Former Utah Lieutenant Governor Gary Herbert was in Kanab as the keynote speaker for the second annual Kane County Economic Development Summit when it was confirmed Herbert would replace Jon M. Huntsman Jr. as Utah’s new governor.

“We had just finished dinner when phone calls started coming in and {Representative} Mike {Noel} came over and said, ‘Did you know we just had the new Governor here?’” said CEBA Executive Director Kelly Stowell. “We were all thrilled that he was in Kanab when the news broke.”   

The official announcement of Herbert’s new appointment had not yet been made public, so his remarks focused primarily on Utah’s position in recovering out of the recession. He explained we are in much better shape economically compared to other states and that Utah is set to recover the fastest.

About 120 people attended the two-day summit, hosted by the Center for Education, Business and the Arts (CEBA).  “Economic Stimulus Starts from Within” was this year’s theme and presenters’ topics centered around the economic issues facing Kane County.

 “The summit was very informative. It’s great to highlight rural areas of the state and what steps they are taking to advance the economic situation,” said Les Prall from the Governor’s Office of Rural Economic Development. 

Friday’s schedule of events began with the May Entrepreneur Forum at Southwest Applied Technology College. Ed Meyer, owner of KE Kanab, consulting firm and retired Director of Rural Development for the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, was the presenter.

Following the Entrepreneur Forum, participants enjoyed dinner and Governor to-be Herbert’s keynote address. Kenny Hall, a classic country western performer from Cannonville, provided the entertainment.

 “It’s great to have this type of event to understand what’s going on at the state level and to promote community camaraderie,” said a local Kanab resident.  

Event proceedings for Saturday May 16 started with a state of the county address by Commissioner Dan “Boone” Hulet. Participants then attended three breakout sessions with panels of experts.

Session one was “Advancing Natural Resources in Kane County.” Presenters were Representative Mike Noel, Utah Legislature, Water Conservancy District; Arun Raju, Ph.D., Director of Research, Viresco Energy; Luigi Resta, Chief Marketing Officer Scatec Solar North America, and Garkane Energy Engineering Manager Mike Avant,

Session two was “Current Economic Trends & Projections.” Presenters were Frank Lojko, Vice President Student Services, Institutional Research, Governmental Relations for Dixie State College and Wes Curtis, Vice President for Regional Services, Southern Utah University.

Session three was “Major Developments in Kane County” and presenters were Christina Schultz, Dixie State College Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Center for Education, Business, and the Arts Governing Board Chair; Jim Matson, Vermillion Services, Amangiri Resort Consultant; and Public Relations Manager for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary John Polis.

 “This was a highly successful event.  Based on the positive feedback we received, CEBA looks forward to providing opportunities like this in the future,” Stowell said.

The planning committee also commented on the importance of the sponsors and other contributors in providing this event at no cost to attendees.  Sponsors were Zions Bank, Zions Bank Public Finance, State Bank of Southern Utah, Color Country Resource Conservation & Development, Southwest Applied Technology College, Mountain America Credit Union, Wells Fargo, Kanab City, and Kane County. 

Door prizes were provided by Zions Bank, Southwest Applied Technology College, State Bank of Southern Utah, Stampin’ Up! Mountain America Credit Union, Honey’s Jubilee, Casa Blanca Resort and Casino, Parry’s Lodge, Lost Highway, Zion Pharmacy, Overstock Outlet and Glaziers Market.