TOP
Image Alt

Utah Business

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.

2022 CEO of the Year

Each year, we celebrate Utah’s most accomplished professionals—the CEOs who have led their organizations with strength, courage, and endurance and have made it their mission to change the way we do business in Utah.

Roy Banks

CEO | Weave

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Roy Banks, CEO of Weave, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What are you looking forward to accomplishing most in 2022?

While continuing to build and successfully lead Weave, I’m looking forward to our ongoing efforts and commitment to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) within Weave and the entire state of Utah. Given the divisive and corrosive nature of our national public discourse, I hope to unite and bring our nation and community together by demonstrating the healing power and benefits of embracing and expanding DE&I. 

What challenges have you overcome to get here today?

While I’m a bit reluctant to share this knowing its potential for controversy, I know it’s important and will help others. I have had to overcome racism, discrimination, and the inequitable treatment by those that judged me as being inferior, incapable, or unqualified simply because of how I looked. While everyone’s journey and challenges are different, my challenges represent hundreds of years of ongoing racial injustice and discriminatory practices that have denied individuals, and even the world, of the contributions and impact of diverse people everywhere. Thankfully, I have had a wonderful association with people who believed in me and saw what I often did not see in myself.

Josh Baxter

CEO | NetDocuments

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Josh Baxter, CEO of NetDocuments, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about your job/industry? Why?

Like many in my field, technology found me rather than me finding technology. How did it hook me? I like that there are hard problems to think about. I like the pace of change and innovation. I could name many things that I find rewarding, but most of them boil down to one thing—PEOPLE. This industry is filled with smart, hardworking, thoughtful people. I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by many next-level thinkers. I’ve been blessed to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with people who want to solve problems, build businesses, and mentor others.

What does success look like to you?

My dad recently asked me this question while we sat on his back patio overlooking a giant hayfield and the Pahvant mountains. My initial response to him was, “This feels a lot like success to me.” More seriously, success is a constant desire for growth and progress toward your own potential. Having a willingness to try new things, fail, and grow from them is a big part of our progress. I really believe that when we find comfort in our own skin to pursue our goals, benchmark against personal bests, and push for the next level personally, we find success in ways most of us never imagined. 

Doug DeFries

President & CEO | Bank of Utah

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Doug DeFries, CEO of the Bank of Utah, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about your job/industry? Why?

As a banker, I’m in the business of helping individuals, families, and businesses achieve their dreams. That could be buying a new home, starting or expanding a business, or saving for college or a new car. The bank provides the financial tools and expertise to help them reach their goals faster than they might have even thought possible. 

If you weren’t a CEO, what would you do?

I’d drive a big truck and deliver needed supplies to others. On the farm at an early age, I got to drive one of our two-ton sugar beet trucks to the sugar beet dump. It was fairly close to our farm, so it wasn’t a long drive, but I loved the feeling of satisfaction by successfully delivering the load and contributing to success for the family.

Miles Hansen 

President & CEO | World Trade Center Utah

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Miles Hansen, CEO of World Trade Center Utah, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is your go-to business strategy? Why?

See the vision—the highest impact, long-term outcome of the business, determine the mission that is necessary to achieve that vision, and organize teams around specific goals, activities, and metrics that work synergistically and align everyone with the mission and vision. Surround yourself with people smarter and more talented than yourself. Get to work with grit, good humor, and humility, and then enjoy the adventurous path to fulfilling the mission and achieving the vision.

Who inspires you most? Why?

All around us are individuals who are motivated by a love for their Maker and other people. They aren’t seeking personal advancement, ego, or superficial indicators of success—wealth, power, social status, etc. They find fulfillment and inspiration in making the most of what they have to improve their little corner of the world. From poor parents living in war zones, CEOs of some of the largest companies on earth, or startup founders trying to innovate a better world, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many individuals from all walks of life who all strive to simply do good. I consider them heroes because they inspire me and those around them.

Ben Hodson 

Co-founder & CEO | JobNimbus

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Ben Hodson, CEO and co-founder of Job Nimbus, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about your job/industry? Why?

I massively believe in our company mission which is to “Make Contractors Heroes.” Seeing customers fix their businesses, hire more people, and get closer to achieving their dreams is just so powerful. It animates everything we do at JobNimbus. Along with that, each of our team members gets to level up daily as we make a positive impact in the world and grow ourselves into the heroes we want to be.

What does success look like to you?

Creating great, high-paying jobs in a top-notch company culture where people can be fulfilled both professionally and personally is critical to me. Life balance is one of our company’s core values. There are a lot of ways to make money in this world. I want to make money doing something good—helping construction contractors achieve their dreams and making them the hero of their own story. This goal is inspirational, meaningful, and something everyone at JobNimbus can be proud to work on each day. 

