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News Room

GOED Announces New Managing Director at the Utah Office of Tourism

January 11 2013 - 4:53 pm

News Release
For Immediate Release
January 11, 2013

Contact:
Michael G. Sullivan
GOED Dir. Communications
801-538-8811, mgsullivan@utah.gov

Tracie Cayford
UOT Deputy Director
801-538-8777, traciec@utah.gov

Governor’s Office of Economic Development Announces New Managing Director at the Utah Office of Tourism

Salt Lake City, Utah – Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), announced today that Vicki Varela has been selected as the new managing director of Tourism, Film and Global Branding at the Utah Office of Tourism (UOT), an agency of GOED. The announcement was made during a regularly scheduled Board of Tourism Development meeting.

Ms. Varela is widely known in the Utah business community. One of her most public positions was as spokesperson and deputy chief of staff to Governor Mike Leavitt over an eight year span. She has been in the persuasion business for most of her career during which she organized many successful campaigns, including the statewide ballot initiative that positioned Utah to host the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

Working behind the scenes, Ms. Varela built brands such as the Kennecott Land Daybreak community and the Prosperity 2020 movement, which is focused on improving Utah’s workforce readiness and educational outcomes.

“We are very pleased that Vicki was willing to step out of her successful career in the private sector; it speaks to the love and passion she has for the State of Utah,” said Spencer Eccles, GOED executive director. “Her extensive strategic communications and branding experience will further enable us to unify the state under a global marketing and branding strategy.”

“Branding Utah is a communicator’s dream. My role will be to tell the stories that persuade tourists and business leaders alike to make Utah their destination. Yes, for our spectacular sites and business culture, but even more for the intrinsic shift that happens when people experience Utah,” Ms. Varela said. “I am honored to join the Herbert administration to help position Utah on the world stage.”

Ms. Varela will be transitioning into her new role over the next several weeks as she goes through
the process of closing Varela Strategic Communications Inc. She will be assuming the position which was left vacant with the recent retirement of long-time managing director Leigh von der Esch.

Ms. Varela is a graduate of Brigham Young University and mother of two adult sons.

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About the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED)
Web: www.business.utah.gov

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) charter is based on Governor Gary Herbert’s commitment to economic development statewide. Utah’s economic development vision is that Utah will lead the nation as the best performing economy and be recognized as a premier global business destination. The mandate for this office is to provide rich business resources for the creation, growth and recruitment of companies to Utah and to increase tourism and film production in the state. GOED accomplishes this mission through the administration of programs that are based around targeted industries or “economic clusters” that demonstrate the best potential for development. GOED utilizes state resources and private sector contracts to fulfill its mission. For more information please contact: Michael Sullivan, 801-538-8811 or mgsullivan@utah.gov.