We’ve compiled a list of the Salt Lake Chamber’s most read stories from 2017. Take a minute to revisit just some of the many things we have worked on this past year.

1. Zero Red Air Days: Utah’s Business Community Commits to Doing Their Part to Clean Up Utah’s Air

The Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors voted unanimously to support a business-driven goal of zero red air days. The Zero Red Air Days Initiative seeks to be a united effort to take a stand on Utah’s poor air quality and work towards real solutions to address the problem.

Poor air quality affects economic development, quality of life, health and happiness for all Utahns, and requires everyone to do their part to help reduce emissions.

“Air quality in Utah has significantly improved over the past several decades. But as our current air quality shows, that simply is not good enough,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “This really is a call to action, and to be clear, an extremely ambitious goal. Because of our geography and population growth, there is no silver bullet to solving this problem. It’s going to take everyone’s commitment and action to eliminate red air days. And that’s why we’re asking citizens, businesses and elected officials to join us.”

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2. Lane Beattie Announces His Retirement

Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and the Downtown Alliance, announced his planned retirement. Beattie’s announcement comes after nearly 15 years at the helm of Utah’s largest and longest-serving business organization.

“I cannot express how grateful I am to have been able to lead this great organization for the last 15 years. When I took the job at the Chamber I planned to only stay on for two years. But two years turned into five, five turned into ten and I just couldn’t pull myself away from all of the exciting progress we were making here at the Chamber, ” said Beattie. “None of the successes of the Salt Lake Chamber and the Downtown Alliance would have been possible without the dedication and participation of this state’s business community. By working together we have accomplished many great things, and I have no doubt that with the continued leadership of our board, the engagement of our business leaders and the commitment from this great staff that those successes will continue for many years to come.”


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3. Governor Mitt Romney Announced as Keynote Speaker for the 2018 Utah Economic Outlook & Public Policy Summit

The Salt Lake Chamber, Utah’s largest and longest-standing statewide business association, announced Governor Mitt Romney as the Keynote Speaker for the 2018 Utah Economic Outlook & Public Policy Summit.

The Utah Economic Outlook & Public Policy Summit is the state’s premier economic forecasting and public policy event that is attended by over 700 business, policy and academic thought leaders from across the state. The summit offers an unrivaled opportunity for attendees to gain insights on the future of Utah’s economy and the policy priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

The top 5 reasons to attend the Summit: Get the best economic information to plan for the year ahead; understand the vision for Utah’s future economy from Governor Herbert; receive the 2018 legislative session preview from legislative leadership; learn about the business community’s top priorities for Utah’s economy; and network with more than 700 business, policy and academic thought leaders.

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4. Salt Lake City Ready to Host Another Winter Olympics

The Olympic flame that was lit 15 years ago still burns bright for many of us in Utah. Just mention the 2002 Olympic Winter Games to a Utahn, and the excitement and enthusiasm that was ushered in all those years ago comes flooding back. At least, that’s how it is for me.

When I think of the Olympic Games, I marvel at how the games brought the people of this great state together. We found unity in our diversity when we shared with international visitors our understanding of different languages and dialects from around the globe. You could walk down the street and find dozens of Utahns sporting “I Speak” pins that highlighted the language or languages the pin-wearer spoke. We not only wore pins, but outside our homes we also flew flags of the nations and countries that we had either visited or that represented our ancestral homes.

It wasn’t just the 26,000 volunteers that were the face of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games—it was all of Utah. Every Utahn played a role in welcoming the world to Salt Lake City. People of all faiths and of Utah’s many ethnic groups joined together to show the world what makes Utah special and unique.

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5. Salt Lake Chamber Announces Changes in Leadership Additions to Staff

The Salt Lake Chamber announced key staff changes aimed at continuing the organizations exemplary policy and communication work.

Elevating Chamber’s Public Policy Team  

Building off of one of the most successful legislative session in organizational history, Abby Osborne has been promoted to Vice President of Government Relations and Michael Parker to Vice President of Public Policy.

Building Brand with Marketing and Communication Team

Additionally, the Chamber announced the addition of Kimberly Flores, who joins the organization as Director of Public Relations and Communication, and the promotion of Marisa Bomis to Marketing and Communication Manager.

