave of Dixon

5. Rachel Burningham

Congratulations to all of our winners for setting the bar high and showing that through individual action, we can all make a difference.

“Although the 2014 Clear the Air Challenge is over, our work continues,” said Jonathan Johnson, chairman of Overstock.com and chair of the Salt Lake Chamber’s clean air task force. “Integrate the behaviors learned from this Challenge into your life through the rest of the year.”

A big thank you goes to the sponsors of the Clear the Air Challenge for making it possible this year: UTA ,UCAIR , TravelWise, RioTinto, Enterprise CarShare, Penna Power Brian Hayes, Fidelity Investments, Overstock.com, Zions Bank and the Salt Lake Chamber. Thanks to the numerous sponsors who donated prizes for the Challenge as well: Kuhl, Probar, Ogden Made, Visit Salt Lake, Ramp Sports and many more.

As always, we encourage you to continue to consider ways you can drive down your driving trips throughout the entire year. Remember—every little bit counts, no matter what month it is. Keep tracking it all at cleartheairchallenge.org.

 

Public Policy – August Update

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

As the “Voice of Business” and Utah’s statewide chamber, the Salt Lake Chamber leads out on critical issues that impact Utah businesses and our community. In the coming weeks, here is how we plan to “move the dial” to grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah, as well as ways for you to participate for the month of August and beyond.

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Public Policy

We are excited to announce that Michael Merrill has been promoted to Director of Public Policy for the Salt Lake Chamber. Michael will continue to focus and enhance the Chamber’s major initiatives, including economic development, infrastructure, the environment, Utah’s workforce and ensuring Utah’s premier business climate.

Additionally, Jesse Dean has been promoted to Director of Urban Development for the Downtown Alliance, focusing on economic development and urban policies in Salt Lake City’s downtown.

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Prosperity 2020

Prosperity 2020 is actively engaged in ensuring that our state has a world-class workforce and supporting education in our state. This includes recently speaking out in favor of extending the No Child Left Behind waiver.

In addition to these efforts, Prosperity 2020is looking to share how businesses are engaged in supporting education. Please take five minutes to complete this short survey to provide insight for the policymakers and others who ask what industry is saying about education’s impact on their companies.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Allyson Bell at 801-328-5076 or abell@prosperity2020.com.

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Natural Resources Business Council: August meeting focused on public lands initiative

Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 | 7:30 – 9:00 AM

The Natural Resource Business Council represents an inclusive approach to multiple sectors of Utah’s economy. The Council is the guiding body for the water,  energy and minerals, clean air, and outdoor recreation and tourism task forces.

This month’s meeting will focus on updates from the Chamber’s efforts in these areas, as well as an update from Rep. Rob Bishop on the Public Lands Initiative.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at 801.558.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Regulation: Chamber partnering on Utah Solutions Summit regarding regulation

Thursday, Aug.21, 2014 | 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM

We are partnering with Sen. Mike Lee, Gov. Gary Herbert, the Utah League of Cities and Towns, and the Utah Association of Counties for the Utah Solutions Summit on Thursday, August 21, 2014 to discuss the vast and uncertain regulatory burden under which businesses are required to comply and develop solutions to move our economy forward.

The agenda includes discussions with business leaders and government offi­cials about regulation compliance as well as the relationship between regulation and economic development. Included featured keynote speakers: U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Justin Jones at 801.558.9371 or jjones@slchamber.com.

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Clean Air: 6th Annual Clear the Air Challenge another success

We all have a role in keeping our air clean and the 2014 Clear the Air Challenge was another great success exhibiting Utahns and Utah businesses’ willingness to drive smarter and drive less. More than 6,800 participants eliminated over 140,000 single-occupancy vehicles trips, averting more than 2 million miles traveled.

The winners of this year’s challenge will be announced on August 16 at 9:00 a.m. at the Downtown Farmers Market at Pioneer Park on the main stage. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Ryan Evans at 801.328.5063.

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Water: Chamber announces new effort to address Utah’s water challenges

As part of the “Utah | Water Is Your Business” week, the Salt Lake Chamber announced a co-chair for the newly launched water committee: Rob Moore, president of Big-D Construction. The Chamber water committee will focus on best practices for business in water conservation and management, and will also look at current and future infrastructure needs. To learn more, please visit “Utah | Water Is Your Business.” You can also follow the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #UTbiz4H2O.

