Utahns need a strong dose of positive attitude if they hope to effectively sell their state outside its borders, Gov. Norm Bangerter told Utah County politicians and business leaders at a Take Pride in Utah luncheon Friday.
Officials from large corporations with facilities in Utah joined Bangerter in promoting Utah and its resources to those attending the luncheon, which was sponsored by the NICE Corp. and held in the Excelsior Hotel."I'm the first to admit we still have challenges," Bangerter said. "But we are addressing our challenges, I believe, in a very vigorous way."
Bangerter said unemployment in Utah is the lowest since 1980, and several thousand jobs are being created annually in a variety of state industries.
"These are some of the reasons I am optimistic about our state," he said. The governor said he is tired of the "doom and gloom attitude" promoted by those who ignore the state's strengths and accomplishments.
Bangerter said peaks and valleys are to be expected. "The challenge in this life is to handle the valleys," he said.
He said the Utah Economic Development Corp., which is actively promoting Utah's image, needs public support. And according to corporate officials, Utahns have plenty of reasons to be proud of their state.
Jack Schiefer, Salt Lake manager for American Telephone & Telegraph Co., said his company located its credit management center in Utah for several reasons. He said the education level in Utah is higher than other states AT&T considered, the local work ethic "is second to none," the state has an abundant labor force and is located in a high-tech corridor.
In addition, he said, company officials were impressed by the personal involvement of Bangerter and his staff in working to attract AT&T.
"All too often, good things in this state don't get the attention they should," he said. "AT&T is high on Utah. It's a pretty, great state."
He said the influence of the LDS Church provides a positive environment in which to locate firms and businesses.
McDonnell Douglas Plant Manager Richard Thomas said his aerospace firm put four years of analysis into selecting Utah as a plant site.
"We are pleased to be here," he said. "Your people are practical. They adapt well. They're very resourceful."
He said the Salt Lake plant has set production records during its short six months of operation. One of the reasons, he said, is employee dependability.
In addition, taxes are lower than in many states. And land, utilities and building costs are less than other states considered by McDonnell Douglas, he said. Thomas called Utah's quality of life the state's best-kept secret.
"I guess it all boils down to the people," said B. Neil Bullock, Signetics plant manager. Bullock said the local plant may have the youngest work force of any Signetics plant, but local workers are the highest-educated and some of the most productive.
Robert Salmon, Fidelity Investments vice president, said his firm chose to locate its largest telecommunications center in Salt Lake because of Utah's "business-friendly environment" and the attitude of local workers.
Because of the quality and profit generated by its Salt Lake office, Salmon said, the firm laid off only four of 700 local employees earlier this year when faced with having to eliminate 1,000 jobs nationwide.