Utah Inland Port Authority President Jack Hedge, who was appointed as the agency's first executive director in 2019, announced Wednesday that he is stepping down from his role and retiring.
Hedge told the Utah Inland Port Authority board of directors that his last day will be on Oct. 28.
"Utah legislative leaders had the vision and initiative to create this amazing statewide governmental agency — that can and will revolutionize the supply chain. I have been honored to bring my industry experience as we set the course. Now is the perfect time for me to move on to other pursuits," he said in a statement. "I will always be a cheerleader for Utah and look forward to continuing my support of the port authority efforts."
The Utah Legislature crafted the Utah Inland Port Authority through a controversial bill in 2018 to serve as the leaders of a logistics hub in northwest Salt Lake County. Its board, in June 2019, then hired Hedge, who was serving as the director of cargo and industrial real estate at the Port of Los Angeles at the time.
One of his first tasks was leading the Port Authority through backlash from local municipalities and environmental groups. For example, Salt Lake City sued the state in 2019, arguing that the plan violated parts of the Utah Constitution. The Utah Supreme Court sided with the Utah Inland Port Authority on parts of the claims earlier this year.
A group protesting the environmental impacts of the inland port also rushed the 2019 meeting where the board hired Hedge, resulting in one arrest.
Hedge has since overseen the port authority's expansion, including the creation of its original policy, programs and protocols, as well as its first strategic vision and strategic business plan.
His retirement is the latest in a series of Utah Inland Port Authority leadership shake-ups this year. It received a completely new set of members to its board of directors in May.
Then, in the following month, Hedge took over as the president of the Utah Inland Port Authority after the board of directors approved his plan to expand leadership by creating a new president position. The position focuses on "leading the (port authority's) external engagement with industry leaders across the country and around the world to ensure (inland port) has the right national and global strategic partners to fulfill the vision and mission of the (inland port)," port officials said at the time.
Wednesday's announcement also comes two weeks after Ben Hart, the deputy director for the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity, was selected to serve as the port authority's next executive director, filling the position left by Hedge.
Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, who serves on the Utah Inland Port Authority board of directors, praised Hedge for his role in getting the inland port off the ground.
"The logistics experience Jack Hedge brought to the port authority provides the foundation we will work from today," Schultz said Wednesday. "We appreciate his service."