Our economic development team is relatively new and has been built, essentially, from the ground up. There wasn’t a voice for Salt Lake City’s businesses, and now there is. Since Mayor Biskupski formed the department in July of 2016, we’re talking over 9,000 jobs and nearly 1 billion dollars in capital expenditure created or retained for the City! We’re pretty excited about that.

As one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., we are all grateful for the opportunity to serve. That is why it’s important our community knows that we have an award winning team working on their behalf. Two individuals – Ben Kolendar and Peter Makowski – were recently recognized as being “40 Under 40” leaders in local and national award ceremonies. These events are a great way to not only share best practices and new thinking in the industry but they’re a platform to highlight all of the great things happening in Salt Lake City.

Our Deputy Director, Ben Kolendar, was recognized in the Utah Business “40 Under 40” Awards. From Utah Business, “I was drawn into economic development during the ben40Afghanistan war,” says Ben Kolendar. “I worked for a special mission task force out of the Pentagon that sought stability through strategic economic initiatives. That was my toe in the water.” And he was immediately hooked. Working in economic development and foreign affairs quickly became his passion, and he says that helping to build the Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development has been extremely rewarding.

After Mayor Biskupski created the department in 2016, Mr. Kolendar has lead it to tremendous growth, retaining over 9,000 jobs and nearly a billion dollars in capital investment. He played a critical role in updating Utah’s Foreign Trade Zone process, as well as bringing the 68th United Nations Department of Public Information NGO Conference to Salt Lake City in 2019. Prior to his work with the city, Mr. Kolendar worked with the Obama administration as a senior advisor to the executive director of SelectUSA, an initiative to attract and retain foreign business investment in the United States. As a presidentially appointed official, Mr. Kolendar provided guidance to create jobs, spur economic growth, and promote American competitiveness.

Our Business Recruitment and Retention Manager, Peter Makowski, was recognized as a 40 Under 40″ Economic Developer in the U.S. by Development Counsellors International (DCI).

peter40dFrom DCI, “While working in the outdoor recreation industry for 7 years, he attended the University of Utah where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in City and Metropolitan Planning. Upon graduation, he spent 4 years as a Project Manager in the Business Development Division of Ogden City, specializing in marketing, real estate, business recruitment/retention/expansion efforts, community development finance, and small business assistance.  He oversaw Ogden’s Small Business Loan Program, the City’s Business Information Center, and served as Executive Director of Wasatch Community Funding CDFI. After 3 years in his current role for Salt Lake City, Peter’s work has resulted in over 8,500 jobs attracted, 4 million square feet of new commercial and industrial construction, and over $800M in new capital investment. Peter is a Salt Lake City native, an outdoors enthusiast, and moonlights as a musician. We asked: What is your favorite thing about your job? Peter said: Working with our existing companies and learning about all the great things they are doing in our community.”

Thank you for the opportunity, Utah Business and DCI!

We really want to give credit to Salt Lake City staff and leaders for making these awards happen!

It’s all about helping our City be the best it can be.

Want to learn more about our team? Visit: https://www.slc.gov/ed/contact/