Members of the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce met for a sendoff for the director of the organization for the past eight years.
Ryan Starks came to be the director of tourism and economic development eight years ago. At a chamber luncheon on Tuesday Starks shared principles with community business leaders that he learned throughout his tenure. Advice ranged from having the right personnel, to having a good attitude and creating a can-do culture. One thing Starks was especially proud of was his collaboration with Bill Malone and the Park City Chamber/Bureau to create the Wasatch Back Economic Summit.
“We had Heber City, Midway City, Wasatch County partnering on the stage with Summit County, and Park City leaders,” Starks continued. “This happened at our last economic summit. To get that group on the stage, to have that collaboration, I think was really historic and really cool.”
Starks also shared with the crowd that he had already been given a different role in the Governor’s office of Economic Development. Instead of being operation and managing director he’ll be the managing director of rural and urban business services.
“I’ll be in a position to work with all rural counties and with urban business programs,” Starks explained. “So, it will allow me to travel around the state more to support local economic development efforts. So, there's a really good team of individuals at GOED (Governor's Office of Economic Development) that work in that division. They administer grants. They administer something called the business Resource Center there’s about 15 of those around state. They work closely in economic development planning. The governor issued the challenge for rural Utah to create 25,000 new jobs; I’ll be kind of a champion and cheerleader for that, and other duties as assigned I guess.”
Starks wrapped up his speech encouraging people to enjoy what they do.
“As I look back at my time in Heber Valley I think of hard work, I think of wonderful relationships, but also a lot of fun,” Starks said. “If we’re not having fun then why are we doing our job? So that's my challenge to you, love what you do.”
Starks begins his new position at the beginning of November. The Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce, tourism and economic development board are in the process of hiring a new executive director and potentially restructuring the office.