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Utah’s citizen of the decade – Lane Beattie

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Lane Beattie

Lane Beattie

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

Some 15 years ago, I helped recruit a distinguished Utahn named Lane Beattie to become CEO/president of the Salt Lake Chamber. Despite one of my better sales jobs, Lane did not accept it willingly. He had other things he wanted to do with his life, and he declined the first three asks.

After further pleading, coaxing and arm-twisting, Lane finally agreed, but committed to only two years. Well, 15 years later Lane has announced his retirement. Reviewing his decade and a half of leadership, I believe everyone agrees we got the absolutely best person for the job. We knew he would be terrific, but he has exceeded our greatest expectations.

Lane has taken the Chamber to new heights, creating a powerhouse business advocacy organization. The Chamber has truly become the trusted voice of business in Utah with programs that help every member and give the Chamber an outsized voice in public policy decisions in Utah.

Lane had a successful career as a real estate broker and developer before he entered public service. After winning a seat in the Utah Senate in 1988, he rose quickly to leadership positions, serving as Senate president from 1994 until 2000. That same year he was named chief state Olympic officer by Gov. Mike Leavitt and he played a crucial role in the great success of Utah’s 2002 Winter Games.

Lane has received too many awards and honors to mention them all, but highlights include chairing the Council of State Governments, and the National Senate Presidents Forum. He received an honorary doctorate from Utah Valley University in 2008 and received the 2007 Local Distinguished Service Award from the American Public Transit Association for being a great champion of transportation infrastructure development.

He has been recognized as the national Republican leader of the year, as the outstanding legislator of the year, as the taxpayer advocate of the year, as a friend of agriculture, and the list goes on.

As Chamber CEO, he created the Downtown Rising vision and helped advance many projects, including signature achievements like City Creek Center, 222 South Main, and the Eccles Theater, along with regional light rail and commuter rail lines to support rapid growth in the Wasatch Front.

His wise counsel has been sought by many in our community, and by leaders around the world. He has addressed the European Union, led a delegation to China as a guest of the Chinese government, and has entertained numerous ambassadors, heads of state and sovereign rulers.

In his many roles he has been effective because of his ability to unite different groups to accomplish common goals. He has been involved in nearly every difficult issue facing Utah, and has helped solve most of them. He has been a visionary and trend-setter in political thought.

Lane is bold. He is entrepreneurial. He is effective. His extraordinary insights, unwavering commitment and tireless efforts have won him many victories. But his accomplishments flow from his integrity, character and great heart. He is someone you can trust.

His contributions have simply made Utah a better place to live and to do business.

With all his honors and worldly success, Lane always acknowledges that his greatest achievement is raising his family with his wife, Joy. His three children and four grandchildren know they are his top priorities. Joy has been Lane’s compass and inspiration and the love of his life.

Lane has remained grounded, in part, because he has been able to escape to his “homestead” in West Bountiful where he raises chickens, cows and quarter horses (he is a state quarter horse team-penning champion).

True to his nature, when Lane announced his retirement, he said (with a tear in his eye), “I have to look at retirement through my grandchildren’s eyes and understand that, for them, it means more time with grandpa.”