10 who made a difference in 2010

Published: Friday, Dec. 31 2010 11:06 p.m. MST

In the past year alone, Ebay, Procter and Gamble, Black Diamond and Adobe have all opened or expanded offices in Utah. Eccles and his team at the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) were instrumental in convincing each of these firms to expand in Utah or relocate here. During the past fiscal year, Eccles and his GOED staff provided opportunities for the creation of more than 4,000 new jobs in Utah.

"Our success is due to the leadership of the Legislature, the governor and our team," said Eccles, the executive director of GOED. "And at the end of the day, our success is really the success of Utah businesses."

Eccles' job at GOED is to stimulate new growth in Utah by encouraging businesses already here to expand, and businesses outside of the state to come here. They are also a support organization for existing Utah businesses, especially small businesses, which Eccles views as the backbone of the Utah economy. According to Eccles, 80 percent of the companies in Utah are small businesses, creating thousands of jobs for Utahns.

Eccles attributes the state's recent success in attracting national companies to Utah's economic "secret sauce": "Our secret sauce is that we work well together here in Utah. The state, county, city and municipal governments all work well together as well as with the academic community and the private sector," Eccles said. "We get told all the time by out-of-state companies that here in Utah, we do things right."

As for the future? Eccles readily admits that there is room for improvement as far as jobs go, but asserts that GOED is striving to be more focused, more effective, and more efficient.

"Our pipeline is full," Eccles assured. "We've got a lot of companies right now looking at Utah to expand or relocate."

— Kelly McConkie Henriod

Chris Hill and Tom Holmoe

University of Utah athletic director Chris Hill and Brigham Young University athletic director Tom Holmoe forever altered the landscape of college athletics in Utah in 2010. But their influence will extend beyond sports. Thanks to the moves Hill and Holmoe made this year — Hill was key in Utah's jump to the Pac-12, and Holmoe was one of the principal architects behind BYU's move to independence — both institutions increased their visibility nationally.

For the Utes the Pac-12 means more money: they'll receive significant increases in TV and BCS revenues. It also means better athletes; kids who would never have considered Utah before will now give the school a good look. There will also be more opportunities to play on national television because the Pac-12 is one of six major conferences in college football. As far as academics go, the school could gain more recognition for its advances in a variety of different areas of study by being part of a conference known for its academic excellence.

Making it into the Pac-10 has been a dream of Hill's for a long time, one that he never let die, no matter how unlikely it seemed. At the Pac-12 announcement in June, Hill said, "We all need to be dreamers with no limits and no rearview mirror. This is one of our dreams, to be here. We'll work hard every day to make the Pac-10 proud we're a member."

For the Cougars, the decision for the football program to go independent, "came down to two pillars," Tom Holmoe said earlier this year, "access and exposure." Aiding in this quest for greater exposure is an eight-year contract with ESPN. According to the deal, every home football game and men's basketball game will be televised nationwide. While breaking with the MWC was a risky move because of the scheduling difficulties independence presents, the partnership with ESPN will make scheduling much easier, because everyone wants the chance to play on the national stage. Already, BYU has scheduled games with Texas, Ole Miss, West Virginia and Notre Dame.

"This is our first year of independence," Holmoe says. "As we look down the road, we have an opportunity to bring in some nice teams and be able to play on the road against some traditionally great college football teams. It's going to be fun."

— Kelly McConkie Henriod

Luz Robles

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