Ralph Atkin, chairman and founder of SkyWest Airlines and chairman of the Utah Travel Council board, has been named co-director of the Utah Division of Business and Economic Development. Lynn Blake also is a co-director.
He replaces Kirk Green, who resigned several weeks ago to pursue family business interestsAlthough Atkin has been on the job since Wednesday, no formal announcement was made by Stanley B. Parrish, Utah Department of Community and Economic Development executive director, or Gov. Norm Bangerter's office.
Atkin said his term with the travel council ends in June, but he will resign that post immediately. However, he will remain chairman of his regional airline, saying no conflict of interest exists because he isn't an employee.
He plans to continue living in St. George and commuting to Salt Lake City for work at his new job Monday through Friday. He plans to continue the current direction of the division, which is emphasis on exporting Utah products to foreign countries, recruiting business to Utah and expanding existing Utah businesses.
Atkin is a 1970 graduate of the University of Utah Law School and founded SkyWest in 1972. SkyWest has annual sales of $100 million with 1,400 employees, 500 of whom work in Utah. It is known as the "Delta connection" because of it ties to Delta Air Lines.