SALT LAKE CITY --- Every two years, a new leadership team of the Utah Consular Corps (UCC) is elected. On February 8th of this year, the new Executive Committee was installed, and James Burton, 2019-2020 Vice President and Honorary Consul of Germany became the new UCC President, replacing David Utrilla, Honorary Consul to Peru. Former UCC Secretary and Treasurer Baldomero Lago, Honorary Consul of Spain, became the new Vice President. Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic, Jonathon Tichy, is the UCC’s new Secretary and Treasurer.
UCC President James T. Burton was accredited by the United States Department of State as the German Honorary Consul on January 29, 2015, after being appointed by Joachim Gauck, President of the Federal Republic of Germany. He holds a B.A. from Utah State University, a J.D. from Florida State University College of Law, and an LL.M. from The George Washington University Law School. James was awarded Utah Legal Elite status for intellectual property litigation and, in 2017, was named one of Utah Business’ forty under 40. James serves on the Board of Directors at the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, the director of Salt Lake City’s Chapter of the American Council on Germany, and is an executive committee member of Christkindlmarkt SLC. Outside of his career and community involvement, he enjoys spending time with his wife Ashley and their five boys
UCC vice-president Baldomero Lago was accredited by the State Department as an Honorary Consul of Spain on March 22, 2001. In 1987, Dr. Lago arrived in the United States from Santander, Spain, to continue his education. After receiving undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the United States he returned to Spain to complete a doctorate degree in instructional technology. He then pursued a professional career as a professor of language pedagogy and presented his teaching philosophy and research across the globe
Dr. Lago currently works as the Chief International Officer for Utah Valley University where he organizes and manages UVU’s global and intercultural academic initiatives. In this position, he works with numerous organizations, chambers of commerce, and global institutions as well as the Governor's Office of Economic Development of the State of Utah and the United Nations. In addition, he has served as President of the World Trade Association of Utah and currently serves as a Chairman for the Board of Directors for Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy and University of Utah Graduate MIAGE program.
Jonathon Tichy was accredited as Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic by the State Department on March 30, 2009. Later, on May 10, 2010, he was formally installed in a ceremony at the Utah State Capitol. While in college, Mr. Tichy obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in public policy with an emphasis in international trade and foreign policy. He also holds a law degree from BYU. Mr. Tichy currently serves as the president of Envoy Legal & Consulting International, a firm that focuses on international legal and governmental relations strategies, where he advises international businesses, non-profit organizations, churches, and government agencies. He also serves as an outside international legal and governmental relations advisor to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In the late 1990s, Mr. Tichy worked at the U.S. Embassy in Prague after receiving a special diplomatic appointment by President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. He was awarded the State Department’s prestigious Meritorious Honor Medal for his work there. Mr. Tichy also served as the Chief of Staff to an Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador and was a Fascell Fellow at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs in Washington, DC. He served several years as Executive Vice-president of the board of the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy and is currently on the boards of the Salt Lake Film Society, the Wallace Toronto Foundation, and the Czech & Slovak School of Utah.
SALT LAKE CITY -- Meet Paul Campbell, chairman of Campbell Companies and Canada’s Honorary Consul to Utah.
Unbeknownst to many, but perhaps unsurprisingly, Utah has deep economic and cultural ties with Canada. Canadian fur trappers explored Utah’s terrain long before Latter-day Saint pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. These trappers were engaged in the fur trade, forming some of the first trading relationships between Canada and the area that would later become the State of Utah. From those simple frontier beginnings, trade relations between Utah and Canada have expanded to encompass all sectors of the economy. According to the United States Census Bureau, Canada consistently ranks among Utah’s top three trading partners. Within the UCC, the Honorary Consul of Canada, Paul Campbell, plays a vital role in facilitating and continuing Utah’s long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship with Canada.
