Governor calls on Val Hale to lead economic development efforts

- SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC 4 Utah) – A new era is about to begin at the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED).

Governor Gary Herbert named Val Hale as the new executive director.

His resume includes athletic director at BYU, various executive positions at UVU and CEO of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce.

"Right man at the right time to take on this challenge," said Herbert.

Even with that endorsement Hale admits it's a little overwhelming.

"I have a very steep learning curve. I've got to learn a lot of things about the job, about the staff and about the governor's staff," said Hale.

He takes over with Utah's economy near the top of the country, 2nd fastest growing, 2nd lowest unemployment rate and 4th most diverse, but competition is fierce and growing.

"We have more to do. We have challenges of competition among the other states who say we want to do what Utah is doing. And isn't that the great thing about free market competition? It's going to make us all be a little bit better," said Herbert.

That competition extends across the globe as well.

The governor and Hale believe there must be a continued focus on education, taxes and regulation reform to overcome the threat.

"We've got a great environment here in Utah now and we've got to keep doing well what we are doing and then add little bits to that," said Hale.

He also takes over in the middle of an external audit.

The state auditor is looking into incentive programs and other practices of GOED.

Hale says if it shows things need to be fixed, it will be a top priority.

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