Jim Carlson: CEO of the Year
Congratulations to Jim Carlson, co-founder and chief executive officer at Zurixx, LLC. He was named one of the 2018 CEO of the Year honorees.
After years of helping start and grow several other businesses—in industries ranging from multimedia publishing to financial sales—Jim Carlson and business partners, Cris Cannon and Jeff Spangler, decided to start a new venture in the financial education industry. It’s an industry that is “focused on teaching people how to be successful and how to create a legacy for their families,” says Carlson. “You are surrounded by so many good people that are truly trying to improve students’ lives. The ability to come in to work every day and watch people change their lives for the better is a rewarding experience, and why I initially started in this industry.”
Since Zurixx’s founding in April 2012, Carlson took on the role of CEO and has never looked back. The company has received nine recognitions over the past two years for exponential revenue growth, including being named the No. 1 fastest-growing company in Utah Business’ Fast 50, and the No. 43 fastest-growing company of the Inc. 500 in 2016 with $130.1 million in revenue.
As Zurixx enters a new phase after five years of rapid growth, Carlson feels excited about the company’s future—and that of its employees. Carlson makes sure that Zurixx isn’t just focused and invested in its students’ futures, but that it’s also invested in its employees. “Jim’s very good at taking people who have a desire to want to get better, and he recognizes that in them—sometimes even before they recognize that in themselves,” says Spangler, who is president and co-founder of Zurixx. “He’s able to put them in positions where they can take that desire and grow and expand. It creates a good team environment.”
And while Carlson is often in the difficult position of making tough business decisions, says Spangler, he remains interested and involved in the lives of his employees, making sure they have what they need—be that the funds and time for continued education or even for cancer treatments. When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in late 2017 (and thus, Zurixx’s Puerto Rico office), Carlson brought all 15 Puerto Rico-based employees and their families to Utah as soon as he could, while he went down to Puerto Rico with suitcases full of batteries, food, flashlights, generators and other goods. “When he sees opportunities to help out with different individuals within our organization, he’s very good at jumping in and making sure that that happens,” says Spangler.
As a company, Zurixx has given over $2.2 million to various organizations in the community such as Courage Reins and The Road Home.
“We also put an emphasis on employees taking work time to volunteer,” says Carlson. “We want our people to give back and we support those efforts wholeheartedly.”