Jeff Edwards to retire from EDCUtah

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A search committee has been set up to find a replacement for Jeff Edwards, who is retiring Nov. 1 after a decade as the president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah.

Edwards, who was with EDCUtah for 15 years, said he was proud to have been involved in creating 80,000 jobs and securing nearly $14 billion in new capital investment across the state.

"That success, combined with the opportunity to work with an excellent staff, tremendous governors and our invaluable partners at GOED, have made my time at EDCUtah one of the greatest experiences of my life," said Edwards, who joined the economic-development recruiters as vice president for client services in June 2001.

Before that, he had a lengthy career in technology and marketing for aerospace and computer companies.

Edwards assumed the helm at EDCUtah when Chris Roybal became then Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr.'s chief economic advisor. "Being part of an organization that makes such a tremendous difference in the lives of every Utahn is something I will cherish forever," Edwards said.

Two of his key associates, chief marketing officer Michael Flynn and vice president of business development Erin Laney will stay in their jobs while the search is done.

EDCUtah was set up in 1987 by 100 Utah business and government leaders to promote job growth and capital investment through the recruitment of new businesses to the state and by helping existing companies to expand.

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IEDC Awards Governor's Office of Economic Development

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The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development received a Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award for its 2016 project in the category of New Media from the International Economic Development Council.

The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 27, during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held Sept. 25-28, in Cleveland, OH.

“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use a benchmark,” said Barry Matherly, CEcD, FM, IEDC 2016 Board Chair, President & CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership.

The Utah Economic Development Map, Locate.utah.gov, is an interactive mapping tool that allows users to virtually explore Utah’s business grade broadband infrastructure, extrapolate workforce data for any location, easily identify public utility providers and locate nearby transportation and lifestyle features that drive economic development in our recreation-rich state. Locate.utah.gov was developed by the Utah Broadband Outreach Center in the Governor's Office of Economic Development, in partnership with the State’s Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC) and the Economic Development Corporation of Utah.

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. These awards honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.

“The awards process is a thorough, non-biased and multi-layered process. These are extraordinary accomplishments for all winners, and an overall great effort by all participants. We look forward to next year’s awards competition,” Matherly said.

Economic Summit in Pleasant Grove

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Prompted by a grant from the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, Pleasant Grove held its first economic summit Friday, hoping to bring economic development players together in one room.

Historically, Pleasant Grove has been a bit behind on development — sometimes deliberately by design from previous city leadership and key players. But times have changed, and current Pleasant Grove leaders are now making huge efforts to ride the current development wave that Utah County as a whole is surfing.

True to organizers’ vision, Friday’s summit, which was held in doTerra’s Pleasant Grove headquarters, included Gov. Gary Herbert, key players from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, private business leaders, local government officials and economic development experts. Jeff Edwards, CEO of EDCUTah, said the gathering was vital in future successful economic development.

“The most important thing for economic development is for people to work together,” he said.

Mayor Mike Daniels started the conference with a call to action, encouraging all assembled to see the potential that is within the city. Referring to major developments in Lehi and southward in the Orem/Provo area, he said, “Pleasant Grove is physically located in an area that needs growth other than what they have there and there.”

“Pleasant Grove still has one of the most pristine, developable interchanges in Utah County,” he said. “We must have the faith and vision and foresight to see that the empty land we sit on is going to become the next mecca for somebody.”

Daniel Thomas is the regional partner of St. John Properties, which is investing in the 65-acre Valley Grove development just off the Pleasant Grove Boulevard freeway interchange. He said St. John was interested in the area, and has already infused $35 million in cash into the project. This was because companies like doTerra chose to pave the way, and as Daniels pointed out, the area was prime for development.

Large-scale developments like Valley Grove hope to be the “front door of Pleasant Grove,” as people enter the city from the freeway. Daniels said the west side of the interchange will also open up in the future, as the city has worked with the sewer district to mitigate the odor — a previous barrier to development.

“Pleasant Grove’s timing is now. In 10 to 20 years, we will look back on these months, and we will reference these months as the ones that transformed Pleasant Grove. The next 12 to 24 months will be jaw droppers,” said Brandon Fugal of CBC Advisors.

He credits the city’s potential with the cooperation between the private and public sector.

“This is a historic moment for Pleasant Grove to have an economic summit here,” Fugal said, lauding the development occurring, and that which he knows — but can’t reveal yet — is on the horizon for the city. “The future is bright for Pleasant Grove. This city is evolving and what we are seeing is only a prelude. Pleasant Grove is open for business.”

Karissa Neely reports on Business & Community events, and can be reached at (801) 344-2537 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow her on Twitter: @DHKarissaNeely