A native of Utah, Mr. Campbell previously served a church mission in Alberta and the Northwest territories. Upon returning to Utah, he obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of Utah. After graduation, he began working for his family’s business, Campbell Companies, where he is currently a chairman. Outside of the family business, Paul is an adjunct professor at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business and he serves on the board of numerous other businesses. Throughout his career, Paul has worked closely with Canadian businesses helping organize multiple trade missions. He attributes these activities as the reason he was nominated by the Canadian Consular General in Denver for the Honorary Consul role he now occupies.
While many Honorary Consuls are primarily focused on visa and passport services, Paul’s focus is strengthening and maintaining economic relations between Canada and Utah, which includes not only trade, but also foreign direct investment between Utah and Canadian companies. This requires him to work extensively with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, World Trade Center Utah, and the Governor's Office. Paul believes that at the core of his role is what he calls “coalition-building” - helping people and companies develop relationships with Utah.
As the Honorary Consul of Canada, Paul’s primary goal is to help connect Utahns and their business with their Canadian counterparts. Luckily, Utah is an appealing partner for Canadian businesses due to our strong economy and long-standing history. With new leadership in the Governor’s Office, Paul looks forward to continuing building strong connections between Utah and Canada.
SALT LAKE CITY -- S. George Simon brings a diverse background in economic development, trade relations, and product development to his position as the Honorary Consul to Hungary. Simon’s experiences span from time as a performer with a Hungarian folk dance group to his current role as Managing Director of Q Life Sciences. Simon’s academic background includes an undergraduate degree in finance with a minor in business economics, and he is a graduate of the International Business Management Program at UCLA.
Simon hails from Los Angeles, California but he has lived in Salt Lake City for the past 20 years since moving to the valley to work for Myriad Genetics. It was during his time with Myriad that Simon negotiated and constructed one of the largest start-up financings in the biotech industry, Myriad’s $82 million joint venture with Hitachi and Oracle. Even before this historic deal, Simon made lasting contributions to each sector he found himself working within. Simon’s first position out of college was as a marketing officer for the New Zealand Consulate-General, promoting New Zealand exports to the United States. This job was the opposite of what Simon envisioned as he originally aspired to work with the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Ultimately, however, this experience led him to take a job at the Canadian Consulate General in LA, where he worked for seven years. It was during those years that Simon found himself gravitating toward the blossoming biotech industry. This interest led him to prepare and publish an important white paper about biotech’s influence on trade and economic development between Canada and the U.S.
Though he calls both California and Utah home, Simon’s connection with Hungary runs deep and he is proud of his Hungarian heritage. Simon’s parents are from Hungary, and Simon is fluent in the Hungarian language. In fact, when Simon started kindergarten in the U.S., he didn’t speak a word of English. This language and heritage is something he has passed down to his four children as well, three of whom hold Hungarian citizenship. Simon and his family maintain their connections to fellow Hungarians by hosting annual parties and other events at their home, creating a community that includes not only Hungarian ex-pats but also business colleagues and other friends. This community-building began even before Simon was appointed as an Honorary Consul. In 2002, Simon was asked to host a reception for the Hungarian Winter Olympic team. Hosting the Olympic athletes and the former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary in his home is a memory that Simon treasures.
As the Honorary Consul to Hungary, Simon’s primary goal is to connect Hungarians in Utah with helpful resources. Simon, with assistance from his wife, runs the consulate office out of his home. Due to Schengen treaty regulations, they can no longer process visas and passports. As a result, Simon primarily works on notarizing and authorizing signatures for Hungarians in Utah and connecting them with contacts and resources. Simon is dedicated to continuing this vital work of building strong connections between Utah and Hungary.
SALT LAKE CITY – Meet James T. Burton, Kirton McConkie shareholder and German Honorary Consul to Utah.
German is the third most common language spoken in the State of Utah according to Ben Blatt from Slate Magazine, and is included as an option for dual language immersion at two elementary schools in the state. Utah’s German ties date back to the mid-1800s when multiple Germans immigrated to Utah, including the renowned Karl G. Maeser, founder of Brigham Young University. Additionally, Utah is home to Christkindlmarkt-SLC, a well-known traditional German Christmas market held at This is the Place Heritage Park each December. Utah is also home to a German appointed and U.S. Department of State approved Honorary German Consul, James T. Burton. This appointment is an honor from Germany not only for Mr. Burton but also to the entire State of Utah which has built strong ties with the country.
