Val Hale, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), appointed Kori Ann Edwards as managing director of operations and Ryan Starks as managing director of urban and rural business services. They’re replacing Jill Flygare and Ginger Chinn, respectively, who are going to work for the Utah Inland Port.

“We welcome Kori Ann and Ryan in their new roles at GOED,” said Hale. “With years of experience in finance and economic development, Kori Ann and Ryan have a tremendous amount of expertise. We’re looking forward to having them contribute as operations and business services team leaders, and to GOED’s executive management team. We look forward to working with them as we build upon Utah’s economic successes.”

As managing director of operations, Edwards will help provide operational strategies, planning and tactical management to ensure GOED has the proper internal controls, administrative and reporting procedures. She will also ensure the agency has people and systems in place to ensure appropriate operating efficiencies. Edwards will be responsible for building and maintaining robust systems, processes and management capacities. She will oversee GOED’s areas of finance, compliance, policy, contract management, human resources, technology services and facilities. She starts at GOED on Nov. 25, 2019.

“I’m unbelievably excited to join the amazing GOED team,” said Edwards. “Coming from industry, I have been working with GOED for over 13 years, and I truly believe in its commitment to statewide economic development. It will be an honor to support programs and resources designed to continue the effective growth of Utah’s economy.”

Edwards previously worked at Logistic Specialties, Inc. (LSI) for 20 years, and most recently as its senior vice president. In her role there, she oversaw operations, budget, contract management and compliance. She also worked as an account executive with Gates McDonald in Salt Lake City.

She received a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University in political science, with minors in economics and business/human resource management. She currently serves on many boards throughout the community, some of which include Utah Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Initiative, Ogden-Weber Technical College, and Davis Hospital and Medical Center. Edwards and her husband, Mark, have three children. They enjoy traveling and spending time together participating in activities across the state, and living the mantra, “a family that plays together, stays together.”

As managing director of urban and rural business services, Starks will direct strategic growth for Utah’s industry cluster program and manage GOED’s rural programs and workforce development initiatives. Additionally, Starks will oversee GOED’s business services, including resources and staff at Utah’s Business Resource Centers, the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) and the Utah SBIR program. Starks’ first day at GOED was Nov. 4, 2019.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to work with so many talented people at GOED,” said Starks. “I look forward to advancing key economic development programs and initiatives to help Utah maintain its dynamic economy and quality of life.”  

Starks was previously the executive director of Wasatch Economic Development/Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce and CVB. His previous employment includes jobs at Wasatch Center for Advanced Professional Studies, Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, the U.S. Government Accountability Office and at GOED. Starks is also an adjunct professor for Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business. 

He received a bachelor’s of arts degree from Weber State University, with a minor in legal studies and a master’s degree from Brigham Young University in public administration, with a finance and global management emphasis. He has served on the board of the Utah Office of Tourism and currently serves on the Utah State Parks and Recreation board. He resides in Heber City with his wife, Amy, and their four kids. As a family, they enjoy visiting Utah’s state and national parks.