SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s largest and oldest statewide business association will soon have a new boss.
Derek Miller will become the president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance, the chamber announced Tuesday. He will take over for Lane Beattie, who will retire in May after 15 years in the corner office.
Since 2014, Miller has served as the head of the World Trade Center Utah, having previously served as chief of staff to Gov. Gary Herbert. He also served as managing director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development for then-Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.
He began his career in Washington, D.C., as a management consultant with Arthur Andersen and as legal counsel for a congressional committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a graduate of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University and holds a master's in public administration from the Romney Institute of Public Management at BYU.
Miller said the state economy has flourished because of good people working together, and he intends to continue that spirit of teamwork and advocacy for economic growth in his new role with the chamber.
"As our state continues to grow, we must ensure those principles of cooperation and collaboration continue," he said. "As we do so, Utah has the opportunity to transform from the Crossroads of the West to the Crossroads of the World."
He said his goal is to "take the baton from Lane and continue to lead on (important business) issues as well as challenges that may lie ahead."
Miller said he relishes the opportunity to advocate for important policy initiatives during legislative sessions, as well as for the three major development projects underway and on the horizon for the Salt Lake Valley.
"No. 1 is the expansion of Silicon Slopes that will open up ... the same kind of (information technology) growth on the north side of the (Point of the Mountain) as there was on the south side," he explained. "Secondly, the expansion of the Salt Lake airport presents opportunities for our increased connections to the rest of the world will be significant."
The third priority would be the eventual development of an inland port in the northwest quadrant of Salt Lake City, he said.
"The opportunity that the state has to become a global trading port for the western United States is significant and cannot be overstated," Miller said.
He noted that any state would be fortunate to have any one of those major projects in development, and Utah having what he described as 'the economic trifecta' in development simultaneously is "truly remarkable" and carries a great deal of responsibility.
"We can't afford to get it wrong," Miller said. "We've got to get all three of these projects right because there won't be a second chance. It's a lot to chew on and it's happening fast."1 comment on this story
Another personal goal he noted that will be important to him in his new position would be to advocate for an increased profile for women business heads in Utah through the chamber's Women's Leadership Institute.
"Whatever the chamber can do (and) whatever I can do personally to help (CEO Pat Jones) in her efforts to make sure that there are more meaningful opportunities on both the public sector side and the private sector side for the terrific women leaders that we have in Utah, that's something I want to be involved in and do whatever I can to help them move forward," Miller said.