January 15, 2009

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Article

Forty under 40

Utah’s Rising Stars

Sarah Ryther Francom and Linda T. Kennedy

January 15, 2009


Utah’s business community is rich with a youthful and energetic workforce. This year’s lineup is an assemblage of serial entrepreneurs, technology innovators and finance gurus—each bringing something unique to Utah’s dynamic business community. For some, the path to success was paved with bumps along the way. For others, it seems success was written in the stars. One thing that our Forty under 40 prove is that the sky’s the limit when you work hard and are determined to succeed. Join us as we honor the business leaders of today and legends of tomorrow. Dave Chase | Chief Financial Officer, Provo Craft | Age: 37 “100 percent of the shots you don’t take, don’t go in.” —Wayne Gretzky Often referred to as a bridge between the executive and non-executive at Provo Craft, co-workers say Dave Chase doesn’t color within the lines of his job description. “A philosophy Dave likes to apply to business and life is that of diversity in all things,” says nominator Alex Koritz. “He encourages trying new things.” In addition to being assigned a customer account that he services regularly, Chase fathered the idea for an upcoming product after being inspired by an automated tape dispenser at a tradeshow. Chase’s explorations extend to the Congo where he contributes his time and talents to Trifie Humanitarian, a non-profit organization that helps job development in impoverished areas. Robert Vandenberg | President, Lingotek | Age: 37 | “One good thing about music, when it hits - you feel no pain.” —Bob Marley As company after company closed up shop during the dot-com bust, Robert Vandenberg managed his software company to profitability—an undertaking he describes as one of his biggest challenges and successes. Today, Vandenberg serves as president of Lingotek and has positioned the company to soar. “Start-ups are awesome,” he says. “Being able to dream up new uses for technology, work with talented engineers to build the dream, pitch the dream, sell the dream and see the technology in use.” A self-proclaimed “momma’s boy,” Vandenberg says what keeps his entrepreneurial spirit healthy are the simplicities of life. “I appreciate each day and want to make the most of each of them.” David R. Parkinson | Partner, Holme Roberts & Owen, LLP | Age: 38 | “Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.” —Albert Einstein David Parkinson has a growing reputation as being one of Utah’s top young attorneys, responsible for multiple matters involving hundreds of millions of dollars. “I thrive on opportunities to bring people with similar visions together to resolve differences and to reach resolutions to difficult problems,” he says. Outside of the courtroom, Parkinson says he’s most passionate about his family and his work as president of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-Utah/Idaho Chapter. “My work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation allows me to go on offense against CF by raising money to fund research that will eventually put an end to this tragic disease. In both my law practice and my work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, I relish my role in guiding, protecting and advocating for those I serve.” Drew Peterson | President and CEO, Veracity Communications | Age: 38 | “The cream always rises to the top.” Since Drew Peterson became president and CEO of Veracity Communications in 2006, the company experienced more than 200 percent growth and he attributes that growth to the fact that the company considers its customers neighbors and friends. He adds that what he enjoys most about his work are the company’s great employees. “We spend most of our life at work and I am fortunate to have great people I get to associate with at Veracity which have created long lasting friendships.” His biggest challenge is not spending every waking moment at work. “It is easy to spend 24 hours a day on work, but what I have found is you’ve got to balance personal life with work.” So, when he’s not leading the company to success, you can catch Peterson boating with his family on Lake Powell. Carin L. Maurer | CFO/Vice President, Family First Federal Credit Union | Age: 39 “I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving” —Oliver Wendell Holmes As CFO of Family First Federal Credit Union, Carin L. Maurer admits that the nation’s economic turmoil has been a challenge, but she says that it’s a challenge she’s facing head on. What keeps her smiling on the job, even under such strenuous times, is her desire to make a difference in people’s lives. “I want to make sure our employees and members know that we will be here for them in each stage of their life.” And when times get tough, Maurer says she looks to her mother, Carol Gaskill. “She showed me how to balance a career and a family. She worked 40 or more hours a week, volunteered in the community and still never missed one of my school functions. She showed me the value of education and the power of determination.” Darren Jensen | International