It’s hard to believe that another summer is soon coming to a close. The kids are back in school, the days are getting shorter, and before long the leaves will start to change reminding us all that a new season is upon us.

If you pay attention to the natural environment, which cycles through phases and stages of transition, it’s easy to see that nothing really ever stands still and that most things transform in order to survive. Transformation is a natural and important part of life – that is not only true in nature, but also in business.

In an effort to help guide the transformation of our state’s future economy, members of the Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors gathered in groups during our board retreat in June to begin the process of sketching Utah’s Next Economic Blueprint. The groups focused on six key areas: Economic Dynamism, Knowledge Capital, Transformative Choices, Unrivaled Location, Unleashing Opportunity and Global Crossroads.

While these six Economic Blueprint groups are beginning to coalesce on some key strategic initiatives, progress has already been made on some of the major ideas identified during the board retreat. Take for example, the areas of focus for the Global Crossroads group. The importance of an inland port and partnering with the tech community were identified as two significant ways we can amplify Utah’s global competitiveness and connectivity.

Last month, I had the opportunity to travel to the Port of Long Beach with members of the Inland Port Committee as part of a site visit to examine best practices and the viability of developing an inland port here in Utah. During my visit it was clear that there is a need for non-traditional “dry ports,” and that Utah is an ideal location for this kind of development. As a recent study by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute points out, not only does our capital city have direct rail connection to all major west coast terminals and access to most major interstates; we also have the supply chain, infrastructure improvements and labor market necessary to facilitate an inland port.

While the Inland Port Committee waits on the findings of a feasibility study, the Chamber will continue to support the development of an inland port and the expanding economic opportunities that would come with it.

In the meantime, the Chamber has moved forward with the other important area of focus identified during our board retreat – our collaboration with the tech community.

I am proud to say that on August 22nd, the Salt Lake Chamber signed a collaborative agreement with Silicon Slopes. This new partnership will allow the Chamber to better engage with the tech community and apply their innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to finding solutions to community challenges and unlocking unique opportunities to drive economic development in our state. It is important to us as Utah’s “voice of business” to engage with this next generation of emerging business leaders. We look forward to what possibilities lay ahead of us as we work together to build a better Utah.

It is this kind of collaboration and purposeful planning that has transformed Utah into one of the best performing economies in the country and it couldn’t have been accomplished without such an engaged business community. I want to thank all of you for your continued efforts and invite you to this year’s Annual Meeting where we will continue to talk about your business’ role in transforming Utah’s future economy.

Lane Beattie
President & CEO
Salt Lake Chamber