Prior to Mr. Burton’s appointment as the German Honorary Consul to Utah, he participated in consular duties as the unofficial German Honorary Vice Consul to Utah. The former German Honorary Consul is Charles Dahlquist, who served as the first President of the Utah Consular Corps, a former National Commissioner for Boy Scouts of America and the former General Young Men’s President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mr. Dahlquist and Mr. Burton met each other at Kirton McConkie where Mr. Dahlquist is also a shareholder. Germany has a mandatory retirement age of 65 for diplomats, which was extended to 67 for Mr. Dahlquist so that he could personally have a hand in choosing the next German Honorary Consul to Utah. Mr. Burton was recommended by Mr. Dahlquist, and after careful consideration and an interview by the German Consul General, he was approved by the German Foreign Mission and U.S. State Department in 2014 to become the next German Honorary Consul to Utah. Mr. Burton values his relationship with Mr. Dahlquist so much that he even named his youngest son Charlie after him.
Mr. Burton’s family connection to Germany is generations deep. His grandfather served a mission in Germany for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Following this, he later served as the president to the Church’s European Mission twice, and while in this position ordained Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf as a missionary. Mr. Burton’s father followed in his grandfather’s footsteps by serving his own mission in German-speaking Switzerland, after having lived many years in Germany as a youth. Many of Mr. Burton’s family members, including one of his brothers and a brother-in-law, all served missions in Germany. Although he is not German himself, Mr. Burton grew up with a deep love for Germany and the German people. He was thrilled when his time came to serve a mission for his church and he was also called to serve in Germany.
One of the reasons that Mr. Burton enjoys his service as German Honorary Consul to Utah is because of the opportunity to stay connected to the country and people. Mr. Burton takes advantage of every opportunity to use his knowledge of the German language. He still practices German and speaks German with the 30-40 Germans who use the passport and other services of the German Honorary Consulate in Utah every month.
Even though his consulate office and legal office are in the same building, Mr. Burton takes care to ensure that he keeps his duties for his positions separate. However, he also realizes these positions don’t exist entirely independently. “Without Kirton McConkie,” he explained, “I couldn’t be a consul. They provide the assistance and office space to make this service possible. Kirton McConkie did the same for Charles when he was the German Honorary Consul before me. I want to thank them for their public service and support.”
Serving as the German Honorary Consul to Utah as well as the Vice-President to the Utah Consular Corps is time-consuming. Mr. Burton shares that consuls, such as himself, form the “necessary and valuable bridge” between their country of representation, the state, and various organizations. As a bridge, consuls are able to understand culture, languages, issues and willingly help those involved in the exchange to feel comfortable.
Utah is an appealing state for Germany and other countries to work with because of its strong economy and educated workforce – unemployment is low and Utah runs consistently fiscally in the black. Of course, the relationship is reciprocal: Germany is a strong partner for Utah because it is one of the largest economies and exporters in the world.
SALT LAKE CITY-- In March 2020, the State of Utah hosted a Japanese delegation primed for spreading awareness of business endeavors amid efforts to increase trade relations between Japan’s archipelago and Utah’s mountainous region. Two flagship events welcomed the foreign visitors hosted first by World Trade Center Utah and then Utah Valley University. These events could not have been done without the unassailable partnership from key community resources, such as Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, the Utah Governor’s Office for Economic Development, World Affairs Councils of America, Whitmore Global Management Center, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, and the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver. Over the course of two days, both events gathered internationally-driven and locally-based individuals to share their insight into U.S.-Japan relations, highlighting the mediary niche Utah maintains in this dynamic. As was iterated several times, Utah’s relation to Japan is crucial to the mutual success of both trading partners and remains a pillar to forging lasting relations. Despite mild concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic and its detrimental impact to trade relations, many panelists reassured the overall effects of the rapidly spreading disease would not overwhelm the trading partnership.
