Stanley B. Parrish is bringing what he calls an "interesting mix" of experience to his new job as Utah Department of Community and Economic Development executive director.
He has been a businessman, worked for Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, as an administrative assistant and worked for the Small Business Administration as an associate deputy administrator. Parrish believes this variety of jobs in the public and private sectors will allow him to view economic development from a slightly different perspective.The 47-year-old Parrish, a Salt Lake native, replaced David W. Adams, who was Gov. Norm Bangerter's only economic development chief. Adams resigned recently to return to private business.
Did the governor give Parrish any instructions on how to run the department? The highest priority with the governor is job creation, Parrish said, meaning the department must maintain the momentum started in the governor's first term of trying to attract businesses to expand to Utah.
While attraction of business to Utah is important, it is equally as important to have the business environment in the Utah in such a condition that it will stimulate existing businesses to create jobs.
Parrish said maintaining a good infrastructure (highways, sewer and
water systems) is important in attracting new business and making it possible for existing business to expand.
Even as Utah officials are trying to lure businesses to Utah, other states are trying to lure Utah businesses away from the state. That means state officials must do everything they can to maintain an economic climate that makes businesses want to stay.
Parrish knows about business first-hand because he started working for his father at Midwest Floor Covering in 1960. About the same time he got married to Joyce Mandarino, whom he met at East High School. He became sales manager in 1969, president in 1974 and sold his interest in 1981.
He attended the University of Utah for three years but lacks 60 hours for a diploma. A few months ago he inquired about getting back into school, maybe working toward a law degree, but with the new state job that might be put on hold for a while.
After selling his business, Parrish was hired as administrative assistant to Hatch. Parrish still marvels at the difference between being a businessman and working in Congress. "I was the boss and people agreed with the decision I made, but when I worked for Sen. Hatch all of a sudden things weren't so absolute. I learned to be sensitive to other people's feelings," he said.
Parrish left Hatch's office in 1986 to run for the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District race but came in third place behind Tom Shimizu and Salt Lake businessman Doug Bischoff. That loss came in the convention in the summer of 1986.
Parrish said state officials have made great strides in promoting product exports to foreign countries. "Small businessmen should realize we are dealing in a global economy," he said.