News Release
For Immediate Release
June 4, 2013

Michael Sullivan, GOED Communications Director

STEM Action Center Board and Chair Announced
Consortium of public-private business leaders to guide STEM education into the future 

Salt Lake City, UTAH — The Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced today the formation of the Science Technology Engineering and Math Action Center board and selection of the chair. With the board in place, specific goals for STEM education are being prioritized and long-term execution of those goals will drive statewide coordination of STEM-related activities and the alignment of industry needs with higher education.

“Education is a top priority of mine and is one of the most important investments Utah can make,” said Governor Gary R. Herbert. “STEM Education is an essential part of this investment and is critical in developing Utah’s workforce for the future.”

The Governor appointed Jeffery Nelson, President and CEO of Nelson Laboratories, as the Chair of the STEM Action Center Board. Nelson will oversee the STEM Board’s decisions and STEM Education’s progress throughout the state.

Mr. Nelson is a Specialist Microbiologist with the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists. He currently serves as the Vice Chairperson for BioUtah, a trustee on the Westminster College Board, and as an adjunct professor at Westminster College.

The STEM Board is comprised of:

  • Bert VanderHeiden, Vice President of Aerospace Structures, ATK
  • Blair Carruth, Assistant Commissioner for Academic Affairs, Utah System of Higher Education
  • Brad Rencher, Senior Vice President and General Manger, Adobe
  • Christine Kearl, Deputy for Education, Office of the Governor
  • Gene Levinzon, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs
  • Jeffery Nelson, President and CEO, Nelson Laboratories, STEM Chair
  • C. Mark Openshaw, State Board of Education
  • Martell Menlove, Superintendent, State Board of Education
  • Robert Brems, President, Utah College of Applied Technology
  • Stan Lockhart, Government Affairs Manager, IM Flash Technologies
  • Spencer P. Eccles, Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, STEM Vice Chair

The STEM Action Center will help to increase the number and quality of STEM educators and professionals, and will drive research and implementation of STEM education best practices across Utah.

The STEM Action Center will leverage a $10 million investment, appropriated by the state in HB-139, to create a hub of collaboration to improve the effectiveness of STEM education in the state.

The board will advance STEM by using the 2013 appropriation of $5 million to build the math skills of sixth, seventh and eighth graders and $3.5 million for college math readiness.

In the next decade STEM will be required by almost all of the 30 fastest growing occupations in the state and Utah has one of the fastest rates of STEM growth in the nation, according to a Georgetown University study.


About the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED)

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) charter is based on Governor Gary Herbert’s commitment to economic development statewide. Utah’s economic development vision is that Utah will lead the nation as the best performing economy and be recognized as a premier global business destination. The mandate for this office is to provide rich business resources for the creation, growth and recruitment of companies to Utah and to increase tourism and film production in the state. GOED accomplishes this mission through the administration of programs that are based around targeted industries or “economic clusters” that demonstrate the best potential for development. GOED utilizes state resources and private sector contracts with organizations such as the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah), Utah Defense Alliance, the Manufacturers Extension Partnership (MEP) and others to fulfill its mission. For more information please contact: Michael Sullivan, 801-538-8811 or