September 1, 2012

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Trailblazers

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Trailblazers

Conquering the Present Business World with Lessons from the Past

Candace M. Little

September 1, 2012

Using John M. Browning’s vision of excellence, quality and reliability, the company has expanded into all aspects of international firearms and the outdoors. Hall says the core business is, has been and always will be firearms, but Browning has strategically invested in products that specifically relate to and support the firearms industry. At one point, it even expanded into the world of sailboats and golf.

“For us there really is no limit to the scope of our product lines,” Hall says, “as long as our product selection is done systematically and each product supports the focus and values of our core brand.”

According to Hall, Browning’s all-time bestseller is probably the Browning Automatic 5 auto-loading shotgun, which was in the Browning product lineup for more than 100 years. But, Hall says, having a great product—even having “the best there is”—isn’t enough for a business to be successful. Customer service is a vital part of Browning’s legacy, as the company lends support to each and every product sold. Browning employs not only top-of-the-line gun engineers, but an entire staff willing to work toward its high standards.

When all is said and done, Browning is a very influential company—it’s supporting 150 Utah employees and their families, it’s paying millions of dollars annually to conservation groups on a national level and giving to many local charities, and it’s selling top-of-the-line products across the world. But Hall says what they’re really selling is a heartbeat. “The times you spend in the woods, and it’s quiet—and that deer walks in, or that elk bugles, or that duck quacks, or that turkey gobbles, or you shoot a steel plate at 200 yards and you hit what you’re aiming at—that feeling cannot be replaced by anything.”

Goldenwest Credit Union  Established: 1936
How much can $10.50 turn into if you plan it right? Well, in the case of six men in 1936, it would be enough to spark the beginning of a credit union that now serves a membership base of more than 85,000 and holds $800 million in assets.

This growth was slow and steady in the beginning, taking the credit union 65 years to open 10 branches. In 2003, Goldenwest converted from a state charter to a federal charter and the following year restructured its field of membership, expanding beyond Weber and Davis counties into Morgan, Salt Lake, Utah and Washington counties. Its branch total is now 20.

Goldenwest Credit Union has developed through the good and the bad, and more recently, says Kerry H. Wahlen, president and CEO, it has overcome challenges brought with the economic downturn, both for its members and for its employees.

“As a member-owned cooperative, we work closely with our members to navigate through their financial troubles,” Wahlen says. “We’ve had a huge impact in improving cash flow for our members through refinancing 30-year mortgages and other real estate loans.” Programs like these, along with keeping up with the technological demands of the industry, help Goldenwest continue growing.

The credit union also gives back to its members with its annual bonus dividend, returning more than $4.1 million to members since 2004. But it’s not only about giving back to members. Wahlen says since its inception, member-owners have contributed significantly to economic growth in Utah. “As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, there are no outside stockholders…credit union members are the owners. Loans generated by Goldenwest create economic activity in our local communities,” Wahlen says.

Goldenwest also has a tradition of giving back to its communities through service and donations. Following the credit union motto “People Helping People,” Goldenwest has donated more than $450,000 to public education; it supports the Odgen area Relay For Life, benefiting the American Cancer Society; it has sponsored Christmas for children from 25 different families for the last 13 years; it operates a branch in a local high school where students get hands-on experience with the financial services industry; and it partners with many other nonprofit causes.

The growing organization takes strong leadership, and Wahlen says he’s excited to be leading with the volunteer board of directors who are “committed to preserving a legacy of credit union service that will stand for generations to come.”

Bailey’s Moving & Storage   Established: 1952
Since its beginnings in 1952, Bailey’s Moving and Storage has grown to a multi-million dollar enterprise with several locations throughout Colorado and Utah. It has also been recognized as one of national chain Allied Van Lines’ most successful agents and, because of its specialization in moving high value, delicate and unique products, is Allied Van Lines’ designated special products mover in Colorado and Utah. In 2011, the company expanded its logistics division to Oklahoma and, in 2012, to Alabama. 

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