Utah County rates high for sus­tained in­vest­ment

Serve Daily - - BUILDING COMMUNITY - By Mike Stans­field

Utah County was re­cently se­lected as one of the top coun­ties in the na­tion po­si­tioned to at­tract mod­ern in­vest­ment and man­age eco­nomic growth. In the re­cent Fourth Econ­omy Com­mu­nity In­dex rank­ing for com­mu­ni­ties with a pop­u­la­tion of 500,000 or more, Utah County ranked third.

Call­ing the high rat­ing a sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment, Fourth Econ­omy Con­sult­ing ob­served that this is not just an­other “best places” rat­ing, but rather an in­dex to gauge the abil­ity of com­mu­ni­ties to at­tract and re­tain sus­tain­able in­vest­ment. The award was pre­sented to the Utah County Com­mis­sion in their reg­u­larly sched­uled meet­ing on Tues­day, March 24.

Us­ing sta­tis­ti­cal and qual­i­ta­tive fac­tors, the FEC in­dex ex­am­ined fac­tors in five ar­eas at the county level: In­vest­ment, Tal­ent, Sus­tain­abil­ity, Place and Di­ver­sity. In the let­ter an­nounc­ing the award, the com­pany said, “Our ex­pe­ri­ence sug­gests that th­ese five ar­eas serve as a foun­da­tion for fu­ture eco­nomic suc­cess,” and added, “Your com­mu­nity is among the best.”

In mak­ing the an­nounce­ment, the rea­sons for the high rat­ings were out­lined. Among those men­tioned were the nu­mer­ous out­door recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties avail­able while res­i­dents also en­joyed the con­ve­niences of city life in one of Amer­ica’s faster grow­ing ar­eas – the Provo-Orem metropoli­tan area. Cit­ing county lead­er­ship, the an­nounce­ment fo­cused on the close part­ner­ships be­tween cities and the county, stat­ing, “They have col­lab­o­rated on ini­tia­tives to in­crease pros­per­ity and re­siliency for both the county and the city.”

Also drawing praise in the an­nounce­ment was the con­sis­tency of the busi­ness-friendly en­vi­ron­ment and the county’s lead role in in­no­va­tion tech­nol­ogy. Utah County Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Manager Russ Fother­ing­ham said that Utah County cit­i­zens are “very en­tre­pre­neur­ial in Utah, es­pe­cially in Utah Val­ley, and have a long-stand­ing en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit.” Also praised was the high qual­ity work­force gen­er­ated by Utah Val­ley Uni­ver­sity and Brigham Young Uni­ver­sity.

Sum­ming up the high rank­ing Utah County re­ceived, Fourth Econ­omy, the na­tional eco­nomic devel­op­ment con­sult­ing firm re­spon­si­ble for the na­tional rank­ing, said, “Utah County has suc­cess­fully pro­tected their recre­ational and nat­u­ral as­sets while al­low­ing eco­nomic growth in the core pop­u­la­tion cen­ter of the county. They have cre­ated space for high-tech, en­cour­aged in­no­va­tion in en­ergy pro­duc­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing, all while suc­cess­fully build­ing part­ner­ships with uni­ver­si­ties, gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor.”

Spe­cific in­di­ca­tors used to de­ter­mine rank­ings in­cluded wage and em­ploy­ment growth, ed­u­ca­tion lev­els, drive times, home val­ues, mi­nor­ity busi­ness own­er­ship, al­ter­na­tive mea­sures of em­ploy­ment, en­trepreneur­ship and pop­u­la­tion den­sity. Those mea­sures were then weighted based on the level of in­flu­ence they have on both in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal in­vest­ment de­ci­sions. Named first in the rank­ing was Wash­ing­ton County, Ore­gon, fol­lowed by Dane County, Wis­con­sin.

Utah County com­mis­sion­ers were re­cently pre­sented an award rec­og­niz­ing the county’s abil­ity to at­tract in­vest­ment and man­age eco­nomic growth.

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