One of Utah’s many strengths has long been the innovative thinking and fresh experiences of its youthful population. Whether they are creating new entrepreneurial ventures or directing established companies, this generation of leaders is confidently coming into its own.
Bringing together the leading lights of that crowd, this year’s 40 Under 40 lineup is an assemblage of talented, ambitious leaders who serve their companies and communities. Join us in recognizing the standouts who are guiding industry trends and shaping future outcomes.
Nephi B. Aiono
Vice President, Zions Bank Public Finance
First Job: Grill and french fries station at McDonald’s in Long Beach, California
Last Book Read: My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey by John Wooden with Steve Jamison
Being the eldest sibling in his family, Nephi Aiono is used to problem solving and making hard decisions. Aiono is a first-generation American and college graduate, a degree that led him to become an investment banker. His role at Zions Bank is to further its mission to assist municipalities, public schools, higher education institutions, water/sewer districts, charter schools and other entities with financing via the municipal capital markets.
Aiono is inspired by a number of role models, including high school coaches, Ronald Reagan, and his father and father-in-law. And speaking of fathers—Aiono says his children are his greatest motivation. “My family is my main motivator to succeed and excel,” says Aiono. “I’ve been blessed with many opportunities and I am determined to maximizing each of them.”
Brandon W. Anderson
Co-founder and President, i4 Solutions
First Job: Bus boy at Village Inn
Favorite Quote: “By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work 12 hours a day.” – Robert Frost
At the early age of 13, Brandon Anderson faced a challenge that has since shaped him into the leader he is today. After experiencing an automobile accident that left his family with major medial issues and expenses, his family lost their home. “Words don’t do it justice to describe what I, as a young man, felt during those times. I was scared, sad and felt somewhat abandoned. However, it wasn’t until years later that I was able to reflect back with gratitude on those times,” he says. Anderson learned many lessons during that difficult time: the importance of “a good work ethic, responsibility and above all being grateful for what you have and not always thinking of the things you don’t.”
Anderson now knows that any challenge can be conquered, and he puts that real-life lesson to work at i4 Solutions, where he and his business partner are constantly innovating new online companies and developing web applications for clients.
Matthew V. Anderson
Vice President – Global Pre-Paid Operations, American Express
Last Book Read: I read a lot of One Fish, Two Fish by Dr. Seuss lately
Role Model: Gordon B. Hinkley
Matthew Anderson says he learned an important lesson early in his career. “I learned to gauge my personal success on the simple idea of, ‘After working here for a day, did I leave this place a little better than when I found it? Did I add value to my customers, my employees and my shareholders?’” Anderson put this lesson to work as he climbed his way up from a customer service representative, to running operations in Japan, to becoming vice president of operations and bank officer for GE Capital Financial (which was purchased by American Express in 2009).
When Anderson is not helping American Express with the design, development, marketing, sales and servicing of its portfolio of global pre-paid products, he can be found with his three (almost four) children, teaching at several universities or playing the guitar and cello (which Anderson says he is gloriously mediocre at).
Derek E. Anderson
President and Founding Partner, Pia Anderson Dorius Reynard & Moss, LLC
Favorite Quote: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
Favorite Utah Diversion: Skiing or biking, depending on the season
In addition to focusing on corporate and real estate work, Derek Anderson also oversees the daily operations of Pia Anderson, including human resources, recruiting, marketing, financial, budgetary and other miscellaneous firm-related matters. At the beginning of his career, Anderson was trying to choose one general area of the law on which to focus, either litigation or transactional. “I struggled with this decision,” he says. “Should I go down the path of many of my past family members (grandpa and uncles) and do litigation, or should I focus on transactional work? My head said litigation, but my heart said transactional work. Fortunately, I followed my heart.”
Anderson says he gets a huge thrill out of negotiating and completing work for his clients. He is also involved with various political campaigns, has been a State Delegate twice and is head coach for a Little League Football 2010 champion team.
Chief Financial Officer, Timpanogos Regional Hospital
Role Model: My paternal grandfather, Lloyd Merrill Croxford
Favorite Quote: “Live a good life. In the end it is not the years in a life, but the life in the years.” – Abraham Lincoln
As chief financial officer at Timpanogos Regional Hospital, Zandra Anderson keeps the organization’s operations running smoothly. Each day she assumes a leading role in analyzing and exploring means of reducing hospital operating costs, protecting and increasing market share, and otherwise ensuring the hospital is prepared to weather the sweeping changes facing the industry as a result of recent health care reform legislation.
