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ATK is poised to give state economic development officials two things they really want a corporate headquarters and a bigger footprint in one of Utah's targeted industries, outdoor recreation.
The Governor's Office of Economic Development board helped to satisfy those goals Thursday, offering a tax credit of up to $1.35 million over seven years to Vista Outdoor Inc., an ATK spinoff looking to consolidate management of its 30 outdoor sports and recreation businesses at a single site.
With the state incentive, the company is ready to look seriously at finding a specific location for its facility in Salt Lake, Davis or Weber counties, said Mark DeYoung, a native Utahn who is ATK's president and chief executive, as well as chairman and CEO of Vista Outdoor.
"Utah's talented and well-educated workforce, high quality of life, appeal to outdoor enthusiasts and increasing position as a hub for outdoor recreation companies support our decision to establish and consolidate the headquarters" in the Beehive State, DeYoung said.
ATK owns 30 well-known outdoor brands, companies such as Federal Premium (sporting ammunition), Bushnell (binoculars and rifle scopes), Primos (hunting products), Savage Arms (rifles) and Champion Target (clay trap-shooting targets). In April, company trustees decided to split them off from ATK's core aerospace business into a publicly traded company, Vista Outdoor.
DeYoung said top executives from those different businesses will be transferred to the Utah headquarters.
In its incentive application, the company said it will invest about $10 million into a new facility for 90 highly paid executives, whose state wages over the agreement's seven-year life will amount to $125 million.
GOED officials project new state tax revenues during that period will be $6.7 million. The incentive represents a 20 percent tax rebate once the facility is fully operational and meeting projections.
Vista Outdoor executives will oversee 5,800 employees, including 4,000 in the United States, at 10 manufacturing and support facilities. That includes Gold Tip, an Orem company that makes hunting, target and crossbow arrows.
GOED board member Jerry Oldroyd said that while the state has done a good job of getting companies to locate mid-level management operations here, "we've had a difficult time recruiting headquarters."
He was especially pleased that this successful example involved a company affiliated with ATK, "a solid participant in Utah's economy for a long time."
Outdoor recreation is one of a half dozen industries the state is trying to promote, largely because Utah's geographic wonders already have attracted many companies to set up shop here.
GOED calculated that outdoor recreation contributes $5.8 billion annually to the economy, providing jobs to 65,000 people.
"This builds on the momentum we have going," said Brad Petersen, head of the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation.
"Having Vista in Utah will add further credibility to the cluster we're trying to build."
Rep. Curtis Oda, R-Clearfield, attended Thursday's meeting and said Vista Outdoor's decision reflected well on Utah's culture, which is not about to abandon hunting or sport shooting.
"I'm tickled pink," he said, looking at DeYoung and adding a plug for his home town. "Come to Clearfield."
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