Safety restraint-use focus of campaign

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    SCOTT BRADFOR

    With an optimistic attitude about the future of Utah County’s economic development, local business and political leaders met at Sundance Tuesday to discuss the current status and trends among local businesses.

    A wide range of representatives from the business sector were present at the Utah Valley Leadership Conference, providing input about the status of the county as they saw it. The general belief of all participants was that Utah County is a great place for opportunity.

    Todd Parker, public relations director for the Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce said white collar, blue collar and tourist industries are all growing within the county.

    In a speech at the conference, Peter Genereaux, chairman and CEO for the Utah Information Technology Association said although Corel and Novell are the dominant technology-based companies in the county, there are more technology businesses in the county than there are fast food restaurants. Genereaux said the county actually accounts for 40 percent of the Utah’s technology production.

    Genereaux said these businesses are full of opportunity, paying about $17,000 per year more than the same jobs in other fields of business. However, the biggest problem in the county is the lack of workers. For the businesses to stay competitive, they may have to pay their employees even more, he said.

    Ann Coleman, plant manager of Nestle Frozen Foods (Stouffer’s) in Springville, said the technological field isn’t the only power house in the county — blue collar work is also going strong. Coleman said because the Springville plant was built in 1984, they have had to expand factory space three times.

    Coleman said Stouffer’s does well because it takes care of its employees. With unskilled positions starting at $9 an hour along with benefits, they are one of the more attractive non-union employers in the valley.

    While this may seem like a great job opportunity, one problem the companies face is the attitude toward manufacturing in Utah.

    “Not many people want to grow up to become a frozen food line worker,” Coleman said.

    Nevertheless, the jobs are there, and they are permanent if the employee wants it that way, Coleman said.

    Along with these product-oriented groups, tourism in the state has become very lucrative with more than $3.55 billion brought to the state last year by tourists, said Dave Porter, director of publicity for the Utah Travel Council.

    Porter said the word is out about Utah’s national parks, and as the tourists come, they are finding more to do.

    Surveys have shown tourists spend a lot of money and time in Utah because they see Utahns as a friendly and clean people. Porter said Utahns need to remember to keep this image and be mindful of places and events which may be of interest to visitors, since tourist-related business is paying off more and more each year.

    One of the tourist-geared businesses Porter mentioned is Thanksgiving Point. Clive Winn, director of support services at Thanksgiving Point, said this attraction was meant to promote Utah County and increase the business within.

    Winn said the world-class gardens and elite shops will give tourists the desired impression that Utah County is a beautiful place where people will want to work and live.

    County Commissioner Dave Gardner said business in the county is as strong as ever, and with national corporations continually knocking at the door, the economic future of Utah county looks positive.

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