June 22, 2012

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Jeff Edwards President's Message
32,256 Attend JEC; QIU Meeting Next Week; Annual Meeting in September -- Save the Date!

Two issues ago we reported on EDCUtah's participation at various tradeshows and conferences as part of our proactive recruitment effort. One of the tradeshows we attended was the 2012 JEC Europe – the largest advanced composites show in the world –- which is held annually in France. In the story (which made its way to Paris), we estimated the JEC tradeshow attracted about 12,000 attendees; however, our JEC friends tell us the 2012 show actually attracted 32,256 attendees -- even more people that saw our Utah Composites Industry stand in which we partner with ATK!

On another subject, we have a Quarterly Investor Update meeting coming up next Wednesday (June 27), from 4–6 p.m. at the Salt Lake Country Club, 2400 Country Club Drive in Salt Lake City. We hope you are planning to attend this great event, where you will here a "Why Utah?" report by Xactware, learn more about our economic development activities and have the opportunity to network with other EDCUtah investors.

Also, we hope you are saving the date –- Sept. 27 -– for our annual meeting. This year we are holding a lunch meeting rather than a breakfast meeting. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Grand America Hotel. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman will be our keynote speaker. Further, we are on target for a record year in terms of jobs created and retained and we plan to release our year-end figures at the meeting. Hence, it should be an exciting and informative event. As with our prior annual meetings, table sponsorships are available. Call (801) 328-8824 now to secure a table for your organization.

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

Feature Story

After Flying Under the Radar Since 2002,
Home-grown Qualtrics Draws Spotlight
on Utah's Vibrant Tech Scene

Last week Fast Company named Salt Lake City one of "15 Tech Scenes In Places You'd Never Think To Look."

While it is nice to be recognized by Fast Company, is Salt Lake City really a place you'd never look for a tech scene?

"Perhaps in the past, but not anymore," says EDCUtah President & CEO Jeff Edwards. "Utah has grown from a rich heritage -- started by companies like WordPerfect, Evans & Sutherland and Novell -- to become a true leader in technological innovation."

Innovative Startups
Today Utah's tech scene is known for innovative startups (like Omniture -- now part of Adobe Systems, Fusion-io, SkullCandy and many others), and for some of the biggest names in technology (like Adobe Systems, IM Flash, eBay, Twitter, EMC, L-3 and others).

One of the latest Utah startups to attract the interest of venture capitalists and industry moguls is Qualtrics Labs Inc., a Provo-based online data collection and analysis software company. Of Qualtrics Forbes said "The best kept secret in IT is in Utah." That was in a four-page profile in the magazine's Forbes' June 4th issue. Meanwhile, The Salt Lake Tribune just featured a story about Qualtrics last week.

Perhaps the reason for the sudden focus on Qualtrics is the fact that since its start in 2002, the company has doubled its profits every year and is on target to generate approximately $50 million in revenue this year. Add to that the fact that the company turned down a $500 million buyout offer and instead accepted a joint investment offer of $70 million from Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital in order to support its exponential growth.

Nowhere Near Silicon Valley
Forbes said of Qualtrics: "…it's rare to unearth a firm that's beginning to dominate its software niche (online survey-taking), doubling its revenue annually, turning a healthy profit and scoring capital from elite VCs, yet is a family-owned business nowhere near Silicon Valley that has never issued a single press release."

Obviously, the success and growth of Qualtrics further strengthens Utah's tech scene, which has been dubbed "Silicon Slopes." According to an NPR story last March, technology companies are powering the hot job market in Utah. "Computer-system-design jobs in Utah shot up nearly 12 percent in 2011. Scientific and technical jobs jumped 9.7 percent," says NPR.

One of the many factors that make Utah such an appealing location for IT firms is the state's large population of young, bilingual, educated workers. "We find great talent in the state -- there are 70,000 college students in Utah County alone," says Liz Tanner, Qualtrics communications director.

Qualtrics Expanding
For its part, Qualtrics employs approximately 200 people in its Utah headquarters, and plans to hire approximately 250 more workers -- most of them in Utah -- within the next year or so. The company's expansion comes on the heels of growth announcements by major Utah IT firms like Adobe Systems, which is building a large campus in Lehi and will hire approximately 1,000 new employees; EMC, which opened a technical support center in Draper where it employs 450 workers and is now looking for a new Utah location where it will hire an additional 300 employees; eBay, which is building a new state-of-the-art facility in Draper and will add approximately 2,200 more employees there; and L-3, which is continuing its 50-year history in Utah by hiring approximately 500 more employees.

Qualtrics' niche is its online question-and-answer survey tools, which Forbes says "seems like a limited market, but it turns out that lots of people in myriad types of organizations want the insights that come from this kind of data-gathering." The company powers data collection for approximately 4,700 paying customers, "including half the largest U.S. companies (Prudential, Geico and Microsoft among them), research arms of several federal agencies and 600 universities. In all, 1 million people will create a survey on the Web using Qualtrics this year," according to Forbes.

"Qualtrics traces its roots back to the late 1990s, when Scott Smith, a professor of marketing at Brigham Young University for 30 years, was doing a consulting project for BellSouth and became hooked on the idea of speeding up market research using the Web," Forbes continues. "Not much came of Smith's idea until several years later, when he was suffering through radiation treatments for throat cancer and recruited college students to build online survey software for him while he was recovering at home. One of Smith's sons, Ryan, who was a student at BYU at the time, saw early glimpses of the product and offered to sell it."

Ten years later, the company is still family owned, flying higher and higher, and as noted earlier, capturing the interest of venture capitalists and industry moguls…while also casting new light on Utah's vibrant tech scene.


