Inland Port Economic Engine

Cathie Vick, the chief public affairs officer for the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) joined us to discuss inland ports as economic drivers to the community. She oversees The Port of Virginia’s government relations, community outreach, economic development, engineering, environmental services, and maritime incident response.

Vick believes in delivering results for the port that ultimately have a positive impact on the community and the Commonwealth are some of the most rewarding aspects of her job, she says. Her experience in the transportation, infrastructure, and regulatory sectors provide a unique understanding of the port and its role in the economy. Helping her team see and understand the “big picture” is vital to the success of the organization, on both a short- and long-term basis.

Learn more about the Port of Virginia, here.

Hail to the Chiefs

Every year, we try to repeat one of our favorite sessions of the Washington, D.C. Trip – the ‘Hail to the Chiefs’ panel. This year we were joined by: Allyson Bell, Senator Mike Lee’s Office; Chris Harmer, Congressman Chris Stewart’s Office; Ivan DuBois, Congresswoman Mia Love’s Office; Corey Norman, Congressman John Curtis’s Office; and Devin Wiser, Congressman Rob Bishop’s Office.

During our panel, they shared how they got to where they are today, the committees their member sits on and their expertise in the areas, how well Utah’s Federal Delegation works with one another, and more.

Some highlights from the session include:

“Our intelligence community needs to do a better job at identifying threats ahead of time, rather than just dealing with them after they occur,” said Chris Harmer of Congressman Chris Stewart’s Office.

“You never really hear about how people are working across the aisle. But this happens a lot in the House. The concept of gridlock in the House is not the reality,” said Ivan DuBois, Congresswoman Mia Love’s Office.

“We really rely on regular order. Which means we will refer to one another. We work well as a delegation,” said Corey Norman, Congressman John Curtis’s Office.

Social Capital: Why does associational life matter?

Natalie Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and chief economist of the Salt Lake Chamber, held a discussion with Scott Winship, director of the Social Capital Project to talk about ‘Why associational life matters’ and Senator Lee’s Social Capital Project.

The Social Capital Project is a multi-year research effort that will investigate the evolving nature, quality, and importance of our associational life. “Associational life” is our shorthand for the web of social relationships through which we pursue joint endeavors—namely, our families, our communities, our workplaces, and our religious congregations. These institutions are critical to forming our character and capacities, providing us with meaning and purpose, and for addressing the many challenges we face.

In terms of where social connectiveness is headed, Winship says, “I don’t forsee it going up anytime soon. Our country is getting richer, but there is also this profound sense that ‘something is off.'” He went on to elaborate that if businesses want to held build social capital, ” We need to invest more, publicly and privately, in social infrastructure, places where there is a possibility for social connection.”

To learn more about Senator Lee’s Social Capital Project, click here.

Midterm Elections

Rob Engstrom, SVP of Political Affairs & Federation Relations of the U.S. Chamber, discussed the loss of the middle in politics, how we got there, and what’s likely to happen in the House and the Senate with mid-term elections. Engstrom started off by saying, “This town had a history of democrats and republicans working together. It actually used to happen.” He believes “The thing that has changed the most is the role in which state and local chambers are getting involved in politics. It has to fit with your geography, business community and elected officials.”

Global Challenges: America in the World