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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Trump’s pardon adds to the void in America

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I’ve never met Joe Arpaio, but I’ve felt his influence. Arpaio, who served 16 years as the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, made a career out of terrorizing Latinos in his state and degrading people who ran afoul of the law. This week, President Donald Trump called Arpaio a “great American patriot” and then pardoned him of criminal contempt, a conviction that could have landed the former sheriff six months in prison. Trump’s pardon sends another shocking signal of what’s wrong in our country and exposes the political void that exists in America today.

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County Seat

I enjoyed being interviewed by Chad Booth on the County Seat. We discussed the need to invest in rural Utah economic development.  here is a link to the broadcast:

Give up your Twitter account Mr President

Originally published in the Deseret News.

I follow Twitter feeds nearly every day. It’s a great way to learn what opinion leaders have on their minds, keep abreast of politics, follow sports commentary and keep tabs on hundreds of other people and issues of interest. Twitter is the best way I know to get instantaneous and succinct information from a wide variety of people on a wide variety of topics.

While tweeting definitely has its place in our digital lives, I find President Donald Trump’s Twitter behavior completely unacceptable. It’s not his use of Twitter that is problematic. It’s the content of his tweets.

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Utah’s growing cost of doing business problem

Originally published in Utah Business.

The Utah economy celebrated its eighth anniversary of economic growth in June, the second-longest in state history. Currently, the state economy is creating about 45,000 jobs a year. Unemployment remains low at 3.2 percent and inflation-adjusted wages continue to rise. The nice economic winds have been blowing and business is strong.

I sense a change in weather in the next 12 to 24 months led by a tight labor market, rising interest rates, the end of the “Trump rally” and something no one is talking about—the rising costs of doing business in the Beehive State.

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Goodbyes are hard, but they are also meaningful

Originally published in the Deseret News.

For many Utah families, July and August are filled with goodbyes. Sons and daughters leave for school and military academies, LDS missionaries depart on missions and job seekers start fresh opportunities in new towns. In every case, a great thing is happening, but so is a goodbye.

I’m not very good at goodbyes. When I dropped my daughter off for college in Arizona, I had wet eyes and a pit in my stomach the entire 11-hour drive home. I spent so much time getting her ready for college, I forgot to get ready myself.

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Writings and Reflections