“I love working in the health care industry because I know I’m contributing to improving the lives of my fellow community members each day,” she says.
Keeping up with health care seems to be difficult for everyone these days, but Anderson finds joy in the challenges and keeps a cool head under pressure. While she was working for a children’s hospital in Nevada, she worked with a team to locate a bomb in the hospital, and helped keep staff, patients and visitors safe while the device was imploded.
Co-owner, President, Sales & Marketing Director, Candle Warmers Etc.
Favorite Movie: A River Runs Through It
Favorite Utah Diversion: Without a doubt fly fishing!
Before joining Candle Warmers Etc., Chris Barnes worked for Back to Basics Products, where he was responsible for $30 million in annual sales revenue and developing relationships with retailers such as Target, Macy’s, Dillard’s, and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Using this experience, Barnes is now helping lead his sales team as well as overseeing all the sales and marketing functions at Candle Warmers. He is also responsible for the company’s controlled growth strategy.
“I am really excited about Candle Warmers Etc. It was a big step for my family and me, but we could see how great this new challenge could be,” he says. “There have been a lot of challenges over the last three years trying to grow a company in today’s economy; our industry is huge ($2 billion annually) and it’s great to see Candle Warmers Etc. have an impact on something that big.”
Vice President of Resource Development, United Way of Salt Lake
First Job: Landscaping
Last Book Read: Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Jason Castor has been serving United Way of Salt Lake since 1999 and considers his position more than a 9-to-5 job. “Being able to positively change the community for future generations to come is a dream job,” says Castor. In his current position and prior position as corporate relations director for the nonprofit organization, Castor paved the way for new programs, including diversification and expansion of the organization’s revenue streams, and implementation and expansion of its affinity groups (Tocqueville Society, Women’s Philanthropic Network and Young Leaders).
“I’m constantly seeking ways to enhance, refine and improve the final outcome or result of any product, relationship or experience that I’m involved with,” Castor says. “I’m extremely motivated and really enjoy pushing the boundaries of trying to be a good leader, which I believe consists of the following ingredients: discipline, empowerment, honesty, integrity, respect, passion, compassion, strong work ethic, vision and of course, humor.”
President and COO, Prosper, Inc.
Favorite Utah Diversion: Being outdoors with my wife and two girls
Role Model: My dad. I’ve never met anyone that has much passion and optimism for life
When Jason Coulam was 23, he was challenged to bring Prosper’s entire fulfillment division internal—a task that, among other things, required hiring hundreds of employees, developing a CRM system, producing Prosper-owned curriculum and products, and opening a new office. “To be tasked with something so critical for the company was overwhelming,” Coulam says. But he was able to accomplish the task and much more in his almost 12 years with the company, serving many roles leading to his current position such as a sales representative, sales team leader, director of coaching and executive vice president of fulfillment.
Coulam’s biggest motivator is his family. “More than anything it’s providing a wonderful life for my family. Financial security, good relationships and great experiences are much more important to me than a big house or fancy cars,” he says. “I also love watching our employees and customers change their lives and reach their full potential.”
Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, The Blueberry Project, LLC (DBA Little Stinker)
Last Book Read: Lynch Pin by Seth Godin
Favorite Quote: “I love people who yearn for the impossible.” – Goethe
Kathy Dalton has led Little Stinker through booming success in a short amount of time—a challenge not easily accomplished in today’s economy. The company’s flagship product, a baby-butt deodorizer, has gained widespread popularity among parents. More recently the company has launched two additional products for nursing mothers. All three products are unique as they help relieve the pains and of parenthood—something Dalton, a mother herself, can certainly relate to. Recently she was put on doctor-ordered bed rest due to some pre-term labor issues.
“It is very hard for me to be still,” Dalton says. “But over the last few weeks, it has provided perspective and given me a chance to assess my life, where my priorities are. But something pretty incredible happens when you unplug from the world and have time to think. New ideas come, new moments and learning opportunities open the door. The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is to ask for help personally and professionally.”
President and CEO, REDCO
Favorite Movie: The Dead Poets Society
Role Model: My father
One might describe Ryan Davies as a perpetual leader. His positions as student body president and vice president at two universities, being the youngest elected Draper City Council Member, and a vice president of the Cicero Group are just a few roles Davies has filled, in addition to starting REDCO. REDCO produces clean, affordable energy through developing and operating wind and solar projects.
