Utah economic advice — stop, look and listen

Originally published in the Deseret News.

John Maynard Keynes said, “It is better to be vaguely right than precisely wrong.” I’m going to make an attempt to be vaguely right about Utah’s near-term economic forecast. The Utah economy has started to moderate. I think this modest growth will continue and now is a good time for businesses and households to “stop, look and listen.”

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Fall Reading: Conscience of a Conservative

Originally published in Utah Business.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is one of few Republican senators who challenge President Donald Trump directly, openly and actively. He’s written a new book titled Conscience of a Conservative. In it he makes the case that America’s conservative movement has lost its way and is in crisis. And while his commentary may be on the bleeding edge of conservative thought about our current president, I think Flake presents a compelling analysis. I recommend his book for your winter reading.

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Dispatches from Jordan to Israel, pt. 4: Western Wall blessing for our governor

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Editor’s Note: Natalie Gochnour traveled recently on a trade mission to Jordan and Israel led by the World Trade Center Utah. The Deseret News asked Gochnour to write about her experiences. In this, her final dispatch, Gochnour shares the highlights of the trip through a few stories and quotes.
Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

I kept Twain’s quote in mind as the Utah delegation immersed itself in business and political diplomacy. I return to Salt Lake City with a treasure trove of broad, wholesome and charitable views. Here are a few takeaways:

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Dispatches from Jordan to Israel, part 3: Welcome to Startup Nation

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Editor’s note: Natalie Gochnour is traveling this week on a trade mission in Jordan and Israel led by the World Trade Center Utah. The Deseret News asked Gochnour to write about her experiences. In this, the third dispatch, Gochnour describes Israel’s economic success and what Utah can learn.

Warren Buffet once said, “If you’re going to the Middle East to look for oil, you can skip Israel. If you’re looking for brains, look no further.”

I’ve felt that brainpower the past two days as we’ve met with businesses in Tel Aviv and visited Hebrew University in Jerusalem. There is a vibe and energy here that is unmistakable. This is Startup Nation.

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Dispatches from Jordan to Israel, part 2: Lowest point on earth, closest point to heaven

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Editor’s note: David Eccles School of Business Associate Dean and Deseret News columnist Natalie Gochnour is traveling this week on a trade mission in Jordan and Israel led by the World Trade Center Utah. The Deseret News asked Gochnour to write about her experiences. In this second dispatch, Gochnour reflects upon Gov. Herbert’s visit with the king of Jordan and a visit made, at the invitation of the Jordan Ministry of Tourism, to the area of Christ’s baptism. She shares an interfaith message of hope and unity.

“Welcome to the lowest point on Earth and the closest point to heaven.” That’s how our tour guide described what Jordanians identify as the location of Jesus Christ’s birth. Also called “Bethany Beyond the Jordan,” this humble setting, located near the Dead Sea, on the east side of the Jordan River and across the border from Israel, includes a humble wooden canopy covering an area where the Jordan River used to flow and the sacred baptism is said to have occurred.

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The next 50 years will be a test of community leadership for a growing Utah County

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The numbers are hard to ignore. A mountain of economic and demographic data as high as Mount Timpanogos shows Utah County on the rise. Economic, demographic and political power are shifting south, and Utah’s second largest county is the epicenter of growth and change in the Beehive State. The only question is are we ready?

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Take Note: A Gordon Hayward Retrospective

Originally published in Utah Business.

With a new arena and an energized fan base, the Utah Jazz are game on. The regular season has started and the Jazz are once again the talk of the town. It looks to be a fun year with a team full of international players and one of the best centers in the league. While the Jazz won’t vie for an NBA championship this year, they will, as always, stand tall with high-character players, an uber-talented coach and general manager, and the most community-minded owner in the league.

Which brings me to wonder … what was Gordon Hayward thinking?

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Lessons learned from Washington, D.C.

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I visited our nation’s capital last week with a delegation of community leaders from the Salt Lake Chamber. The chamber puts on a remarkable program, including face time with members of the Utah Congressional Delegation, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, the Secretary of the Air Force and policy experts with the U.S. Chamber. We also visited the Federal Reserve, toured the Pentagon and witnessed a profound Honor Flight ceremony hosted by Herbert. D.C. is teeming with activity right now; I took abundant notes so I could share highlights.

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Dispatches from Jordan and Israel, part 1: Making Utah a premier global business destination

Originally published in the Desert News.

Editor’s Note: Natalie Gochnour, David Eccles School of Business associate dean and Deseret News columnist, is traveling this week with a delegation of business and community leaders on a trade mission led by World Trade Center Utah to Jordan and Israel. She joins Gov. Gary Herbert, Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, three other Utah legislators and about 40 other business and community leaders interested in establishing stronger business ties with Jordan and Israel. The Deseret News asked Gochnour to document the trade mission through a series of dispatches that will be featured this week. This first column focuses on why Utah government and business leaders visit the Middle East.

Last week, Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser hosted a news conference from Rice Eccles Stadium to announce the formation of an exploratory committee to seek the 2026 or 2030 Olympic Winter Games. This week, Herbert and Niederhauser are in Jordan and Israel securing stronger business ties for the Beehive State.

What do these two events have in common? They demonstrate Utah’s commitment, at the highest levels of government, to grow the Utah economy and share Utah’s economic message with the world.

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Fleeting Magic: Don’t let life’s big moments pass you by

Originally published in Utah Business.

We are passengers on a rock swinging through the solar system in a celestial dance choreographed by forces beyond our ken and control. Awe is an uplifting emotion. It is good to feel small, to sense how brief and fragile our lives are in astronomical terms, to see that beyond the mundane lies a great mystery. – William Falk, Editor-in-chief, THE WEEK

By the time you read this column, the full solar eclipse will be several weeks old. That won’t stop me from using the eclipse to make a point. Big events capture our imaginations and inspire us. They open our minds to life’s great mysteries. We let go of the day-to-day and grip something larger than self. It’s as if the heavens open and turn off our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. We are reminded there is a big world out there, even a galaxy. Our lives are better when we embrace the magic of these moments and gather them into our souls.

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Writings and Reflections