May 3, 2012

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Jeff Edwards President's Message
Utah's Economic Outlook
is Best in the Nation

Jobs, sound fiscal and economic policies, the size and role of government -- they are all related and they all affect economic development.

In Utah, we are fortunate to have steady job growth along with sound fiscal and economic policies. Hence, it is fitting that in April the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, once again ranked Utah No. 1 for its economic prospects. That's the fifth consecutive year ALEC has ranked Utah #1. We do know how to keep taxes low, limit unnecessary regulatory burdens and provide a stable environment for businesses to flourish. Our economy shows it and other organizations recognize it.

According to the ALEC-Laffer State Economic Index, called "Rich States, Poor States," Utah has the best economic outlook of any state in the nation. The ranking was determined by an analysis of 15 variables, including tax rates, tax burden, number of public employees and minimum wage.

Kudos to the many people that have contributed to Utah' economic outlook and helped Utah to consistently rank #1.

'Utah Magic'
Also, on May 22, EDCUtah, the Governor's Office of Economic Development, and CBRE are hosting a reception at the ICSC RECON retail show in Las Vegas. Attendees will be amazed and entertained by Doc Eason, the two-time Close-up Bar Magician of the Year. Please scroll down to the section above the calendar in this newsletter to learn more about the reception.

Further, June is fast approaching and we hope you have reserved your spot in EDCUtah's Golf for Grants tournament. And please call or email Art Franks if you are interested in helping to sponsor the event: (801) 323-4242 or afranks@edcutah.org. For more information about EDCUtah's Community Match Grant Program, please call Sherrie Martell, (801) 328-8824.

Today's Economic Review also includes links to many of the ED-related news stories from the past week. As always, if you have comments, suggestions or topics you'd like to see in the Economic Review, please contact us by clicking the "Comments" link on the bottom of this page. Enjoy!

Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards
President and CEO

Golf for Grants

Feature Story
End of an Era: Steve Densley Announces Retirement from Utah Valley Chamber

"It's the end of an era," says EDCUtah President & CEO Jeff Edwards. He's referring to the announced retirement of Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Steve Densley.

Densley, who will retire Aug. 1, is the second longest sitting chamber president in the state's history and is the longest currently serving president in Utah. He leaves a legacy of service and leadership in Utah County, having served over three decades in his current role.

"Steve's leadership and dedication to the business community in Utah Valley will be greatly missed," says Edwards. Steve Densley "He has been a champion of business development and has provided incredible service in so many important areas. Moreover, we have appreciated the strong partnership EDCUtah has enjoyed with Steve and the Utah Valley Chamber."

Provo Mayor John Curtis expresses similar sentiments.

"Steve is a Utah Valley icon. It's hard to imagine attending any major event in the area and not seeing him there. His ready smile and handshake will be missed," says Curtis. "I've known Steve for many years and have been impressed by his dedication not only to the chamber, but to the community as well. He's been a great partner with the city, supporting many of our most important economic development projects over the years. Provo would not be what it is today without him."

Orem Chamber President
Densley began work in 1982 as the President of the Orem Chamber of Commerce and then merged the Provo and Orem Chambers into the Provo-Orem Area Chamber of Commerce. It became the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2009 and now includes 25 cities. He considers the uniting of Utah Valley with one Chamber of Commerce to be one of the highlights of his career.

"It was no small thing to unite the two chambers. It's a matter of normal life now, but people were initially hesitant," he says. "Provo and Orem had a bit of a rivalry that had to be overcome." He cautions, however, that while the Utah Valley Chamber represents businesses across the valley, there are still several small, part-time Chambers of Commerce in Utah County and the Utah Valley Chamber encourages membership in the smaller chambers as well.

To Orem Mayor Jim Evans and other elected officials, the name Steve Densley is synonymous with integrity. "He has been a champion of local business, supporter of positive growth, and all-around cheerleader for Utah Valley. His dedicated service has truly blessed all the citizens of Orem and he will be greatly missed after he retires," says Evans.

Utah County Commissioner Gary Anderson says Densley is an icon in the business community in Utah Valley and the State. "One of the greatest compliments I've received is being mistaken for Steve -- which has happened more than once. He is so effective -- a Utah County institution. I honestly don't know what we will do without Steve working in our community and I can't imagine replacing him," Anderson continues.

