Summer Internships Available
EDCUtah is recruiting summer interns for business development and marketing positions. These positions are open to current students eligible for academic credit and will provide valuable experience for individuals working toward their degrees. The positions are described here, and the application is here. Interested candidates should return the completed application, cover letter and resume by Friday, May 9, to EDCUtah Senior Marketing Manager Marcie Cancio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, tickets are going fast for the Governor's Outdoor Recreation Summit that's coming up on May 8 at the Salt Palace Convention Center. The focus of the summit is to explore and share new ways to responsibly grow, promote and enhance Utah's flourishing recreation economy. Click here for more information or to reserve your seat.
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!
President and CEO
Uintah County's unemployment rate is down to 3.4 percent and the economy is humming. Jobs are plentiful and so are the recreational opportunities. Last week the county opened a new ATV trail that begins at Steinaker State Park and intertwines with a plethora of other ATV trails in the county. Photo credit: Uintah County
'If You Want a Job, Come to Vernal'
After the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank off the coast of Louisiana in 2010, killing 11 workers and causing the worst marine oil spill in history, Vernal resident Mike Mold flew to Louisiana to do his own investigation of the disaster's cause. He wasn't there by invitation or because of some odd curiosity. He was there as an instructor from the Uintah Basin Applied Technology College (UBATC) in Vernal, where he teaches workers in the oil and gas industry.
"I went down there on my own dime because, being a well control instructor, you are always interested in what went wrong in such disasters," says Mold. Although he is licensed to teach sub-sea well control, Mold also teaches how to prevent on-land well control and how to prevent well-head disasters. Oil and gas companies from across the globe send their production teams to his intense classes.
The UBATC is home to one of the nation's only publicly-owned, state-of-the-art well control simulators, and the school has proven to be one of the Uintah Basin's many success stories. In 2013, some 5,700 students from 160 companies received training at the UBATC, and more than 3,700 of those students were from the petroleum or transportation industries.
"It's great when you can't find a place to park at the UBATC because of all the oil and gas trucks lined up in the parking lot," says former UBATC President Paul Hacking.
The success of the applied technology college and associated Utah State University satellite campus is a reflection of the beehive-like activity that is taking place in Vernal and the Uintah Basin.
"If you want a job, come to Vernal," says Tammie Lucero, Uintah County economic development director. "Our average wage is higher than the state's average wage."
Lucero doesn't like to call the Basin's growth a "boom" because with every boom there can be a bust. But there's a frenzy of development taking place in the Basin nonetheless. Traditional energy development, unconventional development, commercial and residential construction, retail development–it's all happening in Vernal.
Lucero says people are calling her every day, trying to figure out what is going on in the Basin. Some of that interest is related to the energy industry, she concedes, but not all of it. "When we first started attending the International Council of Shopping Centers retail conference with EDCUtah in Las Vegas many years ago, nobody knew who we were," she reflects. "As time has gone on, our community and our name are on the map, and people are searching us out for all kinds of economic development."
For example, she says the grand opening of a new retail store in the Basin generated one third of store's annual sales goal in just one month. Although she can't name the store or the sales total, Lucero cites the store's success as just one example of numerous successful restaurant and retail openings in the Basin.
Further, she says much of the non-energy interest in the Basin is related to travel and tourism. The county is aggressively marketing Dinosaur National Monument and its "Wall of Bones" along with the area's state parks and many other recreational opportunities. "We have world-class bike trails and fishing in the Basin," says Lucero. "Bike Magazine even suggested Vernal's bike trails are as good as Moab's. We're a diamond in the rough."
Last week the county opened a new ATV trail that begins at Steinaker State Park and intertwines with a plethora of other ATV trails in the county. County Commissioner Mike McKee says it took eight years to work out the details with stakeholders such as the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, state parks and private land owners and bring the new trail to fruition.
