The 2022 Eastern Utah Economic Summit was hosted for the fifth year at USU Eastern in the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center on Oct. 26-27. The summit provided a chance to learn and recognize the outstanding businesses of Eastern Utah.
The summit was kicked off on Wednesday evening with a western night. This fun evening included a mechanical bull, professional line dancing lessons, karaoke and delicious food catered by Ruben’s BBQ.
The next day, the summit was in full swing. It began at 8 a.m. and continued through the afternoon, chock full of breakout sessions, networking, a pitch competition and more.
Directly following lunch, Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson was welcomed to the stage to speak. A USU Eastern student introduced Lt. Governor Henderson, stating that she is a staunch advocate of expanding opportunities for all Utahns.
The Lt. Governor used her time to highlight the loneliness epidemic that has been prevalent in Utah, especially among students. She spoke on the need to connect with youth and how the governor is working on remedies with social media and young people, particularly with phones in schools.
She explained that a recent study showed that one in seven men and one in ten women do not have a single friend, not counting family. This speaks to the loneliness, isolation and disconnection in the world. The Lt. Governor stated that feeling the need to connect is a fundamental aspect of maintaining government and freedom.
Before concluding her speech, Lt. Governor Henderson also spoke on the housing shortages, labor shortages and how everything has become politicized. She stressed that addressing the crisis of loneliness is key to rebuilding.
Following this, Congressman John Curtis was welcomed to speak. He began with giving the business of the year awards to two local businesses that are staples to Carbon and Emery counties.
Before presenting the awards, the congressman thanked Greg Dart and the university for hosting the summit, saying that it was a tremendous amount of effort. He then announced the Small Business of the Year as Bookcliff Workwear and Sales. He stated that this business has been a mainstay of downtown Price for many years now.
Bookcliff has expanded to serve morphing and growing entrepreneurs in the Castle Country area. One of the things that Congressman Curtis was impressed with was the business’ commitment to downtown.
As a former Provo City Mayor, the congressman stated that he knows the lifeblood of a community is the downtown, and not only that, but a vibrant one. He praised the recently-created mural on Bookcliff’s building and what an amazing project it was.
Next, the Large Business of the Year award was presented to Peczuh Printing. Congressman Curtis spoke on how he has had conversations regarding the lure of the Wasatch Front and how it can take away from rural businesses.
He said that it is very clear that Peczuh Printing has kept its commitment, love and passion for Carbon County and many have been impacted by its investment in the area. He thanked them for their commitment to the region.
Congressman Curtis then said a few remarks on the summit and Carbon County itself. He stated that the summit has been running for five years and each year, it gets better. He remembered being asked how the state was going to take this community and get it to the next level with economic development.
Being honest, he stated that in the past, his view of Price was shaped by his trips to Lake Powell where it was a stopping point. He thought he knew Price, with landmarks such as an airport, hospital, a university, fiber internet and access to major roadways.
At that time, Congressman Curtis said that Carbon County was at a breakthrough to an economic boom. Looking back to where the county was five years ago, the congressman remarked that there has been a tremendous breakthrough and great process.
“This is a very different place than we were at five years ago,” stated Congressman Curtis.
The congressman reflected on his advantage coming back and really having an opportunity to be with the people and visit businesses, recreate and enjoy the great community that Carbon County is.
This time, he said, the lens that he has looked through is the people. Not roads, internet and the like. It is the difference of what the people offer that assures Congressman Curtis that the community is ready for a new breakthrough.