EDCUtah hires new community strategist

Following the creation and implementation of the Utah Mega Site Program, EDCUtah announced last week the hire of Katherine Morrell to manage the new program. 

As EDCUtah’s new Community Strategist, Morrell’s position includes managing both the Mega Site Program and the Community Match Grant Program. Additionally, Morrell will support Max Backlund, EDCUtah’s Public Development Director, in continuing the work of the Development Ready Communities Program, which works directly with Utah communities to identify and market their competitive advantages for economic development opportunities.

Morrell’s experience with EDCUtah began in May 2017 when she was hired as a Public Development intern. After proving invaluable to the company, Morrell was promoted to a Public Development Analyst. In her year at EDCUtah, she has become an asset to the team through her assistance developing the Public Development Department’s products. She has also helped the team take on new projects, such as area retail assessments which identify and prioritize opportunities for retail recruitment in member communities.

In addition to her work with EDCUtah, Morrell just completed a master’s degree in City and Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah. With the close alignment of her degree to her work with EDCUtah, Morrell has been able to bring the newest industry innovations to the department. Her master’s thesis, titled “Strategic Economic Development: Using Industry Location Preferences in Planning,” is tied closely to the work for which the Public Development team engages to help communities better market themselves for corporate recruitment.

Despite the heavy demands from her position with EDCUtah, Morrell is an accomplished student and, earlier this year, was awarded the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) 2018 Outstanding Planning Student Award.

“Katherine is a smart and accomplished city planner whose problem-solving skills and technical mastery of city planning will allow us to provide more advanced data and analysis to our communities,” Backlund said of Morrell. “She will help us add new and improved value to EDCUtah’s member communities as we work together to create and foster economic development opportunities in Utah.”

Morrell’s hire is one more demonstration of EDCUtah’s continued commitment to being a data-driven organization with a focus on real results. The organization and their community partners congratulate Morrell on her recent graduation and her new role within the company!