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West Jordan Journal

West Jordan has new economic development director

Jun 05, 2018 12:26PM ● By City Journals Staff

Kent G. Andersen being sworn in at City Council on April 11. (Erin Dixon/ City Journals)

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

Kent G. Andersen was sworn in at City Council on April 11 as the new economic development director for West Jordan. He replaces David Oka, who retired in December 2017. Andersen, a former city planner and most recently the economic development director in Layton, answered some questions from the West Jordan Journal about his position and what West Jordan can expect from him in the future. 

What are you primary responsibilities as economic development director?

“Typically, they include implementing the vision of city leadership, growing the tax base, interacting and attracting businesses, marketing the community, removing barriers to business, building relationships, proactive planning, reducing the amount of retail ‘leakage’ (when our residents shop elsewhere for their goods or services), the list goes on and on. This always leads me to when I get asked the question, ‘What is economic development?’ I respond, ‘What isn’t it?’ My primary responsibilities as economic development director will evolve with the environment and available opportunities.” 

What is your education?

“I earned a master of public policy and administration from California State University – Sacramento and a bachelor of science from Utah State University.”

How is the Economic Development Director selected for the city?

“The application process was typical, with a public noticing, interview process and selection recommendation to the city manager. The city did not reach out to me directly.” 

What past successes do you bring to West Jordan?

“I assisted in attracting a broad array of companies to Layton, including advanced material manufacturers, SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium, R.C Willey Home Furnishings (planned to begin construction this year), just to name a few. I helped Layton City achieve a 21 percent increase in sales tax revenue from 2012–2016 and an 18 percent increase in total taxable sales during the same time frame. I participated in several transportation projects, including a $42 million UDOT I-15 interchange improvement project, West Davis Corridor planning, a Snowbasin Ski Bus and the free Midtown Trolley. I also lead a rebranding effort for Layton and oversaw the implementation of online business license applications.” 

What works well in West Jordan that you want to continue?

“There is significant momentum that is occurring in economic development in the region, with the Inland Port, the growing Silicon Slopes, etc. West Jordan is in a prime position to capitalize on this momentum. With a central location in the Salt Lake Valley, strong population demographic and available land adjacent to the Mountain View Corridor, West Jordan has a unique opportunity to shape the economic growth of the region.” 

What economic changes do you see necessary for West Jordan? How will you make those changes? What changes will be the most visible to the public?

“Important economic considerations that I will focus on will include continued diversification of the economy, revitalizing and/or redeveloping shopping centers, improving transportation infrastructure [and] attracting strong tax base generator...The challenge with economic development is that it takes time, and some of the most important projects that have the greatest impact can take even more time. The public will not notice a change overnight, but as time progresses, they will see the future of West Jordan’s economy taking shape in a way that will have a positive impact.”