A New City

Originally published in Utah Business.

Several years ago I was sitting in the summer humidity of Washington, D.C. on an old, sturdy park bench in the National Mall talking to my future boss Lane Beattie. He asked if I would be interested in leaving my job in Washington so I could help the Utah business community reinvigorate downtown Salt Lake City. Something big was happening, and Lane invited me to be part of it.

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Time to Show Up

Originally published in Utah Business.

Utah faces a banner election year. In the next nine months we will vote on a U.S. president, a governor, a U.S. senator, four U.S. congressmen, 91 legislators and many more public officials. It’s time to bring out the Woody Allen in all of us and remember that “80 percent of life is showing up.”

So let’s talk about that 80 percent and Utah’s unique caucus-convention system.

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Utah’s Olympic Moment

Originally published in Utah Business.

“Not everybody gets the chance to skate the performance of their life.” That was U.S. figure skater Sarah Hughes’s summary of how she had catapulted from fourth place to Olympic gold at the Delta Center on the last night of the figure skating competition. Her performance and that statement captured a moment of greatness that mirrored Utah’s experience in hosting the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. We hosted the world and excelled. It was our Olympic moment, and most of us will never forget it.

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A Reality Distortion Field for 2012

Originally published in Utah Business.

I love the start of a new year. My mood turns decidedly positive as my Christmas lights are taken down, cards are recycled and tree is turned into compost. I begin the mental shift from ending a year to beginning a year, and everything gets better for me. It’s a time for reflection, refinement and renewal, and I soak it in like a warm sun on a winter day.

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Economic River Rafting

Originally published in Utah Business.

Now that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, otherwise known as the Supercommittee, has failed to do its part, the U.S. spending problem is once again solidly in the hands of the U.S. Congress. Their economic leadership—or lack of leadership—will significantly impact regional economies all around the country, including ours. It is nail-biting time and we need our government to step up big. As some economists have said, the market economy sits in the back seat while government leaders (globally and domestically) sit in the front seat holding the wheel. We need serious economic leadership.

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A Deficit of Leadership

Originally published in Utah Business.

I had the privilege recently of visiting our National Archives and viewing George Washington’s first inaugural address. Yes, I’m talking about the real document…yellowed parchment, faded ink, handwritten cursive and brilliant content. It begins, “Among the vicissitudes incident to life no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order…” Washington had received notice that he was elected the first president of the United States. He was nervous, humble and ready to serve.

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Worth the Risk

Originally published in Utah Business.

I’m mad. For 14 consecutive months I’ve watched as the Utah economy has climbed out of the worst recession in my lifetime. If you are less than 78 years old, it was the worst recession in your lifetime too. And now we have the U.S. Congress to thank for taking an already tepid recovery and making things worse. I’m speaking, of course, about the brinkmanship used in raising the U.S. debt ceiling. It was wrong to push it so far and Utah’s economy will be hurt by it. Mark my words.

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Friends in High Places

Originally published in Utah Business.

During a recent visit to Washington, D.C., I found myself between appointments sitting on a park bench just off Capitol Hill and within view of the Hall of the States—a large and grand building where many of the 50 states house their Washington offices. It’s where the business of states gets done in the nation’s capital. The setting was a perfect place to consider what’s been going on in Washington, D.C. and how it affects the Utah economy.

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Mormon Summer

Originally published in Utah Business.

Call it a Mormon summer. Utah’s predominant religion has been the recipient of a mammoth amount of publicity this summer. In what commentators are calling the “Mormon moment,” news stories flood the airwaves with reports—some accurate, some not—about Mormonism. Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman Jr., Harry Reid, Twilight vampire novels, Glenn Beck, HBO’s Big Love and a Tony Award-winning Broadway play have placed a bright spotlight on the Mormon faith. It’s a spotlight that illuminates the economic reach of a global religion and the local economic impact of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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Writings and Reflections