The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), in conjunction with the World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah) and the Consulate General of Hungary in Los Angeles, hosted an award ceremony at the State Capital on November 25th, 2014. Franz Kolb, Director of International Diplomacy and Protocol at GOED was presented with the Hungarian Gold Cross of Merit by Laszlo Kalman, Consul General of the Hungarian Consulate in Los Angeles, who acted in behalf of the President of Hungary. The event celebrated the friendship between Utah and the Republic of Hungary, recognizing their diplomatic, cultural, and economic ties.

Franz Kolb boasts over 20 years of work for the State of Utah. “Over the years Franz has proven to be a tireless advocate for the State of Utah with both political and business leaders around the world. He has carried the message that Utah really is the right place to do business,” said Val Hale, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Kolb was highly instrumental in developing the Utah Ambassador Program, which provides a platform for businesses leaders to meet key foreign government officials visiting Utah. “Franz is the premier diplomat in Utah,” said Vincent Mikolay, Managing Director at GOED. “He has facilitated the hosting of over 300 Ambassadors and Consuls General from all over the world. His knowledge of international protocol is second to none.”

During his time at GOED Mr. Kolb has been tremendously successful in attracting foreign direct investment into the Beehive State. He has helped countless companies to export their products by organizing numerous trade missions and participating in trade shows. In 2013, he helped organize Utah-Europe Days, a two-day conference that brought international trade experts and 15 trade representatives from European Countries and the European Union to Utah. During the conference, Utah business leaders received instruction on European business strategies and the potential opportunities for enterprising Utah companies.

Utah has fostered strong ties with Hungary since being awarded the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in 1995 in Budapest. The beehive state has hosted numerous visits from Consuls General and Ambassadors over the years, three of which have occurred this year. Since 2009 Utah exports to Hungary have increased steadily by almost 50 percent.

The Hungarian Gold Cross of Merit was instituted in 1923 and became the Hungarian Order of Merit in 1935. The award is crafted with gilded silver and enamel work that is rarely equaled in quality and highly regarded throughout the world. This is the first time that the Gold Cross of Merit of Hungary has been awarded in Utah. Mr. Kolb is highly honored by the presentation of the award.

Utah is becoming a premier global business destination. Each year, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development hosts several trade missions, business seminars and forums that act as catalysts for international trade and expansion. For more information on doing business in Utah please go to utah.business.gov or contact the Governor’s Office of Economic Development at 801-538-8680.