SALT LAKE CITY – Jeff Scott is the newly appointed Honorary Consul for the country of Latvia. His first interaction and exposure to the people and culture of Latvia occurred when the 2002 Winter Olympics came to Salt Lake City. At the time, his children were attending Rowland Hall who had recently adopted the country of Latvia’s Olympic Team. After hearing that the school was looking for a parent liaison to oversee the program, Jeff volunteered. Shortly thereafter he reached out to the Latvian delegation to set up an assembly and presentation for the students. The assembly was a very popular event and signaled the start of his newfound fondness with the Latvian people and their culture. Throughout the Olympics, he helped the team with many tasks and maintained a close working relationship after the Olympics ended by using his company, Scott Machinery, to ship their bobsleds, luges, and other sporting equipment to events all over the world. Two years ago, a fellow Consular Corps member Franz Kolb, invited Scott to a GOED/WTC Utah luncheon featuring the Latvian Ambassador. After discovering Jeff’s ties to Latvia, the Ambassador asked him to serve as the Honorary Consul in Utah. After a year and a half long appointment process, Jeff is pleased that his appointment has been officially confirmed by both the Latvian government and the U.S. Department of State.
While Utah does not have a large Latvian population for Jeff to serve, he is looking forward to strengthening economic and diplomatic ties between Latvia and Utah. As a former Soviet-bloc country, Latvia feels that it is important to maintain close relationships and alliances with the U.S. for security purposes. From an economic perspective, Utah is a favorable trading partner for Latvia because their economies and geography are similar in size. In addition, they both have rather robust high-tech industries and energy sectors that may provide excellent opportunities for economic collaboration and trade. Finally, from a diplomatic front, Jeff believes that the Latvian people are very amenable to cultural and educational exchanges. From his experience, Latvian people are eager to learn more about the United States and love to share their own culture in return.
In light of the fact that Mr. Scott is still new to the job of being an Honorary Consul, he wanted to share some interesting trivia about Latvia so that Utahans can become more familiar with this small, yet magnificent Baltic country.
Latvia is a small country with a population of approximately 2 million people. It is situated in the middle of the three Baltic states – Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia – and was a member of the former Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, Latvians had to completely reinvent who they were. As a result, Latvia is a very progressive country that has embraced policies of marriage and gender equality. Among EU member countries, Latvia has the highest percentage of women in graduate or post-graduate degree programs as well as the highest level of female ministers within their political system. Latvia’s capital city, Riga, could compete with Prague when it comes to their young and vibrant population, parks, art, and history and at a fifth of the cost! Latvians also share a love for winter sports including ice hockey, ski jumping, bobsledding, and luging.
Mr. Scott received an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Utah and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. After graduation, he worked for American Express in several sales and marketing positions in both the U.S. and Australia. Following that, he teamed up with his brother to start Scott Machinery, which serves as distributor for construction equipment. He continues to manage Scott Machinery to this day.