Facebook may have 2 billion users, but is that really a community

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Several years ago, I heard a social scientist describe a new organizing framework for our world. Instead of an orientation built around national, state and local relationships, the commentator said our lives are increasingly being organized along global, regional and community lines. I find this reframing useful but worry the framing may not be quite right at the community level. I fear we face a declining, not an increasing, sense of community in our lives.

Continue reading Facebook may have 2 billion users, but is that really a community

Saratoga Springs – The belly button of Utah

Originally published in the Deseret News.

This week, the CEO of a large company headquartered in downtown Salt Lake City described the need to offer services and invest in infrastructure in Utah County. As he made his point, he looked across the table at me and asked if there was a single measure that captured the shift of Utah’s population southward.

Well, actually there is. It’s a concept known as the mean center of population. The Census Bureau defines it as the point where an imaginary, weightless, rigid and flat surface would balance if every person weighed the same. Think of it as the population center of Utah.

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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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Utah’s growth demands cooperation, not sabotage

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The poet E. E. Cummings wrote, “More, and more, and still more … are we all morticians?”

This quote reminds me of the seemingly limitless growth occurring in Utah right now. We have more people, more jobs and more opportunity. We also have more congestion, more pollution and more need for water. For growth to be good, it must be guided by great leaders who represent our shared values. We must turn the “more of anything” into “more of the right thing.” Quality growth should be our north star.

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Time for the northern Utah economy to come alive

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The Utah economy continues to impress. Utah job growth registers an impressive 3.5 percent, the fastest job growth in the country and nearly twice the national average of 1.6 percent. Utah’s job growth, combined with low unemployment, rising wages and net in-migration, makes for the hottest economy in the nation right now.

I’m always tracking the story behind the story and, of course, there are many behind-the-scene narratives about the Utah economy.

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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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The World Cup is here. You should give it a chance.

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off next week in Russia. It is, by far, the grandest sporting event in the world. Teams from 204 countries competed across six continents, for three years, playing in 855 matches, to be one of 31 qualifying teams (plus the host country of Russia) to play. Global gross domestic product will likely drop temporarily as an expected viewing audience of 3.2 billion people watches and celebrates the most popular sporting competition in the world.

Sadly, the United States did not qualify for the first time in 32 years. In what can only be described as a devastating blow to U.S. soccer, the red, white and blue lost 2-1 in the final qualifying match to Trinidad and Tobago (population less than half the state of Utah). Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica will represent North America in the heralded tournament, and the Yanks will stay home.

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We are all caregivers

Originally published in the Deseret News.

After my mother passed away, a friend inquired about her death. Without meaning to jar me he asked, “Are you an orphan now?” I was taken aback by the question. I’d never thought of it that way. Since my father had died several years earlier, I responded, “I suppose I am.”

I don’t like the term orphan. It suggests you are someone who has lost support, care and supervision. That’s not me. I am rich in family and friends. But I am always keenly aware of how my parents cared for me, the example they set for me and the influence they continue to have on my actions. My parents are still a very real part of my life.

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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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Act now to avoid a housing crisis

Originally published in the Deseret News.

The Utah economy continues to perform. The expansion celebrated its eighth birthday this year, and the federal tax cuts will extend the expansion, which is already the nation’s and state’s second longest ever. These are prosperous times.

Every economic expansion party has a host of well-wishers — low unemployment, strong job growth, in-migration and rising incomes bring plastic hats, whistles and gifts to the party. But every party also has the party pooper, the rude uncle who can’t leave well-enough alone.

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Writings and Reflections