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Robert J. Grow — the founding chairman of Envision Utah — has been named as its new president and CEO. The group is a nonprofit public-private partnership that uses public involvement to explore how to solve problems from growth with land use, transportation and the environment.

"Robert is the right guy at the right time and for the right reason to lead Envision Utah," said Gov. Gary Herbert, an honorary co-chair of Envision Utah.

Grow served as the founding chair when Envision Utah began in 1997, and has been the chairman since 2010. He fills the new position of president and CEO, created after Alan Matheson departed as the group's executive director to become Herbert's environmental adviser.

Grow is an attorney whose legal practice specialized in land use planning, real estate development and environmental law. He was the legal counsel for Kennecott's Daybreak development, which has been praised for quality growth.

Grow for the past decade has also helped to begin or strengthen efforts similar to Envision Utah in 75 metropolitan regions nationwide and in Canada — including helping establish the "Louisiana Speaks" process to guide rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina.

"I have a passion for Utah and care deeply about the legacy that today's leaders leave for future generations," Grow said. "Envision Utah's mission is to keep Utah beautiful, prosperous, healthy and neighborly for the people who choose to live here. I am at a point in my career when I can give of my time an energy in ways that will further Envision Utah's mission."

Pamela Atkinson, a former chair of Envision Utah and an activist for the poor, praised the appointment.

"Robert Grow is a sought-after national expert on regional and urban planning," and will be valuable as Utah plans how to handle expected growth of 2 million people by 2050, she said. "Under Grow's leadership I am confident Envision Utah will tackle these problems in a way that is consistent with our Utah values."

Envision Utah Vice Chairmwoman Natalie Gochnour added her endorsement.

"Robert Grow has always been the visionary behind Envision Utah's remarkable success," she said.

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