President’s Message: My vision for WTCUtah

Greetings, my friends. I won’t actually join the WTC Utah team until later this month, but I am excited to get involved now and share my thoughts as I formulate a vision for WTC Utah going forward.

I want to highlight how impressed I am with the organization and brand that former World Trade Center Utah CEOs Lew Cramer and Derek Miller have built.  It’s humbling to take the baton from Derek, and I’m deeply grateful for the many organizations and companies that support WTC Utah.  You empower the strong WTC Utah team to serve the state and Utah companies.  I look forward to working hand-in-hand with each of you as we take WTC Utah’s success to even greater heights in support of Utah’s growth on the global stage.

As I start later this month, one of my priorities will be to ensure continuity and continued growth in WTC Utah’s exceptional relationship with Gov. Gary Herbert and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). Gov. Herbert has inspired an impressive economic vision for the state.  A key factor in the governor’s success is the state-wide leadership of GOED Executive Director Val Hale and his stellar team.  I am excited to work closely with these leaders as we press forward in driving Utah’s economic development.

I am also anxious to participate fully in the collaborative, cooperative environment that has made Utah stand out in the nation and around the world.  I’ve heard this approach referred to as the “Utah Way.” Whatever the nomenclature, this culture of collaboration is at the core of Utah’s success.

Looking at the gridlock and divisiveness here in Washington, we have an incredible need for states like Utah to demonstrate how a diversity of political positions, ideologies and perspectives can come together collaboratively to solve problems for the betterment of our society.  By no means is this process without its drama and difficulties, but Utah finds a way to rise above and break through the challenges with innovative solutions.  I firmly believe that if we continue to exemplify the proper application of pragmatic principles for the betterment of our state, people will take notice.  We can make the “Washington Way” a little more like the “Utah Way.”

WTC Utah will continue serving the Utah business community and our many strategic partners, helping Utah companies understand the global business climate and making the right connections to capitalize on ever-expanding opportunities. Within Utah’s ecosystem, I admire those organizations that are leading out with global engagement and the many Utah companies that are on the cutting edge of their industries.

WTC Utah’s primary focus will be to partner with these key stakeholders and the many Utah companies that are working to expand internationally. To that end, I look forward to meeting with each WTC Utah member and strategic partner to understand their goals and how WTC Utah can plug in to support.

Another priority is leveraging my international experience and relationships by synthesizing them with those of WTC Utah’s members and strategic partners to further elevate Utah’s status on the international stage. We have an incredible agenda of trade missions and visits by international dignitaries from which to build.   One particular area where I see immense opportunity is to develop strong commercial, educational, and cultural ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries by bringing Gulf leaders to Utah and in turn taking Utah companies and institutions to the Gulf.

These energy-rich countries are working to diversify their economies and to expand their strategic partnerships with the United States, often by increasing their investment and ties outside of Washington and the coasts.  Utah’s economic success creates attractive investment opportunities for them and opportunities to transfer lessons learned here in Utah to the Gulf.  Moreover, there are surprising cultural similarities and common ground that create a natural foundation of a mutually beneficial relationship.

But first, I need to finish in Washington and come back home to Utah.  I can’t wait to join all of you in the exciting work of driving growth through international trade, not just up and down the Wasatch Front, but across the entire state.