Category Archives: Utah Business Columns

My political projections for 2019

Originally published in Utah Business.

While I love the start of a new year, I’m not sure if I’m ready for the dizzying array of political battles that will flood the airwaves and our electronic devices in 2019. We will be hit simultaneously with a capital city mayoral race and the beginning of a two-year battle for the White House and Utah governor’s office. Throw a new US Senator named Mitt Romney into the mix and it could be a lively year. Here are my 2019 political predictions:

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Tech vs. Coal. How Can Our State Share the Wealth?

Originally published in Utah Business.

Utah’s Carbon and Emery counties possess immense beauty between the slot canyons of the San Rafael Swell, the rock art in Nine Mile Canyon, beautiful pasturelands, and a historic rail town. However, beautiful scenery isn’t all these counties have to offer; the regions also possess vast coal reserves and a rich history of coal mining.

More than half of Utah’s coal production occurs in these two counties, but production has declined by 47 percent since its peak in 2001. In fact, the area suffers from a near decade-long recession and is now among the most economically disadvantaged regions in the state.

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Don’t Let The Bozos Grind You Down

Originally published in Utah Business.

We’ve all experienced it: a boss, a coworker, a friend, a family member, or some other person who grinds you down. They use their negative energy to thwart, hurt, offend, or stand in the way of your peace and progress. In extreme cases, you may even struggle to pick up the pieces and stand your ground.

Many names exist for these types of people. In a work setting, it may be a control freak, a jealous coworker, or a power monger. In a family setting, it may be a sibling or uncle who always says something critical or tries to manipulate you. Among friends, it may be the person who never pays back a debt, always seems to criticize, or lets their jealousy or insecurities derail or detract from a healthy relationship. In some (extreme) cases, it can be a full-blown narcissist who targets you, someone who has an exaggerated sense of importance and an inability to recognize your needs and feelings.

I’m fond of a saying coined by Silicon Valley marketing expert and author Guy Kawasaki. Writing to entrepreneurs he coined the phrase, “Don’t let the bozos grind you down.” Mr. Kawasaki’s message was directed towards business startups, but I like to apply the phrase to everyday life. Too often we let people who don’t have our best interests at heart bring us down. I call these people “bozos.”

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When to Persevere & When to Quit

Originally published in Utah Business.

Several years ago, I came across a little book that changed the way I view challenges in life. It helped me evaluate when I need to press forward and when I need to quit. This concept has all sorts of applications to life, business, and economic success.

The book is called The Dipwritten by entrepreneur and marketing guru, Seth Godin. Throughout his career,  Mr. Godin has written 18 best-selling books, founded a company that was acquired by Yahoo!, authors a blog with over a million readers, and was recently inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame.
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Yes, You Can Be A Supreme Court Justice & Have Six Kids

Originally submitted to Utah Business.

I watched with interest as President Donald Trump made his most recent Supreme Court selection. One of the finalists, federal appellate judge Amy Barrett, made the short list. In news stories covering Barrett, the media frequently cited her role as the mother of seven children. I don’t recall any of the news stories referencing the number of children of the male candidates.

What’s going on here?

The answer is simple. In most families, women fulfill the dominant parenting responsibility. When a woman also manages to achieve career success, it’s worth noting both roles.

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The Link Between Good Leadership and Well-Being

Originally submitted to Utah Business.

Perhaps you’ve heard the stories. People are talking about Utah. Prominent magazine articles and news stories feature Utah’s nation-leading job growth, low unemployment and economic development success. When you travel, people inquire about Utah’s economic achievements. You fill up for gas at Costco and the guy in the car next to you with out-of-state license plates comments on how vibrant the state seems. Utah has caught the eye of people all around the country. They ask, “Why is Utah so prosperous?”

A Utah story is emerging. It’s a story of vibrancy, dynamism and success. It’s a story of leadership. It’s natural to want to learn more.

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Job Growth is at an All-Time High in the Wasatch Back

Originally submitted to Utah Business.

The growth challenges along the Wasatch Front are well known. What receives less attention is the extraordinary growth pressures being felt in Utah’s Wasatch Back, an area defined as the east side of the Wasatch Range encompassing Morgan, Summit and Wasatch County. We need leadership and investment to guide this growth if we are to preserve the things we hold dear.

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A Picture Is Worth a 1,000 Words

Originally submitted to Utah Business.

Gov. Gary Herbert hosted the 12th annual Utah Economic Summit last month. Approximately 1,000 Utah business and community leaders attended to learn about and discuss business opportunities in the Beehive State. I was honored to report on the Utah economy.

With a nod to the internationally acclaimed Economist magazine, I worked with a talented graphic designer to create covers for a fictitious Utah Economist magazine. Each cover conveys an important economic issue. I thought Utah Business readers would enjoy seeing these covers and the important message that inspired each one.

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Springtime brings reflections on change and renewal

Originally published in Utah Business.

Spring is here! Sunshine, heat and color blanket the state. With each passing day, we marvel as perennials pop out of the ground, trees show their buds and the mountain white melts away. Runners, hikers, cyclers and gardeners are doing their thing. It’s a beautiful and active time of year.

When seasons change I intuitively become more reflective. It’s as if a page is turning and I’m thinking about what to write. It’s a chance to erase the old or write something new. I like to ask the question: What should I change, rekindle or keep exactly the same?

I think this change-of-season exercise is not only good for an individual, it’s good for a community. I’ve compiled an incomplete, but thought-provoking list for reader’s consideration. You may not agree with all my ideas, but I hope they will get you thinking.

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It’s not about you: Why social cohesion is more important than ever

Originally published in Utah Business.

As an economist, I am often asked to speak to groups about global, national and local economic conditions. It’s a familiar routine—l talk about jobs, unemployment, wages, price levels, interest rates, and even taxes. But lately, a different topic has crept into my presentations. More and more, I find myself talking about social cohesion. It’s really thrown me off because I’m not a sociologist and it’s not my area of expertise. I do know that social cohesion is important to well-functioning economies and societies.

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