Former Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell is the new chair of the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative. Gov. Herbert’s office announced the appointment on Monday, along with the resignation of USTAR executive director Ted McAleer.
The state legislature created USTAR in 2006 to bring high-quality jobs to Utah and improve the state’s economy through university research funding.
Bell is taking the place of Dinesh Patel, whose term as chair ends June 30. Bell said Patel has been a terrific asset to the program.
"He was one of the guiding lights that got it started and helped push it through the legislature and has nursed it along since then," Bell said. "He's done a terrific job."
USTAR was the subject of controversy late last year after an audit revealed the initiative had created fewer jobs and brought less money to the state then it had reported.
Bell said USTAR will respond to the audit and meet with the auditors.
"We want to get on the same page so that we can understand, what is the proper reporting and accounting method for jobs and investment, and going forward, how are we going to be unified in terms of presenting to the legislature what our actual progress is?" he said.
Bell said the board will start a search for McAleer’s replacement. McAleer said in his resignation letter that he is moving to the private sector.
Justin Berry, marketing manager for USTAR, said they are excited to have Bell as the new chair.
"He has a lot of understanding of the way government works," Berry said. "He has a great deal of experience in that, and we're excited to just see where he can lead USTAR as we go into what we consider the second phase of USTAR."