Fox File: A Pioneer Day Take on the EDCUtah FY2020 Year in Review

July 24, 2020

EDCUtah’s fiscal year just closed on June 30, 2020, and it was unlike any other in our organization’s history. We surpassed our goals for job creation, capital investment, and square footage absorption thanks to some very significant project wins. At the same time, we redeployed our competencies in project management, research, communications, and community strategy to assist the State and our partners throughout the pandemic.

Despite the unpredictability of the last quarter, EDCUtah business development managers under the direction of COO Mike Flynn pushed our active projects for the fiscal year to a total of 153, exactly the same record number as in FY2018 and FY2019.

In the Projects Won category, we tallied 32, slightly under our goal of 35. After a torrid pace earlier in the year, tech and financial services projects softened in the last quarter but still attracted or retained some vibrant players to our state including GoHealth, Weave Communications, and BlueVine Capital. When the pandemic hit, manufacturing and distribution projects came to the fore and during the year, we landed Malouf, RS Technologies, and Intermountain Electronics. Other notable wins for the year were Northrop Grumman (Aerospace/Defense), Jack Wolfskin (Outdoor Products), and GE Healthcare (Life Sciences).

While our win total was slightly down, the size of the projects we worked more than made up for it by yielding new record totals in:

-      Total Jobs at 13,489

-      Capital Expenditure at $1.2 billion

-      Square Footage Absorption at 3.1 million

At the beginning of the year, we set a goal of six Non-Wasatch Front project wins, and we were gratified to top that with eight wins for communities throughout the state.

Other highlights:

Our Global Strategy & Outreach (GS&O) remains a consistent, cost-effective, project-generating process for our organization. Colby Cooley orchestrated a new record 135 meetings, almost all in the first three quarters.

In Community Strategy, Alan Rindlisbacher conducted 14 trainings (and is poised to certify ten communities under the Development Ready Communities program) while Katherine Morrell managed the certification of three Mega Sites.

EDCUtah assisted Chris Roybal and the Northern Utah Economic Alliance to generate interest in and coordinate economic development efforts across the region.

Our Research Team, under the direction of Matt Hilburn, supported 124 business development projects, conducted a COVID-19 business impact survey, modeled personal protective equipment (PPE) needs statewide, and published findings from our Know the Customer survey efforts.  

EDCUtah’s marketing team hosted four top site selectors at the Sundance Film Festival. The team also grew our organization’s base of social media followers, generated original content that highlights our investors, and flipped the switch almost overnight from live to virtual events.

Despite our operations going almost exclusively virtual, CFOJill Kirsling kept our finance and administrative functions running smoothly so our other staff could devote full focus on critical tasks.

In terms of special projects, Stephanie Frohman provided vital assistance to the State’s Unified Command by identifying and helping manufacturers pivot to the production of PPE, and coordinating distribution of that material to small businesses and disadvantaged communities across the state.

I served on the Governor’s Economic Response Task Force, with a focus on critical infrastructure. Overall, FY2020 showed what our organization is made of: Bright, hardworking, passionate people doing their best for Utah. EDCUtah staff worked on some incredible projects, and demonstrated value by deploying their talents for the greater good in the midst of crisis. Our team continues to demonstrate resilience and resourcefulness, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

As I think about Pioneer Day and all that it means for our state, I also think about EDCUtah and our role going forward. We sit in an incredibly privileged position. Like the pioneers, we will have the opportunity to blaze new trails during this pandemic and in the post-covid economy.

This ability to widen our sphere of impact could not happen without the ongoing support and guidance we receive from you, our investors. Thank you!