A man who once considered purchasing the UTOPIA network has been elected as its executive director.

Todd Marriott has worked with the municipal fiber-optic network as a Colorado-based consultant during UTOPIA's $181 million refinancing project. Before working for UTOPIA, he watched it from "an outsider's perspective," he said.

"I looked at it as a potential acquisition, then got pulled into the fray," he said.

The Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency is a fiber-optic utility backed by sales-tax pledges in 11 Utah cities. Five other cities are non-pledging members of the network.

Marriott, a one-time Brigham Young University football player, started work in telecommunications 15 years ago in Texas. He went on to create many national telecommunication companies and has also spent time in manufacturing and military technology.

A father of nine children, Marriott plans to relocate to Utah with his wife, who grew up in Farmington. He hopes to attract a strong customer base during his two-year contract.

"There is a tremendous opportunity to rescue a stranded investment here, and we'll be successful," he said.

"I believe that he is very capable," said Jim Reams, interim executive director and Orem City Manager. Reams praised Marriott's experience, tenacity, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.

Marriott recently completed a multimillion-dollar product design, prototype and testing in five months with a pipeline of $1.5 million in combined sales, according to a UTOPIA press release. The new executive director has also negotiated many telecommunications deals concerning global marketing and distribution rights.

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