Leading Across Many Fronts
Jamie Huish Stum
March 1, 2008
For sixteen years, Jeff Alexander led a double life. The owner of commercial digital printer Alexander’s Print Advantage in Lindon, Alexander successfully grew his 28-year-old company from a retail copy center into a global authority on digital printing processes.
During the other half of his time, Alexander served as the representative for Provo District 62 in the state Legislature, serving as Utah House Majority Leader and House Chair of Executive Appropriations, among other responsibilities. Although he had no prior political experience, in 1990 his community involvement spurred his decision to find a way to contribute to the state’s political conversation.
“I had been involved with different local functions and had met people who had political involvement. I had a feeling that I should get involved, but I didn’t know where to start,” he says. Colleagues suggested the state Legislature might be a fun way to get a hand in local issues. When an opportunity arose in District 62, Alexander threw his hat in the ring. He was elected as a conservative candidate with an intent to keep taxes down and slow the growth of government. He also kept his day job.
“The great thing about politics in Utah at the legislative level is that it’s still a part-time job,” Alexander says. “We’re required to have a job so we’re around our constituents all the time. My employees gave me as many ideas about what they think politically as my neighbors.”
What Alexander thought would be a five or six year involvement quickly turned into 16 years. Leading with openness while maintaining a firm commitment to principles, Alexander became passionate about Utah’s issues, particularly education and transportation.
Ultimately, Alexander’s grueling schedule got the better of him. A father of five and a grandfather of four, he missed having time to be with his family and sneak in a round of golf. He also missed the day-to-day operations of running and growing his business. In January 2007, Alexander formally resigned from the Legislature.
“[My resignation] just kind of came about quickly,” he says. “I noticed I didn’t have the desire I used to and if you don’t have the desire in politics, you can’t be effective. I had the desire to focus more on my business than on the political side of things.”
Alexander wasn’t left by the sidelines for long, however; shortly after he resigned, he was asked by the governor to serve as an advisor for the headquarters strategy of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). In this role, Alexander counsels executive director Jason Perry on legislative matters that further economic development in the state, a position he calls “very fulfilling.”
“Utah has been seen as having a highly educated and hardworking population and we need to make sure that continues,” he says.
Currently, Alexander says he has no plans to get back into politics full time, but won’t rule it out completely. Instead, he is enjoying spending his days at Alexander’s and says he is finding ways to grow personally and professionally.
“We all need to improve, whether it’s business or government, we all need to be better.”