Report sings praises of Utah market

Higher unemployment, falling job creation and plunging consumer confidence have done little to
dampen the spirits of Christopher Roybal, president and chief executive officer of the Economic
Development Corp. of Utah.

Dave Anderton
Deseret News

In fact, Roybal says he’s bullish on Utah.

In his annual report this week to business executives and government officials, Roybal said 252
outside corporate inquiries have been fielded by his organization.

"Those 252 corporate inquiries resulted in tracking 52 actual projects," Roybal said. "Those are
in various stages of development. Some are very fast track with short time frames. Some are on hold
awaiting other corporate decisions."

The new inquiries represent a 15 percent shift from business services and information
technology industries to manufacturing and distribution.

That shift may lead to fewer high-paying IT job opportunities. However, Roybal said, the
economic impact can sometimes be greater.

"In terms of the multiplier effect, in terms of vendor opportunities and supplier opportunities,
oftentimes with that impact they end up creating the same amount of value if not more than a higher
paying technology job," he said. "We’re optimistic about both industry sectors. We think a healthy
economy has a diverse economic base of both manufacturing as well as technology-based

In the 12 months ended June 30, 11 companies have announced intentions of either
consolidating, expanding or relocating to Utah.

Those companies include: Battelle, Williams, American Family Insurance, Siebel Systems,
American Skiing, Wells Dairy, Nutrastar, Nampac, EAS, Tosca and Grand Prix Apparel.

Collectively, the companies represent 1,321 jobs, $48.9 million in payroll, $556.9 million in capital
investment and 688,000 square feet of new commercial real estate.

Also, in the past 30 days, EDCU has helped facilitate the Twinlab expansion to American Fork
and is working on four new recruitment deals.

"We are competing with other states for those operations. There are no announcements yet, but we
are encouraged by the fact that we’re on the short list," Roybal said, adding that typically there are
three or four cities or states on a short list.

"We view that as a good positive sign particularly for the office projects. The office market has
been relatively flat again over the last six to 12 months, so we are encouraged to see some
large-scale office projects that are looking in the Western U.S."

Paul Rydberg, associate regional manager for Goldman Sachs, said the investment bank had no
presence in Utah two years ago. It now employs 120 people representing three different divisions.

"That’s during arguably one of the worst times we’ve seen in the market," Rydberg said.
"Compare that to about 500 people in San Francisco, about 60 people in Sydney, about 60 people in
Seoul, about 75 people in Taiwan — more professionals in Salt Lake City than in some of the big
financial capitals of the world."

Rydberg said Goldman Sachs’ presence in Salt Lake City resulted from many things, including
Utah’s educated labor pool and cheaper operational costs. Of its 120 employees in the state, 70
come from Utah.

"We are in the financial services business. We talk to customers all day long," Rydberg said.
"You may find this hard to believe, but customers find that speaking to people in Utah they find
them much more polite than folks in New York City."

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