Economic Development - Contact Us


Lara Fritts

Economic Development Director

Lara Fritts is the Director of the Department of Economic Development for Salt Lake City. Her responsibilities are to lead the efforts of the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Arts Council, and Business Development - the three divisions that make up the department. Lara brings to Salt Lake City over 20 years of experience in economic development, management, and technology. In her most recent past position, Lara was Director of Business Development at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause. There she provided expertise on the utilization of tax credits and incentives to existing and potential clients.

Lara has developed and led private sector economic development agencies at the regional and local levels. Her experience includes serving as the President and CEO of the Annapolis Economic Development Corporation where she was responsible for the startup of the Maryland Economic Development Association award-winning program. Prior to that, Lara was Executive Director of the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation where she was responsible for the redevelopment of a 7.5 mile commercial corridor. She has also served as the Executive Director for th Greater Rockville Partnership, and the President and CEO of the Washington D.C. Technology Council.

Lara has a Bachelor's degree in Regional Analysis from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, and a Master's in Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. | 801-535-7299

Ben Kolendar

Deputy Director

Benjamin is the Deputy Director for Salt Lake City's Department of Economic Development. Prior to his position with the City, Benjamin served as 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 war-torn economy as an offical 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. governemnt on policies that would help generate economic growth in the sector. Benjamin's work was instrumental to the sector's more than double grwoth 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. | (801) 535-6647

Peter Makowski

Economic Development Manager

Peter Makowski is the Economic Development Manager for Salt Lake City's Department of Economic Development. While working in the outdoor recreation industry for 7 years, he attended the University of Utah where he earned a Bachelors Degree in City and Metropolitan Planning. Upon graduation, he spent 4 years working in the Business Development Division of Ogden City, specializing in marketing, real estate, recruiting and retention efforts, community development finance, and small business assistance. He managed Ogden’s Small Business Loan Program, the City’s Business Information Center, and served as Executive Director of Wasatch Community Funding CDFI. Peter is a Salt Lake City native and an active member of the community. He enjoys the outdoors and moonlights as a musician. | 801-535-7159

Annie Davis 

Marketing and Research Manager

Annie Davis is the Marketing and Research Manager for Salt Lake City's Department of Economic Development. Annie began her career as a broadcast journalist and has worked for more than a decade in some of the country's top markets like Denver, New York City, and Salt Lake City. Annie has been able to leverage her award-winning journalism experience into work behind the lens in the non-profit sector and outdoor recreation industry. Annie's background touches on a myriad of public relations, marketing, and media skills which she will use to inform the public and potential clients across the country about the economic development efforts of the Salt Lake City. A Southern California native, she has a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder. When she's not working, you can catch Annie skiing at one of Utah's world-class ski resorts, rock climbing, hiking, or enjoying time with her family. | 801-535-7945 

Silvia Castro

Small and Underserved Business Manager

Silvia has more than 15 years of experience working with businesses of all sizes, from a Fortune 500 to start-ups and growing non-profits. She has worked extensively with executives, launched her own organizations and initiatives, and worked with Fortune 500 companies. Her love for entrepreneurs began in 1999 when she worked as the Assistant Director at the Women’s Business Center and has continued through her work at the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund, Small Business Development Center, and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. 

Silvia, a native of Ecuador, has a MBA with an emphasis in International Business from the University of Utah, and a Bachelor’s in International Business from Westminster College. | (801) 535-7694


451 So. State Street, Rm. 425 | Salt Lake City, Utah 84114 | Tel. (801) 535-7240 | | Hours: M-F 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM