A Day In The Life with Miles Hansen

Pete CodellaArticles

Miles Hansen is the president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah), an organization dedicated to promoting prosperity throughout Utah by attracting investment and increasing exports.

He leads a remarkable team that assists a thriving business community ripe for global growth in this role. With the success of so many Utah-based companies and an expansion of WTC Utah services, Utah has become a top performer nationally for international trade and investment expansion. WTC Utah partners with the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity to accomplish its mission.

Currently, Hansen serves on the state’s Unified Economic Opportunity Commission. He chairs the commission’s International Subcommittee. He’s also a member of the U.S. Trade Representative’s Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee, on the board of the National Association of District Export Councils, and serves on several public and private boards and commissions.

Before joining WTC Utah, Hansen was the Director of Gulf Affairs for the National Security Council at the White House, after serving as a U.S. diplomat working on energy, security, and business issues in the United Arab Emirates, Armenia, Saudi Arabia, and Washington, D.C. Hansen is a  Russian, Farsi, and Arabic speaker and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

A Day in the Life:

7:00 a.m. Mornings in the Hansen household are wild and crazy. Getting five kids, ages 11 to 3 years old up, ready for school, last-minute homework checked off, etc., make for a busy start to the day. With so many workdays extending late into the evening, time at home in the mornings is important. Amidst the insanity this morning, I did some final meeting preparation and then cruised into the office.

8:00 a.m. — My morning at the office started with our third quarter Executive Committee meeting. These meetings aim to discuss how WTC Utah can maximize the value we offer to the state of Utah, our members, and companies throughout the state. With a mix of public and private leadership, it’s always a fascinating discussion. Today’s meeting focused on our new strategy that deepens our services and assists Utah companies in all phases of their global growth.

10:00 a.m.  A global topic on everyone’s mind right now is China. As an organization, we focus on what Utah companies can do to protect themselves while engaging abroad. Fortunately, we were able to host Timothy Stratford, former assistant U.S. trade representative, and Sean B. Stein, former U.S. consul general for Shanghai and Shenyang, for a public event today. Welcoming over 40 business community members to the newly-remodeled conference room in the WTC Utah lobby, the duo helped Utah companies understand the shifts occurring in the U.S.-China relationship, making it essential for Utah companies to reevaluate their China business plans in response to these geopolitical trends.

12:00 p.m. — We spent the lunch hour hosting and making connections to business opportunities in Taiwan. As part of an official visit to Utah, the Honorable Rep. Hsiao Bi-Khim from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representation Office met with Utah-based companies for a business roundtable discussion and luncheon.

Our organization increased our connections abroad through the pandemic by connecting Utah companies virtually to our global network. However, it feels incredible to once again meet in person with our international partners.

1:45 p.m. —  Boyd Matheson, from KSL News Radio, invited me to speak on his radio show, Inside Sources, to discuss Afghanistan and my experiences living in the country earlier in my career. Having spent several years living and working in the Middle East as a U.S. diplomat, I closely followed U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

While I supported the need to bring an orderly transition from a U.S. combat role in Afghanistan, I have been distressed by the absolute failure of the current administration to execute a well-coordinated strategy to manage this transition. I probably got a little more emotional discussing the issue than I should have, but I am deeply frustrated by what is occurring. My heart breaks for the many Americans and Afghans that suffer as a result.

2:30 p.m. —  Gathered a few trade experts from the WTC Utah team for a virtual meeting with senior leaders of a global tech company looking to expand in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Our team provided advice on how to grow in the UAE and across the Middle East. This is a market we are helping many Utah companies pursue. In June, we led a state delegation of life science companies to Dubai for the Arab Health Trade show.

3:30 p.m. — I check in with the different business area teams at WTC Utah throughout the week. Today, I met with the marketing and outreach team to discuss our upcoming 15th-anniversary celebration event.

4:45 p.m. — I left the office a bit early today for a big day for my two oldest boys: football equipment pickup. With a car full of helmets and Gatorade, I made a quick call to a legislative leader to discuss how we can support the Legislature’s international engagement. Thankfully, we were able to identify a solution and wrap the discussion before a bunch of rambunctious boys piled in the back of the SUV.

7:00 p.m. After dropping the boys off, I made a quick outfit change and left the kids with a sitter so my wife and I could go to a dinner where BioHive leaders and partners gathered.  

Founded last year with WTC Utah support, BioHive serves an integral role in the state by catalyzing Utah’s healthcare innovation ecosystem. One of the most exciting moments of the dinner was meeting the University of Utah’s women’s basketball coach, Lynne Roberts. She graciously invited my wife and me to take our seven-year-old daughter to a game and have her join the team in the locker room. I am very excited for her to learn from these amazing women.

10:00 p.m. — I get home just in time to put a few of my older kids to bed, pick up from what was clearly a circus of a night with the babysitter, do my nightly email dig out, and then I’m off to bed grateful for another day in the books as part of the WTC Utah team.