We will have updates in the very near future on the committee including meeting dates and ways to participate. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at 801.558.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Utah Transportation Coalition: Mountain transportation and Aerotroplis

Save the Date – Aerotroplis Guest Speaker – Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014

This past month Utah Transportation Coalition and Mountain Accord hosted business and community leaders to discuss the future of transportation in Utah’s Central Wasatch. Mountain transportation is one of the key transportation objectives for Utah’s business community because of its possible impact on our economy, quality of life, and opportunities to strengthen and enhance our natural environment.

The Salt Lake Chamber and Utah Transportation Coalition support these efforts to explore transportation options in the Wasatch Mountains that increase accessibility, are a net-positive for the environment, encourage transit, enhance Utah’s global brand, and pass a rigorous environmental and local process. For more information about the Mountain Accord Process, please visit www.mountainaccord.com.

Addtionally, the Utah Transportation Coalition and Parsons Brinkerhoff will be hosting an Aerotroplis forum on October 16 to discuss the importance of the connection between Salt Lake City International Airport and Utah’s economy. The airport just recently broke ground on a 10-year terminal rebuild and released a report detailing the economic impact of the airport.

For more details, visit www.utahtransportation.org or contact Michael Merrill at 801.558.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Energy: 2014 Uintah Basin Energy Summit

Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 – Vernal

Utah’s rich and diverse energy sector is one key reason behind our state’s thriving economy. This September key stakeholders will gather in one of Utah’s richest energy regions. The Uintah Basin Energy Summit is a complement to the Governor’s Energy Summit that focuses directly on economic growth and energy development in the Uintah Basin. The summit will be in held in Vernal, Utah, on September 4, 2014.

This region is extremely important to Utah’s broader business community. Most recently, the Utah State Chamber, the coordinating entity for chambers of commerce throughout Utah, held its annual summer meeting in the Uintah Basin. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Michael Merrill at 801.558-5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Outdoor Recreation and Tourism: 2014 Summer Outdoor Retailer and Economic Club of Utah

Outdoor recreation and tourism represent robust business sectors that benefit both urban and rural Utah. We view efforts to enhance these industries as vital to economic development. This past month we held an industry focus group and will continue to engage Utah’s outdoor products and services companies.

As part of that effort, the Salt Lake Chamber visited the 2014 Summer Outdoor Retailer show and connected with key industry leaders. Additionally, the Chamber is supporting the Economic Club of Utah’s Summer Meeting, which is focusing on Utah’s outdoor economy.

We are also excited about our continued partnership with the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation and Office of Tourism, Global Branding and Film as we look to grow these industries.

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Downtown Alliance: Downtown still rising

In July 2014, the Downtown Alliance released the “2014 State of Downtown Economic Benchmark Report” from 2013 through first quarter 2014. This report tells a story of a constantly evolving and improving regional center for culture, commerce and entertainment. Economic activity and tax revenues continue to recover from the Great Recession of 2007-2009, with retail sales reaching over $800 million in eating, drinking, clothing department and other downtown retail categories. Over the last year, dozens of new office buildings, residential developments, hotels, theaters and public structures either broke ground or opened within 1.08 square mile Central Business District. For more information and a full copy of this report, please click here.

Looking forward to 2014-2015, there are several opportunities for improvement within the Central Business District. The Downtown Alliance will focus on policies and programs that impact the following areas:

- Redevelopment in downtown’s burgeoning entrepreneurial and transit-oriented neighborhood, the Depot District.
- Nightlife economy and creating a dynamic and diverse downtown that is welcoming to locals and visitors alike.
- Continued residential development to create a 24/7 urban center welcome to all ages, backgrounds and income levels.
- Development-friendly codes and zoning in order to remain a regional competitor for urban infill.

If you are interested in learning more about the Downtown Alliance’s initiatives or have any questions, please contact Director of Urban Development Jesse Dean at jesse@downtownslc.org.

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Health System Reform: Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan

Health System Reform Task Force meeting – Thursday, Aug.28, 2014

We are actively engaged in a number of issues in regards to health care and the business community. This includes the discussions around the Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan, the continued implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) and its impact on businesses, as well as directly engaging Utah’s employers as the largest payer in health care spending.

The Health System Reform Task Force will be meeting on August 28. If you have any other questions or comments, please reach out to Justin Jones at 801.558.9371 or jjones@slchamber.com.

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International: Utah Global Forum

Utah Global Forum – Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014

On September 24, 2014, Utah will host the first of its kind Global Forum. Topics will include Building a Global Brand; Doing Business in Europe, Mexico, Canada and China; Shared Stories of Success from Utah Companies Abroad; Financing Your Global Expansion; and Global Operational Efficiency Through Sound Legal, Tax and Accounting Practices. The agenda for the event has been released and features a number of world-renowned business and trade experts.

