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Rick Thrasher has resigned as president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development

Corp. of Utah to accept a similar position out of state.Thrasher, 44, has been director of the Utah economic development organization since 1988. He joined the organization after working in Lakeland, Fla. Thrasher has worked in economic development for 17 years in four states.

"Leaving this job was in many ways the toughest decision I've ever had to make. It's been so much fun and it has a tremendous record of accomplishment - not because of me but because people worked together," Thrasher said.

The organization had 40 members when Thrasher was named president 41/2 years ago. Its membership list now exceeds 200, among them 175 private businesses.

"It's a recognition that the private sector has a proper role to play and it's willing to spend its money for economic development," Thrasher said. "It's a public-private partnership that's come together for the greater good and has accomplished a lot."

Thrasher was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and started ice skating at the age of 2. He started playing organized hockey at the age of 10 and competed in amateur hockey until he was 26.

He hinted that his new job is located in a city that has an NHL team and is so far East that he does not anticipate competing against Utah economic development interests.

Thrasher was hired as director of EDCU after a nationwide search. He said he did not know what selection process the organization's board of directors would use in picking his successor.