Annual Events

Envision Utah holds three annual events, including the Corporate Friends Breakfast, Common Good Awards Luncheon, and Envision Utah Governor's Quality Growth Awards.

2019 Common Good Awards

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Thank you to everyone who made this year's Common Good Awards such an amazing success! We heard Robert J. Grow, Envision Utah CEO, share what he's learned about growth over the past several decades and his thoughts on what the coming decades could bring. In addition, we were pleased to honor this year's Common Good Awards, Neighborhood House, local oil refineries (Chevron Corp., Marathon Petroleum, Silver Eagle Refining Inc., and Sinclair Oil Corp.), and Governor Gary Herbert. Congratulations! Thank you for all you do to make Utah a great place to live—now and in the future.

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The 2019 Common Good Awards are Proudly Sponsored By: 


Gold Sponsors

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Silver Sponsors

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Bronze Sponsors    

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Envision Utah is Grateful for a Generous Matching Grant From:



2018 Spring Breakfast

On May 23 panelists Natalie Gochnour, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, Adam Wasserman, GLD Partners, Hanko Kiessner, Packsize International, and Derek Miller, Salt Lake Chamber discussed the elements of a successful inland port and highlighted some of the benefits and potential challenges of having one in the Northwest Quadrant of Salt Lake County.
Throughout the discussion, panelists returned to four main points that are essential to a successful inland port:

  1. Carefully approach the issue. Many Utahns have expressed concern about the way the inland port is being planned. Panelists stressed that now, more than ever, we need to re-focus on the substance on an inland port rather than the politics.
  2. Maximize the potential of an inland port. What’s being planned for Utah—a global trade center, positioned at the “confluence of opportunity and connectivity” is unique compared to other inland ports across the country. The port will be well positioned for access to interstate roads, railways, and air travel—essential for the large-scale import and export of goods the port is expected to facilitate.
  3. Look beyond the short-term. The inland port will not only impact Utah’s local economy, it will put the state on the world map and strengthen its ties to the global supply chain. Collaboration and an inclusive process will also be necessary for success.
  4. Manage air quality and traffic. How will the state handle an influx of rail, air, and truck emissions when its air quality is already dangerously poor? Panelists highlighted some of the technology that is available that could be used to reduce negative impacts on air quality and emphasized that traffic and air quality are issues that need to be studied and managed. 

2018 Common Good Awards

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We'd like to extend a big thanks to everyone who made this year's Common Good Awards such a record-breaking success! We heard Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez, UVU President, share her story on how the power of a vision for the future took her from extreme poverty to international leadership in the tech industry. Using Singapore as an example, Dr. Tuminez also explained Utah's unique potential to plan for the future and harness rapid growth. In addition, we were pleased to honor this year's Common Good Awardees, Kids On The Move, Cowboy Partners, and Gail Miller. Congratulations! In the words of Dr. Tuminez, "You make Utah a better place to achieve so many dreams."



Born into extreme poverty in the Philippines, Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez relied on education to rise and become an international leader in the tech industry. She’ll share her story and her thoughts on Utah’s position in the global market – and what that means for the fastest growing county and university in the state. Click here to watch Dr. Tuminez share a little of her story. Dr. Tuminez became the seventh president of Utah Valley University in 2018. She is the first woman to serve full-time as UVU president.

Governor Gary Herbert presented the awards and spoke about Utah County and the explosive growth headed its way. He shared what we need to do to ensure the area remains a great place to live – including his vision for Utah County (and the rest of the state) as an example of quality growth, nationally and internationally. Click here for the PDF invitation.


Announcing the 2018 Common Good Award Recipients

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Larry H. Miller Group – Gail Miller
Gail Miller has fostered a strong legacy of giving back to the communities in which her company does business. Last year the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation offered to match up to $10 million in donations towards services and programs provided by Shelter the Homeless, a SaltLake County-based nonprofit working to build three new shelters and resource centers in 2019.