President, Agel Enterprises Age: 39 | “The heights by great men reached and kept, were not obtained by sudden flight. But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Darren Jensen has fulfilled high profile positions in some of the largest and most successful direct selling companies in the world, yet not without a cost. “One day as I sat in yet another board meeting, I finally realized that I was unhappy because I had become a workaholic,” says Jensen. “From that moment forward I resolved to balance my life.” Even though Jensen says achieving balance is still a challenge, he’s found more balance in his current roles from managing Agel’s operations in 50 countries to being a volunteer firefighter for Salem City to serving on the board of the Agel Cares Foundation. “Changing people’s lives for the better, that is truly what gets me out of bed each morning.” David Utrilla | President, U.S. Translation Company Age: 38 | “With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.” —Keshavan Nair Born and raised in Peru, David Utrilla took one of his biggest challenges—learning English—and turned it into a true success story when he founded U.S. Translation Company in 1995. “When I first came to the United States, I spoke very little English. I knew that the only way to be successful here in this country was to speak the language well,” he says. “Despite very discouraging remarks made to me, I still kept my dream of being a successful business person in the United States.” Today, Utrilla and his company have received numerous accolades. And even in today’s rough economic times, he anticipates the company to grow five times its current size during the next five years. Juliana Freire | Associate Professor, University of Utah; Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer, VisTrails, Inc. | Age: 37 “Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.” —Pablo Picasso At age 14, Juliana Freire was teaching English in Brazil, so it’s no wonder that academia is an important part of her life. She has since created and led new degree tracks at the University of Utah’s School of Computing, and is spearheading new initiatives targeted at increasing the enrollment and retention of women in computer science degrees. Add obtaining four patents and starting a company that is developing technology to capture, explore and maintain provenance for computational tasks and you can say Freire has a bit to juggle. “I have met several challenges in my life, and my approach to dealing with challenges is to not make a big deal out of them,” she says. “I just do my best.” Cory R. Moore | Vice President, Big-D Construction Age: 31 | “Action is the true measure of intelligence.” —Napoleon Hill Cory Moore says he enjoys building structures from the ground up, literally. “I thrive on the idea of creation—of raising a building from a sketched idea on a napkin to a structure customers can be proud of,” he says. “In construction, we are literally able to see, feel and touch the fruits of our labors.” Moore attributes his success to the “amazingly talented people and partners at Big-D. Together, we have developed and implemented a marketing plan that has increased company growth by more than 200 percent in the last five years.” Beyond his work and family, Moore spends much of his time helping the community—his list of volunteer work extends from the National Kidney Foundation to the National Association for Shaken Babies and the America West Heritage Center. Brandon Mackay | President/Chief Executive Officer, SnugZ USA | Age: 33 “If you can dream it, you can do it.” —Walt Disney Brandon Mackay doesn’t count stress as a hazard, as a matter of fact, he says he actually enjoys that aspect of his work. “I love it, and I operate best with a little chaos,” he says. Maybe that’s why he initially set his sights on becoming a firefighter and paramedic, until he discovered a passion for SnugZ and eventually stepped up to lead the company after his boss, died unexpectedly. Now, MacKay still serves in industry and community roles with memberships on various boards including the Utah Chapter Trust for Public Land, and is the youngest board member on the Promotional Products Association International. David R. Werner | President/CEO, vLender.Com | Age: 39 “Life is like a flavor. Too much salt and it tastes bitter, too much sugar and it can make you sick. You have to have just the right balance to make it good.” —David Werner Though he has more than 15 years in the real estate and mortgage industry, David Werner brings more than experience to the table at vLender.com—he brings passion. “Every new day is a new opportunity to make something happen,” he says. “It is very rewarding to know that reaching a goal is just a matter of setting it, then allowing yourself to believe that you can obtain it, then creating a plan to do it. His passion has led vLender.com to success; the company has transacted more than 60 billion online loan productions and has a network of more than 2,500 mortgage companies. “Anyone can be successful in business, he says. “Stick to correct and sound principals and the hard lessons you learn will make you a better person