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Duchesne Meeting a Great Success

Written by Administrator on . Posted in News Highlights

Thank you Irene for putting together a wonder and informative meeting last week in Duchesne. In case you missed the meeting, we had presentations on Health Care in Rural Utah, technology issues impacting Rural Utah  and tourism in Utah. Copies of the presentations are available by going here.

Mark your calendars for our next meeting scheduled for January 10, 2018 in St. George. As in the past, the Alliance meeting is scheduled a day before the "What's Up Down South" conference. We look forward to to seeing you all in January.

Summer Meeting a Great Success

Written by Administrator on . Posted in News Highlights

The Utah Alliance would like to give Dixon Holmes and his associates a big THANK YOU for the successful meeting held today at their Start-up Building. All the presentations were very informative, the meeting space was great and as a bonus, the food was pretty good too. AND speaking of food, thanks for the "dine-around" last night. Also a big hit!

As soon as possible, we will be posting the presentations online for those of you who were unable to attend.

Also, mark your calendar for October 11-12 for our next quarterly meeting to be held in Duchesne.

Three Takeaways from the Point of the Mountain Dev. Commission

Written by Administrator on . Posted in News Highlights

Rapid growth and technology are pulling our state together. Nowhere is this more visible than at the Point of the Mountain where the state's two largest economies are integrating with a nationally recognized technology hub.

In the 2016 legislative session, the Utah Legislature created the Point of the Mountain Development Commission to head a process to develop a vision for the future of the area surrounding the border between Salt Lake County and Utah County.

The Phase One Report of the Point of the Mountain Visioning Process was released earlier this month, while there is a lot of great information, here are three big takeaways:

A Worthwhile Process: Despite its central location, the Point of the Mountain contains over 20,000 undeveloped acres that are available for urban growth, with much of this land in highly desirable locations. The Commission is currently engaged in a robust process as to not squander this kind of an opportunity for our state's future.

The data showed how recent development in the Wasatch Front has begun to concentrate along I-15, and has shifted south towards the POM area. This area has captured a significant share of new offices developed in the region between 2010-2017 as shown in the heatmap below.

Economic Development, Air Quality, Transportation, and Land Use: Transportation is a significant challenge for the areas, as it was mentioned as a primary concern four to five times more often than anything else during the outreach. Already transportation planners, agencies and stakeholders are advancing solutions for the region, including UDOT accelerating the “Tech Corridor” thanks to the $1 billion bond passed this past session.

Additionally, air quality was the number one reason employees in the region might move out of Utah. This shows, yet again, that addressing our region’s air quality challenges matters in a significant way to economic development. It also demonstrates why the region can be a national example of smart development that mixes economic development, housing, and transportation planning.

National Research Institution Among Top Big Ideas: In April, Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber, wrote about the potential of a national lab at the Point of the Mountain. Stakeholders and the consultant experts seem to agree: "a nationally-relevant research facility presence is the top big idea" and "a large-scale research facility is one of the key factors that could catalyze high-quality job growth." Establishing or attracting a new research university or institution or new campus of an existing institution can develop strong connections to the region’s innovation sectors will be explored in further phases of the effort.

What's next? Phase 2 of the Point of the Mountain vision will be guided by the Point of the Mountain Development Commission and focus on alternative scenarios for the region, public outreach and selecting a preferred direction. You can learn more at https://pointofthemountainfuture.org/


Written by Salt Lake Chamber
Category: Today At Utah Policy
Created: 24 May 2017

Duncan Aviation Announces Expansion

Written by Administrator on . Posted in News Highlights

With Duncan Aviation's announcement last week that it will add 700 jobs and make a $50 million capital investment in its current Provo operations, EDCUtah capped one of the longest running projects in its history.

"The project, which began more than a decade ago, is a case study in collaboration between government leaders on many levels and economic developers, overcoming obstacles and building relationships for the long term," says EDCUtah President and CEO Jeff Edwards.

In approximately 2005, when Duncan Aviation originally decided to look for a location to build a new maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility for corporate aircraft, leaders from the family-owned business began a year-long "stealth" search of possible western U.S. locations, adds Chief Marketing Officer Michael Flynn. In 2007, EDCUtah and GOED were invited to visit Duncan's operation in Battle Creek, Michigan and represent the state along with leaders from Provo and Ogden – two of three cities selected as possible sites for the planned expansion.

