Jeremy Hafen

Jeremy Hafen

As chair of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce last year, I was grateful to be a part of the effort to form a group solely focused on convening thought leaders to imagine the future of Utah Valley — Valley Visioning.

The Valley Visioning committee is tasked with bringing business, government and community leaders together to envision the steps needed to ensure a successful future for all of us. This coalition is dedicated to forming a regional vision that will shape the growth that is coming to Utah Valley.

The Valley Visioning committee includes all of Utah County’s Chambers of Commerce, education institutions, and Envision Utah. However, its vision will not be complete without a strong influence from our business community throughout the valley.

We need business leaders to lend their strategic mindset, economic sense and leadership for the good of our collective success. The more perspectives and valley-wide representation, the better the solutions.

By 2065, Utah Valley will likely add more than 1 million people to its population. With incredible growth comes exciting opportunities and unique challenges; therefore, we must be intentional about planning our future to preserve and elevate the quality of life Utah Valley residents enjoy today.

One of my greatest hopes for our area is to see Utah Valley continue to thrive as a place of opportunity and prosperity for our children as they grow up.

As this growth comes, we can be divided, self-interested, and disorganized — or we can be unified, strategic and smart. Creating a unified future for our valley is not optional. Why? If we fail to prepare, plan and create the best outcomes, the results will be chaos — traffic congestion, housing problems, disconnected communities and missed opportunities for progress.

We must be deliberate, forward-thinking, and keep an eye on what is coming. We need better planning throughout Utah Valley.

Utah Valley’s growth is not all happening in one place — new housing is populating South Utah County and West Utah County, and increased density is emerging in Central and North Utah County. From Saratoga Springs to the south of Spanish Fork, the viewpoints and needs throughout the county vary widely. Therefore, we need better representation from Utah Valley’s business leaders at the drafting table as we design our future.

The planning will fall short if it’s only created by public institutions and association leaders. Key business leaders and existing employers throughout the area are a crucial stakeholder group. Sometimes, people in business can lose sight of what it means to give back, to contribute. In my experience as former president of Sunroc Corp., Sunpro Corp.and now as president of the Clyde Business Group, the best employers find ways to give back to the community that supports them.

I’m calling out to all leaders in the business community to join me. Let’s partner with community leadership and all levels of elected officials to champion the evolution of Utah Valley. Growth is inevitable — let’s be smart and let’s be strategic. Let’s create a home the next generation will want to build on. Wherever you work or live, from Silicon Slopes and Saratoga Springs to Provo and Payson, it’s time to rise up and build a better community in Utah Valley.

Good business is more than making profit — it’s about making an impact by serving the community. Good business is good for Utah.

Jeremy Hafen is president of the Clyde Business Group.

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