and leader.” Mike Sumsion | President & CEO, iTransact, Inc. | Age: 38 “The customer is always right. Some of the time.” While the bubble burst for many Internet-based companies in 2001, Mike Sumsion worked to keep iTransact moving ahead—even though it meant drastically changing the company. “In 2002, iTransact essentially had to start over,” he says. “With the help of great people around me, iTransact was able to diversify into providing services to all types of business owners.” Today, the company has proven its success, and Sumsion credits his employees. “We have been very fortunate over the years to have been able to hire some wonderful people, most of whom are family and friends of family. The few that didn’t fit into either category at the time they were hired quickly became family.” Donna Lifsey Foster | Co-Owner/Partner, FUEL Marketing Age: 38 | “Never fight a man exceptin’ you have a weapon handy—like a crow-bar or a gun-rifle or a harrow-tooth…” —My Great Grandmother, Aunt Becky, Louisville Courier For Donna Lifsey Foster, diamonds are not only a girl’s best friend but also a reminder to her that hard work pays off. After more than 20 years since purchasing diamond earrings as her first “big” credit purchase after getting her first job, Foster says she still wears them almost every day to remind her of how at such an early age, she was able to pay for her earrings with her own hard-earned money. Those days might have included the day she left her radio career as a sales manager to help kick-start FUEL marketing, the day she secured the agency’s first client and the days she works with clients, vendors and employees helping the company maintain annual billings of $6 million. Aaron Y. Peterson | Executive VP of Sales – Satellite Offices & Owner, Prosper, Inc. | Age: 33 “I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city in the world” —Steve McQueen Aaron Y. Peterson learned to work from sunrise to sunset while growing up on a farm in Idaho. And he’s applied that work ethic to every aspect of his life, knowing that a challenge can be defeated with a little hard work. “I think any challenge can be made into a great opportunity to learn and grow.” As EVP of Prosper, Inc., Peterson raised the company’s revenue from $25,000 to $1.5 million in less than 5 years. In the same time frame, he grew the company’s staff from 15 sales representatives to nearly 200. “Aaron strives to provide a clear direction and vision…he has a track record of solid results,” says Jason Russell of Prosper. When Peterson’s not working or spending time with his family, you’ll find him casting a line on one of the state’s pristine rivers. H. Eric Smith | First Vice President, CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) | Age: 37 | “Do It.” —Spencer W. Kimball H. Eric Smith says that one of the best parts of his job is knowing that he’s had a hand in helping companies like Six Continents Hotels and Mozy secure their landing spot along the Wasatch Front. “I enjoy working with clients to improve their business by helping them achieve value through making good real estate decisions,” he says. Smith says that he’s always followed a customer-comes-first philosophy, even during his first job shining shoes. “I would pick up shoes from businessmen in my neighborhood, shine the shoes at my home and then return the shoes to them later that day… I shined over 500 pairs of shoes.” Smith’s co-workers agree that he’s got what it takes to make clients happy. “Eric has achieved tremendous success professionally and is highly respected as one of the top professionals within the real estate sector,” says Mark Bourchard, senior managing director of CBRE. Matt Aaron | Chief Financial Officer/Vice President of Globalization, ACULIS, Inc. | Age: 34 Aside from starting a software development company that supplies internationalization and localization services, Aaron is at work in happenstance, not just behind the ACULIS desk. “It wasn’t until a recent trip through Europe that the G11N imperative hit a humorous note,” he says about an experience he had on a Denmark-bound train. “When some Americans tried to exit the train without their pack, a German man stopped them, exclaiming something about a body bag. The wary Americans moved quickly around him. I tried to explain that he meant only to warn them about leaving their pack behind; that some German knapsack manufacturers had started calling their products body bags!” Aaron calls this a non-work related experience in localization, which is addressing regional nuances to prevent contextual misunderstandings. Allan Hwang | Chief Marketing Officer, 1-800 CONTACTS | Age: 38 Amid an extensive list of descriptive accomplishments on Allan Hwang’s resume is a to-the-point business philosophy: create sound vision strategies that are carefully and thoroughly designed, developed and tested before launched; take responsibility for what you do; and motivate from a place of respect not fear. Adhering to this philosophy is probably what led Hwang to accomplish a number of industry firsts, such as leading a team to develop new consumer products and product demonstration programs, including a