There are few aspects of Moab untouched by the generosity of some citizen or another. Most of the time, the benefactor is anonymous, and the contribution is woven so tightly into the community fabric that its origin is forgotten as readily as its presence becomes warmly appreciated.
The first thing John Fogg talks about when asked about his contributions is Moab’s business community and its service through the Moab Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club. Certain indispensable Moab assets are attributable directly to the generosity of the business community, such as the skate area at Swanny City Park, the Mill Creek bike path, the aptly named Rotary Park, signs on Bureau of Land Management trails, and the financial solvency of the school system, to name a few.
In the early 1970s, Fogg arrived as a special education teacher, then began working part time as an insurance broker. He eventually started Central Utah Insurance Agency, at a time when the Moab Chamber of Commerce was five or six members strong, and Fogg and his friend and colleague, Joe Kingsley, traded off as president and vice president every few years.
Since then, he has been a driving force behind envisioning and raising funds for projects across the entire city, Kingsley said.
“A lot of what John has done has become a permanent fixture in this community,” Kingsley said. “He won’t tell you that, but it’s true.”
His most important contribution?
“In my opinion, we would have to go back to 1985,” Kingsley said.
When the uranium bust sent Moab into a tail spin of unemployment and population decline, the Chamber of Commerce grimly assessed the dire situation. Kingsley was keeping his realty business afloat maintaining foreclosed homes for banks, he said.
“John Fogg said, ‘Joe, we have got to find a way to revitalize this community,’” Kingsley said.
The chamber convened three town hall meetings to discuss the city’s future, Kingsley said. Peaches were considered, as well as ramping up the potash mill, or even trying to “put lipstick” on the uranium industry. Three quarters of the way through the second meeting, someone spoke up that with all Moab’s scenic beauty, it could be a destination tourist town. Everyone laughed. In fact, the speaker continued, the town was so beautiful, even the dump could be considered scenic. Everyone really laughed.
Fogg was unwavering in his determination that Moab was a city worth fighting for, Kingsley said. The 1986 Most Scenic Dump Contest became an international sensation, lighting a flame under the city’s entrepreneurship and innovative event-planning, and making way for its current status as one of the world’s most-visited tourist destinations.
“I just take ideas and bring them to fruition,” Fogg said. “I really believe that to receive, you’ve got to give.”
This profile was made possible by the generous support of Rocky Mountain Power.
This Week: John Fogg