Utah’s largest industry association has a new leader.
The Utah Technology Council (UTC) announced last week that its board of trustees has unanimously appointed John Knotwell as president and chief executive officer. He succeeds Richard Nelson, who will serve as an advisor to the organization’s board of directors.
“After more than a decade working in Utah tech, I am privileged to join UTC and lead the organization,” Knotwell said. “UTC has become an integral part of the technology landscape in Utah and I look forward to building upon that success.
“I am also thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the many great members of UTC who have helped create and develop Utah’s innovative spirit and contributed to building a nationally recognized epicenter of technology.”
Knotwell’s most recent tech-related roles include serving as chief revenue officer at RizePoint, where he was responsible for leading worldwide sales, alliances, services and customer success; vice president of sales at Workfront; and vice president of sales at inContact.
Knotwell, a resident of Herriman, has been in the Utah Legislature since 2013. He currently serves as assistant majority whip in the Utah House of Representatives.
His biographical information at the House website notes that Knotwell earned an associate degree in political science from Utah Valley State College and bachelor’s degree in political science and history at the University of Utah. He also earned an MBA from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.
“After an extensive, nationwide search, the board is confident that John’s experience and talent are necessary to navigate the evolving and expanding landscape of Utah’s rapidly growing tech sector,” said Gary Goodrich, chairman of the UTC board. “I have no doubt that he is the right person to take the helm at UTC.”
UTC represents about 6,000 technology businesses. Its top priorities are expanding the talent pipeline for high-tech positions, enhancing the business climate in Utah, and fostering innovation within Utah technology companies.
The organization announced in May that Nelson would transition from president and CEO later in the year. He had led the organization, once known as the Utah Information Technology Association, for 18 years. UTC also said at that time that it was undertaking a “rebranding and refreshing,” featuring a honing of its message and updating its website.
Nelson said in May there were three fundamental changes during his time at UTC. One was the creation of the $121 million Utah Fund of Funds in 2003, which boosted venture funding in Utah. The second was UTC’s push for the creation of a $40 million STEM Action Center to help boost the number of youngsters learning about science, technology, engineering and math as a way to build a skilled workforce for Utah companies. The third was the state’s $248 million engineering initiative, which has increased the number of computing and engineering graduates since 2001.