Joined by Congressman Burgess Owens and industry leaders, including Clyde Companies, LVT, and Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, we delved into the transformative power of health benefits for employees and their families.

As Owens commits to forging connections and advocating for policies that bolster talent recruitment and retention, it's evident that the nexus of healthcare and business is more crucial than ever.

Healthy employees not only drive productivity and reliability, but also radiate happiness. Matt Eyles, President & CEO of American Health Insurance Providers, highlights the empowerment of over 180 million Americans through employer-provided coverage, ensuring health and financial security.

With nearly 2 million Utahns covered by their employers (63% satisfied), health insurance's role as a motivator for job loyalty and decision-making remains resolute.

Digging deeper, 82% of Utah workers enjoy company-offered insurance with diverse plan choices and added benefits like dental and vision care. In the face of economic fluctuations, the investment by business owners in employee well-being resonates even louder.

Josselin Castillo, Manager of Federal Government Relations at NFIB, emphasizes the urgency for small employers to meet the evolving needs of their workforce amid inflation and talent shortages. Consumer appreciation for such investments in health and job satisfaction is truly promising.

Google is the world's biggest, and most valuable search engine (it's currently valued at approximately $90 billion USD), and it's earned the bulk of it's profits from its proprietary online advertising service, Google AdWords.

Google makes billions of dollars each year selling customized advertising that's targeted through their complex search engine algorithms which match internet users with ads that promote products and services they're searching for.

AdWords operates on a bidding system - that means advertisers compete against each other to secure the exact placement of their ads on search engine results pages (SERPs), and even whether or not their ads will appear at all. The more prominently and frequently an advertisement is displayed, the more conversions that ad will achieve for the business - that's what drives up the cost of keywords.

According to WordStream, as of December 2017, these were the top 20 most expensive keywords in Google AdWords Advertising:

Business Services - $58.64

Bail Bonds - $58.48

Casino - $55.48

Lawyer - $54.86

Asset Management - $49.86

Insurance - $48.41

Cash Services and Payday Loans - $48.18

Cleanup and Restoration Services - $47.61

Degree - $47.61

Medical Coding Services - $46.84

Rehab - $46.14

Psychic - $43.78

Timeshare - $42.13

HVAC Software - $41.24

Business Software - $41.12

Medical Needs - $40.73

Loans - $40.69

Plumber - $39.19

Termites - $38.88

Pest Control - $38.84

While the list of most-expensive keywords on Google search tends to shift slightly each year, in general, the focus of the keywords is around solving urgent problems or needs. For example, if someone is searching for a 'bail bond', chances are good they're looking for help right away - that means they'll be inclined to choose the first advertiser that pops up on their Google search results page.

The Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine (Noorda-COM) recently held a topping-off ceremony of its Academic Building, as workers put the final steel beam in place. Noorda-COM’s 140,000 square foot building in Provo will be home for the next generation of medical students. The building should be complete in 2023.

The significance of this milestone for Utah Valley and, frankly, for the entire state is a great one. Noorda-COM, which started its first class of students in August, will teach, train, and graduate medical students, nearly half of whom will be Utah residents. These students will significantly contribute to the shortage of medical professionals in the state and across the country.

The Utah Medical Association Council estimates the state will need hundreds of new physicians each year to meet medical needs. And, since Utah also continues to be at or near the bottom of national rankings for primary care physicians (49th), overall physician to population (44th), and for female physicians and general surgeons (50th). Additionally, according to data from Utah universities, about 250-300 students leave the state each year to attend medical school in other states.

Noorda-COM believes that its curriculum and learning structure will help more students stay and practice in Utah, as does the Utah Valley Chamber.

Noorda-COM has done a phenomenal job developing the school, recruiting the best faculty and staff, and with the beginning of its inaugural year with 90 medical students. Of this diverse group of students, about 21% come from underrepresented minority groups, 40% are women, and 55% are from Utah. In addition, about 58% of the students are bilingual, with 40% fluent in Spanish.

Noorda-COM has also established affiliation partner agreements with most primary healthcare systems, hospitals, and physician practice groups in Utah. This allows third-year Noorda-COM students to complete core clinical education at facilities within an easy 30-40-minute drive from campus.

At the event, Noorda-COM founding Dean and Chief Academic Officer John Dougherty said, “We are proud to be a partner with our local healthcare systems and medical groups who will work hand-in-hand with us to role model excellence in patient care, allowing us to fulfill our mission of developing competent, confident, compassionate physicians.”

