January 11, 2016

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Economic Outlook

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Utah Valley Regional Roundtable

January 11, 2016

FUGAL: I was working with a Bay area company a few months ago that was looking to bring 500 jobs to start, and looking to grow to over a thousand over 24 months. When their executive team flew in, five of the seven were women, and they were all under the age of 30, and I was the only one at the table with a tie on. And they were concerned. One of the first questions I was hit with was relative to diversity. And, frankly, they ended up selecting Denver. The team didn't feel like our culture reflected their workforce.   

MOYES: We have to be really careful to protect the culture. That's a lot of the reason why people come here. We can't be all things to all people. Although we have to be cognizant of the trends that are out there. We have to protect that culture and recognize that's a part of the reason why people do come here. We have a culture of technology here. We have an educated workforce. If we chase things, trying to be something different to other people, we will lose out on opportunities that we otherwise might have had. It really becomes important to recognize what our core competence really is as a county and not try and chase things. But at the same time, not being so rigid that we stick to items that may be hurting us.

With the projections of our population doubling in the next 20 years, how does that shape your thinking for your business growth over the next 20 years? Is it the same demographic? How do you capture that growth? How do you help fuel that growth?

NEWELL: At UDOT, we're looking 30 years out or even starting to look at 40 years out. Probably our biggest challenges are trying to take care of something like I-15 and get people their quick trip to work, while also being sensitive to things that Mayor Curtis holds near and dear, and that's what the feel of the streets are in his community that are state roadways.

Then also there's BRT. We certainly want to encourage everything we can about transit because at some point 30, 40 years from now, we can't build our roadways wide enough to accommodate everything that needs to happen.   

Right now I think we're doing fine. One of the biggest challenges I see in Utah County is how fast it's growing. Being aware of what's going on with development, with the business community, is really important so that we're not reacting. We don't want to be in a position of reacting or it will be much more difficult to provide good transportation.   

FOTHERINGHAM: I'm going to go back to air quality for a minute. I don't want to regulate IM Flash out of what they do. But we have to do something. Because right now all along the Wasatch Front—it's not exclusive to Utah County—we cannot have a lot of the people who are interested in coming here come relocate along the Wasatch Front because of the EPA's regulations. So we're going to have to do something to balance it out.

You know, 53 percent of the companies that come to EDCU, who are interested in coming to Utah, are manufacturing companies. My major goal is high tech manufacturing for Utah County. To do that, we're going to have to really address the air quality concerns, other environmental concerns, because we're out of the game right now. A company that had 600 jobs, they're going down to Juab County now because they can't come to Utah County. They can't even look at sites in Utah County, Salt Lake County, Davis County and Weber County.   

We need to talk to our legislators. We're now talking about new incentives that will allow us to be more competitive with other areas when people are coming here and realize they're going to have certain equipment that they're going to put on their manufacturing facilities in order to be here. In the past we've gotten a D grade for these incentives that the state of Utah offers. And we get As and Bs in everything else.   

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