If you’re thinking about exporting, looking to invest in one of the fastest growing economies in the United States or seeking inspiration to take your business to the next level, you won’t want to miss out on this forum.

For questions regarding the Utah Global Forum, please visit www.utahglobalforum.com.

 

This week on the Utah Business Report

Friday, August 8th, 2014

In case you missed one or more of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Business Reports on KSL NewsRadio, here is a recap of what we talked about this week.

For the full recorded reports from this week and weeks past, visit KSL NewsRadio online. Remember to tune in between 12:30 and 1 p.m. to KSL NewsRadio every week day on 102.7 FM or 1160 AM. If your business is doing something great, let us know and we may feature it on the Utah Business Report.

This week is the Utah: Water Is Your Business Week—a Salt Lake Chamber initiative to bring awareness to water’s impact on our economy and businesses.

From Monday through Friday, join business and community leaders to discuss water infrastructure and the impact of water availability on our economy, business environment and economic development efforts. We will also be sharing stories about Utah businesses that are making a difference.

One day will focus on business leadership in water conservation and another will focus on infrastructure needs. Tuesday, August 5th, we’ll host a luncheon of community and business leaders to discuss the importance of water infrastructure and availability. It will be held at the Jordan Valley Conservation Gardens Park in West Jordan.

Water Is Your Business Week also features the announcement and launch of the Chamber’s water committee and co-chairs.

Water has a major impact on our economy. Be a part of the discussion with Utah: Water Is Your Business Week now. Learn more at slchamber.com/waterisyourbusiness.

Recently, there has been some concern over the education standards we have adopted as a state, particularly in math and English language arts.

Providing Utah students with a top-notch education is critical to our long-term economic strength. And to make sure Utah students are prepared for college and career training, it is essential we have the right standards in place.

Governor Gary Herbert has taken action to do just that. And, now you can go online to review the standards and let the governor know how you feel about them.

By visiting utah.gov/governor/standards, anyone with a concern can review the current standards and share their opinion. This can be either positive or negative feedback, but it needs to be specific.

If there is a standard or grade level benchmark that you disagree with, the governor wants to hear about it. This site is now open through the end of August. So visit utah.gov/governor/standards.

AT&T’s new store design focused on the customer’s mobile lifestyle is now a reality in Sandy. The new store at 11316 State Street transforms the entire shopping experience. The new store concept is the result of more than two years of exploration and research all centered on one design goal – to create a more interactive and inviting store environment.

Customers in Utah will be among the first to experience the new store concept that is reinventing the retail business. This store is the latest example of the investment already made in the Salt Lake area. AT&T invested nearly 100-million dollars in its Salt Lake area wireless and wireline networks from 2011 to 2013. This new location will serve the growing number of consumers relying on their wireless devices to manage their busy lives.

AT&T also recently launched Digital Life in Salt Lake City. AT&T Digital Life makes customers’ lives easier by simplifying the management of their home. With Digital Life, customers can use their existing home broadband provider along with any wireless phone service, and enjoy the security and convenience of a home management system personalized to meet their unique needs. To learn more, visit att.com/DigitalLife. That’s att.com/DigitalLife.

On August 14th, the annual Women in Business Summer Social will bring over 300 prominent business women and men together, providing a platform for fundraising and networking. The Summer Social is presented by Questar and Cuisine Unlimited. It promises to be an evening worth your time.

The Summer Social will have an exciting synergy from a full spectrum of industries with a dynamic group of entrepreneurial and professional people. The event includes food, beverage, entertainment, a silent auction, a variety of vendor tables and, of course, great networking opportunities.

The proceeds from the Summer Social support women’s programs at the Salt Lake Chamber’s nonprofit organization, the Women’s Business Center. Donations are tax deductible. The funds will help provide women and men entrepreneurs with a platform for business development and job creation in Utah through consulting, training and networking.

Join the Women’s Business Center for the Summer Social on Thursday, August 14th at 5:30 p.m. For more details on this event, please go to our website at slchamber.com.

I hope you’ll join me in wishing a “Happy 25th Anniversary” to  Squatters Brewery and Pub.

Twenty-five years ago this fall, Squatters founding partners committed to bring quality brew and delicious pub food to Utah. Twelve World Beer Cups, 24 Great American Beer Festival Medals and 30 North American Brewers Association Medals later, Squatters has teamed up with the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art to commemorate Squatters’ 25th Anniversary with equally as impressive art.

