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The City Journals

Senator Mike Lee invites Herriman High students to economic summit

Oct 31, 2016 08:51AM ● By Tori La Rue

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, poses for a picture with the Herriman High School students and teachers he invited to the Utah Solutions Summit. (Julianna Wing/Herriman High School)

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

Herriman, Utah - Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, invited 14 Herriman High School students to the third annual Utah Solutions Summit at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. 

Matt Holton, Lee’s director of business outreach, said he contacted Marin Murdock, a Herriman High senior, and her FBLA adviser, Julianna Wing, because Marin and two Herriman High graduates established a Herriman Chamber of Commerce during the 2016–17 school year—a project that won the national Future Business Leaders of America competition in July. 

“It felt pretty great, I’m not going to lie,” Murdock said about receiving the personal invitation. “It’s just nice to have this recognition, and it builds my confidence and self-esteem.” 

Murdock and the other Herriman High School officers of FBLA and DECA, career and technical student organizations, were the only high schoolers in attendance at the Sept. 1 conference. Lee mentioned Herriman High school in his speech and spoke with the Herriman students alone after his keynote address. 

“It was just really cool because he was talking about how cool Herriman High was, and it was just cool to hear the Senator say that,” said Rachel Lunt, a senior in Herriman’s FBLA and DECA presidencies. 

The summit’s focus was on how to help Utah’s economy and workforce succeed, and a major topic of discussion was bridging the gap between workers and the skill-sets they need to fulfill their duties. Murdock said it was “fascinating” to hear these things from a student’s perspective and said attending conferences and summits, like the Solutions Summit, while still in high school is one way that she is planning to bridge the gap for her future career. 

The Herriman students heard panels about current and projected workforce needs, how the state can fill training gaps in the workplace and innovation in education. Republican vice presidential candidate and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence talked about the need for a greater focus on career and technical education. Lunt said she was influenced by his points because she’s planning on bringing a CTE project to her DECA competition later this year. 

In addition to Lee and Pence, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard spoke. Matthew Holland, president of Utah Valley University, and Robert Mendenhall, president emeritus of Western Governor’s University, gave remarks, along with Dave Black, CEO of 

“Being among these professionals, it kind of made me realize where I could be in my professional career, and I just realized, wow, I’m getting started really young,” Murdock said. “The summit was just another way to jump-start on my career and future.” 

During the summit’s lunch, Holton approached the Herriman students and thanked them for coming. A representative from Salt Lake Community College reached out to the students and let them know about programs going on at her school, and state government officials invited the students to the inaugural Southwest Salt Lake County Economic Summit on Sept. 20. 

“One thing leads to another,” Murdock said. “You make those connections, you network, and you become a more integrated into the systems.”  

The Herriman High students attended the southwest summit as well. The southwest summit encompassed similar topics but was more localized, focusing on Bluffdale, Riverton, Herriman, South Jordan and West Jordan. Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, Jordan School District Superintendent Patrice Johnson and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams spoke at the southwest summit. 

“When you get that experience—you get to listen to all these officials—you get to hear what is going on in the real world,” Lunt said. “It builds your resume to get to say that you went to those things, and you get to network and meet different businessmen who hopefully you can work on projects with and help get their help and support. It is just a cool experience.” 

Wing said she believes the economic summits are just a start for her students. As projects come up later in the year, Wing said her students have made connections with industry professionals that they can reach out to.