Gov. Norm Bangerter is using his trip to George Bush's inauguration to also try drumming up more industry for Utah.
He held a reception Wednesday to try convincing executives of Martin-Marietta, the Marriott Corp. and Black and Decker that they should include Utah in their plans for future expansion.Bangerter told the Deseret News that Jon Huntsman, chairman of Huntsman Chemical Corp., arranged the meeting with the executives. When Huntsman dropped out of the gubernatorial race against Bangerter last year, he accepted a volunteer post as a state ambassador for economic development.
Bangerter said each of the businesses contacted Wednesday has unique ties to Utah that increase the possibility they may expand there.
Marriott Chairman J.W. Marriott Jr. is a stake president in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his corporation has a hotel in Salt Lake City, airline food operations at Salt Lake International Airport and operates the state government cafeteria. Marriott is so friendly to Utah that he even hosted the governor's reception at Washington's J.W. Marriott Hotel.
"They (Marriott) are looking at expanding their school cafeteria business and are thinking of opening a new (hotel) reservation center somewhere," Bangerter said.
Black and Decker President Nolan Archibald is also a member of the LDS Church. And Martin-Marietta has a cement plant in Utah, Bangerter said.
"Those businesses are worried about the labor supply in some areas. But we will have a good, strong labor force in Utah. While the nation's work force is projected to grow by 14 percent, we expect a 34 percent expansion in Utah," Bangerter said.
Bangerter also told executives how in the last 12 months, the number of jobs in Utah has increased by 23,000.
"We like to take every opportunity available to let major corporations know what we offer," he said. "They may not have plans right now to expand, but when they do, we want them to think of Utah."