In a continued effort to provide Utah’s rural residents top-notch service, the Center for Rural Development, housed in the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, recently announced changes to its programs and two new team members.

The Center for Rural Development is enhancing its programs and services to encourage economic opportunities for all Utahns, regardless of geographic location. Based on Gov. Cox’s ‘One Utah Roadmap,’ rural Utah matters and has a voice in the state’s economic future.

“The Center enthusiastically supports expanded opportunities in rural investment programs that support remote work and entrepreneurship,” said Ryan Starks, managing director of Business Services in the Office of Economic Opportunity. “Our staff is committed to providing outstanding services, programs, and resources to rural Utah residents, including high-speed broadband deployment.”

The Center for Rural Development is focused on a regional outreach support model in delivering its programs and services. This model assigns three outreach managers to specific counties to foster relationships with local leadership and provide geographical representation. Starks added the model ensures each of Utah’s 25 rural counties receives tailored approaches to their unique opportunities and challenges.

The Center’s regional county outreach managers are:

  • Eden Johnson, who works with Box Elder, Cache, Morgan, Rich, Summit, Tooele, and Wasatch counties,
  • James Dixon, working with Daggett, Duchesne, Juab, Millard, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier, Uintah, and Wayne counties, and
  • Nan Anderson, working with Beaver, Carbon, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Kane, San Juan, and Washington counties.

Eden Johnson joins the Center as a program and outreach manager and will work closely with the Rural Association of Governments and rural counties to maximize the Center’s rural programs, offerings, and tools. Leila Reynolds also joins the team as a program support specialist. She will assist both the Center for Rural Development and the Utah Broadband Center in analyzing and sharing information about rural and broadband programs, along with a host of other duties.

James Dixon and Rebecca Dilg have both accepted new roles. Dixon was named associate director of the Center for Rural Development and will oversee the management and execution of crucial rural programs, including the Rural Coworking and Innovation Center Grant program, the Rural County Grant program, and the Targeted Business Tax Credit program. Additionally, Dilg will start her new position as broadband director of the newly created Utah Broadband Center. Dilg will oversee the deployment of broadband grant funds and coordinate maximizing Utah’s broadband connectivity footprint.

“We’re very fortunate to have the brightest and most dedicated employees as part of the Office of Economic Opportunity’s Business Services team,” Starks noted. “These team members continually give 110% and exemplify a commitment to excellence daily through their exemplary work.”