Gary Harter is the executive director of Utah’s Department of Veterans and Military Affairs and has been an advisor to the governor for military and veterans’ issues since 2013. The department focuses on ensuring veterans, military and their families are able to thrive in Utah and that military organizations and installations are successful in the accomplishment of their missions. The department is involved in programs focused on veterans’ employment, education, healthcare, business mentorship, legal services, recognition and camaraderie. The department oversees four veterans nursing homes and the state veterans’ cemetery.
Prior to Harter’s current duties, he worked in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development as the managing director for the Business Outreach and International Trade Team. Harter originally joined the office in 2005 as the Defense and Homeland Security Cluster director, working closely with military leaders and installations across Utah and with the defense industry. Harter is a retired Army Colonel who spent 25 years on active duty, leaving service in October 2005. He served in command and staff positions from platoon to division to joint command throughout the United States and in Germany. His final assignment was as Commander, U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground.
Harter is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in Science in Biology and the National Defense University and a master’s degree in National Resource Strategy. He is an Eagle Scout and he has received the Governor’s Award for Science and Technology, the Utah National Guard’s Minuteman Award, Hill Air Force Base’s Wingman Award and been inducted into the Dugway Proving Ground Hall of Fame.