Lucero believes Uintah County's economic growth wouldn't be nearly so robust if it didn't have the opportunity to offer enterprise zone tax credits to companies for hiring new employees and for paying 125 percent of the state's average wage. The Governor's Office of Economic Development cites enterprise zones as areas identified by local elected and economic development officials and designated by the state. Under the program, certain types of businesses locating to or expanding in the zone may claim state income tax credits.
"Because we are able to offer Enterprise Zone tax credits many businesses have stayed and grown in the Basin that might otherwise have moved their operations [out of the state], and we wouldn't have nearly as many good paying jobs here ," she continues. "This program is important to our community and has helped us encourage our local companies to stay and be vibrant here."
Lucero describes the organization of the new, seven-county Eastern Utah Economic Development Coalition as another exciting development that will help shape the region economically. The coalition includes Daggett, Duchesne, Uintah, Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan Counties and a variety of state leaders. The coalition's first goal is to boost economic development in the eastern part of the state by working on projects collectively and by avoiding cumbersome regulations. "This seven-county Eastern Utah Economic Development Coalition is working on some big, big things for all of those counties," says Lucero. "Everything is on the table. A lot of our projects are being kept quiet for now, but this is an exciting development that will help all of the counties. The coalition is a fantastic group that means business and we are looking to find funding to do things that will help each other."
Of course, she says, not everything that goes on in Emery County could affect Daggett County, but by working collectively all of the counties will benefit in the long term, especially regarding tourism and recreation.
Certainly, energy production and distribution is a big part of what keeps the Uintah Basin economy humming, but Lucero is quick to point out that government, civic and business leaders in the region have worked hard to diversify the economy and the fruits of those labors are evident in many areas. And despite a lot of misinformation that often dominates the news, she says the energy companies and environmental concerns are finding ways to work together to protect the natural resources while responsibly developing Utah's natural resources. –Gaylen Webb
Fillmore's Sunrise Engineering a Regional Leader
Established in Fillmore in 1978, Sunrise Engineering is acknowledged as a regional leader for professional engineering consulting services with 13 offices and 180 employees throughout Utah, Arizona and Wyoming.
Sunrise provides a wide range of civil engineering consulting, surveying and inspection services to public and private clients for visible and subsurface structures and utilities. "We are engineers, surveyors, technicians, trainers, building code officials and the people behind them. Although we are not contractors, we consistently provide construction administration and observation on our projects," says Senior Vice President Mark Huntsman.
Sunrise Engineering collaborates with its clients to develop solutions that work well within their vision. The result is a balance of cost and performance that has given us a reputation for budgetary responsibility and engineering excellence, as evidenced by our receipt of the PSMJ National Client Satisfaction Award for four consecutive years.
Huntsman notes that Sunrise Engineering's mission statement to create "solutions that work and relationships the last" compliments the goals of EDCUtah to build better, stronger communities within the state. "Our engineers and technicians live in the communities they serve, giving them a vested interest in supporting healthy economic growth," he says. Sunrise has been an investor in EDCUtah since April of 2007. For more information about Sunrise Engineering visit sunrise-eng.com or call 800-560-6151.
12th Annual Utah Innovation Awards (Hilton Salt Lake City Center)
The Fabian Business, Transactions and Tax Group presents a FREE seminar on Utah's new LLC statute; 8 a.m., breakfast to be provided. (Fabian & Clendenin, 215 S. State St., Ste 1200, Salt Lake City)
Governor's Outdoor Recreation Summit (Salt Palace Convention Center)
AUVSI's 2014 Unmanned Systems Conference and Trade Show (Orlando)
EDCUtah Board of Trustees meeting (Location TBD)
ICSC RECON (Las Vegas)
SAMPE Tradeshow (Seattle)
2014 Governor's Energy Development Summit (Salt Palace Convention Center)
EDCUtah Golf for Grants Tournament 2014 (Eaglewood Golf Course, North Salt Lake)
EDCUtah Executive Committee meeting (Location TBD)
EDCUtah Quarterly Investor Update (Location TBD)
UTC 12th Annual Golf Invitational (Salt Lake Country Club). Sponsor and connect with more than 100 high-level executives from Utah companies.