Looking Back
Looking back on his career, Densley talks rapidly and excitedly about the numerous developments in Utah County that have added or soon will add to the fiber of the valley, such as the construction of the county-wide convention center; the work on Frontrunner commuter rail service; the I-15 core project (and the need to carry on the widening of the freeway to Payson); bringing Frontier Airlines into Provo; the expansion of the radar tower at the Provo airport; his involvement with the Utah Lake Commission and the need to restore the glory days of the lake (when over 20 resorts were in operation along its shores); the development of Thanksgiving Pointe and the Children's Museum; IM-Flash; the new NuSkin complex; the Adobe complex; the East Bay Golf Course; the Riverwoods; the Towne Center Mall; and the new baseball field at Utah Valley University, to name a few.

"The list goes on and on," says Densley.

During his decades of leadership, Densley was also elected three times as Utah State Chamber of Commerce President and served on the State Chamber's board of directors for more than 15 years. Some key sections of Utah Valley's fabric did not exist when he took on his role as chamber president, such as Utah Valley University, which is now the state's largest university, and the cities of Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain, which have grown out of the desert since Densley's tenure began. One of his few regrets is not being able to woo a major TV and radio station to locate in Utah Valley. "We have over a half a million people here and yet we have no radio or TV stations to represent the interests of the valley and the business community," he explains. "Everything is filtered through the Salt Lake stations. That's my one personal regret."

Nonetheless, he believes the Utah Valley Chamber has been successful because of a decision years ago "to develop our own world and not just take what the Salt Lake Valley throws at us."

Bitter Sweet
His retirement is bitter sweet. "I will miss the challenge and honor of representing the chamber and our business community. This is the most charitable and volunteering county in America," he says. It would be hard to find a better community in America to raise a family and to live."

Val Hale, chairman of the chamber board and vice president for university relations at Utah Valley University, says Densley has been the face of business in Provo, Orem and Utah Valley for three decades. "He essentially built the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce into what it is today. Everyone in the community owes Steve a huge debt of gratitude for his unflagging commitment to business in this region. His legacy will live on long after he rides into the sunset."

Looking to the future, Densley says his successor has a strong base from which to work, but will face a variety of challenges, such as adjusting to the way people communicate, continuing to help immigrants feel safe, furthering developments that are inclusive of the county's growing minority community, supporting educational improvements, improving Utah Lake, and enhancing the valley's transportation systems.

"Whoever takes my place has a lot of projects underway as the chamber works to make Utah Valley a prime location for business," he concludes.

Densley graduated from the Institute of Organization Management at the University of Colorado and the Institute of Advanced Management at Southern Methodist University. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. sponsors both educational programs. He has continued his education each summer for 30 years at a number of universities across the nation. His career has been marked by numerous honors. He was chosen by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to serve on the Western Region Board of Regents for the Institute of Advanced Management at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Brigham Young University. He was given the Provo City Mayor’s Medal of Honor. He was honored by the Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts of America with one of its highest awards, the Silver Beaver, and with the Trailblazer Award in Business by Utah Business Magazine.

EDCUtah wishes Steve Densley well in his retirement.

Utah is Magic

'Utah is Magic' Reception at ICSC RECON in Las Vegas
EDCUtah, the Governor's Office of Economic Development, and CBRE are hosting a reception at the world's largest retail show, ICSC RECON, in Las Vegas later this month.

If your organization is sending representatives to RECON, we invite them to stop by the Renaissance Hotel from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22.

Spencer P. Eccles, GOED executive director, will make some opening remarks at this casual-attire event, then attendees will be amazed and entertained by Doc Eason, the two-time Close-up Bar Magician of the Year.

The Renaissance is a two-minute walk from the South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. There will be plenty of refreshments at this poolside get-together. We hope to see you there.


May 20-23
ICSC RECon Tradeshow (Las Vegas, NV)

May 21-24
SAMPE Tradeshow (Baltimore, MD)

May 23
Social Commerce Exchange (Salt Lake Community College) 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Presenters: Cory Edwards, director of social media & corporate reputation -- Dell; Jeff Jordan, senior product manager, social media -- Adobe; Jason Bangerter, founder -- Struck

May 23
Zions Bank Trade & Business Conference (Salt Lake Marriot Downtown) 8:15 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

June 1
Cyber Defense Challenge
Utah Cyber Defense Challenge & Symposium Inaugural Event (Little America Hotel)

June 6
EDCUtah Golf for Grants Tournament (Eaglewood Golf Course)

Aug. 14-15
Save the Date: 7th Annual Native American Summit (Sheraton Salt Lake City)

Sept. 5
Save the Date! Uintah County Energy Summit (Vernal)

Oct. 16-19
Technology Venture Development Executive Education Seminar (University of Utah)

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The EDCUtah Economic Review is a weekly publication of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. It is distributed to EDCUtah partners and selected other government and civic organizations interested in Utah's economic development.

