FARMINGTON — With the departure of the longtime director of Community and Economic Development, the Davis County Board of Commissioners has opted to split the department.

The department's two division directors are now directors over separate county planning and economic development departments.

Barry Burton, a 29-year county veteran, who was most recently the assistant director of community and economic development, will take over the county's planning department.

Kent Sulser, who has spent 6 1/2 years with the county as the manager of economic development, will take over the new economic development department.

They replace Wilf Sommerkorn who was recently hired as Salt Lake City's director of planning.

"The good news," said Commissioner Louenda Downs on Tuesday, "is that we have two incredible people here."

Each new department will utilize staff members in their current roles, though some will likely have a few added responsibilities.

Burton and Sulser said they're excited to take on their new roles, though their responsibilities will remain mostly the same.

Burton, a Clinton resident, is likely the person in Davis County most familiar with the county. Until cities began hiring full-time planners, he was the planner at various times for Farmington, Syracuse, Woods Cross, Kaysville and Fruit Heights and is still the planner for South Weber.

He has seen Davis County transform from pockets of scattered population to the state's third most populous county with virtually indistinguishable city borders.

Burton has served as the project manager for various county buildings, including the Davis Conference Center and its expansion and the Centerville Branch library. He also did the original layout design for the Davis County Events Center.

Burton has helped craft plans for open space, shore lands and hillsides preservation as well as a countywide master trails plan.

He said with proper coordination and planning, his department will be able to do "something of great value to the public and future generations and do it in a way that makes the most sense."

Sulser brings a corporate background to his position. A former Transamerica vice president, he says he knows how business is run and brings that knowledge to the county where he will continue coordinating development of business parks in Layton, Farmington, Centerville and in the Davis Technology and Economic Cooperative in Clearfield, West Point and Syracuse.

There's also the Falcon Hill Aerospace Research Park being developed on the west side of Hill Air Force Base, which will eventually provide 9 million square feet of office space.

Downtown Salt Lake City has about 12 million square feet of office space.

"This has the potential to be the largest economic development project in the state," Sulser said.

Sulser will also serve as the executive director of the Davis County Council of Governments and will act as a liaison between the county and the Governor's Office of Economic Development.


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