“I am passionate about my job—I love what I do,” says Davies. “Going to work every day is fun and exciting to me because I am a pioneer in a new industry. I am building energy projects that will be operational when my grandchildren are alive. Our projects generate energy and will have no negative impact on the environment. I am helping shape new public policy. I am educating people on the opportunities that exist in a new economy.”
Vice President, Human Resources and Risk Management, Employer Solutions Group
Role Model: Paternal grandmother, Addie Viola Dyches
First Job: Working on the family turkey farm in Sanpete County
Eric Dyches says he is passionate about seeing himself and others progress and become better each day. As a young church service missionary trying to learn to speak Chinese, Dyches discovered that diligence is the key to personal and professional progression. After holding various positions for Employer Solutions Group, Dykes now oversees client retention and satisfaction for ESG’s more than 400 clients.
“ESG holds a 90-plus percent client retention rate, which I’ve been able to assist in maintaining over the past several years,” he says. “Also, my team and I have been able to control costs in our high deductible workers’ compensation program, leading to almost unheard of loss ratios in the past few years. Our results are below industry averages.”
Chad D. England
President, C.R. England North America, C.R. England, Inc.
Favorite Utah Diversion: I am a big sports fan. Especially when it comes to the Utes!
Last Book Read: Truman by David McCullough
Chad England has been working at his family’s business since he was 14, filling many roles ranging from creating the company newsletter to his current role as president. Among other things, he is now responsible for managing five operating divisions, which divisions in-clude the entire asset base of C.R. England, the world’s largest refrigerated trucking company.
England’s mother always told him he could be anything he wanted to be—as long as he worked hard enough. And England wouldn’t choose to work anywhere else. He takes tremendous pride in the company and the family legacy. “It’s more than a business. It is truly an extension of our family, which treats each other right and pursues excellence,” England says. “It’s about living up to the example that’s been set by my dad, uncles, granddad and all the others that have come before me.”
Justen M. Ericksen
President and CEO, Daily Bread and foodinsurance.com
Favorite Movie: Revolutionary Road
Role Model: My father. He is a great example of hard work and perseverance
“It is usually a healthy, and sometimes unhealthy, dose of stress that gets me out of bed in the morning and keeps me on my toes,” says Justen Ericksen. Overseeing all aspects of his business of providing emergency preparedness products (like freeze-dried food for long-term storage that requires only water to prepare) to individuals, families and businesses, doesn’t come without a bit of pressure. But Ericksen has worked hard, creating exclusive advertising relationships with Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity on a national level.
Even though running Daily Bread can be challenging, Ericksen loves it. “I really enjoy new challenges and opportunities because they help me learn and grow,” he says. “If I have a worthwhile goal and can work toward it with a fun group of people, I’m usually pretty excited to take on the next challenge.”
Chief of Staff, Salt Lake City
Last Book Read: Myths, Illusions, and Peace by Dennis Ross and David Makovsky
Favorite Utah Diversion: Riding Park City singletrack at dusk in late August
“Every day is so different at my job; as soon as I think I have a handle on what’s coming next, I am thoroughly and completely sideswiped by the unexpected, and I love the way that unpredictability keeps the edges sharp,” says David Everitt, chief of staff for Salt Lake City. In this role, Everitt oversees the daily operations of the city, which has more than 3,000 employees, including the police and fire departments and the Salt Lake City International Airport. The city government serves more than 180,000 residents, along with double that number of visitors, students and workers who enter the city every day.
With a background in environmental education, Everitt was campaign manager for Mayor Ralph Becker’s successful bid in 2007. Now he works to implement the mayor’s policy agenda throughout the city departments, focusing on economic development efforts and environmental initiatives.
CEO, Keller Williams Park City Real Estate
Last Book Read: The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes
Favorite Quote: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
Matt Green took the helm of Keller Williams Park City Real Estate in 2008, when the industry had been slammed by the economic downturn and the office had just recorded its first year of losses. But since that time, Keller Williams has grown from 135 to 265 sales associates and is now the largest real estate brokerage in Summit and Wasatch counties. The firm’s sales associates have doubled sales volume in just two years, from $162.7 million in 2008 to $326.2 million in 2010.
