After four wonderful years leading World Trade Center Utah, I have accepted a new role as president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance. Before embarking on this new opportunity, I set out to learn about the chamber's history, services, partners and programs. While I have been an executive board member of the chamber for many years, there was plenty I learned for the first time, which I'd like to share with the business community it serves.
The Salt Lake Chamber has been passionately involved in matters both economic and civic for over 130 years. Originally known as the Commercial Club, it was established to build bridges throughout the community and promote economic development.
In 1914, the club successfully lobbied for the paving of State Street as well as multiple sanitation improvements. When the Commercial Club became the Salt Lake Chamber in 1922, it also had a hand in obtaining a first-rate zoo in the middle of the Great Depression, putting Bonneville Salt Flats on the map and then later helping to attract an NBA team to their new home.
While it's easy to tout the chamber's larger accomplishments, it is also important to remember that it exists to serve the state's large and small businesses.
"Although the Salt Lake Chamber is capital city by name, it is statewide by mission," says Heidi Walker, chief operating officer at the chamber. As a champion of business throughout Utah, the chamber has members in all 29 counties and represents the broad interests of the state's various industries.
Members of the chamber benefit from educational and networking events, access to other business leaders and various opportunities to give back. In addition to these services, members receive something more difficult to come by--a loud and powerful collective voice that speaks on behalf of their best interest.
One of the ways this voice manifests itself is in the form of a publication titled the "Top 10 Legislative Priorities," which is given directly to every legislator and is distributed to over 1,100 attendees at the Utah Economic Outlook and Public Policy Summit.
The 2018 Top 10 Legislative Priorities consists of priorities such as economic development, transportation and quality of life. Priorities are decided upon during a retreat in which 90-plus board members discuss the future of Utah's economy by looking ahead five, 10 and 15 years.
The result from this year's legislative session was a 90 percent success...