The Emery County Business Chamber hosted their first economic summit on Sept. 21. The event began with a breakfast and speaker. Tom Retson from Blue Castle Holdings spoke about the proposed nuclear power plant in Green River. After breakfast two breakout workshops were held, Ken Fakler from Fakler Tires presented along with Chris Redgrave from Zion's Bank. After the morning speakers the group traveled to the Millsite Golf Course where they had lunch and listened to David Williams from the Utah Office of Tourism and a speaker from the Utah Film Commission. David Wilkey from Sand Hollow Golf Course rounded out the speakers for the day. After the summit, a golfing event was held where golfers tried out the recently opened back nine holes at Millsite Golf Course.
The Zions Bank workshop included: Chris Redgrave, Zions Bank's Senior Vice President over Public Relations and Ryan Evans, Zions Bank's Vice President for Business and Community relations gave a very positive outlook concerning Utah's economic future during their presentation. Redgrave stated with the support of the Salt Lake Chamber, Bonneville Radio Group, and Zions Bank, they have an initiative going on now. "We are doing radio spots, we are handing out "Utah On The Move" brochures and we are focusing on all of the positive things going on in Utah. There is a lot of information being fed into this initiative in support of our business community. We are really focused on all of the good things going well in Utah."
Ryan Evans said, "I am also a loan executive with the Utah State Chamber of Commerce. I work with Chambers of Commerce throughout the state of Utah. There are a lot of opportunities for business growth in Utah."
Chris Redgrave and Evans teamed up to make the presentation for Zions Bank's portion of the Economic Business Summit. First they discussed the Utah economy and how it continues to build a foundation for continued economic growth. Forbes Magazine named Utah the best state for business and careers brought about by the vision and planning of current and past governors, such as Gov. Jon Huntsman focusing on Economic Development in Utah. As a result many well known companies have moved here from other states and hired Utah employees.
Doing business in Utah is easier because Utah has the lowest utility prices in the nation, Utah has a good transportation system for moving goods and services into and out of the state, a well educated work force and the state is pro-business. Salt Lake City is among 15 of the best cities to do business globally with direct flights to and from Paris and Tokyo.
The Downtown Rising a $3 billion project is the largest in the nation. Included in this project is City Creek, and 222 South Main the first LEED Guild certified high rise in Salt Lake City. Five new high rises for downtown living with an expectation of 10,000 full time residents. The 367,188 square foot Frank E. Moss Courthouse with 14 courtrooms should be completed this year. Some of these projects will be completed in 2012 others will be complete this year. These projects require a large work force, however we still have 121,000 Utah workers that are out of a job now and that is unacceptable.
Transportation in Utah is constantly improving. There have been 70 miles of rail track laid in seven years, four new TRAX lines and light rail from downtown to the airport. Front Runner from Salt Lake City to Provo and 4.2 billion dollars has been spent on Utah highways in four years. Airline companies carried 21,016,686 passengers in and out of Salt Lake City in 2010. It is exciting to have the recently added direct flights to Paris and Tokyo.
When it comes to Technology, Utah is home to 6,800 Technology Companies. The Economic Development Corporation of Utah, with Jeff Edwards as President and CEO, has been assigned the job of bringing business into Utah and help retain businesses that are here. There are people in New York and Los Angeles who want to buy many of the technology companies and move them to their state. If that happens we lose business. The EDCU fights to keep companies in Utah and to bring companies here. Last year 20 companies came to Utah and put 6,700 people to work. These companies like the labor market here. The people of Utah are educated and hard workers.
The Utah Science Technology and Research initiative is fueling about 100 new technologies at 10 higher education institutions. The University of Utah is ranked number 1 in the nation in start-up companies. These research teams are making international breakthroughs in energy, nano-technology, digital imaging, biomedical devices and neuroscience.
The technology sector has more than 5,200 companies in the state of Utah involved with the technology industry. Tech companies actually pay 58 percent higher wages on average than the normal wage in Utah. Some of those companies are Twitter, Overstock.com, Ebay and EA Sports. California has started to realize that they are losing tech companies to Utah.
Proctor and Gamble recently opened their first US facility in Brigham City. They promised to hire a set number of employees over a period of years. They have since scaled that number back, because of how productive and efficient our Utah workers are.
Boeing has installed a plant here because of the workers in Utah. We are so fortunate to have the kind of people that make up Utah. Our people are a big economic attractor for the state of Utah.
We have had 15 consecutive months of job growth in Utah or 15,000 jobs created over the year before. Utah is growing at a 2.5 percent job growth while the federal government is growing at 1 percent. Utah's job growth is very positive.
Tourism is a big industry in the State of Utah because of the jobs they create.
Travelers spend more than $6 billion in Utah yearly. It has been estimated that 19.4 million tourism visits are made to Utah each year. For every dollar invested in advertising tourism in 2010, the average return on that investment was $16. Utah's 14 ski resorts enjoyed 4.2 million skier days during the 2010-2011 season. This was the second busiest ski season in state history. In 2010 4.8 million people visited Utah's 43 state parks. In 2010, 9.3 million visits were made to Utah's national parks and recreation areas.
When one industry goes down in Utah another can step in and offset that downturn by having growth. Technology is big in Utah, also energy, mining, agriculture, tourism, movie making and aerospace. The diversity in the Utah economy helps keep the economy growing.
Utah is the only state in the union to have five consecutive years of export growth. Last year Utah was the only state that grew in exports. More than 200,000 Utah jobs are tied to exporting. Eighty five percent of all Utah exports come from small businesses. We doubled our exports in five years and we are on track to do that again. We have a global economy to sell to which is a great advantage for Utah businesses.
We are exporting ore and minerals to China, the exporting of alfalfa and hay is big. Utah pharmaceuticals are also big in the export arena with a market worldwide. The mining industry is still the number one exporter, especially coal. Industries that will grow in Utah in the next few years are health care, financial services, tourism and entertainment. Rural Utah businesses are growing by looking for new opportunities outside of their town, county, state or country to sell their goods and services. There are programs available to help rural businesses find the right resources, find the right information to expand and become successful companies that actually hire rural Utah citizens. A good source for more information is the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, 201 South Main Street, Suite 2150, Salt Lake City, UT 84111 1-800-574-8824 801-328-8824. Redgrave and Evans ended their program by reminding everyone that there are a lot of good things going on in Utah.