Salt Lake Chamber President & CEO Looks Back at the Past Year

As we mark the one year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, on behalf of the Salt Lake Chamber and its members throughout the state, I express gratitude to each of you, as well as your employees and families who have pulled together to help us weather this challenge. There is still much to be done to overcome the harsh impact of the coronavirus, to ensure that the vaccination effort is successful, and to return to a full and promising economic condition that will sustain jobs, opportunity, and growth well into the future.

There is much to encourage us, particularly as we did not know in the beginning what to expect regarding duration, therapies, economic consequences, lives affected, and even strategies to manage the pandemic. We had to learn this together, sharing information and best practices, encouraging one another, meeting economic challenges, and remaining flexible and receptive to evolving guidance — all while navigating anxious uncertainty.

As expected, Utah not only rallied but led the nation by example in many critical indicators, including maintaining what today is the lowest unemployment rate in America. Some of our best practices were adopted by national organizations, the federal government, and companies beyond our borders, and we were honored to offer those contributions.

The concerted effort from our business community to support the pledge to Stay Safe to Stay Open was remarkable with some 10,000 businesses joining across Utah and even in adjoining states. Their commitment to set an example and keep public and employee health at the forefront was exemplary and helped us fair better than most. At the same time, individuals and companies sacrificed not only to meet the needs for whom they had stewardship but for others they did not even know, offering grants, credits, donations, and training.

Today, one year in, we are stronger for these experiences and encouraged by developments of multiple vaccines and a decline in contagion and hospitalizations. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the front-line healthcare workers and those who risked their own well-being to ensure that commerce continued to meet essential needs — from fields and factories to our homes and tables — all proving that when Utah leads together, Utah prevails together.

To recognize these achievements does not mean it is time to rest or lose focus, but to plan on transitioning to a normal that can be more promising than the one we have left behind. We can build on lessons learned regarding remote work and expanding educational and training opportunities. We can hold on to the spirit of empathetic and sustained engagement. We can make a special effort to strengthen those businesses, industries, and individuals that will take longer to rebound. And we can plan a safe and orderly return to our offices and social affairs.

On this anniversary, we know what we are capable of, and I know we will not be deterred. Darkness is giving way to light, and collectively we can be encouraged by what’s to come as well as what has been endured. On behalf of the Salt Lake Chamber, we are encouraged. We are committed. And those two deeply held feelings are only exceeded by our gratitude for you and all that you have done.


Derek Miller
President & CEO
Salt Lake Chamber