WTC Utah leads Utah's international business development and elevates Utah's global status to promote prosperity and build economic resilience. As the VP of Growth Services, Aaron Starks will work to accelerate the growth of Utah companies by refining, marketing and delivering WTC Utah's trade and investment services. Starks will collaborate with WTC Utah's public and private partners to develop integrated consulting services and execute new strategies, delivering the organization's technical services and grant programs to Utah businesses.
"Now more than ever, Utah companies are poised to compete and win in international markets," said Starks. "As I looked for opportunities to maximize my contribution to Utah and ways to support our economy, there was no question that World Trade Center Utah is the very best place for me to apply my experience building businesses internationally by bringing tangible benefits to companies of all sizes across the state. I am honored to join such a wonderful team and eager to work with WTC Utah's many members, stakeholders and partners to make a contribution to our businesses and economy."
Prior to joining WTC Utah, Starks worked seven years for a company with Utah roots and international ties - FranklinCovey. He helped grow the International Division while overseeing business operations throughout Asia. With business expanding into 21 countries, Starks successfully led staff members varying in culture, ethnicity and level of economic development to record growth numbers for five straight years. During this time, he opened a new division in Tokyo, Japan, where he and his family of five lived for three of those years. A Utah native, Starks concluded his education at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, where he studied international business and strategy before receiving his MBA and returning to live and work in Salt Lake City. Active in the community, Starks has served in many public and community positions, including as the statewide, elected Vice Chair of the Utah Republican Party.
"Aaron is joining the WTC Utah team at a critical time for the state's economy," said Miles Hansen, president and CEO of WTC Utah. "As a country, we've learned from experience that businesses that export are more likely to not only survive but thrive during times of economic uncertainty," Hansen continued, referring to a 2009 report from the United States International Trade Commission which found that small and medium-sized businesses that exported had more than twice the total revenue of their non-exporting counterparts.
"Aaron's hands-on experience growing businesses in countries across Asia combined with his strong motivation to roll-up his sleeves and serve as a catalyst of growth for companies across the state will enable WTC Utah to take our trade and investment services along with the value they create to an even higher level," said Hansen. "With nearly 1 in 4 Utah jobs tied to international trade and international sales adding $5 billion in additional revenues for Utah small businesses, Aaron's efforts will prove invaluable in strengthening our economy by connecting Utah companies with opportunities abroad."