March 13, 2013

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CEO of the Year

Effective leaders often credit their team members for successes and achiev...Read More

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Article

CEO of the Year

By Heather Stewart

March 13, 2013

However, that growth is merely the beginning. In December, Instructure and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced the company had received a tax incentive that is tied to the company hiring an additional 650 workers over the next seven years. The company plans to enter new international markets this year, and Coates’ ultimate goal is to take Instructure public.

Coates is a decidedly hands-on leader. Instead of working in an office, he sits at a desk in an open environment, where he can collaborate with teams from every department. According to Macfarlane, Coates is adept at finding top talent for the company and then empowering them to succeed. “Josh is excellent at seeing what people are capable of doing and giving them tasks that fit their talents and their capabilities,” he says.

STERLING NIELSENPresident & CEO, Mountain America Credit Union

Sterling Nielsen has been with Mountain America Credit Union for 18 years, but he stepped into the role of CEO in late 2008, right as the financial industry began its free fall. His calm leadership and commitment to quality helped the credit union weather the tumultuous economy—and come out stronger.

“Sterling has been the driving force that has carried us through the most difficult economy we have experienced in our lifetime. He has been the steadying mind making the adjustments that have made it possible for Mountain America Credit Union to be moving forward with strong earnings and strong employee support,” says Scott Burt, Mountain America board member.

In fact, 2012 was the strongest year in Mountain America’s history.

“We grew more in 2012 alone than the credit union was in size when I started 18 years ago,” says Nielsen. With more than $1 billion in assets, Mountain America is ranked No. 10 out of the top 195 credit unions in the country, according to National Credit Union Administration data.

The credit union had an amazing 10 percent growth in membership last year, growing from 371,000 members in November 2011 to 407,000 in November 2012. And it opened 12 new branch locations in 2012, for a total of 76.

“Growth is one of the strong measures we use at Mountain America, because when we grow, it’s an indication that we’re doing things right, that we’re serving the members well, that we’re meeting their needs. And when we do so, they provide us with more business: they tell a friend, a neighbor, and we end up with more people coming in,” says Nielsen. “Our goal is to be so good that people just come flocking to us.”

Marshall Paepke, chief administrative officer, says the continuing strength of Mountain America is also due to Nielsen’s long-standing commitment to its employees. “During the economic downturn, when others were taking away benefits, Mountain America kept all benefits intact and continued to pay the lion’s share of the healthcare premiums,” he says. “We strongly believe there is a strong correlation between our member engagement score and our employee engagement score.”

Both scores are at all all-time high, he notes.

Nielsen has served on the boards of several local and national organizations, including the Salt Lake Chamber, the Utah Credit Union Association and the West Jordan Chamber of Commerce, among many others. Mountain America is also widely known for its “Pay it Forward” segment on KUTV-2 News, and Nielsen is the face of that partnership.

“We find people who are doing great things and we help fund it,” he explains. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s amazing to see what people are doing out there and to help them further that purpose.”

MIKE NADONPresident, Cementation

“I grew up in a mining town,” says Mike Nadon. “I was always curious when I was growing up what it must be like there, underground.”

After nearly 40 years in the industry, underground tunnels have become his hidden empire. He mined while in college to support himself, and continued mining after obtaining a business degree. Nadon has managed projects in the United States, Canada, Greenland, Ireland and Indonesia. He served as vice president for Cementation Canada for six years, then moved to Salt Lake to launch Cementation USA in 2008.

Nadon brought together a team of top mining professionals to build Cementation USA, including experts in mining, safety, engineering and finance. With this team in place, the company quickly established a major presence in the U.S. mining industry. Cementation USA now employs more than 400, and its revenues have grown every year, jumping from $31 million in 2009 to nearly $135 million in 2012.

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