The Center for Rural Development, a division within the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, has announced changes to its programs and the selection of two new team members.
“The Center for Rural Development is enhancing its programs and services to encourage economic opportunities for all Utahns, regardless of geographic location,” the agency said in a release. “Based on Gov. [Spencer]Cox’s ‘One Utah Roadmap,’ rural Utah matters and has a voice in the state’s economic future.”

“The center enthusiastically supports expanded opportunities in rural investment programs that support remote work and entrepreneurship,” said Ryan Starks, managing director of business services in the Office of Economic Opportunity. “Our staff is committed to providing outstanding services, programs and resources to rural Utah residents, including high-speed broadband deployment.”

Starks said the Center for Rural Development is focused on a regional outreach support model in delivering its programs and services. This model assigns three outreach managers to specific counties to foster relationships with local leadership and provide geographical representation. Starks added the model ensures each of Utah’s 25 rural counties receives tailored approaches to their unique opportunities and challenges.

Newly named regional county outreach managers are Eden Johnson, who works with Box Elder, Cache, Morgan, Rich, Summit, Tooele and Wasatch counties; James Dixon, working with Daggett, Duchesne, Juab, Millard, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier, Uintah and Wayne counties; and Nan Anderson, working with Beaver, Carbon, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Kane, San Juan and Washington counties.

Johnson joins the center as a program and outreach manager and will work closely with the Rural Association of Governments and rural counties to maximize the center’s rural programs, offerings and tools. Leila Reynolds also joins the team as a program support specialist. She will assist both the Center for Rural Development and the Utah Broadband Center in analyzing and sharing information about rural and broadband programs, along with a host of other duties.

Dixon and Rebecca Dilg have also accepted new roles. Dixon was recently promoted to associate managing director and will oversee the management and execution of crucial rural programs, including the Rural Coworking and Innovation Center Grant program, the Rural County Grant program and the Targeted Business Tax Credit program. Dilg will start her new position as broadband director of the newly created Utah Broadband Center. Dilg will oversee the deployment of broadband grant funds and coordinate maximizing Utah’s broadband connectivity footprint.

“We’re very fortunate to have the brightest and most dedicated employees as part of the Office of Economic Opportunity’s Business Services team,” Starks said. “These team members continually give 110 percent and exemplify a commitment to excellence daily through their exemplary work.”

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