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Sundance Mountain Resort and Mt. Timpanogos. Photo: Adam Clark
Tourism Industry Update

From the Managing Director

Tourism Colleagues,

Bittersweet changes are happening at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Our beloved executive director Val Hale is departing his post to take on a new role doing service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  And we are welcoming a great new executive director, Dan Hemmert.

Vicki Varela
Managing Director
Utah Office of Tourism

Val Hale: Early January Departure

Val has served as our executive director since 2014. He has led nearly 80 people in a complex organization through the state’s most robust economy and then the pandemic. He has done it all with grace and wisdom. He is absolutely unflappable. Val’s leadership style is to elevate everyone around him. For inspiration on leadership, his “Last Lecture” to the GOED team is a must read.


Dan Hemmert: January–February transition

With Governor Elect Spencer Cox’s nomination of Hemmert to the GOED role, the next step is Senate confirmation. Hemmert will leave the Legislature and transition into the GOED executive director position early next year. 

Hemmert is a true outdoorsman, starting some days at 3:30 a.m. with a vigorous Timpanogos hike so he can be to work by 9 a.m. And he travels all over the west for technical climbs and rigorous hikes.   

Since joining the Legislature in 2016, Hemmert rose quickly to a leadership role as Senate Majority Whip. He has served on many key committees and developed a reputation for solving hard financial problems. He is passionate about government and the role it plays in everyday lives. “I am committed to ‘good government,’  which to me means a limited government that promotes personal responsibility, protects personal liberty and facilitates upward economic mobility,” Hemmert said. 

In the private sector, Hemmert has held many leadership roles in both law and finance in large and small organizations in multiple sectors. 

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