UMOCA and Squatters have chosen four local artists to each create a 340-square foot mural with the theme “25 Years of Beer” that will be painted on the east side of Squatters Pub in downtown Salt Lake City. The selected artists are Trent Call, Mackinzie Donovan, Richard Landvatter and Mike Mudrock.

The mural painting was finished last month. The public was able to vote on their favorite art piece and the winning mural will be featured on the beer label for a limited edition 25th anniversary brew and t-shirt.

Squatters and UMOCA would like to thank Layton Construction for their generous donations of supplies and equipment.

 

Utah ranked top pro-business state by Pollina three years running

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

In its eleventh year, the Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business Study for 2014 has listed Utah as the top state for business for the third year in a row. Again, Utah stands out above the rest of the states as “a symbol of economic growth that other states should emulate,” according to Brent Pollina VP of Park Ridge, Illinois-based Pollina Corporate Real Estate and co-author of the 2014 study.

“Under Governor Gary Herbert’s leadership, Utah has held the top position for the third year in a row. In 2005, Utah ranked #23 and by 2012 it ranked #1 moving up in rank 22 places in only seven years,” he explains. “Utah is a great example of what enlightened and motivated political leadership can accomplish with a solid plan. Like the early Utah pioneers, the recent political leaders of Utah have relied on their own ‘industry’ to prosper.”

Through efforts by Gov. Herbert, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah and the Salt Lake Chamber–both on their own and collectively–the focus has been to make Utah an environment where business and the economy can thrive. A few things that make Utah so great business include a stable regulatory environment, low unemployment, ease of starting a business, low operation costs, a well-educated workforce and, of course, the great quality of life our state offers.

In Utah’s report card from the Pollina study, Utah earned an A grade in various categories, such as unemployment rate, high school completion, right-to-work, workers compensation, corporate tax index, business inventory tax, property tax, regulatory and litigation environments, cost of electricity, as well as marketing/website/response to new and existing employers in state education. Utah also had a strong showing in overall tax environment.

The categories where Utah could improve include average teachers compensation, incentives and funding per college student.

“A handful of states have shown exemplary leadership in growing their economies and employment base while countering these trends by improving their business environment, adding new companies and growing existing companies,” said Dr. Ron Pollina, an economist and corporate relocation expert. “These states have broken the bonds that hold others back and positioned themselves for success today, tomorrow and the remainder of the decade, which is a remarkable achievement in the aftermath of the Great Recession.”

The Pollina Corporate study, a joint endeavor with the American Economic Development Institute, “draws attenttion to those states with political leaders who have a strategic plan that works as well as states that need help.” The study examines 32 factors relative to state efforts to be pro-business and has become recognized as the “Gold Standard” for evaluating states. It is the most comprehensive and impartial examination (with no advertising) of states available.

To have Utah stay on top of this prestigious list for three years in a row means something special is going on in the Beehive State that spells good things for business, our economy and our community.

 

Rodeo: A Days of ’47 Tradition

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Rodeo has been a tradition celebrating Utah’s heritage for 160 years. The pioneers arrived in the valley in 1847, and in July 1849 they held their first celebration with a parade and a rodeo.

In the early days rodeo was a community event, organized by people who wanted to be part of the celebration – much like it still is today. The event was called “Covered Wagon Days.” The Sons and Daughters of the Utah Pioneers eventually took over the organization and planning of the celebration, giving the parade and rodeo uniformity. In 1943 the decision was made to rename the event “Days of ‘47,” to incorporate the inaugural year.

The 2014 Days of ’47 Komatsu Equipment Rodeo is back at the EnergySolutions Arena this year. The rodeo will run between July 21 and July 26 with shows starting at 7 p.m. (July 26 start time is 6 p.m.)

So join in the celebration with six big nights of bull riding, bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and roping by 400 of the nation’s top cowboys and cowgirls! Monday night is bullriding only with a special event by the PBR. Tuesday night is Family Night with discount tickets for families. Wednesday night is Hero’s Night with discounts to military and law enforcement personnel that purchase tickets at the gate and provide valid I.D.

Each night will also feature free concerts by artists and bands such as The Charley Jenkins Band, Michael Martin Murphy, and No Limits. On Saturday, the hit band Train will put on a public concert on 300 West following the rodeo – absolutely free, thanks to a sponsorship from Zions Bank.