program utilizing lifestyle insights targeting young adults. Besides the visibility he’s brought to 1-800 CONTACTS, Hwang launched comm-unity initiatives that have raised thousands of dollars for organizations such as Friends for Sight and the Steve Young Forever Young Foundation. David Entwistle | Chief Executive Officer, University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics | Age: 40 | “You can get anywhere you want in this life if you help enough other people achieve what they are striving for.” It’s not surprising that the last book David Entwistle read was “Critical,” a look at what America can do about the health care crisis. As a leader in a center that treats approximately 723,000 patients a year (impatient and outpatient), the challenges facing health care are always on his mind. But Entwistle says that even then, the industry’s purpose to help people overcome illness and relieve suffering motivates him to reach his goals. “Through a great management team and a group of dedicated staff and physicians, we are able to create daily miracles for our patients.” Hayden Thomas Hartland | President/Chief Executive Officer, Spearstone, LLC | Age: 39 | “Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often.” —Mark Twain Hayden Hartland’s stance to succeed is evident in every sector of his life. “I truly believe that overcoming disappointing news and facing failure with faith and a tenacious expectant attitude is critical to overcoming most of life’s challenges,” says Hartland, who was told he and his wife could not have children early on in their marriage. Twenty years and five kids later, Hartland defied the odds on the home front and battlefield, becoming a decorated Navy officer for his service in the Arabian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. Now you could say Hartland is fighting a war on information theft, leading a team to develop software that extends data protection beyond back up to locating lost or stolen computers and smartphones and remotely disabling them. Jacob C. Heugly | Senior Vice President/Manager of Sales and Marketing, Treasury Management, Zions Bank | Age: 31 “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” —Theodore Roosevelt When Zions Bank President Scott Anderson has a challenge, he calls in his “green berets,” a name he gave Heugly’s team after Heugly chose the color green to brand his department. Anderson noticed how swiftly Heugly could assemble and deploy his 70-member workforce when given a goal. And Heugly’s department not only consolidated six departments within the bank, but changed Zions’ culture and the way the bank offers non-lending services to its clients. “A year after becoming the department head, his team increased treasury management sales 32 percent over the prior year in an industry where this type of growth is unheard of,” says Anderson. Today, Heugly is the youngest senior vice president in the bank’s history. Brad Plowman | Co-owner, Partner, FUEL Marketing Age: 38 | “Attitude determines altitude.” Brad Plowman says that one of the biggest life lessons he’s learned is to keep business and personal relationships separate. After devoting his career to a friend’s business endeavor, Plowman discovered that he, alone, was responsible for his success. Today, he is co-partner of FUEL Marketing—one of Utah’s fastest growing companies. And what he enjoys most about his role is being responsible for the company’s success—and its failures. “The outcome of business is a direct reflection of the effort I exude, the people I hire and the example I provide. I cannot blame others if things do not turn out as planned.” And his employees agree. “The staff works hard not only because we want to make the agency an even greater success, but because we see Brad work hard every day,” says Jasmine Pourpak of Fuel Marketing. Chris Finken | Executive Vice President of Research & Development/Co-founder, OrangeSoda, Inc. | Age: 28 “Be ye doers of word and not hearers only…” James 1:22 Chris Finken says learning how to work with different personalities, skills and management styles has been challenging, but is his constant pursuit. “I think people in general assume they are right and that’s usually what causes most of the issues that can become bigger problems in life and in business,” says Finken, who works with all the departments of OrangeSoda. “As we’ve grown, it’s been a great experience to learn more about how we all work as a team to make OrangeSoda better.” So what’s his favorite diversion from the day’s stresses? “Crown Burger, JCW’s, Astro Burger, Burger Supreme or Apollo Burger.” Chris: What kind of soda do you drink with all of that? Andrew K. Smith | President, AxisPointe, Inc. | Age: 33 “The best way to predict the future is to create it” Andrew Smith says that anyone can be an entrepreneur—and he’s dedicated to helping others’ businesses take flight. “I am very intrigued by the amount of people that have wonderful ideas but not the first clue as to how to get them off the ground. I have dedicated myself to providing advice, consulting, financial direction and hands-on experience to many start-up ventures.” AxisPointe has