Noorda-COM hasn’t stopped there. In November, Noorda-COM, in partnership with the Utah Valley University Woodbury School of Business, offered its students a combined degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and MBA, providing students an advantage in the business of medicine and healthcare throughout their careers.

During the event, former Governor Gary Herbert, UV Chamber Executive Chair, said, “Part of what makes our state so great is the quality and affordability of healthcare. We are blessed to have some of the best healthcare professionals — unfortunately, we don’t have enough of them. The Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine is providing an opportunity for more of our state’s sons and daughters to remain in the state for their medical education.”

This medical school is an additional pillar in the growth and development of Utah Valley as the center of economic development, medical and healthcare services, business, and higher education. Together these institutions will benefit the people of Utah Valley and throughout the state for the next century and beyond.

We congratulate and welcome Noorda-COM to Utah Valley.

During the past few weeks, there has been a major summit on the Great Salt Lake, multiple gatherings and summits on Utah Lake, and other meetings and discussions among various groups regarding air quality. Lake preservation, water quality and availability, and air quality are some of the largest concerns of a growing Utah population that is on track to double in size during the next 30 years – a large portion of which will be in Utah County.

The Legislative Policy Team of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce has established its areas of policy emphasis with the establishment of six sub committees that include natural resources, healthcare, education and workforce development, housing, transportation and infrastructure and business environment. At the top of the policy list is water and air quality, which fundamentally are closely tied together.

During a recent summit on the Great Salt Lake, it became very clear that the drought-stricken body of water is at its lowest level in recorded history, and it continues to recede at a fast pace. It’s not always clear to most people how this affects the state and the people who live here. 

First, the dust from the exposed shoreline, that is full of different types of particles and elements, is easily blown into the air creating a direct threat to the health of the people and to the air quality itself. It is common to see the Salt Lake Valley and beyond full of dust from the dry shoreline. 

Second, the lake’s ability to provide lake effect snow and contribute to the snowpack of the ‘greatest snow on earth’ is severely impacted. This shortens the ski season, creates pressure and costs to resorts in making snow for their ski hills, and directly impacting the economic health of the ski and winter tourism industry here in Utah. A whole host of additional issues arise as well from agricultural effects to wildlife management. 

Utah Lake shares many of the issues facing the Great Salt Lake and the two water bodies are uniquely connected to each other for survival. With a dying Great Salt Lake, every source of its precious water becomes a balancing act of supply and demand. Utah Lake is one of the key sources of water for the Great Salt Lake. Whatever happens to Utah Lake has a direct effect on Great Salt Lake.

Additionally, Utah Lake is feeling the pressure of generations of abuse in the form of pollution and mismanagement, population growth, introduction of non-native plants and wildlife, and industrial pressure. Today, there is rightfully a movement to both preserve and restore the lake. Many different groups are weighing in on this movement from conservation groups, developers, legislators, municipal and county officials, businesses and city and county citizens.

It is both a difficult and exciting time as the business community, public, and other organizations begin working together to determine the right courses of action to take in improving our water and air quality. The legislative team of the UV Chamber believes it can both participate and facilitate this effort.

The core position of the Chamber is to fulfill the vision of its Natural Resources Pillar, which is that the success of our area and our people is “inextricably linked to the proactive preservation and stewardship of our natural resources,” including, and especially, Utah Lake. The Chamber shares the communities’ goals in improving and promoting healthy air, supporting policies to advance sustainable water use and conservation, access to clean water, and encourage the utilization of the health and biodiversity of Utah Lake as a center for natural beauty and recreation, including any conservation efforts and structures that facilitate the same.

Working together, the future looks good. As a community, as Utah Valley, we will see the end of this drought, and working together will implement plans and policies to preserve and restore our waterways, increase our air-quality, and increase the quality of life for our people, families, and businesses.

Utah has done a pretty good job of weathering the pandemic, generally speaking. While not perfect, our recovery process seems to be going fairly smoothly and quickly, especially in comparison to many other states. That doesn’t mean that everything’s been sunshine and rainbows for everyone though. Plenty have lost their jobs and are looking for work. The good news is that there are resources available that can help.

Job Fairs

Sometimes knowing where to begin when looking to find a new job can be overwhelming. Attending a job fair can be a good place to start. Job fairs give you a chance to network with businesses and get a feel for what different options might be a good fit. Just as importantly, they can give you some indication of what options might be a very poor fit. If you want to meet a bunch of potential employers in a short amount of time, attending a job fair is the way to go.

Career Counseling

But what if you want to switch your career and don’t know how to go about it? Maybe you’ve been out of work for quite a while and aren’t sure how to best rejoin the workforce. If that sounds like you, career counseling may be a good option. Career counseling gives you a chance to meet with someone who can help you identify what jobs or careers might be a good fit for you, giving you direction and an idea of what to do next.