June 27
SAVE the Date -- EDCUtah Quarterly Investor Update 4–6 p.m. (Salt Lake Country Club, 2400 Country Club Drive)

July 19
Social Commerce Exchange 5:30-8:30 p.m. (Salt Lake Community College - Miller Campus, MFEC Room 101, 9750 South 300 West)

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)

Sept. 27
What's Goin' Down Up North -- Northern Utah Economic Summit (Utah State University Innovation Campus, 489 East 1650 North, North Logan)

Sept. 27
EDCUtah Annual Meeting (Grand America Hotel) 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., lunch provided.

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


EDCUtah Quarterly Investor Update

The Board of Trustees of Economic Development Corporation of Utah Cordially invites you to attend the Quarterly Investor Update Meeting and Reception.

When: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 4-6 p.m.

Where: Salt Lake Country Club, 2400 Country Club Drive

Who: Xactware -- Why Utah?

Investors $20, all others $25

Payment in advance is appreciated. VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express accepted.

No shows will be billed.

Please RSVP to Eileen Burt at 801-323-4249 or email eburt@edcutah.org

In the News

Utah adds nearly 29,000 jobs in May
New data shows Utah added nearly 29,000 jobs in May, keeping a job growth rate that's more than 1.5 times the national growth pace.
(Businessweek) (ETV10news)

Governor's Office of Economic Development announces new jobs expansion for EMC Corporation
The Governor's office of Economic Development (GOED) Board voted today to award an expanded Economic Development Tax Increment Financing (EDTIF) tax credit to EMC Corporation in order to help facilitate additional job growth and further expansion of the company's customer support operations in Utah.
(Utah Pulse) (Utah Policy)

Rock West Composites eyes aerospace assembly division with help from GOED
Rock West Composites uses highly specialized manufacturing techniques to produce the best stock and custom composite tubing solution for their clients.
(Utah Policy)

Utah among '15 Tech Scenes In Places You'd Never Think To Look'
Fast Company lists Utah 10th among the "15 Tech Scenes In Places You'd Never Think To Look"
(Fast Company)

Health insurance firm plans to bring 200 jobs West Valley City
EHealth Inc. has entered into a lease to occupy approximately 26,000 square feet of space and intends to employ more than 200 full-time and seasonal employees as it continues to expand its Medicare sales and customer care operations in Utah.
(Deseret News)

Gold and silver help drive Utah's export growth to new heights
Utah's booming export industry has pushed the Beehive State to the top of the nation's economic food chain.
(Deseret News)

Tech growth fueling building plans on 'Silicon Slopes'
Utah's growing technology industry is prompting major development in the area known as "Silicon Slopes."
(Deseret News)

Dave Buhler selected as new commissioner of higher education
Former state legislator and Salt Lake City Councilman Dave Buhler was announced Thursday as the next commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education.
(Deseret News) (Salt Lake Tribune)

Hey, world, are you ready for Utah's Qualtrics?
Qualtrics Labs Inc. is a Provo-based company that . . . A. Produces Web-based software for surveys. B. Has had triple-digit growth for the past five years. C. Has an old VW bus parked in the middle of its offices. D. All of the above. If you picked D, you're beginning to understand the charm of one of the state's most successful companies of late, what Forbes recently called "tech's hidden gem in Utah."
(Salt Lake Tribune)

U.S. Chamber study: Utah economy poised for major growth
Utah was voted one of the best states for future economic prosperity due to its strong job growth and thriving export market, according to a recent report.
(Deseret News)

Utah hosts upcoming trade mission to Mexico: August 6-10
The Governor's Office of Economic Development and World Trade Center Utah will send a state-sponsored trade mission to Mexico during the week of August 6, 2012.
(Utah Pulse)

Utah ranks No. 3 in housing growth nationwide
Utah achieved the nation's third-fastest growth last year in housing units, including homes, apartments and condominiums.
(Salt Lake Tribune) (Deseret News)

Developers envision corporate retreat at Strawberry
Burke Roney has a dream of bringing families together at a 7,000-acre development of cabins, lodges, nature centers and a working cattle ranch near Soldier Creek Dam on Strawberry Reservoir.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Weber County names economic development director
Weber County Commissioners took the next step in creating a new economic development division when they named Chief Deputy Clerk Auditor Douglas Larsen as the new economic development director.

Utah builds business with broadband
"Utah enjoys a greater level of connectivity than many other states with similar population densities and geography, largely due to the collaboration that exists between public and private entities," said Tara Thue, manager of the Utah Broadband Project.
(Utah Pulse)

Air Force awards $108M contract to Clearfield's Northrup Grumman
The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a three-year, $108 million contract to develop and implement cryptography upgrades as part of the intercontinental ballistic missile cryptography upgrade II engineering and manufacturing development program.

Froerer: Adding Utah liquor licenses was 'about jobs'
Utah lawmakers on Wednesday overcame some misgivings for a state that heavily regulates alcohol by lifting a quota on the number of alcohol licenses available for restaurants.
(Standard-Examiner) (Salt Lake Tribune) (Deseret News)

Utah companies renew plea for more skilled workers
Representatives of three manufacturing companies told a legislative panel Wednesday that although their industry is making a decent turnaround from the recession, the biggest hurdle they continue to face is finding skilled workers.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Salt Lake County's mega-hotel on the ropes
Salt Lake County's involvement in a downtown convention-headquarters hotel is still possible, but just barely.
(Salt Lake Tribune)

Anderson Geneva development moving ahead
Vineyard's redevelopment agency gave the go-ahead Tuesday to Skip Dunn Construction to begin infrastructure construction on the Anderson Geneva development project.
(Daily Herald)