experienced year-over-year growth since 2004, but Smith admits 2008 has been a little rocky. He says the key to getting through hard times is to follow the advice of those who’ve been through ups and downs before. “I feel like I overcame the challenge by searching for other solutions by talking to others I respected and loved. Everyone needs a ‘reset’ every once in a while to put things into perspective.” Greg Ellis | Entrepreneur, Sharp English/Carefit | Age: 37 “The greatest undeveloped territory in the world lies under your hat.” Greg Ellis says he always knew he wanted to be his own boss. Today, his resume of entrepreneurialism and accomplishments is lengthy—he has started multiple companies, served as an advisor to Governor Jon Huntsman, received innovation awards, taught at Beijing University and has offices extending from Utah to Tokyo to Dubai. Ellis says what keeps him motivated day after day is knowing that he’s paving his own path. “We are all in our own future’s past,” he says. “The things I get to do today influence the future of those I work with, those I serve, and influence where I can be in 10 years.” He advises others to move beyond their weaknesses to discover their strengths. “I was born with a speech impediment, but with the help of a great speech therapist and many years of practice, I made speaking a strength.” Matthew Schneck | President/COO, Simplicity Group Age: 38 | “There is always a way…if you’re committed.” An avid entrepreneur, Matthew Schneck says what he enjoys most is helping other entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. “I love working with young, energetic business owners and helping them make the most of their ideas.” Schneck says that one of his strengths is respecting differences in others. “One of the toughest challenges was as a young man, I was beaten and ridiculed because of my beliefs and what I would and would not do. [That experience] taught me incredible lessons in accepting others regardless of their backgrounds and beliefs.” He credits his family for seeing him through life’s ups and downs. “Staying motivated is easy when you have a family that loves you and you realize that the end goal provides opportunity to experience and share what life has to offer.” Sam Peterson | Senior Vice President of Technology, Overstock.com | Age: 33 | “Do or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda Sam Peterson says that finding a work/life balance is key to happiness—and success. “My biggest challenge has been finding balance in my life. This last year I’ve really focused on balance and I can easily say 2008 has been the happiest year of my life.” But you won’t find him relaxing with his feet up—when he’s not working, he’s training for the Ironman marathon. And while most people dread going to work each day, Peterson says he loves every minute of his time on the clock. “I have my dream job. I spend my days solving tough technical problems,” he says, adding that his role model is his father. “He has taught me more about life and business than I think I can ever absorb. The greatest thing he taught me though was that happiness is a state of mind.” John R. E. Redd | Financial Advisor, AAMS , Edward Jones Age: 38 | “Popcorn is a cheap form of entertainment.” John R. E. Redd says that what keeps him smiling during the nine-to-five grind is the fact that he’s helping people reach financial freedom. “I love helping people. I know that what I do makes a difference in their lives.” According to Lane Beattie, president of the Salt Lake Chamber, what makes Redd unique among financial advisors is his “never guess” philosophy. “John takes the time to know and understand his clients before he makes recommendations…Above all else, he always tempers his advise against a gut check: would I invest my money in this?” Beyond leading the Edward Jones’ Salt Lake branch, Redd stays committed to building Utah’s business community. He is a member of the Salt Lake Chamber and has served on several committees and boards. He now serves on the Board of Governors. Jason Mathis | Executive Director, Downtown Alliance Age: 37 | “When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” —Paulo Coelho It’s one thing to enjoy your job, but it’s another thing to have real passion for it. Jason Mathis says that’s just how he feels about his position as executive director of Downtown Alliance. “I am lucky to live in a community that I love, and feel very grateful that I get paid to promote it to the world.” He brings that spirit of passion and devotion to Salt Lake City in to his personal life as well. “My wife and I have committed to raising our family near the city center. A passionate advocate for Salt Lake, I have a broad vision for our community. This vision includes landmark events and attractions that define Salt Lake City as Utah’s capital and the headquarters of a world religion.” “Jason is a leader who brings people together,” says Tom Vitelli of Intermountain Healthcare. “He is frank, interested in others, an excellent listener and can bring people to agreement,” says Tom Vitelli of Intermountain Healthcare. Zach Anderson | Principal, NAI Utah Commercial Real