February 19, 2013

Cover Story

Forty under 40

Talented, ambitious and innovative—these are just a few of the trait...Read More

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Forty under 40

By Utah Business editors | Photography by Eric Delphenich

February 19, 2013

The growth of Chase Media Group has been phenomenal. From 2008 to 2011, the company doubled in size. Since 2011, it has doubled again. Chase also contributes services to several nonprofits, including Education First, The Leonardo Museum, Utah Housing Corporation and Prosperity 2020.

Chase says the formula for success is “having a passion for what you do, commitment to following through with what you say you’ll do and doing it with everything you have. It is also important to perpetually keep the humble realization that things can always be done better.”

Gavin Christensen | 36 - Founder & Managing Director, Kickstart Seed Fund

Gavin Christensen founded Kickstart Seed Fund after recognizing a funding gap in the Mountain West. Nearly five years later, he has provided seed capital and guidance to numerous startups.

Though his role requires a lot of risk taking, Christensen says the outcome is well worth it. “The challenge of finding the right companies to back and then the always dramatic, but very fulfilling, journey you take with the young entrepreneur—it’s the most rewarding part of the job.”

Christensen believes that risk-taking and decision-making is just part of business. “I think success boils down to really knowing the right things to do at the right time and getting that right on most days,” he says. “You must also be able to inspire and keep that loyalty around you, even when things aren’t going well. It’s a really delicate dance.”

In addition to serving on the boards of 10 startups, Christensen also serves on the board of the National Adrenal Disease Foundation and the Lassonde Center at the University of Utah.

Mindi Cox | 36 - Vice President, Culture, People & Great Work Team, O.C. Tanner Company

“Through my career at O.C. Tanner, I have moved from supervisor of strategic proposals to managing editor of marketing communication, and now as vice president in the people and great work team. I work to not only implement, but create best practices for O.C. Tanner,” says Mindi Cox.

In her current position, Cox oversees corporate HR challenges, company culture initiatives, people strategies and solutions. She created and launched My Wellness, an employee wellness program, and directed the opening of an onsite fitness facility with a full schedule of group fitness classes and resources for O.C. Tanner employees.

Cox and her husband work in the community as fundraising advocates for the Ronald McDonald House of Salt Lake, Primary Children’s Hospital and other smaller support organizations for the congenital heart defect community.

She also serves on the board of the Utah Safety Council and has volunteered with Girls on the Run and with the Technology Literacy for the Whole Family program.

Chad H. Curtis | 39 - Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Mountain America Credit Union

“I know that a lot of other young, successful professionals seem to leap out of bed with infectious energy, excited about tackling the challenges of the day! That’s not me. Challenges don’t excite me, they annoy me. And that annoyance fuels an implacable drive to figure out a way to succeed in spite of the challenges and obstacles in my way,” says Chad Curtis.

And that annoyance has propelled Curtis up the ranks at an accelerated rate. During his time at Mountain America Credit Union, he has held the positions of accounting manager, senior vice president and controller, and executive vice president and CFO.

During his tenure, the credit union has experienced tremendous growth. Curtis streamlined accounting department processes, enabling the department to maintain a level staff count while the credit union added 30 new branches, increased assets by 163 percent and added 594 new employees.

Owen J. Fisher | 38 - Chairman, Henry Walker Homes; Managing Partner, Strategic Capital Group; Registered Investment Advisor, Wealth Navigation

Owen Fisher started Wealth Navigation in 2006, where he is licensed as an investment advisor. That same year, he co-founded Strategic Capital Group (SCG) with a focus on private equity real estate opportunities. When the real estate market crashed, SCG saw an opportunity and began buying distressed real estate. From there, homebuilder Henry Walker Homes was born in 2009.

Now, Henry Walker Homes has more than 40 development communities and 2,500 lots along the Wasatch Front and in St. George.

 “The latest economic downturn was very difficult for the overall real estate and investment markets, but we were able to stay the course and look for opportunities to grow versus getting caught in the tornadoes of those volatile markets,” says Fisher. “We have developed better models for our businesses, and we were able to build out excellent systems and processes to handle our future successes.”  

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