You can find discount coupons for all tickets and all rodeo performances at the Salt Lake Chamber, Utah Maverik Stores or Zions Bank locations. Proceeds benefit United Way’s “Changing the Odds Campaign” for at-risk kids. Buy tickets now at the EnergySolutions Arena.

The Days of ’47 Rodeo brings you the best rodeo in Utah to celebrate our state holiday. Join the celebration next week! For more details, visit DaysOf47.com.

Get your rodeo on and celebrate one of Utah’s longest standing traditions!

This week on the Utah Business Report

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

In case you missed one or more of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Business Reports on KSL NewsRadio, here is a recap of what we talked about this week.

For the full recorded reports from this week and weeks past, visit KSL NewsRadio online. Remember to tune in between 12:30 and 1 p.m. to KSL NewsRadio every week day on 102.7 FM or 1160 AM. If your business is doing something great, let us know and we may feature it on the Utah Business Report.

Utah recently earned two high accolades again. For the second year in a row, Utah has been named the most small business-friendly state in the country in the Small Business Friendliness Survey conducted by Thumbtack.com. In the survey’s third year, Utah improved almost all of its scores in the different categories to earn an A+ in nine of the 11 categories, which include: overall friendliness, ease of starting a business, ease of hiring, regulations, employment, labor and hiring, tax code, licensing, environmental, and zoning. Utah tied with Idaho for the most A+ grades, but fared better in ease of hiring.

The U.S. Chamber also praised Utah in its newly released Enterprising States report, ranking it the third overall performer in economic performance. In this report, Utah landed in the top six in each of the five policy categories. One major driver of this strength is the state’s robust mixture and diversity of industries. Utah’s economy has been consistently ranked as one of the nation’s most diverse.

To learn more about Utah’s most recent accolades, visit slchamber.com/blog

Today is the first day of the Clear the Air Challenge! The Challenge runs through the entire month of July. We encourage Utahns to drive less and drive smarter to reduce vehicle emissions and collectively improve Utah’s air quality. Each trip saved makes a difference to the quality of our air.

This year, the Challenge goal is to eliminate 250,000 vehicle trips, 2 million vehicle miles and to engage 10-thousand participants in the Challenge.

Thanks to a partnership with UDOT’s TravelWise and a grant from UCAIR, the Challenge has invested in a new tracking technology that makes logging your trips saved faster and easier—from your mobile device or computer. Also, there is a built-in trip planner as part of the new tracker.

Awards will be given to those who participate each week during the Challenge, so get involved! Challenge your coworkers, friends and family to help clear the air. The Clear the Air Challenge is an excellent time to try new ways of transportation – from your daily commute to family errands. You can sign up for the Clear the Air Challenge, join a team and start tracking your miles saved at www.cleartheairchallenge.org.

The Salt Lake Chamber is now calling for sponsors for the 14th Annual Women In Business Summer Social, presented by Questar Corporation. The Summer Social is the premier summer event organized by the Business Women’s Forum.

The Summer Social brings together more than 250 of Utah’s business and career women, for productive networking in an exciting venue with a chance to support women in business. This is a great opportunity for sponsors to get their names in front of a dynamic group of people in a fun and interactive environment.

This year, the Summer Social will take place August 14 at the Bill and Pat Child Family Community Hall in the new Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building at the U of U.

The proceeds from the Summer Social support the Women’s Business Center at the Salt Lake Chamber, which accelerates businesses through counseling, training and networking.

You can learn more about sponsorship and attending the Women In Business Summer Social at slchamber.com/summersocial.

Rodeo has been a tradition in celebrating Utah’s heritage 160 years. The pioneers arrived in the valley in 1847, and in July, 1849 they held their first celebration with a parade and a rodeo.

In the early days rodeo was a community event, organized by people who wanted to be part of the celebration – much like it still is today. The event was called “Covered Wagon Days”. The Sons and Daughters of the Utah Pioneers eventually took over the organization and planning of the celebration, giving the parade and rodeo uniformity. In 1943, the decision was made to rename and incorporate the “Days of ’47” event.

The 2014 Days of ’47 Komatsu (koh-MAHT-su) Equipment Rodeo is back at the EnergySolutions Arena this year. The Rodeo will run between July 22nd and July 26th. Performances will begin at 7 o’clock p.m. from the 22nd to the 25th, and at 6 p.m. on the 26th.

The Days of ’47 Rodeo is one of Utah’s longest standing traditions, bringing you the best rodeo in Utah to celebrate our state holiday. Join the celebration next month. For more details, visit DaysOf47.com.