Estate, Inc. | Age: 38 | “If you don’t do it, someone else will.” Suffering from dyslexia as a child, Zach Anderson says he had to be creative in school to keep up with everyone else. “It showed me I could do anything I set my mind to.” He set his mind to being the top producer in a real estate firm and in 10 years he’s handled more than $500 million in sale and lease transactions for NAI, including some of the state’s most recognized distribution centers in Utah. Anderson says people don’t realize that industrial real estate is still an active market in Utah, carrying the commercial real estate industry through it’s tough times. “You have to not only know where you want to be, but the path that’s going to get you there.” Nathan Gardner | Chief Executive Officer, Costa Vida Age: 32 | “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” —Marianne Williamson Follow Nathan Gardner around for a while and you might learn the secret to his success: don’t leave the room without shaking everyone’s hand. “I am a firm believer in the intrinsic value of every living soul,” he says, adding that he can credit his parents for giving him a real-world perspective through optimistic lens. The perspective probably served the company well when early in its growth, it faced a competitor’s lawsuit. Gardener says, though, fiscal discipline established systems they’re still using now and helped Costa Vida grow from three to 20 stores in two years. “As a big cheerleader, I get great fulfillment seeing individuals change their mindset and take steps to be more committed to greatness.” Mike Herring | Chief Financial Officer, Omniture | Age: 40 “Calm must prevail” —Ward Herring Although many people feel anxious about today’s rocky financial industry, you can’t count Mike Herring as one of them. He says he’s constantly remembering his father’s mantra—calm must prevail—written on his office white board. As a matter of fact, Herring says working in a challenging market environment is what he enjoys most about his position. He considers helping small technology companies successfully grow in chaotic up and down markets among his biggest accomplishments, including taking Omniture from a $20 million business to a $300 million company with more than 1,200 employees in less than four years, and from a private company to a public company in 2006. Seth Bailey | Vice President, Consumer Division, DirectPointe | Age: 32 “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” —George Elliot Since Seth Bailey was 17, he’s created lists of things to accomplish by his 25th and 35th birthdays. But when he founded his company iTOK, he didn’t plan on inventing the “kabath” for his office space that worked as an apartment too. “There just happened to be a shower head attached to the kitchen sink,” he says. “That meant one of us could take our shower while the other made his toast in the morning.” Four years later, DirectPointe acquired iTOK, which now has a customer base in all 50 states and multiple countries, with tripling revenues. Today, on his second list of what to accomplish by age 35, Bailey helps other entrepreneurs navigate through their strategic business decisions. Kate Maloney | Chief Executive Officer, Costume Craze, LLC Age: 27 | “If you can’t beat them, join them.” What does the nation’s health care crisis and Halloween costumes have in common? Kate Malony. First, she started one of Utah’s fastest growing companies which pays 100 percent of it’s employee’s and families health care premiums. On top of that, she has submitted her “Double Tax Benefit Plan” to the federal government in hopes it will help employers provide health care benefits to their employees. If she used the same approach in starting her business, she might succeed. “I said to the loan officer, ‘we don’t want a loan right now. We just want to start a relationship with you so you can get to know us, and we can get to know you,’” she says. “The next thing we knew, we were being offered $100,000.” Spencer Ferguson | Founder/President, Wasatch Software Age: 29 | “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” —Mark Twain A self-taught success story, Spencer Fergusen didn’t know Web design, search engine optimization or business finance when he started home-based Wasatch Software company six years ago. But sticking to his belief that he could accomplish what he put his mind to, Wasatch Software is now a multi-million dollar supplier of information technology products and services to more than 2,000 organizations nationwide. Now, Fergusen says even though he had to learn every aspect required to start his company, he looks forward to relying on his team member’s expertise to continue the company’s growth. “I love working with people!” says Fergusen. “I enjoy interacting with customers, employees, colleagues and vendors on a daily basis.” Leslie Morton | Vice President/Regional Office Manager, Psomas | Age: 39 | “Life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get” From the South Towne Exposition Center to the Collina Tinta, Leslie Morton, regional manager of Psomas, has helped build Utah from the ground up. One of her most challenging projects was the Utah