EDCUtah Welcomes New Investors
EDCUtah is pleased to welcome the following organizations as new investors to our economic development circle:
- Michael Best and Friedrich LLP
- Jive Communications
- Center for Excellence in Higher Education
- Junior Achievement
- Credit Corp Solutions
As a public/private organization, we rely heavily on our investors for their support. The partnerships we share truly make Utah unique. As with all of our investors, we look forward to working with you to build Utah's economy.
Also, please note the "Moab on the Edge" business enhancement summit is coming up June 27 at the Utah State University-Moab campus. The summit focuses on local business challenges and offers practical information and workshops to help businesses thrive in what is often a difficult, competitive environment. The free event runs from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and comes with complimentary breakfast and lunch. Details about the event can be found here.
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
The Utah Pavilion at the ICSC RECON show in Las Vegas
All Smiles at ICSC RECON
The smiles said it all. People stopping by the Utah Pavilion in May at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) RECon Las Vegas, the global retail real estate convention, were blithe to see Utah's signs and connect with the contingency of cities and counties participating in the pavilion with EDCUtah and the Governor's Office of Economic Development.
"Typically, the visitors had some type of affiliation with Utah that they were fond of, such as a retail deal they have done or want to do in the state, a ski trip or some good vibes they had heard about Utah," says EDCUtah Chief Operating Officer Todd Brightwell. "And the positive buzz about Utah seems to get stronger every year. The state is on the map for a lot of things relative to the economy, and the increased amount of energy we experienced at ICSC has been building for the past several years."
ICSC is the largest retail real estate convention in the world, and having a Utah pavilion there is a priority for EDCUtah because of its desire to support the state's cities and counties in their retail development efforts. The National Retail Federation says retail supports 384,340 jobs in Utah and is directly and indirectly responsible for 19 percent of the state's gross domestic product.
Much of the preparations for ICSC happen in advance of the actual show. Participants in the Utah Pavilion were able to use EDCUtah's Retail Lease Track, a demographic software program, to generate leads and pre-match their retail interests with the needs of retailers. Brightwell says the software inputs come from retailers as they identify the types of demographics and properties they are interested in. "By using Retail Lease Track, our community and county participants were able to do targeted research in preparation for the show, set up advance meetings and make their convention attendance much more productive," he adds.
No one appreciates Retail Lease Track more than Brigham Mellor, economic development director for Salt Lake County. "Almost everyone we talked to was someone who wanted to talk to us and was interested in what we had to present because we had already reviewed their requirements and found we were a fit for their retail product," he says. "That meant we had already done the first round of due diligence before we even met with them."
Mellor says he made solid contacts to follow up with after the show "and that made ICSC a successful experience for us. With help from EDCUtah and its resources, we were very systematic in our pursuit of retailers. By marrying demographics and economic data from our jurisdictions with those specified from the retailers, we developed some perfect leads," he notes.
Some of Salt Lake County's most promising prospects were hotel chains the county wants to court for the Mt. Olympus area in Millcreek Township. Mellor says he knew he wanted to speak with a hotel before attending ICSC, and several months in advance of the ICSC show he participated with other Utah municipal economic development teams in a luncheon hosted by EDCUtah. "While we are all competitors in our different municipal jurisdictions, we were there to talk about the show and share best practices," he reflects. "I mentioned to the group that we wanted to talk to some hotels. Our colleagues told us to learn from their mistakes by making sure we had a feasibility study done on the potential hotel site with regard to hospitality before we went to ICSC. Otherwise, the hotels wouldn't even talk to us."
Mellor says he took counsel to heart and asked the University of Utah Metropolitan Research Center "to crank out a feasibility study over a month's time." Just like his colleagues warned, the first question asked by the hotel representatives was, "Do you have a feasibility study for the project area?" "We did, and they were willing to keep talking to us," he says.
Brightwell says the example of different municipal jurisdictions working together makes Utah unique. "We have something pretty special here in Utah in terms of how we communicate with each other," he continues. "These communities compete with each other for retail opportunities, but despite that competition, there is a significant amount of information sharing and camaraderie that takes place. There is pride in being part of the Utah delegation and helping each other succeed."