Public Policy – July Update

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

As the “Voice of Business” and Utah’s statewide Chamber, the Salt Lake Chamber leads out on critical issues that impact Utah businesses and our community. In the coming weeks, here is how we plan to “move the dial” to grow our economy, promote community prosperity and champion business in Utah, as well as ways for you to participate.

Public Policy

The Salt Lake Chamber has named Rich Walje, President and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power as Public Policy Chair starting July 1, 2014. The Policy Chair is an Executive Board member which guides the Chamber’s various public policy initiatives and acts as a liaison with the Executive Board on policy.

“The Salt Lake Chamber fills an essential role in our community as the voice of business on public policy issues. Apart from narrowly-focused industry associations, the Chamber gives a voice to broad-based business issues in the community and on the Hill,” said Walje.

Additionally, Chris Gamvroulas, President Ivory Development and Ivory Homes, was also named Vice Chair, Public Policy. Walje has set an aggressive agenda for the coming year for improving the chamber’s efforts in public policy and strengthening influence on key policy issues.

The Executive Board is the only policy body of the Salt Lake Chamber responsible for the Chamber’s commercial, industrial, public, legislative and financial policies. The Executive Board consists of members of the Board of Governors and the Downtown Alliance Board of Trustees. All of the Chamber’s extensive policy task forces and committees are advisory to the Executive Board through the Public Policy Chair.

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Clean Air

We all have a role in keeping our air clean. Businesses, citizens and government share our roads and breathe the same air. We should all do our part clean our air and the Clear the Air Challenge is perfect opportunity to show that you care about air quality! This statewide Challenge begins on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

1. Remember, it’s all about driving smarter and driving less. Find out how your company and employees can participate at www.cleartheairchallenge.org.

If you have any other questions, concerns or comments about the Clear the Air Challenge, feel free to reach out to Ben Hoyle at 801.328.5056 or bhoyle@slchamber.com.

Also – our next Clean Air Task Force meeting will be Wednesday, August 13, at 7:30-9:00 a.m. with the Chamber’s Natural Resources Business Council. For more information about the task force, please contact Ryan Evans at 801.328.5063 or revans@slchamber.com.

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Capitol Club

“The Salt Lake Chamber Capitol Club gives business professionals unrivaled access to Utah’s leaders,” said Dan Harbeke, director public affairs of Union Pacific Railroad. “If you are interested in an inside look to how policy in Utah works, I’d encourage you to join.”

The Capitol Club provides the opportunity to gain professional development in public policy, public affairs and  especially for those interested in the policy issues affecting Utah’s business community. The next Capitol Club event will be Monday, July 16, with the newly appointed executive director of the Utah Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR), Ivy Estabrooke.

If you are interested in participating in Capitol Club contact Michael Merrill at 801-328.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Regulation

We advocate for simplified and reasonable regulation as well as predictable and certain laws, so rational people can be confident in deploying resources into a productive economy. To that end we are partnering with Sen. Lee, Gov. Gary Herbert, the Utah League of Cities and Towns, and the Utah Association of Counties for the Utah Solutions Summit on Thursday, August 21, 2014 to discuss the vast and uncertain regulatory burden under which businesses are required to comply and develop solutions to move our economy forward.

We will have more information about the Solutions Summit, including sponsorship opportunities, in the coming days. If you have any other questions, concerns or comments, feel free to reach out to Justin Jones at 801.558-9371 or jjones@slchamber.com.

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Water

We invite you to join business and community leaders to discuss the importance of water infrastructure and the impact of water availability on our economy, business environment and economic development efforts, as well as how Utah businesses are making a difference with “Utah: Water is Your Business Week,” which will take place the week of August 4 – 8, 2014. This will include a number of items including the launch of Chamber’s Water Task Force.

We are looking for great stories about how your business is practicing water management and conservation. We invite you to join in sponsoring this great event. For more information and to share your company’s water stories, please contact Michael Merrill at 801-328.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Prosperity 2020

The Salt Lake Chamber has partnered with chambers of commerce and business associations from all over Utah in a movement called Prosperity 2020 to strengthen our economy by improving education. Prosperity 2020 is currently working towards an Education Forum later this fall as well as working closely with the Legislature’s Education Task Force. The next Prosperity 2020 Founders Council meeting is Monday, August 25 at 1:00-2:30 p.m.

To become involved in Prosperity 2020, please contact Jana Scott at 801-328-5043 or jscott@prosperity2020.com.

Additionally, the Prosperity 2020 Business Promise seeks to deploy 20,200 volunteers into Utah’s school system. If your business is interested in taking a more active role to support education, please contact Julie Johnsson at 801.328.5082 or jjohnsson@slchamber.com.

