Spencer Eccles, Executive Director
Spencer Peterson Eccles has strong ties to Utah’s urban and rural communities as well as international markets. He is the executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development which oversees all business, tourism and film development for the State, including international trade. Formerly affiliated with the Salt Lake City
office of Wells Capital Management (Wells Fargo Bank), Eccles has most recently been involved with web-based software and materials technology companies in the U.S. and abroad.
In 1997, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games tapped Eccles to manage the development of its Snow Basin venue and oversee the premier Olympic downhill events as well as all of the alpine Paralympic competitions. Eccles’ involvement with Utah’s non-profit community includes his former chairmanship of the Salt Lake Chamber’s International Committee and continuing service on the chamber’s Board of Governors and Executive Committee. Further, he advises with The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. Eccles received his MBA from BYU’s Marriott School of Management and his BA in history from the University of Utah.
Sophia DiCaro, Deputy Director
Sophia DiCaro is the deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Economic
Development. Prior to this appointment, DiCaro served as GOED’s finance director and oversaw all financial operations throughout the department, managing budgets, funding and distribution of funds. She has overseen all processes with agency contracts and interfaces with the Legislature, and the other agencies in state government. Before joining GOED, DiCaro served as the lead budget and policy analyst in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget.
Gary Harter, Managing Director of Business Outreach and International Trade
Gary Harter is the managing director of business outreach and international trade, which includes the Utah Clusters Initiative, Technology Commercialization and
Innovation Program and State Science Advisor. Prior to these duties, Colonel Harter was the Defense and Homeland Security Cluster Director in the office. He is a retired Army Colonel who spent 25 years on active duty. Colonel Harter served his final military assignment/post as the Commander of Dugway Proving Grounds.
Leigh von der Esch, Managing Director of Tourism, Film and Global Branding
Leigh von der Esch is the managing director of tourism, film and global branding. Von der Esch served as Utah Film commissioner for 20 years, and as chief administrative officer for the Department of Community and Economic Development (GOED’s predecessor). Her prior positions include Business and Post Production Coordinator for a motion picture company, Executive Director of the
Salt Lake City Council and Legislative Assistant to a U.S. Congressman.
Christopher M. Conabee, Managing Director of Corporate Recruitment and Business Services
Christopher M. Conabee is the managing director of corporate recruitment and business services. As the executive in charge of GOED’s business services pillar, Conabee oversees the business development functions of incentives, government contracting, bonding and business resources. Prior to joining GOED, Conabee led
the development of Silver Star at Park City, a $150 million ski-in-ski-out residential community, and served as a vice president in the financial services firm of Paine
Webber, controlling over $1 billion of investor funds.