edcUTAH Sept. 23, 2009
Newsletter Archive
Economic Review
Jeff Edwards, president & CEO of EDCUtahPresident's Message
2009 Annual Meeting a Great Success, Thanks to a Great Team

Last Wednesday EDCUtah held its annual meeting at the Grand America Hotel. I am thrilled to report excellent attendance and a highly successful event. Our Chairman of the Board, Jerry Fenn, CEO of Quest Communications, led the meeting and announced our outgoing and incoming members of the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee. We are grateful for the service of these many individuals and will provide greater detail about the outgoing and incoming trustees and committee members in next week's Economic Review.

This week's feature story highlights our past fiscal year results, which were reported during the annual meeting, and recaps the state of banking keynote address provided by William W. Wallace, CFA, who is senior vice president and regional portfolio manager for KeyBank. His remarks were most enlightening.

As our biggest event of the year, the annual meeting also affords us an excellent opportunity to see and network with our investors. You are such an integral part of our economic development success. Indeed, it is the collaborative efforts of Utah's leaders in business, higher education and local and state government that make economic development in Utah so unique. We are truly grateful for your support. Together we are a great team.

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!

Jeff Edwards

Jeff Edwards
President and CEO

Investor Spotlight: KeyBank of Utah

Jill Taylor, president of KeyBank of Utah and secretary/treasurer of the EDCUtah Board of Trustees, says the mission of her financial institution parallels that of EDCUtah -- "to build the communities we serve."

"We do a lot of work with various organizations and give back to the communities we serve financially and also with our time and manpower," she adds. "We take great pride in helping communities to grow."

Taylor says KeyBank of Utah has been an investor in EDCUtah for as long as she can remember, and perhaps since EDCUtah's inception, since Ogden-based Commercial Security Bank was an investor before it was purchased by KeyBank. "We greatly value the work that EDCUtah does," she adds. "Having one active, central economic development organization in the state creates more opportunities for our business. Economic development is vital and we have seen some really positive growth, especially in our commercial group, thanks to the work of EDCUtah."

KeyBank may not be the largest financial institution in the state, but it has a strong presence nonetheless, with 39 branches spanning from Tremonton on the north to Green River on the south, and from Kamas on the east to Wendover on the west. KeyBank will open its 40th branch next year on Foothill Boulevard in Salt Lake City. Some 275 employees work for KeyBank of Utah in areas such as commercial real estate, middle market, retail banking and mortgage operations.

With $98 billion in assets and approximately 16,937 employees nationwide, KeyBank has all of the capabilities of the nation's biggest banks. Nonetheless, Taylor says KeyBank of Utah has its focus on main street community banking -- "that's our bread and butter."

In the News

Eccles, Romney to lead state economic team
Gov. Gary R. Herbert has tapped two familiar names in Utah business circles as his "dream team" to head up the state's economic-development efforts. He announced Thursday that businessman and philanthropist Spencer P. Eccles will lead the Governor's Office of Economic Development, and Josh Romney will serve as the state's national business-recruitment policy adviser. (Deseret News) (Salt Lake Tribune) (Fox 13) (KSL)

EDCUtah says over 20 firms grew in Utah
The Economic Development Corp. of Utah said Wednesday that more than 20 companies -- including eBay, Microsoft and GE Financial -- made the decision to come to or expand in Utah during its 2008-09 fiscal year. (Deseret News) (Utah Business Magazine)

Roundtable Utah County
We'd like to thank Noah's in Lindon for hosting the event and Jeff Edwards, CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, for leading the discussion. (Utah Business Magazine) (registration required)

Group proposes bridge over Utah Lake
Would you pay $2 or $3 to drive across Utah Lake on a long toll bridge from Orem to Saratoga Springs, saving the time and gasoline cost of cruising around the lake? (Deseret News)

Work on natural-gas vehicles rolling along
By 2011, Utah can expect to be on the road to having one of the most updated and accessible compressed natural-gas infrastructures in the Mountain West. (Deseret News)

USU researchers look to safflowers for biodiesel fuel
Utah State University researchers are looking at the possibility of converting safflower seeds to biodiesel fuel at a profit. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Dew Tour's smallest market might be its strongest
Former Tooele High student turned star skateboarder, Adam Dyet offered a simple explanation Thursday as to why the Dew Tour has been so embraced by Salt Lake City. In his words, "It's because of the 801 love." Judging from its first two years in Utah, that love has proved all-encompassing. Despite being the NBC-televised action sports tour's smallest market, Salt Lake nevertheless has staked a claim to being arguably its strongest. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Deer Valley gets skiers' nod -- again
Ski magazine readers have ranked it as North America's best resort for the third consecutive year. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Omniture deal a milestone for Utah's tech sector
Adobe Systems Inc.'s planned $1.8 billion acquisition of Utah's home-grown Omniture Inc. would be the largest high-tech deal in the state's history, eclipsing the $1.4 billion acquisition of WordPerfect by Novell Inc. in 1994. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Hill team wins award for west-side development effort
An Air Force team that is helping facilitate a major land development project at Hill Air Force Base has been cited by the service's chief of staff, Gen. Norton Schwartz, for excellence. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Park City's resorts buck national trend
It isn't hard to find a story about ski resorts slashing season-pass prices in an effort to attract more locals. Industry publications and the national media have sourced resorts from Colorado to Canada dropping prices up to 20 percent sometimes returning to levels seen a decade ago. But that trend won't be found in Park City. (Park Record)