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Utah Transportation Coalition

On June 23, the Utah Transportation Coalition held the 2014 Open House with terrific presentations from UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras, Utah Transit Authority General Manager Michael Allegra, and House Transportation Committee Chair and Interim Transportation Committee Co-Chair Rep. Johnny Anderson. The event is just one of dozens the Utah Transportation Coalition hosts every year to promote continued investment in Utah’s transportation infrastructure. These events are reserved or significantly discounted for Coalition members and include an upcoming Mountain Transportation event that we will have more details on in the coming weeks.

The Coalition is currently looking for new members to collaborate with our partners to make smart and sustainable transportation choices and to secure adequate, stable and long-term funding to support a high quality of life and economic growth in Utah.

If your company is interested in participating, contact Michael Merrill at 801-328.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Natural Resources Business Council

Our Natural Resources Business Council (Council) is an inclusive approach to multiple sectors of Utah’s economy including the Chamber’s Water, Clean Air, Energy and Minerals, and Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Task Forces. This past month the Council heard presentations on the nexus between transportation and the NRBC, as well as the possibility of developing a Chamber corporate sustainability report.

The next Council meeting will be on Wednesday, August 13 at 7:30-9:00 a.m. For more information, please contact Michael Merrill at 801-328.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Outdoor Recreation and Tourism

The Salt Lake Chamber held its first Outdoor Recreation and Tourism meeting on June 5 with an industry focus group to better understand the needs of this critical asset to Utah’s economy. The groups discussed challenges with regulation, coordination with our economic development partners and perceptual issues faced by Utah’s tourism industry. We want to thank all of our participants.

The Chamber will be working closely with the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, Office of Tourism Global Branding on a number of events in the coming months and establish an ongoing task force. If you would like to participate in future events, please contact Michael Merrill at 801-328.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Energy and Minerals

Utah’s rich and diverse energy sector is one key reason behind our state’s thriving economy and the third annual Utah Governor’s Energy Development Summit on June 3-4, 2014, honored that contribution by setting the stage for the sector to continue to power our state’s economy. The Salt Lake Chamber welcomed the opportunity to support the summit. Read more about the summit.

To build on the summit, the Energy and Minerals Task Force meeting on Wednesday, July 9 at 8:00 a.m. will receive a briefing on the Utah Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan from the Office of Energy Development and a presentation on clean energy technology start-ups. For more information, please contact Michael Merrill at 801-328.5068 or mmerrill@slchamber.com.

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Health System Reform

The Salt Lake Chamber in collaboration the Utah Hospital Association, American Cancer Association, AARP of Utah, Voices for Utah Children and Utah Health Policy Project sponsored a phone and email survey to better understand the public’s sentiment of the Governor’s “Healthy Utah Plan.”

A poll of 623 registered voters in May and June by Dan Jones & Associates found:

• 88 percent favor Herbert’s “Healthy Utah” plan over doing nothing.
• 70 percent prefer Herbert’s plan to a straightforward Medicaid expansion as envisioned by the Affordable Care Act.
• 59 percent say they support or strongly support Herbert’s plan.

The Health System Reform Task Force received a briefing on this polling data at our June 26 meeting and you can read about the results here.

The next Health System Reform task force will be Thursday, August 28, at 8:00 a.m. If you would like to participate in future Health System Reform events, please contact Justin Jones at 801.328.5071 or jjones@slchamber.com.

 

Downtown Alliance

Join the Downtown Alliance on Friday, July 11, for the 2014 State of Downtown, which celebrates our evolving urban center. Downtown is in the midst of a remarkable transformation with new residents, businesses and buildings shaping our urban fabric. This event will highlight these dramatic changes and forecast our future.

Also at the 2014 State of Downtown, the Downtown Alliance will be releasing the 2013 Economic Benchmark Report for downtown Salt Lake City, which presents facts about the downtown economy to stakeholders, property owners, tenants, investors, developers, retailers, brokers, theaters, museums, policy makers and civic leaders. You can read the 2012 report here.

If you would like to participate in future Downtown Alliance events, please contact Jesse Dean at 801-328.5045 or jesse@downtownslc.org.

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International – World Trade Center

Derek Miller, former chief of staff to Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert, has been named president and CEO of the World Trade Center Utah, a licensed and certified member of the World Trade Centers Association, which is headquartered in New York City.

The World Trade Center Utah is strategic partner of the Salt Lake Chamber and you can read more about Derek’s appointment here.

