I just returned from a quick swing through Northern California with the Governor’s team, and it was a great trip.
As I shared before, the major purpose of this trip was to visit companies with a Utah presence whose executives sit in Northern California—and to thank them for their investment in Utah. Additionally, we nurtured some key relationships with trading partners and corporate targets. All in all, it was a great two-day visit.
A few things I would note:
First, Governor Herbert really is the CBO—the Chief Bragging Officer—of the State. It’s fun to see him in action, and you can tell he gets a genuine thrill out of promoting the state.
Second, companies with an existing Utah presence have a great affinity for Utah. First and foremost, it’s the workforce. Secondly, it’s the ease with which they can move people back and forth between Northern California and Utah. And finally, it’s our natural assets that they love! More on this trip than any other did we meet and talk to people who are self-described “groupies” for our ski resorts, national parks, and other tourism destinations. Utah’s tourism secret is definitely out. And so is the secret of our operating climate.
I will say that the issues the Economist identified in its recent article, “Why Startups are Leaving Silicon Valley” kept coming up in our conversations. It was universally accepted that Silicon Valley has some major challenges. More and more it seems these companies are interested in distributed staffing models that can take advantage of global talent pools, and in creating opportunities for their employees to have a great quality of life. Utah is a great strategy on both fronts, and I enjoyed our dialogue with many of these important employers in our state. It’s universally accepted that no region has a monopoly on talent, but Utah boasts some of the brightest, most productive, and loyal employees of any talent pool. It was great to hear that confirmed over and over again.
While I enjoyed being in California last week, I’m always happy to be home. This upcoming week will be special for us as we thank you for your partnership and investment in EDCUtah, celebrate our recently-concluded fiscal year, honor our award recipients, and change over our board leadership at our annual event. I can’t wait to see you there!