Southern Utah University Hosts 32nd Annual Utah Rural Summit

Published: August 23, 2019 | Author: Kenzie Lundberg | Read Time: 2 minutes

Governor Herbert With Innovation through Entrepreneurism and Partnership as the theme, the 2019 Utah Rural Summit will feature speakers Tayson Whittaker, founder and president of Outdoor Vitals and Jordan Makin, Dry Bar comedian, as well as a live recording of Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox’s podcast, Cox and Friends. Hosted by Southern Utah University’s Utah Center for Rural Life, the summit will take place September 3-4 in SUU’s Hunter Conference Center.

This year marks the 32nd year of the annual Utah Rural Summit, making it the longest-running rural development conference in the nation. The summit provides a platform to discuss some of the most influential topics impacting rural Utah. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore how entrepreneurs can kickstart their success, how communities can be engaged in the global workplace market, and hear from some of Utah’s most new and exciting rural leaders.

“I’m excited to see the expansive partnerships work with our local and state leaders,” said Stephen Lisonbee, executive director of Utah’s Center for Rural Life. “This year's summit will have high engagement from both industry and education, putting them right into the heart of the discussion as Rural Utah explores what big-ticket items will engage and be catalysts in our communities.”

Along with the presentations, this year’s Rural Summit will feature the first annual State Bank of Southern Utah SpeedPitch competition intended to help identify and support high-potential early-stage businesses and business ideas. Initial judging of entries will occur in a breakout session on September 3 at 2:00 p.m., with final judging in a combined, general session of the Rural Summit on September 4 at 9:00 a.m. Utah Governor Gary Herbert, among others, will be part of the final judging panel. All entrepreneurs who meet the criteria are encouraged to apply by August 29 at noon.

Attendees include government and business leaders from across the state, including legislators, county commissioners, city officials, economic development and planning professionals, and policymakers from both state and federal government offices.

“It’s rewarding to be able to recognize our employers who have been so committed to growing in their communities,” said Governor Herbert. “I’ve challenged our state to work in a unified way to ensure we added 25,000 new jobs in rural Utah. We are seeing success and I look forward to this summit spotlighting several of our winning strategies.”

The Utah Rural Summit also features a number of breakout sessions covering a variety of topics, including natural resources, public lands issues, and workforce development. To register, visit or call 435-865-7707 for more information.

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