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In the News
Change in governor's office brings new leader to World Trade Center Utah
Changes in the Utah governor's office mean there is a new president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah. Derek Miller, Gov. Gary Herbert's chief of staff, announced Thursday that he is leaving his position to accept the leadership of the center based in downtown Salt Lake City.
(Deseret News) (Utah Pulse) (Salt Lake Tribune)
Gov. Herbert signs eight bills to improve air quality
Gov. Gary Herbert has signed eight bills to clear Utah's murky wintertime skies. Herbert took the action during a ceremony Friday attended by clean-air advocates including some lawmakers who pushed for the legislation.
2014 Utah Bike Summit works to make Utah a bike friendly state
Cyclists, business owners and government leaders gathered for the 2014 Utah Bike Summit last week to figure out how to make Utah a more bike-friendly place. The summit was hosted by Bike Utah.
Herbert sees 'win-win' economic union between Utah, Mexico
Business partnerships with Mexico, public land disputes and healthy Utah were the topics of discussion at Gov. Gary Herbert's monthly address last week.
(Utah Public Radio)
Governor's first outdoor summit planned
Outdoor enthusiasts and savvy business professionals alike will gather at the Salt Palace on May 8 to participate in the inaugural Governor's Outdoor Recreation Summit.
Governor says aiding Mexican economy may curb immigration
While Gov. Gary Herbert repeated a call for federal immigration reform Thursday, he said a trade mission that he led to Mexico this month may help provide the best way to halt illegal immigration by improving that country's economy.
(Salt Lake Tribune)
New study has Utah third lowest in the nation for women CEOs
The number of Utah women in CEO or corporate board positions is the third lowest in the nation. The findings released last week are from a Utah Valley University study.
Mining mogul funds new entrepreneur center at the University of Utah
A new building for the next generation of entrepreneurs is coming to the University of Utah. The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute has announced a $12 million gift from Pierre Lassonde.
BYU student wins $40,000 for kolache machine invention
Derek Johnson, a student from Brigham Young University who invented a machine to produce kolaches pastries in mass, won the $40,000 grand prize in this year's Utah Entrepreneur Challenge.
(Salt Lake Tribune)
Mayor wants Hale Center Theatre in South Jordan
Mayor David Alvord announced Wednesday that city officials have once again begun discussions with the Hale Center Theatre, which is considering expanding to what is now Mulligans Golf and Games.
Number of Utahns with degrees inches up, but too slowly
The number of Utahns with a college degree is growing, but not fast enough, a report released this week found.
(Salt Lake Tribune)
Comic Con crowds help UTA set ridership record
The Utah Transit Authority received two bits of good news Wednesday: the Comic Con's FanX convention last weekend helped it set a new three-day ridership record.
(Salt Lake Tribune)
When industry comes to play: Utah's recreation 'brand' getting a business push
CompanyWeek profiles Brad Petersen, director of the new Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, which was established in 2013 to support Utah's growing recreation brand.
Education-technology company Imagine Learning sold, will remain in Provo
An education-technology firm founded in Utah has been purchased by a New York investment company.
Orem company finds worldwide success by blending music, social media
Scott Warner sees the problems artists are facing in the music industry. But he also sees opportunity.
100,000 people give FanX record-breaking turnout
The Salt Lake Comic Con organizers made history – again. More than 100,000 people turned out for the FanX comic convention, making it the biggest convention in state history.
(Salt Lake Tribune) (Deseret News)
U spin-out takes major strides forward with new round of federal funding
Vaporsens, a Utah Science Technology and Research initiative supported spin-out from the University of Utah and the developer of a unique chemical detection technology, has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant of approximately $720,000 through the National Science Foundation.
Utah gets favorable grade for electric vehicle policies
The Utah Legislature's passage of four key measures boosting public policy on electric vehicles earned the state a B-plus and the second highest grade in a southwest region comprised of six states.