ST. GEORGE — St. George Area Economic Development has hired John Minnick as their new executive director, replacing St. George City Councilman Gregg McArthur.
Minnick recently relocated from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he worked as a business development officer in the Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development for UNLV’s division of research and economic development.
When St. George News caught up with Minnick, he was only five days on the job. Because of that, he said that he was extremely busy trying to learn his new role while juggling appointments.
Minnick brings 20 years of economic development, business development, innovation management, entrepreneurship, start-up, and workforce development and training experience to his new role. Originally from Salt Lake City, Minnick chose to accept the job for two reasons. The first, he said, was that he had accomplished everything he set out to accomplish in Las Vegas.
“And I wanted to be closer to family,” he said, noting that his brother works for the St. George Police Department. “As a native Utahn, with family in Southern Utah, I am invested in the success of the greater Washington County area.”
One of the things Minnick said he likes about St. George, and Utah in general, is the way history blends with new developments. In Las Vegas, Minnick said, things don’t often age well. There’s no historic business district, he said.
“And that impacts the culture. Here in St. George, new businesses and old seem to be able to coexist alongside one another.”
That’s the crux of what Minnick hopes to accomplish in his new role. That is, to help new businesses establish themselves, while also ensuring that established businesses may grow and thrive.
“Whether you’ve just started a business, and need capital to produce more product to meet growing demand,” he said, “I want to be a resource. If you’re an established business looking to expand into new markets, I can help with that, too, among many other things.”
Minnick said he admires St. George’s robust economy. He hopes to build upon current efforts to bring tech, aerospace and other high-paying jobs to Southern Utah through workforce training. But, he said, it’s a balancing act.
“We need to maintain those things that make St. George a great place to live,” he said, “while ensuring that we grow the way we want to grow. The only thing in life that is constant is change, so we’d do well to embrace it and manage it to the best of our ability.”
When he interviewed for the position, Minnick said that he was asked how long he’d stay in St. George.
“I said until I’ve accomplished everything I set out to,” he said. “That could take a few years; it could take the rest of my life.”
Former St. George Area Economic Development deputy director Rusty Hughes, who joined Washington City in May as its economic development director, believes John is an excellent addition to the team.
“He will hit the ground running,” Hughes said, “contributing his knowledge, skills and energy to achieving our goals.”
Business and community partners will have the opportunity to meet John Minnick at the “What’s Up Down South Economic Summit” in St. George on Jan. 13, 2022. Register for the event at sgasummit.com.
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