Utah Global Forum Kickstarts Trade Dialogue for Utah Businesses
By all accounts, Wednesday's Utah Global Forum was an incredible success. Several hundred business, government and civic leaders gathered at the Salt Palace Convention Center for the event, which featured an all-star lineup of presenters focused on helping Utah businesses succeed in the global marketplace.
During his speech, Gov. Gary Herbert reiterated his goal for Utah businesses to reach $9 billion in value-added exports over the next five years, which is an increase of $1.6 billion. Global trade from Utah companies has increased dramatically over the past few years, but as Gov. Herbert noted, we are just scratching the surface. With more than seven billion potential customers in the world, the opportunity for Utah businesses to expand into the global marketplace has never been better and the Utah Global Forum was a great starting point for businesses interested in expanding beyond local borders.
As part of the event, World Trade Association of Utah named Fred Lampropoulos, CEO and Chairman of Merit Medical, as the 2014 International Person of the Year, and BioFire Diagnostics LLC as the 2014 International Company of the Year. CEO and founder Kirk Ririe received the award for BioFire. We are fortunate to have these two great companies in Utah and extend our congratulations for their awards.
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
A Public Lands Initiative led by Congressman Rob Bishop holds great promise for Uintah Basin energy development. The initiative is in the midst of a collaborative process that includes participants from local government leaders in rural counties, conservation groups, recreation and sportsmen groups, energy developers, the governor's office, Native American tribes, all of Utah's congressional offices and the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.
Energy: Utah's Greatest Economic Opportunity
Could there be a greater economic opportunity for Utah than energy development in the Uintah Basin? Balanced, smart development of the Basin's massive energy resources could create thousands of Utah jobs, bolster every segment of the economy and improve the quality of life for everyone in the state.
According to general estimates, there are 550 million barrels of oil equivalent in existing reserves and undiscovered endowments that are economically viable for production in the Basin, and 18,000 billion cubic feet equivalent of natural gas in existing reserves and undiscovered endowments that are economically viable for production. Meanwhile, the development of unconventional oil, or non-drillable oil, could quadruple the Uintah Basin's oil production output in the next thirty years.
That excites energy developers and government leaders focused on the economy, but not many conservationists.
"This can be a game-changer for Utah," said Uintah County Commissioner Mike McKee during the Uintah Basin Energy Summit, where more than 750-800 industry, business, education and government leaders gathered in Vernal to talk about the opportunities, challenges and concerns regarding the massive energy resources in the Uintah Basin. "At the end of the day, we have billions of dollars at stake for Utah. The sky's the limit on what we can do."
To be sure, the impact of the Basin's energy development on education funding alone could be enormous, if a reasonable portion of Utah's school trust lands could be traded and consolidated in energy-rich areas of the Uintah Basin.
However, energy development in the Basin is a combustible subject. Utah government and business leaders want to develop energy resources in the Uintah Basin. On the other hand, environmental groups want more wilderness and other conservation designations in pristine areas of the state. Meanwhile, thousands of acres of state school trust land sections are scattered between BLM lands, including many in wilderness study areas and other untouched landscapes worthy of strong environmental protection.
And neither side of the aisle wants to give an inch. But as Lt. Governor Spencer Cox told the energy summit's audience, "This is not a zero sum game. It is not all or nothing. Too often, because of the shrill voices on both sides, we tend to view it as such and we make a colossal mistake when we do."
Cox went on to say Utahns would be fools to not take advantage of the Uintah Basin's energy resources, but fools also "if we don't protect those incredible natural vistas; those incredible natural beauties that we have in this state."
The key to both development and protection, he said, is innovation and collaboration.
"If you believe that the future of our country and the future of our globe depends on the innovation of new energy sources, and this idea of renewable energy, you are damned right it does," Cox added. On the other hand, he said, "If you believe that we will get there by destroying traditional energy sources; if you believe we will get there by government over-reach and regulation, by government picking winners and losers, you are damned wrong."
Further, Cox said development of existing resources would serve as a bridge to the development of the state's clean, renewable energy resources. "Whatever you do, please do not mistake our enthusiasm for energy development and what we are trying to accomplish here as an excuse to cut corners and not follow the rules. We will protect the environment. That is important to the State of Utah and important to the citizens. We are in this together. We have to be smart together."
Two significant barriers make it difficult to develop the Basin's resources and realize its full economic potential. One is the lack of transportation facilities to export energy products. According to a study by the Utah Department of Transportation, the Uintah Basin could lose nearly $30 billion in energy production over the next three decades due to transportation constraints.
Another barrier is the highly complex environmental, land use, regulatory and land ownership challenges. Much of the land in the Basin in owned by the federal government. Despite the fact that Utah is as resource-rich as states like North Dakota and Texas, Utah can't compete because in most other states almost all of the land is private or state-owned.
While both barriers are complex and difficult, they can be overcome. Uintah County Economic Development Director Tammie Lucero said collaborative processes are underway to help the Basin achieve its full potential while also focusing on the transportation issues, air quality and environmental concerns.