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Cowboy Partners – Dan Lofgren
Cowboy Partners is committed to the idea that our community is a profoundly better place when we succeed in nurturing and creating affordable housing and housing stability. Led by founder Dan Lofgren, the Cowboy Partners team has applied itself with remarkable tenacity and with an innovating approach to creating affordable housing solutions in a decades-long effort that continues to grow.

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Kids On The Move – Scott Bean
For more than 30 years, Kids On the Move has focused on early intervention, early head start, and autism programs that support the development of young children and their families. With an autistic daughter of his own, Scott Bean, KOTM Chief Executive Officer, knows first-hand what parents of disabled children face. He and the KOTM team use that empathy and their professional expertise to help families find hope and answers for their individual situations.

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The 2018 Common Good Awards are Proudly Sponsored By:


Gold Sponsors

intermountain               Dominion Energy 249x88           RMP


Silver Sponsors

FIDELITY logo             gold Daybreak Communities 4C


Bronze Sponsors    

goldmansachs1           KeyBank logo 1795U 01     LDS Foundation         miller foundation blue    PartnersHorizLogoBlk .  New AARP RP Logo


Envision Utah is Grateful for a Generous Matching Grant From:



2019 Spring Breakfast

Disaster Resilience

 Thank you to everyone who joined us at this year's Spring Breakfast, and a special thanks to our sponsors and our wonderful keynote speaker—BYU law professor and disaster law expert Lisa Grow Sun—for making the event such a great success! Lisa explained the safety hazards and economic risks of living on a major fault line, why we're often reluctant to prepare for a natural disaster, and how we can build our community resilience in case of a large earthquake.

What are the risks?
The Wasatch Front region is overdue for a "Big One" (an earthquake with a magnitude around 7.0). The following Hazus estimates show the potential for devastation if the earthquake were to occur along the Salt Lake segment of the Wasatch Fault:
2,000 - 2,500 fatalities (putting us in the top five worst natural disasters in U.S. history)
7,400 - 9,300 critical injuries
84,400 displaced households
480,000 homes without potable water (that's over 60 percent of homes in the area)
444,000 homes without power (59 percent of homes)

Why is Utah at such a high risk?
Not only is most of our population and infrastructure concentrated along the Wasatch Fault, we also live on the former bed of Lake Bonneville. That means a big portion of the Wasatch Front is at risk for liquefaction during a major earthquake. On top of those risks, we had limited awareness of our earthquake risk until the 1970s, so fewer of our homes and businesses are built to withstand a disaster.

Why don't we do more to address the risk?
Because of the high costs of preparing our communities for an earthquake and the complexity of retrofitting privately owned homes and other buildings, tackling this problem can feel a little overwhelming. Plus, Lisa explained, there are psychological elements at play. Most of us love living in Utah, so we subconsciously downplay the risks of that choice.

What should we do to prepare?
Lisa offered a handful of ways we can prepare our state for a big earthquake or other natural disaster, like retrofitting old buildings, upgrading building codes, insuring our homes and businesses, and investing in lifeline infrastructure resilience. It's a lot to take on—but Utah was built on just the kind of "can do" attitude we'll need to make these changes happen.

Click here if you'd like to view Lisa's slides. Thanks for such a great event—we'll see you again at next year's breakfast! 



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Lisa Grow Sun, J.D. | Brigham Young University, Professor of Law

Lisa Sun is a native Utahn and renowned expert in disaster law. She co-chaired the Disaster Resilience Action Team for the Your Utah, Your Future process, in which she worked with Utah's leading disaster readiness experts to model the effects of major earthquakes, wildfires, and flooding—and to identify the state's biggest vulnerabilities.
Lisa is also co-author of the leading disaster law book in the country and teaches disaster law and constitutional law at Brigham Young University. Earlier in her career, Lisa was the first woman to graduate first in her class from Harvard Law School and the first woman to graduate summa cum laude (plus the first summa cum laude in 15 years). She has clerked for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and was a lecturer at Stanford Law School and a guest lecturer at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Lisa has three teenaged children, and her husband runs one of Utah's fastest-growing tech companies. Together, they've built their home right on the Wasatch Fault.