“Few things are more rewarding to me than helping others reach and surpass their goals,” says Green, who was recognized in 2009 for leading the second-fastest growing Keller Williams franchise in North America. Green is past president of the Park City Board of Realtors and is currently chair of the legislative committee for the Utah Association of Realtors.
CEO, Molding Box
First Job: Mail handler for the military in Germany
Last Book Read: What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
“I started Molding Box in my mother’s basement with no money and no idea what I was doing, and from that grew it to a multi-million dollar organization that services clients not only locally but worldwide as well,” says Jordan Guernsey, CEO of Molding Box, an outsourced fulfillment and logistics company.
But growth didn’t happen easily; the company hit a roadblock in 2009 when many of its key accounts went out of business, leaving it with hundreds of thousands in unpaid invoices. Geurnsey stepped up to the plate, investing additional personal resources into the company and implementing pay cuts for management, along with staffing reductions. By the end of the year, the company had come out on top and in 2010, Molding Box ranked No. 71 on the Inc. 500 list. “We are now a stronger company,” says Geurnsey. “We have a strong unbreakable spirit of determination and a team of people that are all pushing to make Molding Box a powerhouse.”
CEO, Tonaquint Data Center, Inc.
First Job: Dishwasher at Pizza Factory
Favorite Utah Diversion: Utah JAZZ and SUU athletics
The Tonaquint Data Center in St. George began operating in October 2008, but CEO Matt Hamlin’s influence on the company began much earlier. He was responsible for mapping the business plan for funding construction of the center, which is the first and only tier-three data center south of Utah County.
Tonaquint Data Center has, in just two years, become a premier data storage site for Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, govern-ment agencies and small business owners. Large corporate clients like Mozy have turned to Tonaquint, which is located in an area designated as a U.S. Disaster Safe Zone.
“In 2006 we saw an opportunity for data center infrastructure in the Southern Utah region. The answer was to create a state-of-the-art data center with an accompanying telecom business park that would support and assist the growth in the region,” says Hamlin, who was previously involved with InterLinx, which brought a fiber network for telecommunications to Southern Utah.
President, Change Anything LLC
Favorite Movie: Star Wars—all episodes
Favorite Utah Diversion: Trail running in the mountains
Vincent Han is president of Change Anything, a division of VitalSmarts, which is launching a dynamic social media network to help people change chronic behaviors. Han brings a rich array of entrepreneurial experience to Change Anything—he has found-ed five companies and held senior-level positions at another six.
For example, he was an “Entrepreneur-In-Residence” at Battery Ventures while completing his MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management. During that time, he raised $20 million to co-found Ruckus.com, the largest provider of digital media serving the U.S. college market, which was later acquired by Total Music.
“There are always serious challenges that face a serial entrepreneur. You have to be ready to hear several smart people tell you that what you are trying to do is impossible or improbable,” he says. “But this process is refining. It forces you to perfect your plans and your messaging.”
Matthew J. Hawkins
Favorite Movie: Hoosiers
Last Book Read: Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
As CEO of SirsiDynix, Matthew Hawkins heads a company that provides software to more than 23,000 libraries in 70 countries, helping them provide their patrons with greater access to digital information. The company’s customers include Los Angeles County, Salt Lake County, the City of Westminster in England, Stanford University, the Smithsonian Institute and corporations like Nike and Disney.
Hawkins joined the comp-any in 2007 as COO, and was appointed CEO in late 2010. These years have been a difficult time for the industry, as libraries around the world are facing the challenge of providing enhanced services and new technology in the face of tightened budgets—but Hawkins is ready for the challenge.
“I get excited about creating value for our customers through making products and providing services that delight customers,” he says. “Value is created when we understand unique customer challenges and needs and we overcome them with innovative technology and services.”
Jeff S. Hodlmair
Vice President of Finance and Operations, Eliot Management Group
Favorite Movie: Field of Dreams
Favorite Utah Diversion: Sailing on Bear Lake
Jeff Hodlmair was recruited to Eliot Management Group by its founders, who needed his help managing new products and services for the company, which is an electronic payment provider that helps companies accept non-cash payments. “Having been at the company since the ground up, there really is not a hat that I have not worn at one point or another,” says Hodlmair. In his current role, Hodlmair oversees all financial and operational functions of the company.
He also played an integral role in guiding Eliot Management Group through an integration period after it was acquired in 2003, and his oversight helped the company earn a rank among Utah’s top 100 fastest-growing companies for five straight years. Hodlmair is also heavily involved in the community, helping the Sundance Film Festival find more effective methods for accepting payments and helping Wasatch Community Gardens implement its annual Spring Plant Sale.