For example, the Seep Ridge road is currently being paved to the Uintah County line, which will help eliminate dust clouds. Meanwhile, Grand County officials have requested assistance from Uintah and Duchesne officials to study the feasibility of a transportation corridor through the Book Cliffs to I-70. A paved road there would eliminate massive amounts of dust, greatly improve air quality and provide a southerly route to move product out of the Uinta Basin.
Lucero says preliminary studies are also underway regarding pipeline and rail alternatives out of the Uintah Basin. Both alternatives would reduce truck traffic while bringing product to refineries on the Wasatch Front.
Regarding the land use issues, battles have raged for decades. However, a Public Lands Initiative led by Congressman Rob Bishop holds great promise. The initiative is in the midst of a collaborative process that includes participants from local government leaders in rural counties, conservation groups, recreation and sportsmen groups, energy developers, the governor's office, Native American tribes, all of Utah's congressional offices and the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.
"We have a singular opportunity with Congressman Bishop's plan," said Cox. "It is a little bit of a long shot, but I believe if we continue to negotiate in good faith we can find a balance."
The initiative seeks to keep all sides happy by trading lands, agreeing to energy development in areas of the Uintah Basin and designating more wilderness and establishing other conservation protections in pristine areas. Each side gets what it wants. Best of all, if school trust lands can be traded and consolidated in energy-rich areas, then significant revenue could be pumped into Utah's school system.
The ideal outcome for environmental groups would be designation of significantly more wilderness and conservation areas, including some land currently designated as wilderness study areas, along with some resolution of RS2477 road controversies.
The ideal outcome for state and local governments and business groups would be Congressional designation of an "energy zone" in the Uintah Basin where school trust lands could be consolidated and some of the onerous federal environmental regulations and lengthy permitting processes for energy development relaxed.
It will be difficult to achieve these outcomes, but the possible benefits make the effort worthwhile. Congressman Bishop would like to introduce a bill in Congress sometime in January 2015. He'll need support and encouragement from all levels of Utah government and business when he does.
"We have some special places in Utah, including in Uintah County, that everyone agrees should not be developed," said McKee. "On the other hand, we have world-class energy resources in some rather desolate, barren areas that should be developed to produce jobs, school revenue and an improved economy. Let's create wins for everyone."
Some information in this story was provided by UtahPolicy.com, with permission.
Investor Spotlight: Penna Powers
The Salt Lake City-based communications firm Penna Powers has been an EDCUtah investor since 2006. Utahns may recognize the company as Penna Powers Brian Haynes, but for its 30th anniversary, the firm marked the milestone with a new name and logo.
"Our rebrand is more than just semantics," says Penna Powers founding partner and CEO Chuck Penna. "Communication is always changing, but the basis of successful communication, and building brands, has been and remains two-way conversation."
Penna Powers' new logo is made up of stylized dialogue boxes, intended to represent a two-way conversation. Together with partners Dave Smith and Mike Brian, Penna unveiled the agency's new name and logo this month as part of the company's 30th anniversary celebration.
Over the past three decades, Penna Powers has applied the innovation, creativity and talents of its team to serve a wide range of companies–from startups to fortune 500s–and its longevity in the marketplace is a testament that the company delivers exactly what businesses need. One of the company's strengths is its ability to anticipate change and evolve its services to address the opportunities and challenges that make up the fabric of day-to-day business.
Through the years the firm, which started with one employee, has added an account services team, public relations and social media, digital capabilities, a public involvement department and a second office in Henderson, Nev. Today, Penna Powers has 50 employees and has matured into one of Utah's largest and most respected agencies, commanding a repertoire of marketing tools that rivals that of any agency in the nation.
As an active partner in EDCUtah's economic development efforts, Penna Powers has helped sponsor numerous events, including EDCUtah's annual Golf for Grants Tournament, and has been an invaluable partner. To learn more about Penna Powers, visit pennapowers.com or call Chuck Penna at 801-209-8803.
Sept. 26-Oct. 2
Fuel Freedom's documentary, "PUMP The Movie" is an eye-opening documentary that shows how YOU can help end our oil addiction, and open the market to cleaner, cheaper, American-made fuels. Check it out and watch our trailer at pumpthemovie.com
Right now, we have the ability to change our country's future. We urge you to watch this movie and tell all of your friends about it. The premier will run Sept. 26th to October 2nd at the Jordan Commons Megaplex. We're hoping to drive traffic to the 4:50 and 7:15 p.m. showings on the 26th and the 7:15 p.m. showing on the 27th. The entire week of showings it will run at noon, 2:25, 4:50, 7:15 and 9:40 p.m. The 26th will feature a panel with Bud Mcfarlane (former Reagan advisor) and Gayle Ruzika. The 27th will have a panel with Dale Cox of the AFL-CIO. We want to offer anyone who is interested a buy-one get-one free ticket. Click here to obtain the coupon.
"Rather Intriguing" A Q&A with a witness to history: Dan Rather, during EDCUtah's Annual Meeting. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Grand America Hotel)
Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (Orlando) Please contact Kim Frost at 801-608-8427 or email@example.com for information about participating in the Utah Pavilion with EDCUtah and GOED.
