Salt Lake City

Economic Development

Phone: (801) 535-7200 | Email:

Ben Kolendar

Ben Kolendar

Director, Department of Economic Development(801) 535-6647

Benjamin is the Director for Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development. Prior to his position with the City, Benjamin served as Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of SelectUSA, the government-wide initiative to attract and retain foreign business investment in the United States. As a presidentially appointed official, Benjamin provided guidance to the Executive Director to create jobs, spur economic growth, and promote American competitiveness.

Before joining SelectUSA, he was dedicated to the development of Afghanistan’s economy as an official in the U.S. Department of Defense. Benjamin’s projects focused on stabilizing the war-torn country through economic development initiatives in the cashmere sector. He spent time on the ground in Afghanistan advising the Afghan Government, local Afghan businesses, and the U.S. government on policies that would help generate economic growth in the sector. Benjamin’s work was instrumental to the sector’s more than double growth from 2012 – 2015, and was recognized from both the Afghanistan and U.S. Governments for his contributions to the sector.

Benjamin has a MBA with an emphasis in globalization and international trade from Georgetown University, and a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Utah State University.