Robert Pedersen II
Executing with Enthusiasm
By Janine S. Creager
August 10, 2009
At age five, Robert Pedersen II knew a good thing when he saw it. Spring blossoms on local trees were more than a show of nature to him; they were a money-making opportunity. Going door to door, Pedersen sold the blossoms to neighbors and became a self-made salesman before he was a full-time elementary school student.
“I loved the classic lemonade stands,” says Pedersen, who is now CEO and president of ZAGG, a Salt Lake-based company that sells accessories for electronic gadgets. “I wanted to be number one; I wanted to go out; I wanted to sell. I loved the whole sales process of offering something to someone. I was excited to make a sale, and kind of gained a love for business that way.”
Pedersen came by his innovative spirit naturally. His father was an executive and entrepreneur who owned many businesses.
“I didn’t fall far from the tree,” he says. “I grew up with a successful father, but he was adamant that I earn my way in the world. Nothing was given to me. I’m grateful because I had to do it on my own. I think my parents had the biggest impact of how to be, of how to balance life, family, church, career and community. I think they’re just a great example.”
The company’s name, ZAGG, refers to the products the business sells (“Zealous About Great Gadgets”) and to the enthusiasm with which they are offered (“When others Zig, we ZAGG!”) Both definitions represent Pedersen’s mission to bring great products and applications to the marketplace, including the invisibleSHIELD, a clear protective adhesive film for electronic devices. To date the company has sold more than 3 million shields.
But Pedersen says his mission, along with 100 plus employees, shareholders and 2,000 investors, is to also improve the relationship between humans and their gadgets.
“When the RAZR came out, [it was] the first phone that people got excited about. It was sleek, it was good looking, but it was still only a cell phone,” says Pedersen. “We have a blast creating new products and selling them—we’re having a mobile revolution.”
Pedersen has walked the Wall of China, gone sky-diving and golfed at Pebble Beach, yet he and his wife have chosen to raise their family in Holladay, not far from where he grew up. Bringing world-wide experience home to Utah has allowed Pedersen to take his company to great heights in just a few short years.
“We set a goal that we would double ourselves every year for the next four years and we’ve done that,” he says. “[It’s important to] create a vision, go out and execute, and make it happen.”
While Pedersen, who was a Utah region finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in June, is the driving force behind the company’s success, he is quick to shine the spotlight on those around him.
“It’s not about me now, it’s about others. It’s taken a lot of people, and always does take a lot of people, to make one person or one business successful. I just appreciate everyone that has been an influence in my life.”