Utah’s Middle East trade mission: interfaith magic and collaboration

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Editor’s Note: Natalie Gochnour, David Eccles School of Business Associate Dean and Deseret News contributor, traveled with a delegation of business and community leaders on a trade mission led by the World Trade Center Utah to Israel and United Arab Emirates (UAE). Here is an insider’s look at what occurred on the trade mission in the sixth of a six-part series.

I returned from Israel and the United Arab Emirates mentally and physically exhausted from the demanding schedule, 10-hour time difference, related sleep challenges and roughly 32 hours of flight time. It was an ambitious endeavor involving 64 people, five tracks, three countries (Utah Senate President Stuart Adams met with Utah companies in Qatar) and approximately 100 meetings as far as 7,800 miles away from Salt Lake City.

Thanks to a significant amount of advanced planning, the trade mission did all the important things extremely well. At the top of the list was delivering value for Utah businesses that seek to grow their presence in this region of the world. The third-party validation that comes from the “seal of Utah,” its leaders and the reputation of the United States is a model that works.

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What do vultures have to do with the Utah trade mission in the Middle East?

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Editor’s Note: Natalie Gochnour, David Eccles School of Business Associate Dean and Deseret News contributor, traveled with a delegation of business and community leaders on a trade mission led by the World Trade Center Utah to Israel and United Arab Emirates (UAE). Here is an insider’s look at what occurred on the trade mission in the fifth of a six-part series.

After graduating in 1960 from the University of Utah with an industrial design and sculpture degree, John Kaddas wasn’t sure what he would do to turn his passion for inventing things into a stable income for his family. Today, his son Jay and daughter-in-law Natalie are in Israel and the United Arab Emirates meeting with current and future customers. It’s a long journey from an industrial design class at the University of Utah to signing contracts with the Israeli Electric Company.

This is the magic of Utah entrepreneurship and the global reach of Utah trade missions.

Continue reading What do vultures have to do with the Utah trade mission in the Middle East?

A ticket to the future: Utah visits Dubai

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Editor’s Note: Natalie Gochnour, David Eccles School of Business Associate Dean and Deseret News contributor, traveled with a delegation of business and community leaders on a trade mission led by the World Trade Center Utah to Israel and United Arab Emirates (UAE). Here is an insider’s look at what occurred on the trade mission in the fourth of a six-part series.

Dubai proudly proclaims to all who will listen, “The future is here.” The Utah delegation’s first full day in Dubai was a journey into that future.

The delegation split into six groups, plus a few one-on-one business meetings and a side trip to Qatar. I traveled with Gov. Spencer Cox to the Dubai Future Foundation and its lab, a meeting with the minister of artificial intelligence and digital economy, a tour of the Museum of the Future, and then lunch with the deputy undersecretary of the ministry of the economy. In the evening, the U.S.-UAE Business Council hosted a reception with the Utah delegation.

That’s a lot to cover in one day. Here are my highlights and lessons learned for Utah leaders.

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What the Startup State can learn from the Startup Nation

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Editor’s Note: Natalie Gochnour, David Eccles School of Business Associate Dean and Deseret News contributor, traveled with a delegation of business and community leaders on a trade mission led by the World Trade Center Utah to Israel and United Arab Emirates. Here is an insider’s look at what occurred on the trade mission in the third of a six-part series.

Only three countries have successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon — the United States, China and the Soviet Union. All of them were superpowers and had significant support from their national government.

In April 2019, Israel attempted to be the fourth country to complete a successful moon landing. Unfortunately, the little robot, known as Beresheet, didn’t quite make it. After taking a selfie of itself above the lunar surface, mission control lost communications about 489 feet before it crashed into the gray dirt below.

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Gov. Cox goes to Israel: Can we learn from the Dead Sea to save the Great Salt Lake?