Olympic Oval. “The Olympics were coming in February 2002 whether we were finished or not,” she recalls. “My team and I spent many late nights working out our designs, and we delivered a timely, quality product that helped achieve a successful Olympics.” Morton says that what she enjoys most about her job is the diversity she experiences. “I not only manage a region of 50 great people, but I get to be involved with great development projects occurring throughout the state of Utah. Each day is unique, each project is unique and each person I come in contact with is unique.” Jeremy D. Hafen | Vice President of Administration, Clyde Companies, Inc. | Age: 34 | “Knowledge is Power.” —Sir Francis Bacon Jeremy Hafen enjoys the personal satisfaction of taking on a project and seeing the results when it’s successfully completed. And he’s had some practice at it. In four years with Clyde Companies, Inc., he’s directed the planning, design and construction of the company’s new corporate headquarters; negotiated and managed $100 million in business and real estate acquisitions; and launched a learning management system known as clydeinstitute.com; and started the company’s aviation division. That’s coming a ways since mowing lawns as a teen. “In a company run by primarily older men, Jeremy is seen as the icon of the younger generation,” says Jake White, director of learning and development at Clyde Companies. “He represents change in the very best sense of the word.” Sean Michael Slatter | CEO, Logistic Specialties, Inc. (LSI), Shipley Associates | Age: 39 | “If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” ¬—Henry David Thoreau While most top CEOs say hard work, endurance and an MBA led to their success, Sean Michael Slatter says he learned what it takes to lead a company while working as an EMT during his college years. “I have often reflected as to how much it prepared me for my future as the CEO of my company,” he says. “I learned how to listen, quickly assess a problem, build strategies and plans, work in a team and remain calm during a crisis.” Since joining LSI in 1992, the company has grown to more than 800 employees with 25 locations around the world. The company has also had many notable acquisitions, including Kendall & Associates (K&A) in 2003; Aerospace Support Technologies (AST) in 2004; Howe Associates and Eagle Aerospace in 2005; and Shipley Associates in 2006. Teegan Clark | President, Nexeo LLC | Age: 33 | “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” —Henry Ford Teegan Clark probably doesn’t see himself in the same combative role that his grandfather and role model, Burt MacIntyre, had during World War II when he invented the “Belly Turret,” protecting allies from being shot down by German planes. But, he can definitely connect to it. Clark invented Nexeo six years ago when his engineering firm, Paradigm Solutions, needed to solve staffing problems; Nexeo became a viable second business as an HR company. “Very often we stand between a client and a $40 million lawsuit when it comes to hiring-related risk,” says Clark, whose firm provides staffing for IS, IT and engineering firms, and helps companies troubleshoot their vulnerable spots associated with worker’s compensation and other employee-related issues. Stuart Farmer | Founder/President, Open Air Cinema LLC | Age: 29 | “Happiness is eating good food with good friends.” —Epicurious It’s not common to find someone who, with an iPhone in hand, can show you how his or her work is educating people in countries such as Uganda. But pull up a seat next to Stuart Farmer and you will see photos of tribes watching films on one of his company’s huge, inflatable outdoor cinema screens. In his other hand might be one of his favorite Winston Churchill biographies. “His tirelessness lifted an entire nation during its darkest times,” says Farmer of Churchill. Now, Farmer’s company is creating a worldwide impact with the first major outdoor cinema donation to UN refugee camps and is the world’s largest supplier of outdoor cinema equipment. “A lot of countries have no voice because they have no film industry,” says Farmer. Luke Sorenson | Managing Director, Sorenson Capital Partners | Age: 34 | “It’s amazing what you can get done when you don’t care who gets the credit.” If one word could sum up Luke Sorenson’s position as managing director of Sorenson Capital Partners, he would say it’s “exciting!” “We get to work with companies and management teams in all kinds of industries that are true leaders in their markets. We’re able to make an impact in those businesses and by the work that we do. And, we’re able to add a lot of value to our investors, communities and employees when we do well. Who wouldn’t be excited for that?” he says. “I also cannot overemphasize the motivating effect of working with a great team. When you’re part of a great team, the successes are sweeter and the tough times are more manageable.” Sorenson says that anyone looking for a new endeavor should simply go for it. “The key for me has been to just dive in and have the belief that I could add value and be successful.”
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