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6. Utah Nursing Consortium

It’s no secret that Utah’s population is growing, aging and become more chronically ill. Our need for nurses is particularly acute because we have the fastest-growing elderly population, the youngest population, and the lowest death rate in the country. In other words, we live a long time, love our families and cherish being one of the healthiest states in the nation.

And yet, Utah has one of the highest age-adjusted suicide rates in the U.S. and has the seventh-highest rate of alcohol poisoning deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Over 25 percent of the population has obesity or has been told they have high blood pressure. The number of people with diabetes continues to rise each year.

“Utah’s experiencing some of the largest demographic growth for individuals over age 65, particularly in the arena of 85 plus. We have severe shortages to address the needs of declining health that come with the aging process. We will experience probably a greater degree of that in the state of Utah than almost anywhere in our country because of our demographic shift.” Rob Ence, Executive Director, Utah Commission on Aging

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7. Honorees for the 2017 Annual Meeting Announced

On September 7, 2017 Utah’s business leaders will gather at the Salt Lake Chamber’s 130th Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon. Every year the Chamber recognizes those in the community who have shown exemplary support to further the Chamber’s mission and bolster the local business community.

This year we will paid tribute to: 2016-2017 Board Chair: Keith McMullin, Deseret Management Corporation

Corporate Honorees: Corporate Partner of the Year: Rio Tinto Kennecott; Small Business of the Year:  Kaddas Enterprises Inc.; Community Partner of the Year:  UCAIR; and President’s Award for Excellence: Tom Guinney, Gastronomy

Chamber Champions: Jim Crowder, Enterprise Holdings, Inc.; Andrew Croshaw, Leavitt Partners; Brian Garrett, Zions Bank; Brent Lange, Hale Centre Theatre;  Natalie Peay, Webb; and Jody Williams, Holland & Hart, LLP

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8. Three Takeaways from the Point of the Mountain Development Commission

Rapid growth and technology are pulling our state together. Nowhere is this more visible than at the Point of the Mountain where the state’s two largest economies are integrating with a nationally recognized technology hub.

In the 2016 legislative session, the Utah Legislature created the Point of the Mountain Development Commission to head a process to develop a vision for the future of the area surrounding the border between Salt Lake County and Utah County.

The Phase One Report of the Point of the Mountain Visioning Process was released earlier this month, while there is a lot of great information, here are three big takeaways: A Worthwhile Process; Economic Development, Air Quality, Transportation, and Land Use; and National Research Institution Among Top Big Ideas.

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9. 2017 Cybersecurity Conference: Protecting our National and Economic Security

Cybersecurity is becoming a fiercely debated issue following attacks in the political realm to breaking news on information leaks in the private sector. As the world becomes more interconnected government, business, and individuals are becoming more vulnerable to cyber threats.

Every day, new tools and techniques are developed to resolve challenges in our security, but cyber criminals are becoming savvier in determining how to access private data and prey on secured networks.

The internet has made business faster and more efficient but has also left us vulnerable. Over 90% of the systems and networks targeted by criminals are owned and operated in the private sector. Cyber perpetrators are indiscriminate targeting businesses of all sizes and sectors.

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10. Developing Tomorrow’s Workforce Through Career and Technical Education

Businesses are looking for employees with the skills their businesses need to grow. Schools want to prepare students to succeed in their chosen career fields. Both sides get what they want when they collaborate to ensure what is being taught is what the marketplace is looking for.

To help make that happen, this month, the Salt Lake Chamber is encouraging industry leaders to support education initiatives aimed at workforce development. And the Utah State Board of Education Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department is offering every Utah employer a simple and meaningful way to contribute to workforce development innovation by collaborating on existing career and technical education programs.

“Employers are looking at workforce development differently today,” says Todd Bingham, president of the Utah Manufacturers Association.  He says there is currently a talent shortage among the 1,100-plus manufacturing companies his organization represents within the state of Utah. “Many companies that used to just rely on the education system to get their future employees ready to enter the workforce are now looking for ways to get involved to ensure that those candidates are prepared with the right knowledge and skills.”

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