Dear Business Community,
This past year and its attendant challenges will not soon be forgotten. However, thanks to your engagement and support, we know that the Salt Lake Chamber is the best place to lead out on difficult issues facing our businesses and the economy, particularly in a way that magnifies the innovation and ingenuity in our business community.
Beginning with the most significant event, the Chamber has worked extensively to mitigate the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and execute a plan for recovery. When the pandemic hit Utah, Governor Gary Herbert created the COVID-19 Community Task Force and the Economic Response Task Force, which Chamber President & CEO Derek Miller was asked to Chair. From developing the first website dedicated to addressing the coronavirus and launching an ambitious campaign to keep our businesses safely opened, to supporting creation of the Utah Leads Together plan and assisting on the Rapid Response Team, to holding virtual Town Hall meetings, providing grants to rural and minority owned business, and sharing important funding information, the Chamber has, and continues to, play a critical role in promoting Utah’s economic well-being.
Although the current pandemic started to make its presence known in Utah on the last two days of the session — quickly overtaking the headlines — the work that our Legislature completed with active and coordinated counsel from the Chamber should not be forgotten. The session saw increased success advocating for smart policies to elevate business in our state. And, as we emerge from the current crisis, these policies will help us recover and have a positive, long-lasting effect on our economy.
Other major highlights initiated by the Chamber through the year included honoring Governor Gary R. Herbert as the 41st Giant in our City, hosting a Republican Primary Gubernatorial Candidate Forum at the Grand America Hotel, hosting successful and on-going roundtable discussions to promote diversity and inclusion in partnership with the Utah Black Chamber, acquiring the KSL NewsRadio program “Speaking on Business,” launching the “Chamber Champions” video series to highlight our members, and coordinating the popular “Stay Safe to Stay Open” campaign throughout the state.
The 2019-2020 Annual Report includes our collective achievements, reflecting the business leadership the Chamber represents. We hope this report encourages you to continue serving your communities and working with the Chamber as we advocate for you. Thank you for the contributions and support you provide our community.
Derek B. Miller, President and CEO
Linda Wardell, 2019-2020 Board Chair
Craig Wagstaff, 2019-2020 Board Vice Chair
Utah Leads Together
From the beginning, our goal to break the spread of the virus required public buy-in. Consequently, our highest priority was to develop a comprehensive plan that could give Utahns hope — a path to follow that would provide the way forward together. This dynamic plan became known as Utah Leads Together, which included input from our best and brightest and was the first comprehensive plan of action introduced in the United States.
The Chamber also created one of the first websites to provide information and resources for businesses and individuals, and then turned it over to the State to become the official clearinghouse for Utah and a prototype for other states.
The Chamber created a new informational webinar series — “Utah Leads Together” — to support our community’s economic reactivation and to help implement the Utah Leads Together plan for business. These webinars address the steps and considerations necessary to get businesses back to work in our new normal. Business, industry, health and safety experts share best practices, guidelines, and ideas on how to build consumer confidence as we turn the dial and safely return to the workplace.
The Chamber was also able to bring the legacy KSL NewsRadio program “Speaking on Business” to the Salt Lake Chamber. Zions Banks’ graciously transferred the program to us, allowing the Chamber to magnify the voice of business across the state and showcase our members who are doing innovative things and leading efforts to adapt and overcome the coronavirus.
Stay Safe to Stay Open
On behalf of the business community, the Salt Lake Chamber with membership support stepped up to play a vital role in helping Utah through these challenging times. As the pandemic abates we must rebuild, and toward that effort the Chamber launched “Stay Safe to Stay Open,” a campaign to curtail the spread of the virus while supporting the economy. The campaign encourages businesses to take a pledge to follow guidelines as outlined in Utah Leads Together and seven safety principles provided by the Utah Department of Health.
“Our businesses are proud to commit to ‘Stay Safe to Stay Open.’ The safety and wellbeing of our employees and our customers is paramount. It is important to prioritize best practices in our places of business so that we can continue to serve our customers and provide opportunities for our employees. We not only want to comply, but we want to provide a level of comfort for our guests. The more businesses who take this pledge, the better our public health and the greater our ability to keep our economy going.”
– Steve Starks, CEO, Larry H. Miller Group of Companies
Businesses that take the pledge agree to:
Check symptoms before work and stay home when sick.
Wash our hands frequently and avoid touching our face and eyes.
Practice social distancing including wearing face coverings in close common areas.