Rebecca Brown Jensen
President and CEO, Utah Real Estate.com
First Job: Cleaning a dog kennel
Last Book Read: Drive by Daniel Pink
Rebecca Jensen is CEO of Utah Real Estate.com, which is the provider of the largest multiple listing service (MLS) for the Utah region. She has served in that role for three and a half years, and says that the year she became CEO was one of the most challenging that she has ever faced. “The real estate market began to plummet, ultimately leaving us with a third fewer customers from our peak. Pressure on the company was coming from seemingly all directions,” she says. “However, we not only survived, but thrived. By cutting expenses, diversifying revenue streams and refocusing all efforts on our core product offering, we were able to exceed income projections and increase market share.”
Jensen successfully led the company through a two-year redesign of its MSL software and website, which entailed retraining about 10,000 customers. More than 25,000 homes listed on Utahrealestate.com in 2009 were sold for a combined total of more than $6.2 billion dollars.
Jerod G. Johnson
Principal, Reaveley Engineers + Associates
Last Book Read: Leadership and Self Deception by the Arbinger Institute
Favorite Utah Diversion: The fall weather and the opportunity to hit the mountains with friends and family in pursuit of big game
For Jerod Johnson, principal with Reaveley Engineers + Associates, the value of structural engineering cannot be overstated. “The work is not typically glamorous nor is it easily described to the average person,” he says. “However, few professions have outcomes holding risks as great as those of a structural engineer.” A perfect example of this is the Utah State Capitol Seismic Base Isolation and Restoration project, for which he served as project manager. Johnson is confident that the building can now withstand a major seismic event, and the project has been honored with several local and national awards.
Johnson was the first person at his firm to become a LEED Accredited Professional, and his enthusiasm for sustainable design encouraged several other staff members to seek and earn the designation. Well respected in his field, Johnson has also been appointed a member of the Salt Lake City and County Building Conservancy and Use Committee.
Senior Vice President, Private Banking, Zions Bank
First Job: First Interstate bank teller
Favorite Movie: Rocky III
Stephanie Horne manages a private banking portfolio that represents the highest-income, highest net worth clients at Zions Bank, some of whom have $100 million in deposits and $100 million in loans. Her experience and outstanding personal involvement with clients have helped her grow her portfolio, even during the recession. During the past year, commercial loans in her portfolio grew by 109 percent, deposits grew by 51 percent and her net income grew by 177 percent.
Horne is a role model and advocate for other women at the bank; she serves on the steering committee for the Zions Bank Women’s Business Forum, which functions as a retention and succession tool for promising women officers at the bank. She is also a member of the Deseret Foundation’s executive board, the Utah Food Bank’s finance committee and the Downtown Alliance’s development committee, among other organizations.
Founder and CEO, TruClinic LLC
Last Book Read: The Energy of Money by Maria Nemeth
Favorite Utah Diversion: Skiing, hands down; a close second is rock climbing
Justin Kahn is the founder and CEO of TruClinic, an Internet portal that allows licensed medical practitioners to meet with clients via webcam over a secure network that is available 24 hours a day, enabling low-cost and convenient care to clients who may not have ready access to providers.
“What really makes this project worthwhile is the fact that everyone I put it in front of—clinicians, would-be clients, hospital administrators, insurance companies and academia—sees a huge benefit, sees the disruptive aspects of the technology,” he says.
Kahn does not have a background in technology or medicine, but he recognized a need in the market and chose to pursue it. “Launching a company is like following the edge of a fractal: As soon as you turn one corner, you encounter what seem like endless corners within it that you must navigate before you truly achieve success.”
President and Owner, Kennedy Consulting Inc.
First Job: A waitress at the local café in her home town of Delta
Favorite Movie: To Kill a Mockingbird
“I have many professional lives,” says Marla Kennedy. “I’ve worked in the political/policy, nonprofit, corporate and event world … I decided early on in my career to make my own ladder and get to the top of it on my own terms.”
Kennedy is a sought-after professional in Utah’s political realm. She was the campaign manager for Sam Granato’s recent bid for the U.S. Senate, and prior to that she was deputy director of communications for Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker. Kennedy was also the finance and message director for Peter Corroon’s successful campaign for Salt Lake County mayor.
