When Brad Baird joined EDCUtah in 2004, he was the seventh loaned executive from Questar Corporation to put on an economic development hat. In April he'll retire after more than a decade of service to the organization and as the longest tenured loaned executive to work at EDCUtah.
As a dual corporate citizen, Baird continued his role as director of real estate for Questar while also immersing himself in economic development as the senior manager of business development for EDCUtah. During his career at EDCUtah he managed some of EDCUtah's most high-profile projects.
"Brad is a consummate professional," says EDCUtah President and CEO Theresa Foxley. "He has been an incredibly successful part of our team because of his innate ability to understand a project's needs and to find the right resources to solve issues before they become problems. We will miss having Brad's experience, enthusiasm and expertise, but wish him well as he enters this new phase of his life."
Economic development projects in rural Utah are among Baird's fondest memories. He assisted with the Procter & Gamble location and expansion project in Box Elder County, which has accounted for hundreds of jobs, hundreds of millions in capital investment and millions in state tax revenues.
Another project was the JBS USA expansion in Cache County. Formerly Swift & Company, JBS invested in what has become a $100-million expansion of its beef processing complex in Hyrum that retained approximately 500 jobs while adding another 120 new jobs to the rural area. The Cabela's Distribution Center in Tooele is another endearing project. Baird managed that economic development effort for seven years before the company settled on Utah.
He's also had his hand in successful projects like the Home Depot call center in Ogden, which started out with 500 employees and now employs more 1,000; the Sutter Physician Services location and expansion, which began with 30 employees and employs more than 1,000 today; the Pepperidge Farm expansion in Cache County and the Metal Craft/SyberJet project in Cedar City.
To be sure, Baird's corporate real estate experience has been a particularly good fit at EDCUtah. "Having someone with Brad's experience and knowledge has been invaluable," says Chief Operating Officer Michael Flynn. "During his tenure he helped the organization improve in a multitude of ways and his imprint on the organization will be long lasting."
Business Development Manager Becca Haynie agrees, saying: "Brad's institutional knowledge of real estate and his relationships with the brokerage community will be sorely missed. Everyone knows and loves Brad and that is something that can't be replaced."
EDCUtah Vice President of Business Development Stephanie Frohman notes that Baird has a unique mental map of Utah's infrastructure and industrial sites in the business. "His many years of experience, coupled with his innate ability to build trust with clients, have been a huge asset to the organization. He's also the only business development manager in EDCUtah history to close a project by taking a client bugling for elk in Heber. He's leaving big shoes to fill on our business development team," she says.
Baird's term at EDCUtah was expected to be a one-year stint, but at the end of that year EDCUtah was short-handed in economic developers, so then-President and CEO Jeff Edwards convinced Questar to extend Baird's service for another year. And another. And another….
"Thirteen years later…" Baird says with a smile.
Retirement doesn't mean he will slow down any time soon. As a part-time pheasant grower, tree farmer and owner of his personal real estate business, Baird's will be an active retirement. And he'll still be interested in seeing economic development come to rural Utah.
"Rural economic development is one of my passions because I know first-hand how job creation in rural communities can be a game-changer. I've always loved bringing quality jobs to rural Utah," he says.