Rural business and government leaders gathered at the Utah State Capitol on Feb. 19, 2020, for Rural Day on the Hill. They shared success stories and discussed the challenges of doing business in rural Utah.

“Rural Day on the Hill was a tremendous success where participants discussed successes and challenges of living and working in rural Utah,” said Ryan Starks, managing director for Business Services at the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “One common thread among rural Utah residents is the dedication and passion for making their communities strong and prosperous.”

The day’s festivities started with the meeting of the Governor’s Rural Partnership Board, where agenda items included a brief overview of bills impacting rural Utah and an update on Opportunity Zones, to name a few.

After the meeting, attendees convened in the State Office Buiding to hear presentations from local officials and Governor’s Office of Economic Development employees.

Highlights included:

  • Natalie Gochnour, from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, gave an overview of Utah’s rural economy.
  • The 2020 Friends of Rural Utah awards were presented to Rep. Carl Albrecht and Shirlee Silversmith. The Next Generation Leader award was presented to Paul Hill. 
  • Kori Ann Edwards, GOED’s managing director of operations, discussed legislation impacting rural Utah.
  • Mike Finnerty, director of the Small Business Center, recognized small business clients of the year. Awards were presented to:
    • Cedar City – Export Computer Exchange
    • Ephraim – Soapcreek
    • Kaysville – Traverse Tours & Travel
    • Logan – Lifestyle Homes
    • Moab – Café Italiano
    • Ogden – Therapeutix
    • Orem – NectarHr
    • Price – Ponderosa Grill
    • Richfield – Puddle Jumpers
    • Salt Lake City – Teaching it Right
    • St. George – Splash City Adventure
    • Tooele – Hometown Tire and Auto
    • Vernal – Papa John’s Pizza
  • Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox gave concluding remarks about the importance of having rural voices heard in state government.