Outside of the political arena, Kennedy organized the BODY WORLDS exhibit in Utah, the most well-attended exhibit ever held in the state. Her community involvement has included service on the board of trustees for the Salt Lake Community College, and she served a five-year term on the board for the Higher Education Assistance Authority.
Favorite Utah Diversion: Climbing, skiing, trail running
Favorite Quote: “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” – George S. Patton
Jill Layfield started with Backcountry.com six years ago as director of customer marketing, where she was directly responsible for 75 percent of the company’s revenue, which grew from $27 million the year she joined the company to more than $200 million in 2009. That year, she was promoted to vice president of product management and was responsible for delivering innovative e-commerce software solutions and backend administrative tools.
In early 2010, Layfield became the first COO of the online retailer and in January 2011, she became CEO. “I love the energy of an e-commerce company,” she says. “The Internet is constantly changing and innovation is happening every day. It’s very exciting to be a part of change.”
Prior to joining Backcountry.com, Layfield held marketing positions in several technology companies like Shutterfly.com and Cisco Systems.
Vice President, School Improvement Network
Last Book Read: Dismantling Racism by Joseph R. Barndt
Role Model: My son and daughter—I am in awe of their passion, sincerity, hope and honesty
A co-owner and vice president of School Improvement Network, Curtis Linton has spent the past 10 years documenting best practices of the most successf-ul schools in North America. Based on this research, Linton has written or produced dozens of award-winning video-based staff development programs.
“Everything that my company does ... represents information that can actually improve the life and experiences of individual students, no matter their race, socio-economic status, gender or background,” he says.
Linton is also co-author of Courageous Conversations About Race, and he serves on the Salt Lake School District Equity Committee and has worked with the Salt Lake City Human Rights Commission. He is currently working on a new book, Equity 101, which will provide a guide schools can use to eliminate achievement gaps and foster success for all students.
Partner and Project Director, Infinite Scale Design Group
First Job: A paper route at age seven
Last Book Read: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Infinite Scale Design Group specializes in creating branded environments—for example, developing the interior look of the Athletic Hall of Fame for Brigham Young University.
Prior to co-founding Infinite Scale Design Group in 2002, Amy Lukas served as design project manager for the “Look of the Games” for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The project scope encompassed 10 competition venues, 10 non-competition venues, and sponsor recognition and presence programs.
Since the Games, Infinite Scale has collaborated on large-scale graphic design projects such as the University of Utah College of Engineering Buildings, the USTA National Tennis Center Campus in New York, and new Major League Ballparks for the Minnesota Twins and Miami Marlins.
“It’s beautiful knowing that we are creating memorable experiences for thousands of spectators and athletes that will live on well beyond that particular event day,” says Lukas.
Partner and Director of Brand Integration, Infinite Scale Design Group
First Job: Restaurant hostess
Favorite Utah Diversion: Local restaurants and businesses—Cucina Toscana, Franck’s and Red Iguana are some favorites
“When awarded our first Super Bowl … Infinite Scale had to design the look of the event in 50 percent of the time it typically takes,” says partner Molly Mazzolini. “We assembled a great team and worked hard to complete the concept design, venue development and implementation on time in a very cold and wet Jacksonville for the look of Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.”
Mazzolini focuses on client services and brand integration strategy for the firm, which has now designed a total of five sequential Super Bowl décor systems, along with two stadiums and the Olympic Cauldron Park and Visitor’s Center at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Mazzolini moved to Utah to work for the U.S. Olympic Committee, and stayed to co-found Infinite Scale, the only environmental graphic design firm in the region. She is also a member of the Salt Lake Chamber board of governors and the Downtown Alliance board of trustees.
State Senator, Utah State Senate
First Job: Hoeing, harvesting and packaging produce at Pack Farms
Favorite Movie: Gandhi
Ben McAdams launched his career in politics at the University of Utah, where he was elected student body president. He is now a Utah State Senator, representing parts of Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake and West Valley City. McAdams is also a senior advisor to Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker.
“My colleagues in the legislature, both Republican and Democrat, are visionary, hard-working men and women. Being able to contribute to the creative problem solving and passion for a better Utah is inspiring,” he says.
McAdams was instrumental in securing funding for the construction of the Airport TRAX line and for the reconstruction of the North Temple viaduct. He also played a key role in facilitating passage of Salt Lake City’s nondiscrimination ordinances. Prior to his work in the Senate and for Becker, McAdams practiced law with Dorsey & Whitney in Salt Lake City.