Andrew Howlett

CEO | Struck

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Andrew Howlett, CEO of Struck, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

Who inspires you most? Why?

I recently lost my father. Since then, I’ve reflected on how he always inspired me to learn, grow, and be a good person. When I was in junior high and high school, I worked with him doing construction almost every weekend and during summer breaks. He pushed me to always “think ahead and be ready for what’s next.” This has stuck with me my entire life. I am always trying to think ahead and be ready for what’s next. 

What does success look like to you?

Happiness. I tell my kids all the time that I just want them to be happy. I’ve met miserable millionaires and incredibly happy minimum wage workers. If you’re happy in your life, then that’s success. 

Dirk Jeffs

President & CEO | Ultradent Products, Inc.

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Dirk Jeffs, President & CEO of Ultradent, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is your go-to business strategy? Why?

Our founder has often said, “Companies are not made of concrete, glass, and steel. They’re made of people.” I think of this often and I place a priority on hiring and retaining great people. Talent is essential, but I look for great people with strong core values including integrity and care. Once the right people are in the right seats on the bus, I start with our vision and make sure all of our people are on board with it. After that, I find that all of the other aspects of strategy fall more easily into place. As a leader, I know at that point, my most important responsibility is to let them know I’m here to support them and then get out of the way. To get to that point, though, requires a lot of collaboration, listening, and good communication. We have so many talented people at Ultradent and their voices, when united around a shared vision, help shape the best outcomes. 

What does business look like to you in a post-Covid world?

I think the lessons of resilience and handling unpredictability have strengthened us all. I think we’ll need those skills as we move forward in a business environment of an accelerated pace of change. I think we are all better at recognizing and acting on the need for change as a result of the pandemic. I believe the pandemic has caused us to rethink everything, and I hope we hold onto that mentality going forward.

Jonathan Johnson

CEO | Overstock

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Jonathan Johnson, CEO of Overstock, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What advice do you have for your younger self?

I’d tell my younger self four things:

1. First impressions are often, but not always, right. Keep an open mind.

2. Be open to those who have different views or lifestyles than you. Respect for their individuality and perspective will make your life richer.

3. Don’t take a job just for higher pay. Do something you enjoy. It helps if you are passionate about at least part of your job.

4. Bad times can be the most instructive times. Be ready to learn from your trials.

What’s one thing you want to say to the other members of your C-suite?

I couldn’t ask for better colleagues. I appreciate their candor, support, and dedication. They are smart and they work hard. This recognition is really their recognition. No coach has ever won a coach of the year award without superb players making the plays on the field. My colleagues are the ones who have achieved the turn-around success Overstock has seen over the past two years.

John Karony

CEO | SafeMoon

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
John Karony, CEO of Safemoon, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What are you looking forward to accomplishing most in 2022?

Probably the items we are working on in the telecom space. But I am also looking forward to the adoption of the SafeMoon ecosystem. 

If you weren’t a CEO, what would you do?

Sleep.

Brian McCann

CEO | Intergalactic

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Brian McCann, CEO of Intergalactic, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is your go-to business strategy? Why?

High-level, every strategy I support needs to prioritize people first. People are the largest variable in any company. We have good days and bad days. Sometimes we act erratically. Even in intense, fast-paced industries, I’ve found it’s much easier to succeed if you prioritize people. People need to rest and recharge. Creativity and high-level problem solving require people to step away. If employees are well-rested and balanced, they’ll be happier—and rested, happy employees can produce at a higher level. If a strategy is well-thought-out but comes at the potential expense of the health and well-being of your people, it’s not a wise strategy.

Who inspires you most? Why?

My grandparents and parents, each of them for different reasons. My grandparents on my Mom’s side are pioneers in the aerospace and astrospace industries. Everything I’ve done has been built upon the foundation they worked so hard to secure. They’re in their late 80’s and still love to talk shop. My grandma on my Dad’s side is the most loving and genuine person I know. My Dad inspires me because of his humility. He doesn’t expect much, and I think it has helped him to live a rich and fulfilled life. My Mom, who passed away from cancer at 59 in 2020, raised me to believe that hard work leads to opportunity. Cancer robbed her of her incredibly brilliant mind, but her legacy will always remind me to focus on what I can control by way of improvement and growth.

Andy Myers

CEO | Waterford.org

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Andy Myers, CEO of Waterford, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about your job/industry? Why?

