Salt Lake City Corporation’s Department of Economic Development is pleased to introduce Silvia Castro as Manager of Small and Underserved Business. Silvia has more than 15 years of experience working with enterprises of all sizes. She has worked extensively with executives, launched her own organizations and initiatives, and worked with Fortune 500 companies. Her love for entrepreneurs began in 1999 when she worked as the Assistant Director at the Women’s Business Center. She is a bilingual and bicultural professional who brings a unique perspective to the work that she does. Her transition into her new role should be an easy and seamless one and we are truly lucky to have her as a member of our team. Though you’re likely to see Silvia around town as she builds the Department’s connects with the City’s small businesses, she considers herself an introvert. Perhaps why she once traveled solo for three weeks in Europe!

With the addition of Silvia, the foundation of Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development is set and we could not be more excited and eager to take on the opportunities coming to Salt Lake City.


Leading the department is Lara Fritts, a Wisconsin native with three loves – her husband, dog, and the Packers (in no particular order – insert wink emoji here). In all seriousness, Lara brings more than 20 years of experience in economic development, management, and technology. She’s also a certified economic developer!


Ben Kolendar joined the team just weeks ago as our Deputy Director and has hit the ground running with his national and international economic development experience. The City Foreign Trade Zone will see new life and smoother processes, making it much easier for businesses to take advantage of – thanks to Ben! Before landing with the City, Ben worked for SelectUSA as a presidentially appointed advisor, and before that, the Department of Defense focused on developing Afghanistan’s war-torn economy. On a lighter note, Ben is a HUGE baseball fan. So much so he and his buddies attend out-of-town spring training baseball games every other year. Bucket list, multiple checks!


Peter Makowski is our Recruitment and Retention Manager. Peter spent four years working in the Business Development Division in Ogden City before bringing his talents to Salt Lake City. Until recently, with the growth of our team, Peter flew solo to keep economic development efforts in the City moving forward! Something you might not expect? Peter plays in a local band (lucky for us they never got the attention they deserved or he’d be off on tour in, I’m guessing, the Nordic countries).


Annie Davis, our Research and Marketing Manager, began her career as a broadcast journalist and has more than a decade of experience in some of the country’s top markets like Denver, New York City, and Salt Lake City. Her background touches on a myriad of public relations, marketing, and media skills which she will use to inform the public and potential clients across the country about the economic development efforts of the Salt Lake City. You wouldn’t know it, but Annie’s first language was Cantonese. She was fluent in the language, but lost it in the years after she was adopted at the age of seven. Yes, she’s kicking herself for that now (no longer able to speak Cantonese, not the adoption).


Keeping us all running like a well-oiled machine is Office Facilitator Angelica Delgado. Angelica has a background in reception work, having spent several years in a similar role in the medical industry before coming to the City. As a “worker bee,” Angelica has had a job since she was 16 years old, and can sell you anything! You won’t catch her doing this behind her desk, of course, but Angelica is known to be an incredible dancer (of the Latin variety). Try to keep up. You can’t.

* Blog post contributed by William Wright