World Trade Center Utah held the first panel discussion in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City on March 10, 2020. Our presence was warmly welcomed by Felecia Maxfield-Barrett (Executive Director, Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy), Shanti Shoji (Director of Programs, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA), Miles Hansen (President & CEO, World Trade Center Utah), and Franz Kolb (Director of Diplomacy and International Protocol in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development). Its panelists included Ambassador James Zumwalt (Distinguished Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA), Yasuhiro Uozumi (Executive Director, Keidanren USA), and Lee Carter (CEO, Rakuten Bank America). Our entourage was an illustrious collectivity of representatives with experience spanning the globe. While Mr. Zumwalt provided keen insight from time working in the U.S. Department of State, Mr. Uozumi and Mr. Carter shared experiences conducting business between Utah and Japan and the fruits of their labors.
Mr. Zumwalt spoke first about the ties which strengthen U.S.-Japan relations. As a former Deputy Chief of Mission in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, his presentation was especially relevant. He identified four main areas of overlap between U.S. and Japanese objectives: democracy, rule of law, rules-based international order, and strong economic ties. He continued that the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan is the longest bilateral security treaty since the Treaty of Westphalia, housing more U.S. troops in Japan than any other country in the world. Mr. Zumwalt ended with a pro-Japanese sentiment, stating roughly 80% of both civilian populations believe maintaining diplomatic relations is essential. Mr. Uozumi spoke next, highlighting the business role Keidanren assumes in its international operations to emphasize exporting, foreign direct investment (FDI), and economic development and growth. This mantra was most evidently demonstrated in his 2019 U.S. tour, meeting with numerous U.S. governors and forging trade relations in states such as Maryland, Tennessee, Minnesota, and Utah. Mr. Carter concluded the panel discussion by explaining the history and mission behind Rakuten and its e-commerce foundation. He praised Utah for its unique workforce specializing in international experiences which enhance the professional trajectory. The gathering was a wonderful opportunity to bring together key representatives from nonprofit, private, and governments sectors.
The following day, the delegation traveled to Utah Valley University to host a second panel discussion, this time with alternative views on Utah-Japan relations: Osamu Taki (Chief Executive Director, JETRO Los Angeles), Benjamin Hart (Deputy Director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development), and Bryce Hunt (Customer Success Manager, Podium). We were once again welcomed by official co-sponsors of the event: Baldomero Lago (Chief International Officer, Utah Valley University), Miles Hansen (President & CEO, World Trade Center Utah), Midori Takeuchi (Consul-General of Japan in Denver), and Shanti Shoji (Director of Programs, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA). Mr. Hansen emphasized Utah’s commitment to becoming a “full partner” with Japan amid the negative effects of the pandemic. Audience participation involved a greater number of students and faculty bolstering the venue’s academic intent, contrasting the demographic of the previous day. Madame Consul-General Midori Takeuchi stressed the timely relevance of democratic principles such as freedom, diplomacy, and human rights and how these attributes drive the success of the U.S.-Japan treaties. Mr. Taki, representing JETRO (Japanese External Trade Organization), affirmed his allied position with Silicon Slopes to focus on themes such as healthcare technology and infrastructure improvements. Mr. Hart asserted that Utah’s “workforce is at the heart of economic growth” and reiterated that COVID-19 will come and go, but our trading relations will outlast the pandemic. Ms. Hunt paralleled Utah’s business growth with its family growth, maintaining that both models mirror one another.
Utah Consular Corps is equally committed to ensuring Utah-Japan relations endure across all aspects. Our goal aims to increase our consular ranks in the State of Utah, further connecting our state with the rest of the world. We hope to solidify these relations by having an Honorary Consul to Japan appointed in Utah who is vetted by the Japanese government and accredited through the U.S. Department of State. Part of our mission includes the expansion of our consular ranks and we do this by submitting recommendation letters to the respective embassies to facilitate the process of finding qualified individuals to fulfill these important roles. If you know anyone who might possess the qualities and characteristics attendant to an honorary diplomat, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 385-831-0638.