Editor’s note: This post is taken from prepared remarks delivered by Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie, July 24, 2012.
It is truly a pleasure to be with you on this great Pioneer Day.
I’ve always loved that as Utahns we have two days in July to celebrate our heritage. We can focus fully on appreciating our great nation on the 4th… and then three weeks later we can celebrate the great privilege of being Utahns.
I want to thank Mayor Becker and Governor Herbert for their great leadership. They both work tirelessly to make Salt Lake City and our entire state a great place to live and to raise a family.
I also want to thank Bob Turner of Union Pacific. This is a special year for Union Pacific… and Union Pacific is a very important member of our business community, and a driving force behind our economy.
We gather today to celebrate not only the great Pioneer heritage we have here in Utah… but to celebrate the principle of the harvest. We benefit greatly today from the hard work, the determination and the sacrifice of those who came before us.
The Pioneers arrived in this valley on this date back in 1847.
Just getting here was a remarkable accomplishment.
They traversed brutal conditions.
Their sacrifice was great.
And today we can stand in this beautiful valley and enjoy all that we have because of their determination, courage and hard work.
Not long after the Pioneers arrived and went to work settling this valley—just 15 years later, in July 1862—President Abraham Lincoln singed the Pacific Rail Act. With the stroke of a pen the race to build the continental railroad was on.
That race finished right here in Utah when the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads drove the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit.
Union Pacific connected our nation.
Union Pacific also galvanized the business community in Salt Lake City.
Now 125 years ago, in 1887, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce (then called the Commercial Club) was a loosely bound group of businesses.
At the time there was a bidding war going on between Ogden and Salt Lake City to have a rail line built. At stake was a big leg-up in the battle for economic expansion.
Long story short, Ogden won that round. But because the group of business leaders in Salt Lake City lost—they quickly learned the importance of working together as a business community.
Today, that same group of business leaders works together to get big things done in our state. And that same spirit of collaboration and partnership extends to our relationship with city and state leaders.
Today, Union Pacific continues to play an often-unseen role in our everyday lives.
They ship coal, minerals and metals.
The beautiful copper exterior of the Rio Tinto Museum of Natural History was shipped on Union Pacific trains.
Three out of every four cars shipped west of the Mississippi are moved by Union Pacific.
And Union Pacific plays a key role in preserving our natural beauty and clean air.
Do you realize…
- Union Pacific moves millions of rail cars each year.
- They can move one ton of freight 500 miles on a single gallon of diesel.
- Each train takes 300 big rig trucks off the road.
From food to energy to consumer goods—Union Pacific keeps prices low.
So today, as we celebrate our Pioneer forefathers… we must also pause and recognize the important role the railroads have played in the development of our great community.
On behalf of the Utah business community… to Bob, to Dan Harbeke who represents Union Pacific on the Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors… and to all the dedicated men and women who keep the trains running on time… thank you very much.