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Atkin and Workman emphasize that they’ve built Goal Zero by assembling a great team and trusting them to make the best decisions for the company. “Our core competency is about people and building people,” Workman says. “If you can crack that, the product can come naturally.”
The founders of KT Tape took a medical product that was used exclusively in a clinical setting— kinesiology tape—and developed a consumer-friendly version. The tape is a light, elastic tape that injured athletes can wear to improve their mobility and ease pain.
The company’s marketing strategy includes providing free taping services at events like marathons in order to get consumers to learn about and try the product. Attending these events gives employees an “on-the-road [experience], going out and touching hundreds of pairs of dirty feet every day at a marathon for three or four days straight, working 12 hours a day applying tape, to get a real good sense of our customers, our product and of our culture,” says co-founder Reed Quinn.
John MacKay says KT Tape has experienced 300 percent growth over the past couple of years, essentially pioneering an entirely new market category. “We continue to grow at a rate that is not seen by any of our peers in the market,” he says.
— Award Winner —
Aaron Skonnard founded Pluralsight as a company that provided classroom-based instruction to professional software developers. But he knew the future was in online education, and as soon as the technology was mature, he and his team made the difficult decision to leave classroom instruction behind and embrace online education.
“It was a difficult, two-year transition until we were through that pivot,” Skonnard says. The company had to get its instructors onboard with the change—and give up a stable revenue stream during the transition. “I remember a few very dark days, sitting there thinking, ‘We may end up with nothing. Both things may fail,’” he says. But in the end, he is glad his team made a commitment to the vision.
The company now offers 465 courses in its subscription-based library. Skonnard’s goal is to exceed 1,000 new courses by the end of the year. The company has subscribers in 100 countries and translates its materials into more than 50 languages.
Will Hamill founded Uinta Brewing in 1993 from a small, renovated mechanics garage. Wanting to create a beer that was unique and satisfying, Hamill brewed up the Uinta Cutthroat Pale Ale, which remains the company’s most popular product. Today, the company brews approximately 25 different beers per year that are sold in 24 states across the nation.
Hamill thoroughly enjoys the entire beer-making process—from recipe development to naming the beers to creating unique labels. “I have so many more [beer ideas] that are in my head that I’d love to bring to market,” he says. “Once our production gets up with our demand, we will be releasing more.”
But the best part of the job, Hamill says, is creating long-term employment opportunities. “Creating a family or a network of people who work is fun to see,” he says. “We’re a small, hard-working business. We’re a community builder.”
Uinta Brewing has received international acclaim and was named one of the top 50 craft breweries (out of 2,500) by the Brewers Association for 2013. The company also strives to be environmentally sustainable, and was the first Utah company to be 100 percent wind powered.
Jason Mathis believes that a thriving downtown must be a diverse downtown. He wants everyone in Utah, regardless of race, religion, gender or age, to see Salt Lake as their own capital city, and downtown as its center. Mathis and his staff work toward that goal by trying to build consensus among residents, large and small businesses, religious leaders, government and the many other groups that use downtown.
Under his direction, Downtown Alliance has helped launch several new projects, including solar-powered parking pay stations, the renovation of Gallivan Plaza, City Creek Center, a revitalization of Pioneer Park and the EVE New Year celebration.