February 1, 2012

Cover Story

40 under Forty

Being this outstanding takes a lot of work, but our Forty Under 40 hon...Read More

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40 under Forty

Utah’s Rising Stars

Di Lewis, Heather Stewart, Sarah Ryther Francom

February 1, 2012

Joel Clark
President, Kodiak Cakes | Age: 37

Joel Clark always had his sights set on owning his own business. In his early adulthood, Clark joined a consulting firm with one goal in mind: save enough money to start his own company. At age 23, Clark took over Kodiak Cakes, while still working full-time at the firm. It took years of work and dedication before Clark was able to quit the consulting firm and devote himself fully to his company.

“Although I wanted to throw in the towel as an entrepreneur many times through the years, I think my biggest professional accomplishment is that I actually stuck with Kodiak Cakes on a bootstrap budget, while working other jobs in the beginning, with no significant outside investment, for over 14 years now,” says Clark.

Clark says success often comes down to hard work. “I went from being temporarily kicked off the football team in high school because of poor grades to graduating Magna Cum Laude at the U in economics, then to Oxford University for an MBA. I think it’s a lot more about working hard.”

Nicole Cottle
Deputy City Manager, Government Relations, Community and Economic Development; West Valley City | Age: 38

“I absolutely enjoy being told over and over again that something cannot be accomplished or that something will never happen in West Valley City,” says Nicole Cottle. “I savor the opportunity to accomplish the impossible.”

Under her direction, the city is experiencing its most aggressive economic development period ever. Projects include the Valley Fair Mall expansion, new public transportation systems and the $500 million Fairbourne Station. “This effort has not been without hurdles. However, I am proud to say that real construction is occurring and the city is enjoying a tremendous increase in its economic development as a result of this work.” 

Cottle wears many hats in West Valley, the state’s second-largest city. As the city’s lobbyist, she has garnered millions of dollars for economic development, infrastructure and capital improvement projects. During her time as deputy city attorney, she spearheaded the acquisition of several major developments. She also helped the city’s fire department obtain its ambulance license, resulting in ambulance response times being decreased from 12 to four minutes.

Michael S. Davidson
Vice President and General Manager, Hess Corporate Travel | Age: 38

Michael Davidson takes pride in doing every job well. After graduating from Utah State University, Davidson took a position as a travel agent with Crossroads Travel, where he eventually served as general manager. In 1999, Al Hess, owner of Hess Travel, purchased Crossroads. After realizing Davidson’s potential, Hess named him vice president and general manager.

Davidson has been vital to the Bountiful-based agency’s success. Davidson played an integral role in the company’s acquisition of Morris Murdock Business Travel. Aside from the financials, Davidson says the purchase was challenging because it also involved helping the new employees become a part of the company’s culture and demonstrating commitment to new customers.

Davidson says he enjoys involving Hess Travel in community causes like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Carl Duke
Vice President of Portfolio Management, Suburban Land Reserve | Age: 33

Carl Duke is always pushing himself. He holds both an MBA and a JD from the University of Utah and now works as vice president of portfolio management at Suburban Land Reserve (SLR), the for-profit real estate investment arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At SLR, Duke standardized the transaction and due diligence process and created new reporting and pro forma tools. Though he has many responsibilities, Duke still oversees at least one large land transaction every year.

In addition to working at SLR, Duke is also a Ph.D. candidate at the U. in city and metropolitan planning. “I have really enjoyed going back to school and focusing on a field that I have no experience in. It has been very beneficial for me to see how others think and approach real estate issues.”

The most challenging time in his life was when his twins were born with health problems. But now, in his spare time, hiking with his children is his favorite escape.     

Nichole Adams Dunn
Deputy Mayor to Peter M. Corroon, Salt Lake County | Age: 38

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