On September 24, 2014, Utah will host the first of its kind Global Forum. Topics will include Building a Global Brand; Doing Business in Europe, Mexico, Canada, and China; Shared Stories of Success from Utah companies abroad; Financing Your Global Expansion; and Global Operational Efficiency Through Sound Legal, Tax and Accounting Practices.

If you’re thinking about exporting, looking to invest in one of the fastest growing economies in the United States or seeking inspiration to take your business to the next level, you won’t want to miss out. Visit wtcutah.com.

Utah unemployment lowest since 2008

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

The numbers are in. Utah has the lowest unemployment rate it has seen since before the recession–3.6 percent. This is a 0.2 percent drop from April.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) released the numbers for May on Friday. With a modest rise of 37,500 jobs from May of last year, Utah’s non-farm payroll employment grew by an estimated 2.9 percent. DWS reports that approximately 52,000 Utahns were unemployed and actively looking for a job last month. This is the kind of slow and steady improvement that proves Utah is doing something right.

“Strong economies don’t occur by accident,” said Natalie Gochnour, the Chamber’s chief economist and associate dean of the David Eccles School of Business. “Utah has a vibrant economy because Utah companies and the workers they employ create value. Elected officials have also helped by creating a business-minded environment with appropriate infrastructure investment and a reasonable tax and regulatory structure.”

“The advantage Utah has is its broad range of industries, many of which are performing well,” said Salt Lake Chamber president and CEO Lane Beattie. “It’s encouraging to see numbers like these come out and show that Utah is ahead of the curve, creating jobs, and proving itself as a great place to live and work with ample opportunity.”

DWS also reported growth in all 10 private sector industries groups, each posting net job increases. The largest increases were in trade, transportation and utilities (9,800), followed by construction (5,400) and even government (5,200). These numbers continue to show that Utah is showing steady and varied growth across all industries–something that the strength of our economy depends on.

On a national scale, the unemployment rate didn’t budge from 6.3 percent, further proving that Utah is performing well.

“While we have the third lowest unemployment rate and the fourth highest job growth rate of any state, it’s even more important that our growth is distributed across a broad spectrum of industries,” said Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

“The goal is to have balanced, strong and consistent economic growth and that’s exactly what we have in Utah,” said Juliette Tennert, chief economist for the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.

The Salt Lake Chamber joins with Gov. Gary Herbert to make job creation a top priority. We support the governor’s plan to facilitate the creation of 100,000 jobs in 1,000 days. As of May 2014, Utah has created 103,000 jobs since November 2011, reaching this goal well ahead of schedule. The Chamber also has a complementary private sector job creation plan, the Utah Jobs Agenda. This year, Utah’s private sector is set to achieve the Utah Jobs Agenda goal of creating 150,000 jobs in five years—more than a year ahead of schedule. We will continue to make job creation a major focus.

Utah, a top overall performer in Enterprising States

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

It’s no secret that Utah is one of the top-performing states in the country. The most recent accolades come from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Enterprising States report, which indicates that Utah is the top overall performer for 2014.

In Enterprising States, Utah landed in the top six in each of the five policy categories and ranked 3rd in overall economic performance, making it the only state to finish in the top 10 on all six lists.

To quote the Enterprising States report:

Utah’s economy remained stronger than those of most other states during 2013. According to Utah’s Workforce Research and Analysis Division of the Department of Workforce Services, one major driver of this strength is the state’s robust mixture and diversity of industries. Utah’s economy has been consistently ranked as one of the nation’s most diverse (4th for 2012 data) with manufacturing in the northern Wasatch Front, a varied services sector in Salt Lake County, the tech hub in Provo-Orem, mining/oil and gas in the eastern region, and leisure and hospitality in Summit County and in south-southeastern Utah.

Utah ranked particularly well in short-term job growth (2nd), long-term job growth (3rd), gross state product growth (3rd), higher education degree output (3rd), STEM job growth (4th), business birthrate (4th), and in the top five in all of the export categories, which is a pleasant surprise considering Utah is a land-locked state.

The Enterprising States report was released at the Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. The report takes an in-depth look at the priorities, policies and programs of the 50 states that are vital for job growth and economic prosperity. Each state is evaluated and ranked for its overall job growth and economic performance and its performance across five policy areas:

  • Exports and international trade
  • Technology and entrepreneurship
  • Business climate
  • Talent pipeline
  • Infrastructure

This year’s study related those policies and practices to the need for collaboration between education, workforce development, and economic development to combat the nation’s growing skills gap, the report stated.