Thursday, May 30, 2024

Utah and Ireland Unite for Business Success

Must read

By Ivan Houlihan

The Emerald Isle and the Beehive State have forged ties that are stronger than ever. The two locales have much in common. Utah has been expanding its tech sector, which now supports one in seven Utah jobs, and is also one of the nation’s top five locations for new semiconductor investments. Meanwhile, Ireland is also a prime location for tech companies, as it produces the EU’s largest projected GDP by far. Like Utah, Ireland offers a business-friendly environment, educated young workforce and is also the EU’s only English-speaking nation. Part of most growth plans of Utah CEOs involves tapping into the European Union market of 450 million people, the world’s largest, often choosing Ireland for a European office, development center or manufacturing plant in order to boost sales and benefit from Ireland’s large talent pool, a magnet for educated workers across the continent. While Ireland and Utah are expanding their mutually beneficial ties today, cultural links began hundreds of years ago.

Ireland’s ties to Utah go back to the mid-1800s

From 1845 to 1853, many Irish immigrants fleeing famine helped construct the transcontinental railroad, which came to its completion in Utah. Later, Irish settlers made their mark on the social, religious and political culture of the Utah territory. A walk around Salt Lake City reveals some of the contributions of Irish citizens: The Keith O’Brien Building, Gallivan Plaza, Kearns Building, Judge and even Hogle (the family name was originally Gilmore). More recently, Jack Dempsey, Ron McBride, Frank Layden and the Moran Eye Institute all demonstrate that Irish names are still important in Utah.

Utah companies locating in Ireland

One of many factors that have convinced Utah companies to locate in Ireland was highlighted by Mike Robinson, vice president of global manufacturing at dōTERRA, a Pleasant Grove- based natural wellness company. Business has grown consistently over the last 15 years. As we have grown so much internationally, we recognized that we needed to expand our manufacturing footprint to keep pace with global demand for dōTERRA products.

Among the reasons, for choosing Ireland, Robinson lists:

  1. Proximity to international customers.
  2. Staffing & talent.
  3. Efficient sourcing & logistics: Many of dōTERRA’s essential oils come from Europe and Africa. Having manufacturing/inspection operations in Ireland eliminates sending the oils to the US for inspection and then returning them to their warehouses in Europe for regional distribution.
  4. Economic, regulatory and tax climate. Ireland’s fast-track ‘trusted partner’ employment permit system, was a major attraction to dōTERRA and meant work permit applications for the company’s non-EU nationals could be processed within 10 working days.
  5. Educational partnerships that feed the pipeline. “We were able to find amazing talent because of the other companies that came to Ireland years before us,” Robinson says.
  6. Cultures and work ethics that sync. “In both locations, people are diligent, care about their colleagues, and want to build a career that best supports them and their loved ones.”

Utah tech companies with Irish locations

  • Qualtrics of Provo, with a co-headquarters in Provo, makes cloud-based experience management products. The company first created its EMEA headquarters in Dublin in 2013 but expanded the office in 2023, creating a center of excellence to forge innovations leveraging AI, machine learning and natural language processing.
  • MarketStar, based in Ogden, offers sales and revenue acceleration solutions including B2B sales, marketing, channel and customer success programs. After acquiring Irish firm Product2Market in 2022, MarketStar established its EMEA headquarters in Dublin.
  • Pluralsight of Farmington develops online training courses for software and creative professionals aimed at helping teams build better products through improved skills, processes and insights. The company opened its EMEA headquarters in Dublin in 2018.
  • StorageCraft Technology of Draper, a disaster recovery specialist, opened a new international headquarters in Cork in 2013, focusing on IT support, marketing and HR. After the company became a subsidiary of Arcserve in 2021, there were two Irish offices, with the Cork location becoming a partner portal while there is a datacenter processing facility in Dublin.
  • Ancestry.com of Lehi the world’s largest family history resource, set up an international operations center in Dublin in 2012.
  • Ivanti Software of South Jordan offers IT asset management, security, endpoint and supply chain solutions. The company set up an EMEA headquarters in Dublin in 2010. Utah hardware and medical companies with Irish locations
  • Zagg, a mobile communications accessory manufacturer and distributor based in Salt Lake City, opened a European Services Center in Shannon in 2011. The company invested €50 million in this operation. Zagg’s products include screen protection, power management solutions, mobile keyboards, cases and personal audio.
  • Biomerics, headquartered in Salt Lake City, opened a 2,000 square-foot Balloons & Balloon Catheters Centre of Excellence in Galway in 2022. Products use various materials including polyurethanes, nylons, PET and more, and are found in complex balloon components for medical devices and applications.
  • Merit Medical of South Jordan opened an Irish manufacturing plant 2000 in Galway. This leader in single-use inflation and hemostasis devices first launched an Irish facility in 1993.
  • Utah Medical from Midvale created a European facility in Athlone, Ireland, to support many of its international distributors. Built in 1996, this 77,000-square-foot facility is designed for the manufacture and packaging of specialty medical devices recognized in critical care, gynecology, neonatology, obstetrics, surgery and urology.

As Utah companies continue to thrive and expand their worldwide customer base, the symbiotic relationship between Ireland and Utah will continue. Growth and increased employment at home are a given but many Utah corporate leaders see Ireland as a well-placed location from which to exploit lucrative new markets.


Ivan Houlihan is Senior Vice President and Head of the West Coast of the United States for IDA Ireland, the national investment development agency for Ireland. IDA Ireland partners with companies worldwide to provide financial assistance, on-the-ground support and advice to help companies establish and transform their operations in Ireland. Based in California, Houlihan works closely with existing and potential clients in technology, financial services, life sciences and engineering throughout the Western US and Mexico.

Latest article