Edwards and economic developers from Provo and Ogden, along with then Provo Mayor Lewis Billings, flew to Michigan for three days of meetings with the company's leadership. Shortly thereafter, Provo was selected for the new facility. Unfortunately, the global financial crisis struck at about the same time, leading to the Great Recession and a 30% drop in one year in the corporate aviation business, as measured by new aircraft orders and total business jet operations.

Nonetheless, Duncan established a small footprint in Provo in 2010, standing up a heavy maintenance operation that eventually employed 40 people in an existing, 15,000-square-foot hangar at the municipal airport. During the five years that the full project was on ice, Edwards and Utah County Economic Development Manager Russ Fotheringham continued to build relationships with leaders from the aircraft service provider, visiting them at industry trade shows and at the company's Provo Airport operations. Various city and county leaders also visited the company, demonstrating that Utah was invested in the project for the long haul.

When the aviation industry rebounded from the recession, Duncan Aviation re-engaged in the project, announcing in 2014 that it would proceed with its plan to build a new business aircraft maintenance, modifications and paint complex at its Provo location. Building on nearly 45 acres of land at the Provo Municipal Airport, Duncan Aviation was set to add nearly 220,000-square-feet of buildings with its 166,000-square-foot maintenance and modifications center and its 53,000-square-foot paint facility.

However, air quality standards had become more stringent in Utah County during the period the Duncan project was on hold, which meant that emissions from the planned paint facility would not meet the new air quality standards without a $3 million investment by the company in additional air quality control equipment. Flynn says the added investment made the project was less economically feasible for Duncan and potentially stood as a project killer, since the company could expand at its other facilities in Michigan and Nebraska without the investment in new air quality equipment.

But leaders from Provo City, the State of Utah and EDCUtah did not give up. A collaborative effort between EDCUtah, the Governor's Office of Economic Development and Utah legislators led to the passage of SB 186 in 2016, which was sponsored by Sen. Curtis Bramble and Rep. Lowry Snow and authorized the use of money from the Industrial Assistance Fund to help Utah companies purchase and install air quality control technology.

The passage of SB 186 provided Duncan the help it needed to fund the new equipment and make the project economically feasible, which ultimately led to the company's announcement last week that it would proceed with its planned Provo expansion. Flynn notes that Provo City voted on Tuesday to provide a low cost lease on land at the municipal airport and substantial local incentive money to build the necessary infrastructure at the site.

As Edwards reflects on the project, he calls it remarkable, saying: "Duncan Aviation started looking at Utah more than 10 years ago. We worked on this project for nine years, five of which it was on hold, but we kept our foot on the gas and our eye on the company. In a united effort we solved problems and let the company know that Utah was still interested. I don't know of another project in our history that was on hold for five years and then reconstituted itself with the same shape and size."

Flynn adds that the Duncan Aviation project is "a great example of what we do really well in Utah: Everyone coming together to solve problems. I am 100% confident that in any other state this project would have fallen apart after the first roadblock. No other state I have experienced has this kind of collaboration and working relationship between city, county and state leaders, economic developers, businesses and educational institutions, that allows for a project like this to be successful at the end of the day."

The Duncan project isn't the biggest that EDCUtah has done, but it is certainly one of the most unique in its nature and the collaboration involved. Furthermore, to have a premier aviation maintenance and repair operation like Duncan expand in Utah is significant for its high-paying jobs, the diversity of employment and the great exposure it provides the state.

The facility will be capable of doing heavy maintenance on some of the largest business aircraft in use today, including Gulfstream's 550, Bombardier's Global Express and Dassault's Falcon 7X. Duncan Aviation plans to break ground in the first quarter of 2017 and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2019.

"Six years ago, 14 Duncan Aviation team members ventured west to start Duncan Aviation's newest heavy maintenance location," says Bill Prochazka, Chief Operating Officer of Duncan Aviation's Provo location. "We were met with enthusiasm and professionalism from every direction, through our discussions with the state, Utah County and Provo City. Today we are 40 strong, on our way to 400+. It's an exciting time to be in the Business Aviation Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul sector, and to be a part of this great company as we provide high quality and responsive service to corporate business jet operators from around the world."