The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) announced today the appointment of Benjamin Hart as the new managing director for urban and rural business services.
The appointment fills a key leadership position in GOED that was held by Vincent Mikolay, who recently returned to the private sector. Hart comes to GOED from the Department of Workforce Services (DWS), where he served as the director of employer support initiatives. During his tenure at DWS, Hart oversaw the department’s business efforts, which included multiple business and education partnerships and the development and implementation of several programs that have served hundreds of businesses across the state.
While at DWS, Hart was responsible for programs such as the Small Business Bridge program and the UCAIR Clean Air Assist program. He also oversaw several education grant programs including the Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership, which is designed to help educational institutions create and expand certificate and degree programs for careers that have high demand in the private sector. The grants have provided more than $10 million in funding to educational programs. These programs help Utah’s workforce improve its overall skill set and contribute to business growth throughout the state.
“We are excited to have someone with Ben’s experience and expertise join the GOED team,” said Val Hale, GOED executive director. “His work with economic development at Layton City and his subsequent position at the Department of Workforce Services has given him invaluable experience in workforce development and other economic development strategies. In addition, Ben is widely known and respected throughout the state among business and community leaders. He is wonderfully qualified to take on this new assignment with the GOED team.”
During his career, Hart has worked for Zions Bank in business underwriting and Layton City, where he was the economic development and community development block grant administrator. While at Layton City, Hart led several initiatives to support Hill Air Force Base, including the city’s efforts to create the East Gate Business Park. East Gate is now home to Janicki Industries, a leading aerospace manufacturing company.
Hart has also served in several statewide positions with industry organizations including the Utah Redevelopment Association, the International Council of Shopping Centers and others. He has also been active member in several national trade associations affiliated with the aerospace and defense industries such as SAMPE, AUVSI and the Air Force Association. Hart completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Utah.
In accepting the new position at GOED Hart noted, “It is a great honor to join the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and to help support businesses in both urban and rural Utah. GOED has assembled a tremendous team that is uniquely qualified to facilitate economic growth during this time of expansion and opportunity. I am excited to help every Utah business benefit from our expanding economy, and I look forward to working on those issues that are critical to sustaining private sector growth. During my career I have been fortunate to work with business, education and civic leaders throughout the state, and I look forward to continuing that work at GOED.”