Learn about high-risk groups and help protect them.
Cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze.
Clean high touch surfaces frequently.
Follow public health guidance as updated.
Mainstreet Preservation Grant
The Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Job Opportunities Foundation created the Mainstreet Preservation Grant to sustain rural and minority-owned businesses. This would not have been possible without the generous contribution of $500,000 from WCF Insurance.
The short-term grants created through this program kept doors open for local businesses while they waited for PPP loans and other federal assistance, and many recipients have shared that this was necessary for their survival.
“Small businesses have always been an important part of WCF Insurance and our community. They are the heartbeat of our state. We care about them and their ability to weather this storm. We are happy to offer our assistance to help them in this difficult time.”
– Peggy Larsen, SVP of marketing and community relations, WCF Insurance
Equality & Inclusion in Opportunity
The Salt Lake Chamber has announced it is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on a national initiative to address inequality of opportunity. Our objective is that diversity and inclusion become more than just a movement. That we will work together to ensure change that appropriately reflects the dynamic culture of Utah and continues to open opportunities for everyone. The business community has a critical role and responsibility in this effort, and for this reason the Chamber in partnership with the Utah Black Chamber, started to convene a series of webinars, symposiums, and roundtables focused on discussions around the issues of racism, equality, and inclusion in business.
- The Black Experience in the Corporate World
- Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging: What is it and Why Does it Matter?
Clear the Air Challenge
Prior to the pandemic, the Salt Lake Chamber, alongside our partners UCAIR and Travelwise, conducted the Clear the Air Challenge, a month long competition that gives you the chance to reduce your vehicle emissions by choosing alternative methods of transportation. It was our 11th such Challenge, and we received broad community support and participation. Collectively, our participants this year eliminated over 97,500 trips, saved almost 1.6 million miles, 476.4 tons of CO2 and $0.5 million, and burned 1.9 million calories in just 29 days.
Top Large Teams: Fidelity Investments, University of Utah and Rocky Mountain Power
Top Small Teams: Dell Technologies – Utah, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Department of Environmental Quality
“We recognize that there are no perfect answers to keep our air clean, but there are practical solutions. These strategies represent many of the practical steps all of us can take to make a difference for our air. While the Challenge takes place for just one month, we hope it will provide Utahns the opportunity to start new habits and think about how their individual behaviors contribute to our air quality challenges.”
– Thom Carter, executive director, UCAIR
Annual Meeting & Awards Meeting
Utah’s business and community leaders gathered for the Salt Lake Chamber’s 133rd Annual Meeting and Awards Breakfast. Attendees helped recognize Chamber volunteers and community leaders that have shown exemplary support over the past year by committing their time and abilities to further the Chamber’s mission and bolster the business community.
The Chamber recognizes many of its accomplishments would not be possible without the businessmen and women of Utah, like those honored today, who help support and lend their expertise to the organization.
Honorees for the event included the following individuals:
- President’s Award for Excellence: Scott Parson of Staker Parson Materials & Companies
- Community Partner of the Year: David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah
- Corporate Partner of the Year: Smith’s Food & Drug
- Outgoing Chair: Linda Wardell, City Creek Center
- Chair’s Initiative Award: Success in Education Foundation
- Chamber Champions:
- Lloyd Allen, CBRE
- Rebecca Dutson, The Children’s Center
- Michael Hanson, Zions Bank
- Juanita Meske, Deseret Digital Media
- Shawn Newell, Industrial Supply Company
- Craig Weston, BluNovus Care
Giant in our City
Governor Gary R. Herbert was recognized for his contributions and service to the State of Utah at the 41st Giant in our City. The award, presented by the Salt Lake Chamber on June 11, 2020, at the historic Redwood Drive-In Theatre, is given for exceptional and distinguished public service, as well as extraordinary professional achievement, and is widely recognized as the most prestigious business award in the state of Utah.
“Over the past twenty years, Governor Herbert has worked with a singular focus of making Utah the top state in America to live and work. He fostered economic growth after the 2008 recession, increased education funding as his highest budget priority, attracted world-class businesses, supported innovation and investment, and kept our communities vibrant. Because of Gary Herbert, Utah is the best place to live, work, learn and play, and his influence will be felt for years to come.”
