Natalie Gochnour

The Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce has named Natalie Gochnour as its new chief operating officer.

Gochnour replaces Craig Peterson, who has accepted a position with the Governor's Office of Economic Development as the program director for the Utah International Trade and Diplomacy Office.

Gochnour has worked for the past two years as the chamber's vice president of policy and communications.

As COO, Gochnour will be in charge of day-to-day operations of Utah's largest business association. She'll manage a 30-person staff, oversee a public policy agenda to improve the state's business climate and supervise events such as "A Giant in Our City" and the Business-to-Business Expo.

Prior to joining the chamber, Gochnour worked in Washington, D.C., as a counselor to Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt and an associated administrator for public affairs of the Environmental Protection Agency.

She also worked for 18 years in state government, including serving as the former Gov. Leavitt's spokeswoman and as a state economist.