Article

Celebrating Utah’s Past, Present and Future Innovators

Sarah Ryther Francom

April 8, 2013

Utah has a long and storied legacy of innovation, forged by industry leaders such as Alan Ashton and Bruce Bastian, co-founders of WordPerfect; Ray Noorda, co-founder of Novell; Edwin Catmull, president of Pixar Animation Studios; and Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari. And in the life sciences, the state leads the way in genetics, cancer research and even next-gen prosthetics stemming back to Willem Kolff’s ground-breaking work with artificial organs up to today’s healthcare innovators like Edwards Lifesciences, Merit Medical and Myriad Genetics, among others.

Utah’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit remains strong today despite the increasingly complex business and political environment, as evidenced by the state’s many accolades and accomplishments. For example, the University of Utah has been a leading producer of startup companies, even ranking as the No. 1 startup launcher for two years in a row (the U came in second place this year, just below the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Utah’s record of entrepreneurialism is further solidified by the number of patents filed each year; according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Utah consistently ranks as one of the top patent-producing states per capita.

In this issue, we’re excited to celebrate the latest and greatest innovations coming out of the Beehive State. As the 2013 Utah Innovation Awards program demonstrates, Utah has no shortage of innovation and entrepreneurialism. This annual awards program, which is presented by Stoel Rives and the Utah Technology Council, celebrates the state’s top innovations in categories ranging from biotechnology to clean energy to consumer software, among others. Their inventions are revolutionizing the way the world works, and we applaud their accomplishments and contributions. Read their stories beginning on page 58.

Utah is home to many innovative, inspirational and devoted individuals who work diligently to improve our world. Perhaps no Utahn is better known for his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, as well as his work improving the health of many throughout the world, than Jon M. Huntsman. A true pioneer in both the business world and in his devotion to cancer research, Huntsman has changed the world as we know it.

In this issue, we honor Huntsman’s legacy as the founder and director of the Huntsman Cancer Institute in our 2013 Outstanding Directors Awards program. We admire his vision and devotion to this cause that touches so many lives.

We also pay tribute to two other giants in our community: Jerry Atkin, CEO of SkyWest, Inc. and decades-long board member of Zions Bancorporation; as well as community builder Dave Winder for his service to Alsco, Inc. These three leaders are not just anchors in the companies they serve—they are pillars in our state. Beyond their extensive business-building backgrounds, they each are actively involved in helping other businesses, and the community, reach greater heights. Read their stories beginning on page 76. (One fun tidbit you won’t learn about Jon Huntsman in the article—he’s a major Elvis fan.)

Whether it’s the storied works of giants like Jon Huntsman, Dave Winder or Jerry Atkin, or the up-and-coming innovators who are advancing healthcare, clean energy and aerospace exploration, Utah is a place where a solid idea combined with hard work and perseverance can take off.


From the Editor

Sarah Ryther Francom

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