LAYTON -- Education will be the key to the financial future of Davis County and Utah, but as a whole, our students are lagging behind more and more, Lt. Gov. Greg Bell said during the keynote address at the sixth annual Davis Chamber B2B Expo.
During the Davis County Chamber of Commerce Business to Business event Wednesday at the Davis Conference Center in Layton, Bell said the state's educational attainment is slipping and there needs to be more focus on preparing children for careers involving science, technology, engineering and math, beginning in fourth grade, to compete at a global level.
"Education pays off, and we aren't doing our best to pass that on to our kids," Bell said.
For many years, Utah's educated workforce has brought many companies to the state.
"Our challenge is education that has been, up until now, our great tool of salesmanship," Bell said. "That's why we're trying to move the needle here."
Bell addressed the challenges facing the state's education system in an analysis detailing Davis County's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, trends and threats.
Along with a speech by Bell, the expo featured 80 booths from establishments around Northern Utah, giving chamber members a chance to mingle and share business resources.
"There is a lot of energy and a lot of fun," said Davis Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jim Smith. "But more than anything, it's about economic development."
Once a year, chamber officials said, the exposition gives members a chance to connect socially, build their business and grow their business through workshops.
Ken Cross, owner of Crossaction Computer Specialists, said he has seen his company grow since he began attending the expo last year, including more traffic in his retail store.
"It gains more business for me," Cross said. "It increased my business by at least 10 percent."
Jason Bradshaw, buying and logistics manager for Clearfield Recycling Sales, said the company recently joined the chamber and hopes the exposition creates green opportunities with other businesses in the area.
"We're new members of the chamber," Bradshaw said. "We're looking to create new relationships with other businesses in the community."
Along with networking opportunities and workshops, attendees had a chance to win numerous prizes, including a set of golf clubs, theater tickets and hotel night stays.