– Derek Miller, president and CEO, Salt Lake Chamber
In addition to the Governor’s recognition, Jane Powers, RN BSN, was awarded the Lane Beattie Utah Community Builder Award for her distinguished service in providing medical care for Utah’s underserved population. The award recognizes an inspirational individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to address a crucial community issue. Powers was selected by the Utah Community Builders Advisory Board, co-chaired by Clark Ivory, CEO of Ivory Homes, and Lisa Eccles, president and COO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.
“Jane is special because her enthusiasm and energy for this work are infectious. Her tireless efforts inspire hundreds of volunteers, allowing her to provide an unmatched level of care at an extremely low cost per patient. Jane’s leadership and work create miracles for patients, families and our community.”
– Clark Ivory, CEO of Ivory Homes
Women & Business Conference and ATHENA Awards Luncheon
Local business women heard from inspirational speakers, gained business insights, and recognized the accomplishments of those helping to make a difference in our community at the 43rd Annual Women & Business Conference and ATHENA Awards Luncheon.
Two-time Olympic medalist and U.S. National Champion Nancy Kerrigan provided the opening keynote, encouraging attendees to move boldly forward no matter how many hurdles may come in life. Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from speakers on a variety of topics that included combating the gender wage gap, harnessing the leader’s mindset and using data for good.
The 2019 ATHENA Leadership Award was given to Linda Wardell, general manager of the City Creek Center and Chair of the Salt Lake Chamber for her leadership and contributions to the Salt Lake City community.
“To know Linda is to become a better person. Both in business and the community, Linda is an exceptional example of what servant leadership can achieve and how it inspires others. As chair of the Chamber, she has made it her mission to tackle one of Utah’s most pressing issues facing business today–the gender wage gap. Her efforts will ensure Utah has a fairer and more equitable pay environment and that everyone has the same incentives and opportunities.”
– Derek Miller, president and CEO, Salt Lake Chamber
In addition to the ATHENA Leadership Award, the following five women received Pathfinder Awards for their work to “create new paths,” and promote the development and recognition of women in business.
- Theresa Foxley, president & CEO, EDCUtah
- Mikelle Moore, SVP, Chief Community Health Officer, Intermountain Healthcare
- Christy Tribe, president & CEO, Junior Achievement of Utah
- Melanie Vartabedian, partner, Ballard Spahr, LLP
- Jennifer Williams, Chief Brand Ambassador, Dental Select
2020 Legislative Session
The Salt Lake Chamber priorities for the 2020 Legislative Session were introduced at the Utah Economic Outlook & Public Policy Summit, held in partnership with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek. Chief among those priorities is sustaining the business and economic environment that places Utah among the top of America’s best performing states, strengthening education funding and outcomes, supporting our state’s workforce, closing the housing gap, building transportation infrastructure, and investing in diverse energy and environmental quality.
During the 2020 Utah Legislative Session, the Utah Legislature was very supportive of the state’s economy and all those who benefit from economic opportunity. Although the current pandemic started to make its presence known in Utah on the last two days of the session, the work that our Legislature completed should not be lost. As we emerge from this current crisis, these policies will help us recover and have a long-lasting and positive effect on our economy.
Leading With Hope
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Community Builders foundation launched “Leading With Hope.” This is a targeted campaign that responds to critical community needs that were created or worsened by the pandemic through two flagship programs: the Hope Corps and Hope Grants. The Hope Corps is a volunteer program modeled after the Peace Corps, that pairs college-aged Utahns with small businesses, community initiatives, and nonprofits that need help during the pandemic. Hope Grants is a business-driven, targeted grant program that addresses crucial gaps in things like food security and mental health.
Rural Workforce Network
The Salt Lake Chamber has also continued its focus on fostering the Rural Workforce Network. Alongside EDCUtah and the Department of Workforce Services, the Chamber issued a call to action for businesses to connect job seekers who may want to stay in their local communities to employers who offer remote work and believe in a distributed workforce. While this program began before the coronavirus, it has accelerated our change in workforce distribution, and this program has become more important than ever.
“We believe the hidden workforce in Utah is in rural Utah. We are committed to supporting companies willing to move jobs to rural Utah and connecting them to rural job seekers. It’s a win-win situation for these communities and employers throughout the state.”
– Jon Pierpont, executive director of the Department of Workforce Services
Republican Primary Gubernatorial Candidate Forum
The Salt Lake Chamber and Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah) hosted a virtual forum, as well as one of the first in-person events after the pandemic began, with the Republican primary gubernatorial candidates on Thursday, May 7, 2020. The discussion focused on economic recover y from COVID-19 and longer-term economic vision and strategies for the state.
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