The Utah Inland Port Authority (UIPA) Board of Directors announced Ben Hart as the organization’s new executive director Wednesday, August 24, 2022. Hart has served as deputy director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (Go Utah) since March 2017 and was formerly a member of the UIPA board. He was selected from a list of several qualified candidates by the current board. Hart will begin working to fulfill the Port Authority’s mission of providing smart, sustainable, and equitable supply chain solutions on September 12, 2022.
“The Utah economy has become the envy of the nation. If we want Utah to stay resilient through uncertain economic times, we must build formidable economies and communities. The UIPA is showcasing that through ingenuity and partnerships, Utah is providing national and international leadership on logistics and economic initiatives,” said Hart about his new role. “I believe my experience will allow me to help build a world-class port network while also creating economic opportunity for all of Utah’s citizens, especially those neighborhoods on the west side of Salt Lake County.”
As the new executive director, Hart brings more than 15 years of government administrative experience. With the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, Hart helped lead the state’s economic efforts, including initiatives that helped Utah businesses to create thousands of high-wage jobs. He helped to develop a nationally recognized talent and education initiative, and bolstered programs to grow Utah’s most important industries. He also oversaw the state’s small business and international programs. Hart’s efforts have helped Utah businesses create the strongest and most diverse economy in the country.
“Ben has been instrumental in Utah’s economic success and brings a wealth of experience to the Utah Inland Port Authority,” said Gov. Spencer Cox (R-UT). “We’ll miss his expertise at Go Utah, but look forward to working with him as he helps build this important piece of Utah’s economic future.”
“Utah is an incredible place for families and businesses. The Utah Inland Port Authority will help enhance it by bringing high-paying manufacturing jobs to our west side communities while providing an avenue to hear input on how these areas are developed. I am confident Ben Hart’s abilities and skills make him well qualified to lead the UIPA team successfully,” said Senate President J. Stuart Adams (R-UT).
“Ben Hart has served Utah well in his various capacities and will continue to do so in his new position as Executive Director of the Utah Inland Port Authority. I anticipate many great things on the horizon and look forward to working with Ben to serve the public good and create opportunities for the state and people of Utah,” said House Speaker Brad Wilson (R-UT).
Before his time in the Governor’s office, Ben also served as director of employer initiatives for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. While at DWS, he helped develop their business-facing portfolio of programs. Hart also worked in local economic development for Layton City and spent time in the private sector as an underwriter for Zions Bank. Hart also teaches urban and regional economics courses as an adjunct instructor at the University of Utah.
“Ben Hart stands out as the right person for the job. We’re confident he’ll do an amazing job leading this critical organization,” said Miles Hansen, Utah Inland Port Authority Board Chair.
“I’m excited for Ben to join the team as executive director. He is a seasoned and well-regarded executive who brings a wealth of knowledge and relationships to the table. In my estimation, Ben is the right guy at the right time,” said Jack Hedge, Utah Inland Port Authority President.
“I trust that Ben will use his business experience, stakeholder relationships, and strong Utah values to ensure the Port Authority fulfills its promises and safeguards communities surrounding the Inland Port jurisdiction,” said Victoria Petro-Eschler, Salt Lake City Councilmember and UIPA board member.
Hart has also served on several boards, including the Military Installation Development Authority, the Commission on Housing Affordability, UIPA, and others. He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in economics at the University of Utah. Hart currently lives in northern Utah with his family.