What do James R. Herbster, vice president for administration of Northwest Pipeline Corp. and Ramona Rudert, co-owner of Professional Automotive Equipment, have in common?

Besides being Salt Lakers, both have attended the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Utah program, a program designed to train middle and upper-level managers on various subjects to make them better equipped to handle their jobs, according to Deborah Bayle, chamber vice president.Herbster attended Leadership Utah in 1985, the first year of the program, and had been in Salt Lake City for three years at the time. A transfer from Houston, Texas, Herbster said the program taught him valuable things about the state and allowed him to meet fellow classmates from small and large businesses.

Rudert, on the other hand, is a Utah native and is just completing her Leadership Utah sessions. She thought she knew plenty about Utah, but while attending the sessions she learned many new things.

She liked the classes on education, economic development and state government and taxation and also enjoyed the field trips.

Bayle, who is recruiting people for the next Leadership Utah program, to begin in January, said the group meets monthly (except in July and August) on the third Friday. The deadline for applications is Dec. 2.

Subjects covered are a general community overview, state government and taxation, arts, law enforcement and crime, tourism development, economic development, Utah's unique culture, local government, transportation and volunteerism.

She can accept up to 35 people between 25 and 45 years of age who must complete an application form on their work background and reasons why they want to attend Leadership Utah. There is also space on the application for the employer to sign stating his employee can get off work to attend Leadership Utah classes.

If a student attends 80 percent of the classes they graduate and receive a plaque during a special dinner, Bayle said.

The Women in Business Committee of the chamber offers two partial scholarships to Leadership Utah, which will partially pay for the tuition of $700 for chamber members and $1,000 for non-members.