Utah researchers develop test kit for astronauts
University of Utah researchers have developed a kit to help astronauts test the quality of their drinking water while they're in space. (LocalNews8)

Rocky Mountain Power approval for new Wyoming wind farm
Rocky Mountain Power is progressing with plans to build a 74-turbine wind farm north of Medicine Bow and aims to begin producing electricity by November of next year, a company official said Wednesday. (Product Design and Development)

Fall, early winter bookings pick up at mountain resorts
New data is providing some hope that business might pick up this winter at western mountain resorts. (Salt Lake Tribune)

Solar options grow in So. Utah
Local officials have been touting Southern Utah as an ideal spot for solar energy for years, but that potential could now be trending toward reality. (Spectrum)


September 24
What's Going Down Up North (Logan, UT)

September 24
Kanab Chamber Entrepreneur Forum 4 p.m. at Stampin Up! (Kanab, UT) (Press release)

October 4-7
IEDC (Reno, NV)

October 12-14
CoreNet (Las Vegas, NV)

October 15
Quarterly Investor Update (Jewish Community Center, Salt Lake City)

October 22
PTAC Symposium (Layton, UT)

October 27-29
Solar Power International (Anaheim, CA)

November 18
Board Meeting (Salt Lake Country Club)

December 16
Holiday Open House (EDCUtah)

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The EDCUtah Economic Review is a weekly publication of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. It is distributed to EDCUtah partners and selected other government and civic organizations interested in Utah's economic development.

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Feature Story
EDCUtah Reports on Successul Year During Annual Meeting

For the most recent fiscal year, which ended in July, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah) helped retain 1,093 Utah jobs while also helping to bring another 4,082 new jobs to the state -- that's the report EDCUtah President and CEO Jeff Edwards gave to a packed house of investors and friends during EDCUtah's annual meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

"To say the past fiscal year has been challenging for the economy is a gross understatement. Nonetheless, we conducted an astonishing 157 site visits and are currently working a record 298 open projects," Edwards said. "Despite the economy, we have teams in our office every week that are interested in knowing what Utah has to offer."

Why is Utah continuing to attract business in the midst of a national economic crisis? Edwards asked. Four reasons:

  1. A young, educated workforce -- "That's our number one calling card."
  2. Fiscally responsible government.
  3. A cost of living that is significantly below the national average.
  4. An unparalleled business environment, as evidenced by high national rankings from Pollina, the Milken Institute, ALEC-Laffer, and many others.

Over the past four fiscal years EDCUtah helped retain 3,296 Utah jobs; helped bring 20,673 new jobs to the state; conducted 538 site visits by companies interested in relocating or expanding to Utah; and assisted in 23 headquarters relocations. Capital investment over those four years totaled more than $7 billion, while space absorption totaled more than 12.5 million square feet.

"Such successes have been the result of a great team effort involving EDCUtah, the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED), local governments and business and civic leaders," Edwards said, adding that EDCUtah economic developers often overhear visitors say, "Everybody in this state is on the same page."

Taking economic development to the next level is on EDCUtah's agenda for the future. Edwards announced that the organization is opening an office in Southern California, which will be the launch pad for a national proactive recruiting program and will also coincide with a new proactive marketing campaign in California and elsewhere by GOED in 2010.

"We are seeing a new landscape in America and Utah will emerge as one of the brightest spots on that landscape," Edwards concluded.

Keynote speaker Bill Wallace, senior vice president and regional portfolio manager for KeyBank, summarized the state of banking across the nation, saying banks are still a little hesitant to lend and only taking the best credit risks. Speaking of the national economy, Wallace noted both some bright spots and dark clouds on the horizon as the country works its way out of the economic crisis.

"Businesses are a little more analytical and are able to see slight improvements in the economy, before they are apparent to consumers. Inventories are still down and the economy will improve as inventories get better," he said, adding that consumers are the weak link in the economy.

Wallace said growth in exports is one of the nation's bright spots and will be one of the economy's strongest sectors, especially exports to emerging markets such as China and India. Meanwhile, the domestic markets in Germany and France are ahead of the U.S. and already emerging from the recession.

On the other hand, the value of the dollar is a concern for economists. "I think we could see a significant devaluation of the dollar, which would be good for exports but bad for inflation," he said, adding that U.S. government debt is worrisome since it is "off the charts" and without control. What's more, the federal government may be tempted to inflate its way out of debt through devaluation of the currency.

While some economists are concerned about deflation, Wallace predicted inflation of approximately two percent within the next year or so. "It is likely we could see inflation similar to the 60s and 70s, when we had 'stagflation', meaning no growth," he said. "Hyperinflation is less likely."

Wallace added that the nation's debt is ominous and could have a chilling effect on the economy. "The Asian nations that are currently funding our debt will demand higher rates and the Fed will not be able to do anything but raise interest rates," he said.

In regard to Utah's economy, Wallace said the state is faring better than the rest of country, with lower unemployment and a diverse business environment, which has helped to soften the crisis. "We were slower going into a decline, but may also be slower coming out of it," he added.