Our mission of delivering excellence and equity for all learners, especially young children and their families, attracts individuals who truly want to make a positive difference. Many of our employees were educators before joining our organization, and some even had children or grandchildren participate in our programs and then came to work with us. Our mission-driven organization is a natural extension of a mission-driven industry, and I love having the opportunity to connect with people who have dedicated their careers to educating children and supporting the success of schools, communities, and families. 

What does success look like to you?

As a leader, I’m responsible for the environment where the work takes place, and I believe success in achieving our goals begins and ends with making our organization a destination workplace where great people want to come and stay. I must ensure that the right strategy is in place and understood; that employees feel safe, empowered, and engaged; that processes are intuitive, efficient, and effective so little energy is wasted. I want all members of my team to be their authentic, best, and most inclusive selves at work. We can increase the probability of making the best decisions when diverse and representative experiences are brought into the discussion and valued, never suppressed.

Teri Nestel

President & CEO | Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Teri Nestel, CEO of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

What does success look like to you?

In my world, success looks like kids who have access to healthcare at their local children’s hospital, whether they have a short-term or long-term reason for treatment. Imagine the possibilities that would uncover—for kids and their families to be able to be kids, play with their friends, be proud of their differences, continue school, grow up to become amazing parents, teachers, and leaders.

What is your go-to business strategy? Why?

In the non-profit sector, it’s all about relationships and understanding the needs of our hospitals, partners, and staff. Before we put together a proposal or design a new initiative or solution, we start by asking questions about wants, needs, and impact. We marry that with our mission to engage communities around the US and Canada to raise unrestricted funds for local children’s hospitals. That helps us create partnerships that are valuable and meaningful for everyone.

Justin Nielsen

CEO | Onset Financial, Inc.

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Justin Nielsen, CEO of Onset Financial photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is your go-to business strategy? Why?

Always differentiate! Onset Financial operates in a highly competitive industry that is commodity-based. With that said, the most important focus we can have as an organization is to constantly perform at a higher level than other organizations. Onset Financial continually creates and implements improved approaches to every element of our business. We’ve been very successful at creating a fresh and progressive approach to equipment finance and our results have been remarkable. 

What is the most rewarding thing about your job/industry? Why?

Working every day with world-class professionals is by far the most rewarding aspect of my role as CEO. There’s so much joy and fulfillment in the process of creating profound visions for success, and then working with our incredibly talented team to continually surpass our objectives. The team at Onset Financial truly creates a magnetic vibe of enthusiasm and success.

Greg Ott

CEO | Nav

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Greg Ott, CEO of Nav, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about your job/industry? Why?

Nav is an online platform helping small business owners compare financing options and simplify access to financing for their business. A lot of people talk about how important small businesses are to the economy, yet Nav is one of the only companies truly innovating a broad solution to help the smallest of the small businesses. According to the Small Business Association, there are more than 31 million small businesses in the US and 91 percent of them have less than 10 employees. Nav is a champion for the underdog, and that’s motivating to our entire team. 

What are you looking forward to accomplishing most in 2022?

We’ve seen the positive impact our work at Nav has had on small businesses first-hand. Our business grows by helping more and more small businesses. Historically, we’ve focused mainly on access to capital and credit as that is one of the most significant pain points for a small business. In 2022, we will continue to improve the ways we empower SMBs to compare their options for financing by adding more solutions—credit products and new loan products—into our marketplace and enhancing our machine learning algorithm to better predict outcomes. We will also expand our platform to create transparency for small businesses to compare options in additional categories, including business insurance, bank accounts, and others. Importantly, this all uses the small business’s real data to power their experience. 

Clint Reid

Founder & CEO | Zonos

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Clint Ried, CEO of Zonos, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about your job/industry? Why?

Early in my career, I was one of a million employees at DHL and later UPS—I was just another sales guy. But I caught the vision of what cross-border commerce needed and where it was headed 10 years before the global e-commerce boom of today. Fast forward five years—I’ll never forget the first time I walked into UPS corporate headquarters in Atlanta as the CEO of Zonos thinking, “I would never have been invited here had I just stayed in my comfort zone.” I have done way more for UPS by leaving than I ever could have done by staying. 

What challenges have you overcome to get here today?

I started Zonos in 2009 and was all in. I quit my job and mortgaged the house during the Great Recession. I figured if we lost the house, the kids would be too young to remember—and we did lose the house. Six years into the business, we only had a few thousand dollars in the bank. I didn’t know how I’d make payroll. I acquired a business to help us grow and later had to do a large round of layoffs. It was extremely difficult. There have been many challenges, but from the onset and even in those dark times, I knew the opportunity was far greater than the risk or pain. So I pushed through and kept grinding. “Never give up, never surrender” is one of our core values—that mindset is why we are still here.

