Fox File #67 "This is the Place"
The Fox Files is a weekly message from EDCUtah President & CEO Theresa Foxley.
EDCUtah is in the business of carrying on the legacy of the famous moniker: "This is the Place." As we celebrate a uniquely Utah holiday, called “Pioneer Day,” I thought I would share a few thoughts about how our state’s heritage impacts EDCUtah’s line of work and the information exchange we enter into with expanding companies.
For our readers outside the state, Pioneer Day memorializes the date - July 24 - on which the Mormon pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. On Tuesday, there will be celebrations all throughout the state commemorating this vital part of Utah’s history.
Indeed, it’s fair to say that companies who lack familiarity with the Beehive State have a lot of questions about how Utah’s unique culture will impact their potential operations. I am often asked how I respond to these types of questions, many of which involve the LDS Church. While discussing religion in a professional setting is a delicate matter, we respond to those questions like we would any other site selection question: honestly.
We discuss what a stabilizing influence it is for our community to be the headquarters of a global church. The LDS Church’s presence is one that has a defining positive impact on our state. Utahns are thrifty but know when to invest. We plan for the future and think generationally. Ultimately, we have a strong sense of community, whether Mormon or not, #TeamUtah pulls together to solve problems unlike any other state in the nation. Furthermore, the LDS Church has a focus on, and makes significant investments in education, workforce, and social welfare programs. All great things for our community, that often spill over to broader policy and community action.
Another great thing is our demographics. Demographics are an essential component of any site selection and Utah’s demographics have fueled our economic success. As the youngest and one of the fastest growing states in the country, we have a unique demographic advantage. Those demographics are rooted in our culture.
We promote Utah’s workforce as being multi-lingual, globally oriented, and having a knack for sales and customer service. Many of those workforce traits are developed through life experiences, including LDS missionary service.
We discuss our entrepreneurial culture, which I have to think is also rooted in a belief that if a family could pack everything up into a small cart and start a new life in an unknown part of the world halfway across the country, they could survive anything and solve any problem. This sense of an enterprising spirit is, in fact, our state motto of "industry" and is placed right on the Utah flag. All great entrepreneurs are pioneers in their own right.
And finally, we discuss the fact that Utah is remarkably welcoming. Again, I believe this attitude stems from our history. People are often surprised to learn that Governor Herbert was the only Republican Governor to accept, and in fact welcome, Syrian refugees. Our “welcome the world” attitude, and a global mindset is an advantage to all types of organizations bringing in employees, customers, and partners from all over the globe.
To be sure, some in Utah will celebrate "Pie-And-Beer" day instead of the more traditional holiday. To me, this is just another way of showing that Utah is indeed the place, for any kind of pioneer.