Apprenticeship Assistance

Depending on the job or career you want to get into, you may need to complete an apprenticeship before you can really get going. The Department of Workforce Services in Utah offers career and education assistance, including with apprenticeships. They have a list of apprenticeship job openings, resources that allow you to research apprenticeship programs, and may be able to help you connect with community and public assistance resources. You may even be able to apply for assistance with funding some of your apprenticeship expenses.

Just because you hear about all these places that are hiring doesn’t mean that landing a job is going to be easy. Fortunately, resources like job fairs, career counseling, and apprenticeship assistance are available to job seekers who need them. Remember, by building our workforce, we build our communities as a whole.

If you want to start making a difference, consider joining the Education and Workforce Development Committee and make your voice heard

With the world getting closer and closer to normal, more and more people are returning to work in a workplace setting. If you’ve found yourself wondering if the roads you take on your commute are more crowded than they were before the pandemic, it’s not just you. There really are more people on the roads. Utah Valley’s population is increasing rapidly. So what does that mean for housing?


Despite the pandemic triggering an economically challenging environment, businesses are generally doing quite well in Utah Valley, all things considered. A business-friendly environment has made Utah a desirable place for businesses to set up. This has led to the development of places like Silicon Slopes. When combined with the comparably affordable cost of living that we’ve historically had in Utah, it’s easy to see why people would be interested in moving here. And move here, they certainly have.


All those people moving in need places to live. The stereotypical story going around now usually involves someone moving in from out of state after having sold their home and then using that money to pay cash for a home here. Because the home values where these people are coming from are so high in comparison, cash offers are sometimes far above the asking price for the home. This is a huge part of what’s driving up home values in the area, and makes it very tough for first-time home buyers and those who are already living here to make competitive offers.


So what’s being done? You may have noticed a lot of new housing being developed. Addressing the short supply of housing when compared to the demand for it is one part of the equation. Building new apartment complexes and single family houses is a good place to start. Communities in general benefit from having a variety of housing options available. This tends to require diversity in zoning areas, which means involvement at a local level, as local governments are generally the ones who govern zoning decisions.

As Utah Valley’s population increases, so does the strain on resources, including housing. Affordable housing is harder to find, and will continue to be so until we find a solution to help balance the demands for housing from a growing population. It’s a complex issue, there is no doubt, but if we all come together, we can find a solution.Interested in being a part of the solution? Join the Housing Gap Committee to start making a difference in your community.

The Utah Valley Chamber is pleased to support Proposition 9. This proposition will change Utah County’s form of government from the current three-commissioner model to an executive-council form of government, which provides a separation between the executive and legislative branches and regional representation, both of which do not exist with the current form of government.

Utah County is growing rapidly. Recent studies show that our county will grow from a current population of 650,000 to over 1.6 million by 2065, adding more people than any other county in the state. This growth requires a government that is responsive to the diverse needs of the various regions of the county, and one that can advocate for the necessary infrastructure to prepare for growth. With the three-commissioner model we have three CEOs leading our county government, which creates challenges when advocating on behalf of Utah County. There is a lack of accountability and understanding on who is responsible for ensuring the needs of our county are being addressed. Moving to an executive-council form of government creates a separate legislative and executive branch, with a part-time legislature responsible for creating policy and adopting a budget, and a full-time executive responsible for implementing that policy and advocating for Utah County. This form of government is already in place within other counties in Utah and has the same separation of powers that exist within our city and state governments. It does not require a tax increase as the current budget allocated to three full-time commissioners is sufficient to cover the proposed full-time executive and five-part time council members. 

With the growth we are experiencing, it is more important than ever to have a form of government that provides greater accountability, greater transparency, and better representation. As business leaders throughout the county, we understand that it is essential our county prepare now for future growth in a way that keeps Utah County a desirable place to work and live. We believe that Proposition 9 provides a better form of government that is equipped to address the current and future needs of Utah County.

The Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce thanks Rona Rahlf for her six years of service as President/CEO and welcomes Stan Lockhart as its interim President/CEO.

Building on Success

Rona Rahlf recently announced she was stepping down as the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) President/CEO, which put the Chamber’s Board of Directors in motion to evaluate its value proposition and explore new opportunities to enhance its service to the local business community as well as provide sustainable leadership to the countywide Valley Visioning initiative and public policy effort that continues to help Utah County shape its future

“Rona has done an exceptional job in managing the Chamber over the past six years,” said Arthur Newell, senior vice president of Bank of Utah and former Chamber Board of Directors chair. “She has brought focus to the Chamber and taken events and policy advocacy to new levels of excellence. Chamber stakeholders are united in thanking Rahlf for her leadership and celebrate her success as the Chamber’s third President/CEO.”