Girl Scouts of Utah hosts the Girl Scout National Convention (Salt Lake City)
Wasatch Choice for 2040 Consortium 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Salt Palace Convention Center) Register here.
Create Success: Intellectual Property Protection for Growth Technology Companies (EDCUtah Board Room). A presentation by Michael Best, a major national leader in the commercialization of Intellectual Property for major universities, and established technology enterprises.
Why Be an Investor?
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Sept. 26, 2014
In the News
U.S. Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce gathers in Utah, touts Latino growth
A tiny fraction of the 54 million Latinos in the U.S. are in Utah, yet U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Javier Palomarez said the state is the perfect place for the Latino business group to hold its annual convention this week.
(NBC News) (Standard-Examiner)
Governor announces 2014 revenue surplus
Utah's economy is the second strongest in the nation and strong economic growth has once again resulted in a budget surplus.
(Utah Policy) (Salt Lake Tribune)
Provo ranked 4th most educated city in website's analysis
A recent analysis from a personal finance website ranks Provo as the fourth most educated city in the U.S. for 2014.
State Prison to Box Elder County?
Officials here have a mixed reaction to the news that Box Elder County is among six counties in the running for a relocated Utah State Prison.
Utah businesses need to create a blueprint for worldwide success
Gov. Gary R. Herbert will present the Utah Global Forum (UGF) on Wednesday in the Salt Palace, Grand Ballroom, where business leaders can learn about the resources available to help them begin or increase exports.
Utah unemployment second-lowest in nation, job growth strong
Utah's unemployment rate is tied for second-lowest in the nation, holding steady at 3.6 percent, according to the latest figures from the Dept. of Workforce Services.
(Utah Pulse) (Utah Policy) (Standard-Examiner)
Utah job forecast better than most states
Finding a job in Utah may be easier here than in other states, but finding the "dream job" may be a bit more challenging for some than others.
Utah celebrates National Aerospace Week
Through Saturday, Utah recognizes achievements in aviation and the aerospace industry's impact to the country with National Aerospace Week.
University of Utah entrepreneurship program ranked among best in nation
A new report rates the University of Utah's business entrepreneurship program as one of the best in the country.
(Deseret News) (Utah Pulse)
Salt Lake City is now 'Ski City USA' in new marketing campaign
There's lots of ski towns around the world but Salt Lake is unique for the four world-class ski resorts in its own backyard.
(Deseret News) (Salt Lake Tribune)
Op-ed: Keys to development: City centers, education and entrepreneurship
The fortunes of this city have historically risen and fallen with the railroads. That's one reason why Union Station is a natural place to start – but not to end – a story of economic development on an Odgen re-invention tour.
Op-ed: Brand USA puts tourism dollars in Utahns' pockets
There is never a wrong time to visit Utah. The beauty of our landscapes, destinations, amusements, resorts and communities is that each season provides visitors a unique and authentic opportunity to experience all that we are able to enjoy each and every day. It is for that reason Utah is a big tourist attraction to both international and domestic tourists, and also why tourism is an economic juggernaut for Utah.
(Salt Lake Tribune)
Business owners: PCMR deal ensures bright future
After expressing relief when Powdr Corp. announced Tuesday that it would pay a judge-ordered bond to save this winter's ski season at Park City Mountain Resort, local business owners doubled down on those sentiments after Vail Resorts announced Thursday that it had purchased PCMR.
Utah wants today's young women to become tomorrow's aerospace leaders
As part of Utah's observance of National Aerospace Week, Gov. Gary R. Herbert declared Sept. 15 as Young Women in Aviation Day to recognize the achievements of females in the aviation industry and to encourage today's young women in Utah to seek the appropriate education to contribute to tomorrow's aerospace achievements.
2014 Tour of Utah had 275,000 spectators
Event organizers of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah have said that 275,000 spectators watched the professional cycling event this August, setting a new record for the event. In addition, the statewide sporting event generated a new high of $20 million in direct economic impact for Utah, according to a quantitative research study conducted by Event Sponsorship Measurement, LLC.
Malouf purchases former La-Z-Boy facility
Logan-based bedding accessories manufacturer, Malouf has purchased a 675,000 square-foot building from La-Z-Boy in order to allow faster shipping and more space for its products. The purchase will give Malouf more than 1 million square feet of warehouse space, more than double what it had previously.
Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development sponsors GoodCrowd14
The Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development has joined the ranks of sponsors for GoodCrowd14, the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference on September 26, 2014 at Snowbird.
Utah makes inroads during China trade trip
Promotional material for Utah flew off the display table at a reception this week in JuWangFu, China, after showing a video featuring "Utah's Mighty Five" national parks and following high-level business meetings held during the day with members of the Utah trade mission delegation in the country.
5 reasons why Utah is a great place to live
We all have our own reasons for loving Utah – maybe it's the slopes, diverse dining, or expanding TRAX system – but we're not the only ones who have noticed. Many recent studies have highlighted Utah and its cities in their "best of" the U.S. lists.