2018 Quality Communities Academy

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In early 2017, Envision Utah partnered with some of the most knowledgeable planners, designers, community development leaders, and other professionals to host the first annual Quality Communities Academy, a two-hour academy covering topics essential to the development of successful centers. Click here to learn more about the first Quality Communities Academy.
The Quality Communities Academy is tailored towards planning commissioners and city councilors and focused on some of the most important topics and considerations for developing quality communities. Academy speakers included Julie Bjornstad from the Wasatch Front Regional Council, Jim Wood from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, Ari Bruening from Envision Utah, Evan Curtis from the Governor's Office of Management and Budget, and Susan Becker from Zions Bank. The second Quality Communities Academy was held on May 19th, 2018.

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Click here for the promotional flyer for the 2018 academy.

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The workshop was broadcast through the Utah State University Extension campuses in eight counties across the state. These locations included Salt Lake City, Kaysville,  Brigham City, Utah State University, Orem, Vernal, Ephraim, St. George, and Moab.

A recording of the academy follows:

Thank You to the Academy's Sponsors!

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Spring Breakfast 2017



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Thank you for a terrific (and record breaking) Spring Breakfast this year. Panelists from Ancestry, Pluralsight, Instrucutre, and Silicon Slopes discussed the future of the tech boom in Utah and had some keen insights into what we can all do to make sure Utah is booming for years to come. 

For those who couldn't make it, (and those who want a refresher) here are some key takeaways from the discussion: 

Panelists said they want to hire the best talent wherever they can find it, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion, but they also want their workforce to reflect their customers from around the country. Utah may not be as diverse as other places with major tech hubs, but we can support our economy by being welcoming and inviting to everyone as individuals and as a larger community. Panelists also discussed gender gap issues and the importance of ensuring fair compensation for women as well as mentoring programs to help women see technology and sciences as available career paths.

Air Quality:
According to a recent Envision Utah survey of employees at high-tech firms, air quality is the number one reason these tech employees might leave Utah. Panelists agreed and said cleaning up the air should be a top priority to nurture the tech industry. They suggested electric cars, alternative energy sources, and more efficient buildings as important steps.

From increasing teacher salaries to more extensive internship programs, all panelists agreed that education in Utah is a top priority. They explained that they love to hire locally, if Utahns have the right skills and knowledge. But at the rate these companies are growing, Utah colleges and universities need to produce more top talent. 

Once again, thank you to our panelists and everyone who contributed to make this year’s breakfast such a major success. Those who attended came away with a great perspective on what we need to do help Utah’s industry continue thriving for years to come.

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Panel moderated by Robert Grow, CEO, Envision Utah


Click here for the offical PDF invite

For any questions or concerns contact Rachael Swetnam

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Click here for previous breakfast details.

Your Utah Your Future Awards

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The Your Utah, Your Future Awards are back!

The awards ceremony will be held on May 23, 2019. The following are Your Utah, Your Future Awards winners by category:

Cornerstone One: A Network of Quality Communities
West Valley City Fairbourne Station
In 2004, one of Envision Utah’s earliest local projects was to plan a downtown for West Valley City. Fifteen years later, that vision is becoming a reality. The West Valley Fairbourne Station is a 40-acre mixed use development in the heart of Utah’s second largest city that combines retail and office space, residential living space, an upscale hotel, and a new business park. It is a vibrant destination for anyone, located just 10 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City and the airport. Centered around a TRAX station, it’s the hub of an intermodal transportation network. The increase in consumer shopping, job availability, and housing options have stimulated the economy significantly and better connected the community.
Holladay Village Center
What was once an area in need of renewal has been redeveloped into a thriving area of business, dining, and shopping. The Holladay Village development is anchored by a local Harmon’s grocery store and several restaurants that boost the city’s economy by encouraging residents to spend money within Holladay’s boundaries. By providing a series of amenities such as a barbershop, hardware store, and pharmacy, residents can run multiple errands in one place. The Village Center’s emphasis on pedestrian accessibility and residential connections has helped bring destinations closer to people which improves air quality, reduces overall traffic, and fosters a sense of community.