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Editor’s Note: Natalie Gochnour, David Eccles School of Business Associate Dean and Deseret News contributor, traveled with a delegation of business and community leaders on a trade mission led by the World Trade Center Utah to Israel and United Arab Emirates (UAE). Here is an insider’s look at what occurred on the trade mission in the second of a six-part series.

The Utah trade delegation to Israel and the United Arab Emirates spent their first full day on the ground visiting holy sites in and around Jerusalem and adjusting to the nine-hour time difference. Visits included the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the old city of Jerusalem.

The real work of the trade mission began on Day 2. Gov. Spencer Cox, Utah Senate President Stuart Adams and Speaker Brad Wilson visited with Israeli president Isaac Herzog and had a separate meeting with Idan Roll, deputy minister of foreign affairs. Both meetings occurred on the 21st anniversary of September 11, a meaningful backdrop for diplomatic discussions in any part of the world.

Continue reading Gov. Cox goes to Israel: Can we learn from the Dead Sea to save the Great Salt Lake?

Why this Middle East trip can make Utah the ‘Crossroads of the World’

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Editor’s Note: Natalie Gochnour, David Eccles School of Business Associate Dean and Deseret News contributor, traveled with a delegation of business and community leaders on a trade mission led by the World Trade Center Utah to Israel and United Arab Emirates (UAE). Here is an insider’s look at what occurred on the trade mission in the first of a six-part series. She was joined by Gov. Spencer Cox and others and here focuses on Utah’s emerging role as the Crossroads of the World.

People often describe Utah as the “Crossroads of the West.” It’s a fitting moniker given the state’s central location in the interior western United States. Utah lies halfway between Canada and Mexico and roughly equidistance from the Pacific Ocean and Continental Divide. U.S. Interstates 15, 70, 80 and 84 all pass through the state and the Salt Lake City International Airport serves as a major hub for one of the largest airlines in the world.

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Athena award remarks

Note: These remarks were given at the Salt Lake Chamber’s 2021 Utah Women and Business Conference .

I want to thank the Salt Lake Chamber – Gary Porter, Derek Miller, Heidi Walker, the Board of Governors, and Utah business leaders – for this honor.

I also want to thank my fellow Athenas, especially Molly, Linda, Chris, Deborah, Pat, and Peggy, for their support. Molly and Linda even helped pick my outfit today!

And please lend your applause to the women from the amazing team at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute who are here to support me today…will you please stand and be recognized?

It’s customary at this event for the Athena to share her story. I’d be more comfortable sharing a Utah economic forecast…but I will do the best I can.

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Here are reasons why Utah should host another olympics

Originally published in the Deseret News.

As the Tokyo Olympics take center stage, it’s natural for Utahns so ask, “Why should Utah do this again?” I think the answer is simple: Approximately a million people who live in Utah today were not here in 2002. That’s nearly one in every three residents.

I want all these people, and those who were too young to remember (like my son), to experience the magic of and be inspired by an Olympic Games.

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Here’s why data and dialogue are the key to improving equity, diversity and inclusion

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Ninety minutes. That’s all it took. I gained a deeper understanding of how data informs an elected official’s thought process regarding racial and ethnic disparities in Utah. He, in turn, reviewed the data and considered how he might incorporate this data into policymaking. Both of us acknowledged the importance of the issue, need for increased opportunities and inherent strengths that can help Utah improve.

This is how progress occurs. Data and dialogue work together to open new doors. When we are at our best in Utah, data and dialogue create common ground.

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Utah has a new governor. The nation can learn from his civility

Originally published in the Deseret News.

Interstate 15 south from Salt Lake City to St. George always looks familiar to a native Utahn like me. What was less familiar this weekend as I drove south to attend Utah’s inauguration ceremony was the digital highway signs that read: “Thank you Gov Herbert. Safe travels.”

I passed one sign, then another. By the third sign I was moved to tweet from my phone (my husband was driving): “We honor your service #GovHerbert.”

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Writings and Reflections