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The City Journals

Sherrie Martell brings years of experience to business development specialist role with city

Dec 06, 2018 02:33PM ● By Cassie Goff

Sherrie Martell is the new business development specialist for Cottonwood Heights. She will work closely with businesses and individuals within the community. (Photo courtesy of Sherrie Martell)

By Cassie Goff | [email protected]

A new smiling face can be found behind the front desk of Cottonwood Heights City Hall. Sherrie Martell has recently been hired as the new business development specialist. In this position, Martell will primarily work with business licensing and the Cottonwood Heights Business Association (CHBA) along with local businesses.

So far, most of Martell’s days have been spent becoming familiar with the back end of business licensing. Despite a steep learning curve over the past few months, she has already established some big goals. Soon, she plans on being cross-trained on basic assistance with building permits and help covering the front desk. 

“I want to be able to help people when they come in, so we can do multiple things,” Martell says. 

As she learns her way around the city offices, she continues to identify areas for improvement and increased efficiency. One goal of particular importance for her is for the licensing program to become paperless. 

“There’s streamlining to do to make our licensing processes more efficient, so we can be available to the public. We want to have more time to spend with the businesses and community,” Martell says. 

In her position, she will be working closely with the CHBA. Again, she has a few ideas on how to make the association more beneficial for all parties involved. She plans to assist the board to help inspire more networking and collaboration opportunities. She is also hoping to find volunteers to help with events. 

“We want businesses to be more involved with the CHBA,” Martell says.  

As soon as her day-to-day work becomes more streamlined and efficient, she will become more community oriented. She plans to work individually with businesses (approximately 1,487 of them within the city), going out to visit them, working to build more retention — doing the work of a liaison for businesses within the city. 

“We work with all types of businesses, including home-grown businesses that want to expand. If they want to grow, we can refer resources to help them. If I can find out what their needs are, I can work to find partners and referrals to assist their needs. The city is business friendly, regardless of size. If you want to grow, you can grow,” Martell says. 

One of the resources available for businesses within the city is ribbon-cutting events. Martell urges businesses to contact her if they want to do such an event. “We can get a crew together to be present; contact us as far in advance as you can,” Martell says as a friendly reminder. 

Many of the things she hopes to accomplish require collaboration with the city’s economic and community development staff, city staff, CHBA board and businesses throughout the city.  

“With guidance from Economic and Community Development Director Mike Johnson, we’ll develop a strategic plan for business retention and economic development, a guide to keep moving forward,” Martell says. 

While implementing many of her goals, Martell will be drawing on her past experience within the economic and community development sphere. 

Before working with businesses and communities throughout the state, Martell grew up on a family ranch in the small town of Erda, Utah, just outside of Tooele. Growing up, she learned how to work cattle, as well as ride and train horses. Needless to say, Martell loves animals even though she’s “allergic to them all; dogs, horses, cows.”

She received her degree in agriculture economics with minors in business administration and animal science from Utah State University (USU). During college, she was able to put her love of animals to good use, as she judged in livestock competitions and competed with colleges throughout the country on the USU team.  

After she finished her college education, she began her career in federal government, working for the Tooele Army Depot as a program analyst in resource management. Once the base was chosen for closure, she worked in industrial risk management managing restoration programs until the end. After the base closed, she worked in Salt Lake City for a real estate firm. She soon found the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah) and began working as their finance and administration manager, where her main focus was to manage a nonprofit whose mission was to bring jobs and capital investment to the state of Utah. 

When she began, EDCUtah was a small nonprofit organization, but it later became a partner with the Governor’s Office. Under former Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., a collaborative economic development plan was implemented. Martell helped manage some of the programs set forth through that partnership.

“My position morphed from a program analyst to the program’s investor relations manager. I worked to form relationships with all the members (public and private) and helped educate them on the process of business and economic development. This allowed for the EDCUtah team to collaborate with partners throughout the state and help incoming businesses when looking to expand in Utah,” explained Martell. 

For 21 years, she drove around the lake from her little three-acre farm to work in Salt Lake City. “I really had two different jobs,” she said. 

She eventually decided to sell her place and move to the city, where she settled in Midvale. “A little country mouse became a city mouse,” she laughs. 

Martell worked for EDCUtah for over 18 years, a public-private nonprofit corporation, developing relationships with companies, cities and counties. With her knowledge in community and economic development, she teamed up with Parallel Strategies, owned by Tricia Pilny. With the president’s knowledge and experience in construction management and business development, Parallel Strategies became a “one-stop shop for a business looking to come to Utah or expand,” Martell said.

During a meeting with the Cottonwood Heights economic and community development staff, former Business Development Coordinator Peri Kinder informed her of a position opening up in the city and urged her to apply. 

She is now surrounded by phones constantly ringing in the Cottonwood Heights office and working with the public who stop by city hall. She seems to be enjoying herself, though. 

“I love the staff here; they are very friendly and welcoming. We have a good team,” she said, smiling. 

Martell welcomes anyone who wants to talk or meet with her. “We can even do it in groups. I’m open to suggestions. Call me or come meet with me. Make me take the time to do it,” she says. “I love to meet people and hear their stories. I want to make sure the businesses and community know that we care.” 

You can reach Sherrie Martell at [email protected] or by her office number 801-944-7067.