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Utah Business Honors Young Standouts in Annual Program

Some of Utah’s brightest rising stars were recognized at Utah Business’ second 20 in their 20s Awards Thursday night.

Despite a wealth of jokes at Millennials’ expense, Utah Business Publisher Donnie Welch said the rocky road these young professionals have faced as they’ve transitioned into adulthood makes them all the more worth recognizing.

“I’m sure you’ve heard all the criticism of Millennials—that they expect things to be handed to them, that they live in their parents’ home and spend all their time cultivating their Instagram personas. But the truth is millennials got handed a rough start to their careers by the Great Recession. They graduated from college with a bleak outlook for jobs and a hefty amount of student debt. Even now, years after the end of the recession, unemployment rates among millennials remain higher than the average,” he said. “But for me, that’s what makes this event so inspirational. The 20 individuals we are honoring today took the lemons handed to them by tough economic times and made delicious lemonade.”

The honorees each expressed thanks to those who had supported them, as well as imparted a few observations and lessons learned to their peers.

Tyler Bench, senior digital marketing manager with Lucid Software, a recent transplant to the state, said in his short time in Utah, he’s found a strong group of young people striving to make their respective industries stronger.

“I’ve been really impressed by the business community in general and specifically a lot of the young people I’ve met working hard to make this a great place, and I’m excited to see what they’ll do,” he said.

Kelsey Thompson, mission assurance engineer for Orbital ATK, said she didn’t realize until her junior year of college, when her professor pointed out that they could no longer use the joke “at least it’s not rocket science” anymore, how very far her career could go.

“I really enjoy what I do on a daily basis. I get to work with great people to ensure the rockets we build are going to operate the way they’re intended and there’s really not a lot that’s more rewarding than watching your hard work take off—literally,” she said.

Dario Benitez, vice president of sales at Lawn Butler, said he had found inspiration through hearing from others how they overcame failure and setbacks—and overcoming his own.

“It was amazing to see how many failures they had to go through to see what success really was, and I really took that to heart,” said Benitez.

Michael Jorgensen, CEO of Home Base Appraisal Management, said whatever he and the other honorees had accomplished up to this point, new goals and successes were within reach as they continued to work hard.

“I believe it’s up to us to create strong companies in the future,” he said. “I think we should be proud of what got us here today but I also think we should keep on working. This is just the beginning. Keep innovating, fall on your face a few more times, because after all, that’s what life’s all about-you fall on your face a few times, then hopefully you find something wonderful.”

A full list of honorees can be found here.