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Newsletter Archive


In the News

Forbes: Salt Lake City third-best big city for jobs
Salt Lake City is third on Forbes' list of the Best Big Cities for Jobs, the magazine announced. No. 1 is Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, Texas, followed by Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas. Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas was No. 4, followed by San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. at No. 5.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

WSJ story about California's woes mentions Utah tech
Interview with demographer Joel Kotkin in "The Great California Exodus" mentions Utah's growth in technology companies, saying: "Take Salt Lake City. Almost all of the major tech companies have moved stuff to Salt Lake City. That includes Twitter, Adobe, eBay and Oracle."
(Wall Street Journal)

Report: High marks for Utah tech diversity, not for available talent
Utah ranks at the top in the nation for most diverse tech industries, according to Milken Institute research. However, a shortage of talent continues to be a key challenge for companies such as IM Flash Technologies and Watson Laboratories, who are looking to hire in Utah.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

$130 Million USTAR interdisciplinary research facility dedicated at the University of Utah
The University of Utah (UofU) and the USTAR Governing Authority today cut the ribbon on a $130 million, sustainably designed interdisciplinary research facility, aimed at attracting some of the world's most internationally recognized faculty and fueling Utah's economic development activity.

Utah: What's the Secret Sauce?
Stuff is getting built in Utah. In spite of concerns that the uncertainty of federal funding is holding back construction of essential infrastructure improvements across the country, somehow Utah is barreling forward with highway and transit investment, and planning for more.
(Utah Pulse)

Utah aims to build, develop business ties with China
Competition for Chinese money is getting tighter as the nation grows economically, and Utah is pushing for a closer relationship with the burgeoning power.
(Deseret News)

Adobe spending about $100m for facility opening in November
From the freeway you can see the artistic vision of architects and engineers is beginning to take shape — an angular shell of what will be the state-of-the-art Utah home of software maker Adobe.
(Deseret News) (Salt Lake Tribune)

U.S.-Arab Chamber meets with Utah business leaders
A host of Utah and U.S. organizations met with the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce Monday for a conference to explore future trade alliances.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Salt Lake City Council funds $6.9 million trolley park
The Salt Lake City Council on Tuesday evening voted to spend $6.9 million on a so-called greenway that would run parallel to a planned trolley line from South Salt Lake to Sugar House.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Bring it on, Davis community tells Air Force
What's a little more noise when you have two U.S. senators, a congressman, four state senators, a state representative, one county commissioner, five mayors and two city councilman all lined up to welcome a new fighter jet to Hill Air Force Base?
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Envision Utah: 15 years strong
In 1997, the Coalition for Utah's Future -- the original sponsor of Envision Utah -- received funding to develop a quality growth public/private partnership in large part due to the generosity of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.
(Utah Pulse)

Heads Up International Neural Interface Conference Coming to Utah in June
Utah is known as a hotbed for medical device innovation, and a particular strength is in the area of neural-related technology. The stature of our research community was one reason the Neural Interfaces Conference has elected to hold its 40th annual event at the Salt Palace Convention Center June 17-20, 2012.
(Utah Pulse)

With shuttle's end, space firms like Utah's ATK seek new direction
Less than a year after NASA ended its shuttle program, players in America's space business are casting around for new direction.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

BYU, University of Utah business schools on U.S. News and World Report's 'most popular' list
Two business schools in Utah, Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business, have joined the ranks of Harvard and Stanford on U.S. News & World Report's Most Popular Business Schools list.
(Deseret News) (Market Watch)

Nu Skin expansion in Provo reaches halfway point
Nu Skin marked the halfway point Monday for the construction of its $90 million Innovation Center in downtown Provo.
(Deseret News)

Chamber celebrates 125 years of business leadership
Industry is part of the fiber of Utah. The beehive, a local symbol of industry, is seen throughout the state as a symbol of hard work and dedication to building something better. On this day 125 years ago–all the way back in 1887–a group of local business leaders came together to cultivate an environment where businesses could thrive.
(Utah Pulse)

Small world: Small Utah businesses are exporting into large overseas markets
Somewhere across the globe, a competitive archer is aiming a bow and arrow manufactured in Salt Lake City, a heart patient is receiving a stent made in South Jordan, and a genealogist is combing through historical records on a Provo-based website.

Power brokers push SkiLink as a Utah moneymaker
Connecting the seven ski areas in Salt Lake and Summit counties -- starting with a gondola between Canyons and Solitude resorts -- would be an economic boon for Utah. But only if it is done in an environmentally responsible manner.
(Salt Lake Tribune)