State lawmaker chosen to head Utah Technology Council advocacy group

Rep. John Knotwell is named the group’s president and CEO.<br>

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Rep. John Knotwell, R-Herriman, was named Monday as president and CEO of the Utah Technology Council.

Rep. John Knotwell, R-Herriman, was appointed Monday as president and CEO of the Utah Technology Council, a group that advocates for the high-tech industry.

Knotwell, a member of House Republican leadership as the assistant majority whip, says the new job will not require him to register as a lobbyist — because the group has paid lobbyists who will handle such advocacy with the Legislature.

However, the man he is replacing, outgoing UTC president and CEO Richard R. Nelson, is a registered lobbyist.

The day jobs of Utah’s part-time legislators occasionally require such registration. For example, Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, has been a registered lobbyist for the Utah Taxpayers Association (he is its president).

Knotwell said he will be taking a few extra steps to help avoid conflicts of interest. “I won’t take any distributions whatsoever from the tech PAC [political action committee] at this point, and I won’t sponsor any legislation that is tech-oriented just to make sure there is no conflict of interest.”

He adds, “We keep that conflict of interest in the forefront of our minds and make sure that we try to keep the public trust.”

Gary Goodrich, board chairman of the council, said Knotwell was chosen after a nationwide search.

“John’s experience and talent are necessary to navigate the evolving and expanding landscape of Utah’s rapidly growing tech sector,” he said. “I have no doubt that he is the right person to take the helm at UTC.”

Knotwell is a technology industry veteran, most recently working as the chief revenue officer at RizePoint. Previously he was vice president of sales at Workfront, and vice president of sales at inContact.

He has a master’s of business administration from Utah State University.

“This is an opportunity to continue to advocate for an industry that I care a lot about,” he said, adding he seeks to promote Utah as a place for high-tech industries to locate, help start-up companies to meet and learn from each other, and generally advocate for the needs of the growing industry.