uammi-site-selection-magazineOutdoor companies that have chosen to headquarter in Utah include Black Diamond, Skullcandy, Ground Zero, Easton and GPS. The outdoor economy has become such a boon to Utah that, in 2013, Governor Gary Herbert created a first-in-the-nation statewide Office of Outdoor Recreation.

“Our mission,” says office director Tom Adams, “is to make sure that all Utahans can live an active lifestyle through outdoor recreation. People here tell their friends and family about Utah and tourism gets boosted. Then, before you know it, new businesses come to Utah. We’ve seen this happen time and time again. Every company we work with says that outdoor recreation is a vital point of why they’re moving to Utah.”

Adams notes that, with the boost from the highly successful 2002 Winter Games, entire Utah communities — including Ogden, Moab, and Park City — have shifted economic focus from minerals extraction to outdoor sports. The Wall Street Journal has named Ogden as “the center of outdoor sports gear” in the U.S. In addition to Enve Composites, outdoor companies that call Ogden home include Amer Sports, Mercury Wheels and Osprey Packs.

A State That Makes Things

There’s a saying in Utah: “What Utah makes, makes Utah.” This is a state whose official motto is the single word “Industry.”

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, manufacturing makes up 12 percent of Utah’s economic output, totaling $20 billion annually. Some 3,600 manufacturing companies employ more than 125,000 Utahans with an average annual compensation of more than $65,000 per worker.

“We’re extremely diversified in manufacturing,” says Todd Bingham, president of the Utah Manufacturers Association. “The supply chain for manufacturing is very well connected, and many of our manufacturing companies do business in multiple sectors. There’s a very good mixture of high-tech manufacturing and then traditional manufacturing.” Read more…