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Voice of Business: Using the chamber’s big voice to help the community
Nov 09, 2013 | 2716 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print

By Jim Smith

Davis Chamber CEO

I’ve had people ask me, “Why is it important for me to be involved in the community?” After years of being involved in the business community, my answer to this question is this: the health of your company and of your family is a reflection of the health of the community. 

Let me illustrate that from experience in my career in banking. When the local economy was weak, sales went down in my customer’s companies. Companies had to reduce staff in order to maintain solvency so people lost jobs. 

As a result, they couldn’t spend money in the community at the grocery store and that rippled through the economy even further. That meant my bank had fewer deposits to loan out in my community. 

It also meant the loans already on my books were weaker as companies struggled to make enough profit to meet payment obligations. Weak loans and increased delinquency meant I had to downgrade my loan portfolio, leading to further losses. This downward spiral continued until the local economy turned around. That example works the same for virtually every industry, and it is true for your family. A weak economy hurts everyone.

Davis County is in a position of economic strength right now. The county was the leader of employment growth in Northern Utah, according to data shared with us by Tyson Smith, Regional Economist for the Department of Workforce Services. In 2011 and 2012, we created more jobs than our neighboring counties, and they are good paying jobs that can support a family. You’ve heard that we are already ahead of the nation in virtually all economic measurements Р and now we are poised to come out of the recession even stronger. On top of all that, our economy is one of the most diverse in the nation, further insulating us from future downturns.

The Davis Chamber gets involved in issues that impact the health of our community. We take reasoned positions on those issues and develop a consensus solution to problems. Let me share just two of the issues we get involved in and how they impact the community.

Education is one of the most important drivers of economic growth. The Chamber was involved in obtaining approval of new engineering degrees through Weber State University. We are also heavily involved with the Davis Applied Technology College in supporting their curriculum in composites training. 

As a result, when jobs open at Hill Air Force Base, or when a new aerospace company wants to relocate to Davis County, we can tell them that we will provide the employees they want with the education they need. That enhances economic development, and it helps your company and your family.

The fiscal responsibility of our legislators also makes Utah, and Davis County, a great place to live and to work. Stable government is one of our greatest strengths and does not go unnoticed in the world. 

Our government in Utah is known for being conservative, keeping taxes low, living within our means, and planning for a “rainy day.” 

That is a key driving force behind Utah’s strength in economic development today. If you were looking for a place to locate your new business, would you choose California or Utah? Not a hard decision.

There are huge advantages to living in a fiscally conservative state that balances budgets and maintains low debt. 

We need to appreciate our legislators (and particularly our Davis County legislators) for all they do in maintaining that strength. The Chamber works closely with them on the issues that matter.

In answer to the question “why should I be involved in the community” I will repeat - your involvement in the community makes a difference. 

Come join us and get involved in the Davis Chamber and help us identify the things that matter.

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