With a $2-billion annual investment in Utah and 3,200 employees who make a significant contribution to the Utah economy and contribute to community betterment, US WESTCommunications was honored Tuesday as an "outstanding corporate citizen."

The occasion was a quarterly breakfast in Little America sponsored by Gov. Norm Bangerter to honor companies that make a big contribution to the Utah economy.And because W. Mack Lawrence is retiring as vice president of US WEST in Utah, it also was a time to honor him for his leadership, community involvement and as a booster of Utah economic development. Bangerter gave Lawrence a Charles Russell book on Western art.

Bangerter said his quarterly corporate recognition breakfasts are a chance to cement relationships between government and the business community, which at one time were adversaries. "I am sorry we can't honor every business, but I appreciate the efforts of all businesses in helping the Utah economy," the governor said.

As a land developer before he was elected governor, Bangerter said he saw how Mountain Bell (predecessor to US WEST) evolved and was always helpful. He said US WEST is an integral part of the sales pitch Utah economic development officials give to corporate executives contemplating coming to Utah because of the quality of service the company provides in telecommunications.

The governor said he and Lawrence haven't always seen eye to eye on all issues, but "you don't want everyone to agree with you. Mack has been an able spokesman for his company and also an able spokesman for Utah."

Bangerter presented a clay Navajo pot made in Blanding to Robert C. Fuehr, who is replacing Lawrence as Utah vice president. In accepting the pottery, Fuehr acknowledged his employees whose aim is to provide good service, give something back to the community and provide shareholders a fair return on their investment.

Stanley B. Parrish, Utah Department of Community and Economic Development executive director, said US WEST has been active in community affairs and has been a major sponsor of numerous events by spending $500,000.

Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis said the city has received tremendous support from US WEST on the Winter Games, the Winter Olympics effort and economic development. DePaulis praised Lawrence's leadership style that is reflected in his employees.

"I don't have enough words to describe what Mack's impact has been. He is a great member of our community," the mayor said.

Fred S. Ball, president of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, said, "There isn't a worthy cause that doesn't get US WEST's support. Mack inspires people to succeed. As immediate past chairman of the chamber's board of governors, Mack was always there to lend support to the staff. He is a true gentleman."