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This week we were able to formally thank our state legislators for creating an environment that’s conducive for corporate recruitment in Utah.

Three years ago, Val Hale, who heads the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, had an idea to co-produce an event where companies who chose to expand in Utah tell their story directly to Utah legislators. It’s turned into a wonderful annual tradition. Those of us who do this for a living are fortunate enough to attend groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings where companies talk about what drives their site selection criteria: in many cases, our legislators do not have the opportunity to attend such events unless a company is expanding in their district. Thus, it’s important for the companies who benefit from the programs they put in place to describe what made a difference for them so our policy-makers can see how important the work they do really is to our business community.

I’ve come to enjoy this event over the years as it’s a great way for us to promote corporate recruitment successes and for the good things about Utah to be shared and reinforced with the public servants who dedicate their time to legislative endeavors.

Some important sports analogies came out of the event:

  • Val has an analogy that I absolutely love, and it’s related to college athletics: he said that incentives are like athletic scholarships. Even if a collegiate team wins the NCAA Tournament or the National Football Championship, they still need to use scholarships to entice the best student-athletes to attend their college and play for them. That’s for a whole host of reasons, including that other teams will offer scholarships for the top recruits, but also because it’s an important gesture of a desire to partner. Incentives are similar: even though Utah has a phenomenal business climate and a great workforce, incentives are viewed both in monetary terms, but also as a partnership. That partnership is meaningful to the world-class companies with whom we work.
  • The Governor shared that economic development is a team sport. That was on full display as we had local elected officials, other economic development organizations, members of the Utah state legislature, our private sector members, our team, and the Governor’s Office of Economic development all in the same room celebrating the same outcomes. Without great teamwork and collaboration, none of the Utah magic could happen and it is indeed Utah’s competitive advantage.

Thanks to the Utah State Legislature for your focus on long-term economic success, and for granting economic development organizations many of the tools that we need to be successful.