Gary Zabriskie, EDFP
Director of Economic Development
Gary Zabriskie, EDFP, is a Deputy Director at the Five County Association of Governments as well as the Director of Community and Economic Development. He is also the AOG’s Chief Technology Officer. Mr. Zabriskie has been a professional community and economic development planner for over 28 years, working with municipal and county jurisdictions, as well as with state and federal agencies to address community and economic development needs in southwestern Utah. He has been with the Association since 1993, where he directs and manages the Community and Economic Development Division staff and program activities. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Utah and received certification by the National Development Council as an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP).
Mr. Zabriskie has extensive experience assisting local entities in identifying their community development needs, as well as investigating and developing strategies in finding appropriate funding avenues.
Mr. Zabriskie works hand in hand with the state of Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board (CIB), which receives a share of lease and royalty payments from mineral extraction on federal lands in Utah. Those funds are available to eligible entities in Utah to address identified local needs. Formal applications must be made to the CIB following a specific process. He has been instrumental in assisting the region’s entities in preparing quality, as well as highly competitive, applications that have enabled them to successfully access significant loan and grant funding resources from the CIB.
In addition to his current work with the CIB program, he manages the Southwest Utah Microloan Program. The purpose of the loan fund is to create permanent, long-term jobs within the southwestern region of Utah by providing “gap” financing to qualified businesses for eligible activities. Loans made through the Program are intended to fill the gap created by shortfalls in available commercial financing. Funds are repaid into the Program and recycled to other businesses, which perpetuates ongoing job creation. Funds are available in Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Washington Counties.
Mr. Zabriskie’s resume includes having worked for over four years as the Washington City planner under a planning contract between the Association and the City where he addressed the needs of residents and developers alike on land use issues within the City. He wrote numerous land use evaluations, made recommendations on ordinance amendments, and presented development proposals to the planning commission regularly. This experience was during a period of extremely rapid growth in that community.
Mr. Zabriskie was also actively involved in the development of two corridor management plans for two State of Utah scenic byways. The first was Utah State Route143 from Parowan City to Panguitch City by way of the Town of Brian Head and Cedar Breaks National Monument. It received national scenic byway designation as “Utah’s Patchwork Parkway”. Mr. Zabriskie was the editor and graphic designer for the plan. He later was the project manager for another corridor management plan for Utah’s Route 9 known as the “Zion Canyon Scenic Byway” (La Verkin City to Zion National Park) that was recently awarded national scenic byway status. He has also managed the development of a regional Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan as well as a Regional Wildfire Protection Plan.
Mr. Zabriskie says the main thing he has learned during his planning career is that the only constant in life is change. He has witnessed many changes, mostly for the betterment of the communities in southwestern Utah. He also sees the critical need to plan for the future.
He regularly states that his biggest disappointment will be if, in the future, after he and others in local government are long retired or dead, those who come after us are asking themselves, “Who was in charge back then who didn’t think of the future and left us in such a mess?” His hope is that instead they will be able to say, “We are thankful that those in the past were looking to the future, and made possible what we have today because they planned for it.”