In another example, he says ICSC show veterans in Utah often mentor the novice municipal leaders, teaching them how to navigate the show, what challenges to expect and how to overcome them. That leadership and mentoring was typified this year by the participation of former Murray Mayor Lynn Pett, an emeritus member of EDCUtah's executive committee. Although he is retired, Pett is a veteran economic developer and an "icon of the connections between cities and government," says Brightwell. "Lynn was such a great addition to our Utah contingency, and we were so grateful to have him there."
This year EDCUtah and GOED expanded the annual pre-convention reception, holding it at the Bellagio Hotel on a Sunday evening after the first day of the show. The RSVP list included some 545 attendees and about 330 people showed up. "It is was a phenomenal event and has elevated the ICSC show for the Utah contingency," says Brightwell. "The reception was a nice blend of the public and private sectors coming together with meaningful connections being made on the retail front."
The reception was hosted by Coldwell Banker Commercial, Cushman & Wakefield / Commerce Real Estate Solution, InterNet Properties Inc., Mountain West Retail Investment, Pentad Properties, PPC Commercial Real Estate, Situs Retail Group, Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development and EDCUtah. It was designed to get Utah's communities and developers together with retailers and their representatives interested in Utah and fostered a good feeling and provided a significant opportunity for the Utah contingency to network. Generous sponsors included brokerages, developers and municipalities.
"Our sponsors created a classy event, a great model for how to generate connections at ICSC, and our pavilion partners appreciated it," Brightwell continues. "The reception was really done well. In fact, if it was like this every year, it would be tremendous."
For his part, Mellor says he has always viewed economic development like throwing darts at a dartboard. "If you throw enough darts you will eventually hit the bullseye. When we walked into the convention center on the first day we had 60 packets with us, displaying our retail options available in unincorporated Salt Lake County. I came home with nine. Thanks to EDCUtah and good advice from our friends in neighboring municipal economic development teams, we were able to throw 51 'retail darts' in two and a half days at the ICSC show," he explains. "We are excited about the relationships we made at the ICSC show and so are the developers we have been working with."
Watts Construction, an EDCUtah investor since 2004, has been doing business in Utah since 1968. In 1984, the company moved its operations to southern Utah, where it has focused on commercial and industrial projects in Washington and surrounding counties. Owner and CEO Doug Watts says his company has capitalized on construction management and design-build to achieve success in projects such as motels, restaurants and shopping districts of more than 120,000 square feet, and in collaborating with Washington City on a $17-million community center. The company has also assisted with the site selection, design and construction of many large manufacturing projects for companies like Viracon in St. George and Genpak in Cedar City.
Watts says his company shares a deep sense of history with southern Utah and strongly supports its economic development. Watts Construction has been involved with the Washington County Economic Development Council (now called Site Select Plus) since the late 1990s. Watts served as chairman of the economic development organization from 2003-05 and also served on EDCUtah's board of directors during that same period. He currently serves as chairman of the Associated General Contractors of Utah.
"Some of my greatest experiences have been helping EDCUtah and Site Select Plus bring value-added businesses to Utah," Watts says. "When you get to be involved with site location, manufacturing processes, design and construction and see it all come together, it is an amazing experience and creates so much opportunity for many people. I believe it is the most rewarding personal aspect of my business, and I appreciate the opportunities that have come my way."
For more information visit wattsconst.com or call 435-673-9096.
"Exploring the Myths and Misconceptions of Employer Sponsored Healthcare Plans." Hays Company Seminar. Keynote speaker: David Ross – executive vice president of Underwriting Services, June 12 from 1:30-4 p.m. (Little America Hotel, Salt Lake City). RSVP for this seminar by sending an email to email@example.com or by calling 801-505-6508.
Ban Bossy – Women, Work, and Leadership: An Evening with Anna Maria Chávez, 6-8 p.m. Zion's Bank Founder's Room, One South Main St. (Salt Lake City). Space is limited. To RSVP email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 801-716-5157.
EDCUtah Quarterly Investor Update (Easton Archery Center, 575 N. John Glenn Road, Salt Lake City)
Moab On the Edge 3rd Annual Business Summit, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (Moab)
UTC 12th Annual Golf Invitational (Salt Lake Country Club). Sponsor and connect with more than 100 high-level executives from Utah companies.
Taste of the Wasatch Noon to 4 p.m. (Solitude Mountain Resort)
Girl Scouts of Utah hosts the Girl Scout National Convention (Salt Lake City)
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