Cox nominates former McAdams aide to lead Utah DABC

Cox nominates former McAdams aide to lead Utah DABC

(KSL file photo)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov.-elect Spencer Cox has nominated Tiffany Clason, a district director for Rep. Ben McAdams, to be the next executive director of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The Cox transition team announced the pick in a news release Thursday morning.

"Tiffany's exceptional track record of success in the food and beverage industry as well as her dedicated public service make her a perfect choice to lead the DABC," Cox said in the release. "This position requires skill in meeting both retail demands and understanding the complexities of alcohol policy. I'm confident Tiffany will do an outstanding job in both arenas for the people of Utah."

Clason's appointment, like all cabinet-level nominees, requires approval from the Utah Senate. The DABC director serves a four-year term.

The release says Clason had "significant experience in the food and beverage industry in London."

"There, she successfully executed the launch of a high-end artisan bread line where she developed and deployed best practices in product and employee training programs and brand integrity, maintained location-specific merchandising and marketing, expanded market share and grew retail sales," it says. "She also analyzed real-time data, monitored transportation costs and timing, and met all international customs regulations."

She has also worked in government under former Sen. David Vitter, R-La., Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, and most recently for McAdams, D-Utah. McAdams is leaving office after his November election defeat to Republican Burgess Owens.

Clason was one of three names forwarded to Cox by the DABC's seven-member commission in a meeting last week. Unlike other cabinet positions, which governors can fill as desired pending Senate approval, the DABC commission actually has a big say in naming the agency's executive director. By Utah statute, it gets to pick names for the governor to choose between.

The other candidates forwarded by the commission last week are already within the agency: compliance director Angela Micklos and deputy director Cade Meier. But Cox opted for the outsider to run the department.

"Clason has a reputation for effectively engaging stakeholders, building bipartisan relationships, crisis management and data-driven strategies, and building vibrant and respectful work environments," the release says.

The DABC manages the day-to-day operation of Utah's liquor stores and the supply of alcohol in the state. Its commission issues licenses and permits, sets policy as directed by the Legislature, and disciplines businesses found to be out of compliance with state law. One DABC commissioner, Sophia DiCaro, has already been tapped to leave the agency and become the director of the Governor's Office of Management and Budget.

Utah has famously exacting laws governing the sale and consumption of alcohol, though some have loosened a bit in recent years. Notably, the Legislature OK'd a slight increase in the alcohol content of beer sold outside liquor stores in 2019.

Clason earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at Louisiana State University and lives in Salt Lake County. She is replacing the retiring Sal Petilos at the DABC.

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