Cornerstone Two: Homes, Buildings, Landscaping and Cars of the Future
Localscapes is a 5-step landscape method that retains the look of a traditional yard while requiring 60% less water than the typical yard of today. It was introduced to the public in 2016 by the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District. There are in-person and online classes, support materials, example projects, government funding and model landscapes to help people implement water wise landscaping.
Mark Miller Toyota: Smog Rating Window Sticker
Mark Miller Toyota is making it easier to buy a clean car and demystifying the smog rating system found on federal window stickers with a simple, easy to understand window sticker that indicates how clean the vehicle is and its impact on Utah’s air quality.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Disaster Resilience
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been running 20-plus years of seismic, and energy efficiency upgrades to chapels, temples, and other facilities including the historic Salt Lake Tabernacle. With every major renovation of aging buildings, they are brought up to code for life safety, implementing the Church’s priority of getting people out of a building safely in the case of an emergency, such as an earthquake or fire. The renovations also follow the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification process with upgrades to energy efficiency and air quality systems.

Cornerstone Three: A Thriving Rural Utah
Grand County High Density Housing Overlay Ordinance 
Like many desirable and growing tourist destinations around the country, the Moab area is experiencing a shortage of affordable and workforce housing as local residents are priced out. Grand County’s High Density Housing (HDH) Overlay seeks to address part of the market shortage by incentivizing the production of new residential development. In exchange for significantly higher densities and additional development flexibility, the HDH Overlay requires that eighty percent (80%) of housing units created are deed restricted to primary residential households that are actively employed in Grand County. The increased density will catalyze new residential development by stabilizing land and construction costs. The Overlay allows developers to make their own decisions on unit type, mix, and price, while also ensuring their development is financially accessible to local workers, rather than retirees, second-home owners, or overnight rental operators.  

Cornerstone Four: People Prepared for the Future
Salt Lake City School District Peer Assistance Review Program
Salt Lake City School District’s Peer Assistance and Review program, commonly known as PAR, is a collaboration with the Salt Lake Education Association specifically designed to improve teacher quality by having experienced teachers’ mentor and evaluate their peers. The goal of the program is to support great instruction and retain effective teachers in our schools. PAR works by having a team of expert teachers’ mentor and provide intensive support to both new teachers and struggling veterans. These “Consulting Teachers” help to launch the careers of new teachers, renew the work of veteran teachers, and make employment recommendations with the aim of retaining high quality teachers in every classroom. Over the last 6 years, the PAR program has worked with nearly 300 new educators and shown a return to the district by improving new teacher retention by 22% over the state average.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Wilf Sommerkorn
Wilf has been involved in state, regional, and local planning matters all his career.  He was involved in the founding of Envision Utah and has participated in various ways throughout the organization’s 22-year history. He was an early participant in the Utah Quality Growth Commission leading to the development of the quality growth principles for the state


In the past, Envision Utah’s Governor’s Quality Growth Awards recognized exemplary projects and communities that keep Utah beautiful, prosperous and neighborly for future generations. Having rebranded the awards as the Your Utah Your Future Awards, Envision Utah, the Governor’s Office, and the Quality Growth Commission are again looking to recognize projects that have made significant impacts on key topic areas in Utah, contributing to livability across the state.

The Your Utah Your Future Awards honor plans, developments, and other projects that support the implementation of the Your Utah, Your Future vision. By building attractive, lively, and safe environments, award-winning projects add value to our communities and support a Utah that is safe, secure, and resilient; prosperous; neighborly, fair and caring; and healthy, beautiful, and clean.

The 2017 Quality Communities Academy

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In early 2017, Envision Utah partnered with some of the most knowledgeable planners, designers, community development leaders, and other professionals to host the first annual Quality Communities Academy, a two-hour academy covering topics essential to the development of successful centers. This academy was be split into three segments, covering some of the most important topics and considerations for developing quality communities.

Common Good Awards Luncheon

Thank you for joining us this year to celebrate excellence in education!