Vice President of Business Development, Skullcandy
Favorite Movie: Hoosiers
Favorite Utah Diversion: The amazing golf courses
Clarke Miyasaki’s role at Skullcandy, the second-largest manufacturer of headphones behind Sony, is to develop partnerships with brands, artists and athletes. For example, he has completed deals with the NBA, Snoop Dogg, Deron Williams, Metallica, Derrick Rose, the NCAA, Kid Robot, and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, among many others.
Miyasaki came to Skullcandy with broad experience. He formerly was in charge of business development at Logoworks and helped position it for a sale to HP and has experience as an associate at vSpring Capital. But he says, “Coming to Skullcandy was a big challenge in that I didn’t know anybody in any of the industries I was targeting for collaborations. How was a kid from Sugar City, Idaho supposed to do a deal with Snoop Dogg?” He met the challenge head-on, and his success includes a direct revenue impact to the company of $5 million in 2009 alone.
Eric C. Montague
Favorite Utah Diversion: Being in the wilderness
Last Book Read: Decision Points by George W. Bush
Eric Montague founded Executech, an IT outsource company, in 2000, and the firm has grown exponentially since then. Executech has been named a fastest-growing company in Utah in multiple years, and Montague was honored as a vSpring V100 in 2010 for his entrepreneurial success.
“Of all our accomplishments, I feel the fact that we have never lost a client is paramount among our list of achievements,” he says. His business interests are varied; in 2005 he founded real estate investment company Monarch Holdings, which encompasses multiple residential and commercial holdings in Utah.
Montague also serves on the board of directors for the Mountain West Capital Network, helping to foster entrepreneurism in the state. He is also dedicated to the Boy Scouts and serves the Great Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts as assistant district commissioner and on its financial board.
Founder and Managing Partner, Excend
Favorite Utah Diversion: Hunting big game and fly fishing for wild trout
Last Book Read: Joseph Smith—Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman
Ryan Nichols says he is motivated every day by a turquoise and silver ring given to him from his grandfather. “Every time I look at the ring on my hand it reminds me that I owe the opportunities of my life to the sacrifice of past generations,” he says.
Nichols has a varied entrepreneurial background, from founding a tech company in the late ‘90s—right before the Dot-Com bubble—to his current role as founder and managing partner of Excend, which provides mid-market investment banking services for companies in North and South America. The company oversees middle-market mergers, acquisitions and investments. Year-to-date, Excend has already acquired capital commitments in excess of $175 million for its clients.
Nichols is also founder of Big Heart Humanitarian—a nonprofit organization that enables businesses and individuals in the United States to sponsor children’s kindergarten-through-high school education in Guatemala.
Deputy Mayor, Provo City
Favorite Movie: Rudy
Favorite Utah Diversion: A long bike ride
Corey Norman’s first job out of college was for Congress-man Chris Cannon’s office, where he became the youngest district director in the country. In his current role as deputy mayor in Provo City, he interfaces with state and federal lawmakers to work on vital projects like enhancing the city’s downtown district, the development of Mountain Vista and the expansion of Provo’s airport.
Norman is also the executive director of the Provo Foundation, which raises money for projects like the Covey Center for the Arts, the Downtown Business Alliance and the city’s new recreation center. He is finance chair for the Utah County Republican Party and previously served on Intermountain Healthcare’s Community Outreach Council.
“I’m motivated by the people I see daily who are also striving to make subtle changes in their communities and lives, which inevitably result in a ripple-effect throughout neighborhoods,” he says.
Dustin L. Olson
Operations Manager, Heavy Division, W.W. Clyde & Co.
Last Book Read: Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
Favorite Utah Diversion: Exploring Utah’s rivers and streams with fly rod in hand
Dustin Olson is operations manager for W.W. Clyde & Co., a heavy-civil/industrial construction company that has been responsible for building a majority of Utah’s highway systems. As operations manager, all W.W. Clyde project managers report to Olson. He led the team that constructed the $10.3 million Jordanelle hydroelectric power plant near Heber, and he was the deputy project manager on the $79.3 million Point of the Mountain water treatment plant.
“One of the greatest aspects of construction is that every project is different from the last and each one has its own specific challenges,” he says. “There is nothing more exciting than being handed a new set of plans and knowing that the successful completion of the project relies on you.” Olson was named Utility Project Manager of the Year in 2009 by the Associated General Contractors of Utah.