Under Rahlf’s leadership, the Chamber, in association with all other chambers of commerce in Utah County, launched the Valley Visioning initiative that has brought business leaders, citizens, and public officials together to coordinate the Valley’s growth over the next 50 years. “Utah County is expected to double in population by 2050 and add an additional 1 million residents by 2065,” said Ari Bruening, CEO of Envision Utah, which has helped facilitate the Valley Visioning initiative. “Rona has played a key role in bringing the right stakeholders together to help the county envision and plan for its future. We look forward to continuing our important work with the new Chamber leadership.”

New Leadership

New leadership begins now with Stan Lockhart, who has volunteered to serve and was appointed as the Utah Valley Chamber Interim President/CEO through September 2020, during which the Chamber Board will conduct a formal search for the next Chamber President/CEO. Lockhart, whose full-time job as a lobbyist and business consultant with 30 years of experience in the technology industry (specifically in computer software sales and semiconductor manufacturing), understands the business community of Utah Valley and has been instrumental in bringing thousands of jobs to Utah.

“We are very fortunate to have Stan lead our transition at the Utah Valley Chamber,” said Chris Yadon, executive director of The Younique Foundation and current Chamber Board Chair. “He is respected, loved, and lauded by business and community leaders throughout the Valley and State. His service will be key as we pivot and execute on the Chamber’s mission moving forward.”

Additionally, Lockhart has served on a myriad of business and community boards and volunteered his expertise on behalf of multiple causes and organizations, including the Utah’s STEM Action Center, Provo City (City Council, Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, and Provo Library Board), Boy Scouts Utah National Parks Council, Boys and Girls Clubs of Utah County, Utah Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, Thanksgiving Point, Lone Peak Hospital, Utah Manufacturers Association, Utah Technology Council, Utah Taxpayer Association, Utah State Council on Workforce Services, and Rocky Mountain Power.

Clarifying the Chamber’s Plan Moving Forward

The Chamber Board sent a communication June 10, 2020 to its members that has resulted in some confusion—having some members believe that the Utah Valley Chamber was suspending its operation indefinitely, which is not the case. While COVID-19 has dramatically disrupted the economy, it has also compelled the Chamber, like many businesses, to examine its value proposition and pivot to streamline services and operations to better meet the expectations and needs of its members.

After careful review of the Chamber’s budget and operations, the Chamber Board voted unanimously on June 9, 2020, to temporarily pause operations so it could evaluate and refine its service model. The Chamber Board Executive Committee subsequently convened the Chamber’s Board of Governors (former board members and chairs) and interested stakeholders to help assess the Chamber’s value proposition, ensure it is meeting the needs of its members, and coordinate the grander vision for Utah Valley in partnership with the other local chambers and stakeholders in the County.

“The Board acted quickly to ensure the Chamber and new leadership would have the resources needed to implement and invest in strategies going forward,” said Yadon. “At this inflection point, it is the right business decision to examine the Chamber’s service model and supporting organization to best meet member needs and help shape the economic prosperity of Utah Valley. Lockhart’s leadership will be key to assist the Chamber in this process.”

Regarding his willingness to be the Chamber’s interim President/CEO, Lockhart said, “It is time for me to give back to the community that has given me so much. Provo, Orem, and the rest of the Valley are among the most innovative business areas in the United States and a place where families want to live, learn, work, and play. From the largest names in the business world to the startup entrepreneur and every kind of business in between, there is a continued need for leadership in our business community, and the Utah Valley Chamber is positioned to provide that leadership by uniting businesses to common causes. We must continue to do more and help businesses solve their most pressing issues.”

Chamber Board of Governors member Jessica Egbert (Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions) and  Board of Directors member Cameron Martin (community member) are helping Lockhart manage the Chamber’s operational functions during its transition. The Board’s executive committee has asked chair-elect, Janae Moss (RBM Building Services), to lead strategic discussions with stakeholders to refine the Chamber’s service model, clarify its value proposition, and position it for success going forward. The Board of Directors has the final say on approving Chamber strategies, structure, and new leadership.

Call To Action

The Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors invites business leaders to get involved with the Chamber, offer suggestions on how the Chamber can best support their business needs, and to nominate individuals they think can best position the Utah Valley Chamber for success as its next President/CEO. Requests, suggestions, and nominations should be emailed to [email protected].

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