Doug Robinson

Co-founder & CEO | LGCY Power

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Doug Robinson, Cofounder & CEO of LGCY Power, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What does business look like to you in a post-Covid world?

Our home is becoming more and more the center of our world, especially due to Covid. Power is becoming more important as we see things like power outages from freezing temperatures in Texas, or brownouts in California due to fires and grid infrastructure challenges. Being a part of the solution to this by helping people produce, store, and consume their own power is part of the legacy we are leaving behind. 

What’s one thing you want to say to the other members of your C-suite?

Business is not an individual sport—it’s the ultimate team sport. I’ve never been a part of a stronger team. I’m thankful for all we’ve accomplished together and for the friendships that have been built along the way. Today wouldn’t be possible without each of you!

Shauna Smith

CEO | Savory Restaurant Fund

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Shauna Smith, CEO of Savory, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is your go-to business strategy? Why?

First ask questions, then actively listen. I have much to learn still, but one thing I know for certain is that solutions to issues, next steps, new strategy, and brilliant ideas almost always start with a juicy, thought-provoking question. 

What are you looking forward to accomplishing most in 2022?

Opening 85 new stores across our seven portfolio companies—Swig, Mo’Bettahs, R&R, Crack Shack, Via 313, Hash Kitchen, and Pincho. 

Cydni Tetro

CEO | Brandless

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Cydni Tetro, CEO of Brandless, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is your go-to business strategy? Why?

In all my experiences, agility and action are essential for any business to succeed. Agility means taking ideas and turning them into something concrete, and action is the ability to do it quickly. You have to be able to test, optimize, and fail fast so that you can learn, correct, and reach your goals in a rapid, continuous cycle.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job/industry? Why?

My work gives me the opportunity to work with so many incredible people. Brandless is currently on an aggressive growth strategy and acquiring a company a month. That means I’m talking to hundreds of entrepreneurs each week to learn their stories, discover alignment, and create strategies to accelerate careers and growth. Bringing like-minded people together and building a platform where everyone can be successful and transform the marketplace is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done professionally. 

James Thornton

Chairman, Co-Founder & CEO | Tafi/Daz 3D

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
James Thorton, CEO of Tafi, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What are you looking forward to accomplishing most in 2022?

As a Web3, metaverse-focused company, our mission is to help all consumers create and build their virtual identities.

What does success look like to you?

Success comes from surrounding yourself with awesome, talented people and spending the time to help them achieve their goals. When your team around you succeeds, as a leader, you naturally succeed as well.

Amelia Wilcox

Founder & CEO | Nivati

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Amelia Wilcox, CEO of Nivanti, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about your job/industry? Why?

We are literally changing people’s lives. We regularly hear from employees who needed help and couldn’t get in to see a therapist through insurance for 12 weeks, but we were able to help them in less than 48 hours. When you read feedback from employees that say we changed their life, saved their marriage, or prevented suicide, it doesn’t get more rewarding than that.

What challenges have you overcome to get here today?

The biggest challenge I overcame to get here was to pivot my company into mental health when Covid took us from $6M to $0 in 10 days. We were one of the fastest-growing companies in the US multiple years in a row, providing onsite massage services to businesses across North America. Covid wiped us out completely and we had to find a new need to serve. After talking to our clients, we realized there was a huge need around mental health that we were uniquely positioned to be able to solve better and faster than anyone else. Fast forward to today, it turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise—but we didn’t realize that at the time.

Austin Woodward

CEO | TaxBit

LinkedIn

Every year, Utah Business honors the CEOs who are leading their organizations with strength and innovation. Meet the 2022 CEO of the Year honorees.
Austin Woodward, CEO of Taxbit, photographed by Everett Fitch for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about your job/industry? Why?

Working closely with incredible visionaries and some of the smartest minds in the world who are helping build the tokenized economy and Web3. 

What are you looking forward to accomplishing most in 2022?

We had an amazing 2021, with two record-breaking rounds of funding and incredible growth. 2022 will be huge for TaxBit. We have a lot to look forward to including international expansion and scaling an industry-leading product while driving the future of the tokenized economy.

To learn more about this year’s winners, take a look at the videos below and find additional event photos here.

Mekenna is the assistant editor of Utah Business magazine and a graduate of the print journalism program at Utah State University. She has written about business, music, and culture for publications like Business Insider, Time Out, SLUG Magazine, Visit Salt Lake, and the Standard-Examiner. She loves hiking, thrifting, reading, and taking camping trips with her partner in their 1986 Land Cruiser.

Comments (2)

  • Kevan Blair

    Well done Mekenna!

  • Terry Seabury

    great profiles and questions ..

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.