Ryan D. Shepherd
COO, TIFIE Humanitarian
Favorite Movie: Dr. Strangelove
Favorite Utah Diversion: Spending time at our family cabin at Navajo Lake
“I am in Africa two weeks out of every month and personally see the direst circumstances in the world, and this motivates me to push myself to my limits,” says Ryan Shepherd, COO of TIFIE Humanitarian. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to help “teach individuals and families independence through enterprise.” In his role, Shepherd guides and trains locals on how to run a profitable business in their communities. Three TIFIE-established businesses in the Congo, all profitable, provide livelihoods and opportunities for up to 200 locals.
Shepherd manages the daily operations of TIFIE Humanitarian, along with business development for Jamaa Enterprises, the for-profit activities of the organization. He oversees strategic planning for humanitarian initiatives and sustainable funding of projects.
Prior to working for TIFIE, Shepherd was marketing and sales director for an education curriculum company, and under his direction, sales soared from $120,000 a year to $2.5 million.
Favorite Movie: American Beauty
Last Book Read: Boys Should be Boys: 7 Secrets To Raising Healthy Sons by Meg Meeker
Jessica Singer is owner of the “one deal at a time” website Mamabargains.com. The website offers deep discounts off of high-end products for children, babies and mothers. Founded in 2008, the company boasts more than 300 vendors and, so far, has had more than 25 million pages views.
“The biggest challenge I face every single day is adequately demonstrating and validating the success of a young, mom-started company. We are good at what we do, we do it with the utmost of integrity, and in less than three short years we have become a force to be reckoned with in the online shopping community,” she says.
Mamabargains.com recently announced a charitable partner-ship with children’s brand Itzy Ritzy to address childhood hunger, with proceeds from the sale of exclusive Itzy Ritzy Snack Happened bags going to benefit the World Food Programme.
Attorney, Parsons Behle & Latimer
Favorite Movie: Waiting for “Superman”
Last Book Read: Game Change by John Heilemann
“Everyone remembers the sense of internationalism and electric buzz during the Olympics. I want to help bring a diversity of backgrounds and ideas to Utah so that we can be an international city,” says Roger Tsai, an immigration and employment law attorney at Parsons Behle & Latimer. Tsai, who was named Young Lawyer of the Year 2010 by the Utah State Bar, is past president of the Utah Asian Chamber of Commerce.
Tsai has spoken to national organizations about immigration issues, and he has testified before the Utah State Legislature about the impact of immigration legislation.
Targeting the business community, Tsai is a member of the Diversity Community Connections board, where he works with Utah employers on issues surrounding the recruitment and retention of diverse professionals to the state. Last year, the organization awarded its first Utah Employer Diversity Awards to recognize companies that were making efforts to diversify their workforce.
First Job: Teaching gymnastics to children while in high school
Last Book Read: Abigail Adams by Woody Holton
As COO of ThomasArts, the largest locally owned marketing agency in Utah, Anne Wood enjoys working with community leaders and clients like Zions Bank and Deseret Management Corporation. “Each day I work alongside a talented team to solve problems on behalf of our clients and help increase their success,” she says.
Wood joined the company shortly after its founding and was the second non-family employee. Her first position was supervising account teams, and in 2009 she was promoted to COO of the agency, which boasts $80 million in capitalized billings. Over the past three years, Wood has helped the agency attain a 92 percent increase in profits.
She also streamlined workflow processes and simplified protocol throughout the company’s departments. This framework enabled the expansion of the single office to three full-service locations throughout the country.
Colin H. Wright
CEO, Henry Walker Homes
First Job: Mowing and maintaining the yards of model homes
Last Book Read: The Element by Ken Robinson
“Our formation of a homebuilder in 2009, which was a record low for Utah housing with all private capital, required us to be hopeful and optimistic,” says Colin Wright, CEO of Henry Walker Homes. “The successful launch of this company took vision, planning and hard work.”
Prior to founding Henry Walker Homes, Wright worked for Ivory Homes, where he served as land acquisition manager. He later served as the Southern Utah area manger for Ivory Homes, helping that company expand its presence in the region. His experience at Ivory helped him see key opportunities in the real estate market, even during the worst years of the real estate slump. He recognized the rare opportunity to both access capital and acquire desirable land at reduced prices.
Wright is also a partner with Strategic Capital Partners, a local real estate private equity company.