Heber Valley Chamber Of Commerce Says Goodbye To Leader For The Past Eight Years

Members of the Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce met for a sendoff for the director of the organization for the past eight years.

Ryan Starks came to be the director of tourism and economic development eight years ago. At a chamber luncheon on Tuesday Starks shared principles with community business leaders that he learned throughout his tenure. Advice ranged from having the right personnel, to having a good attitude and creating a can-do culture. One thing Starks was especially proud of was his collaboration with Bill Malone and the Park City Chamber/Bureau to create the Wasatch Back Economic Summit.

“We had Heber City, Midway City, Wasatch County partnering on the stage with Summit County, and Park City leaders,” Starks continued. “This happened at our last economic summit. To get that group on the stage, to have that collaboration, I think was really historic and really cool.”

Starks also shared with the crowd that he had already been given a different role in the Governor’s office of Economic Development. Instead of being operation and managing director he’ll be the managing director of rural and urban business services.

“I’ll be in a position to work with all rural counties and with urban business programs,” Starks explained. “So, it will allow me to travel around the state more to support local economic development efforts. So, there’s a really good team of individuals at GOED (Governor’s Office of Economic Development) that work in that division. They administer grants. They administer something called the business Resource Center there’s about 15 of those around state. They work closely in economic development planning. The governor issued the challenge for rural Utah to create 25,000 new jobs; I’ll be kind of a champion and cheerleader for that, and other duties as assigned I guess.”

Starks wrapped up his speech encouraging people to enjoy what they do.

“As I look back at my time in Heber Valley I think of hard work, I think of wonderful relationships, but also a lot of fun,” Starks said. “If we’re not having fun then why are we doing our job? So that’s my challenge to you, love what you do.”

Starks begins his new position at the beginning of November. The Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce, tourism and economic development board are in the process of hiring a new executive director and potentially restructuring the office.

Read the original story at KPCW.org

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.