Utah Business Honors CEOs in Annual Event

Salt Lake City—Utah’s economy has never been better, and a diverse group of companies, big and small, from nonprofits to family businesses, are leading the charge. On Wednesday, Utah Business honored those people leading those businesses in its annual CEO of the Year awards.

“They come from very different organizations, but all of these individuals are tested executives with individual leadership skills,” said Heather Stewart, managing editor of Utah Business magazine, at the luncheon recognizing this year’s honorees. “Each of them have had unique, amazing journeys to where they are today.”

The event, held at the Grand America hotel, was emceed by Fox 13 anchor Hope Woodside, who said although the CEOs came from different backgrounds, their leadership skills united them.

“They all have a strong vision, and the ability to carry out that vision,” she said. “They are unparalleled leaders, with the ability to build a strong company culture.”

Among the honorees was Scott Altman, executive director of Ballet West, who was an opera performer and ran a string of successful opera companies before being hired with the Salt Lake company. He said the enormous amount of talent in the people he works with makes guiding the nonprofit smooth sailing.

“It’s my job to surround myself with folks and talent who could do things so much better than I could, and then it’s up to me to give them the tools to succeed,” he said. “This is representative of their hard work.”

Richard Hunt, CEO of Hunt Electric, reflected on the change of his role since founding the company 30 years ago.

“I’ve had the privilege of growing it from a seed and one employee,” he said. “One of the most enjoyable aspects of growing a business is your role has to change—at first, you’re involved in the nuts and bolts, but as it grows, you have to focus on vision and long-term things.”

John Sperry, founder and CEO of InMoment, noted the pleasure that came from seeing something with a lot of personal investment grow and become successful.

“We built a company without funding on the back of people’s credit cards and mortgages. It’s ended up being our company, and I’m so appreciative of all the people who gave that sacrifice,” he said. “It’s something we own now. It’s not something we needed outside funding for; we did it.”

The honorees are:

Scott Altman, executive director, Ballet West

Jeremy Andrus, CEO, Traeger Grills

Richard T. Beard, president and CEO, People’s Utah Bancorp

Patrick M. Byrne, CEO,

Lew Cramer, president and CEO, CBC Advisors

Wallace T. Davis, founder and CEO, Peopletrail

Dave Elkington, chairman and CEO,

Richard Hunt, CEO, Hunt Electric

Aaron Skonnard, co-founder and CEO, Plurralsight

John Sperry, founder and CEO, InMoment

Teresa Whitehead, CEO, Citywide Home Loans

Spencer Young, president, Young Automotive Group