Though the economic storm has darkened the nation's business environment, Utah's entrepreneurial spirit is still growing strong. As Ernst and Young's 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year finalists and award recipients show, the Beehive State is a fertile ground for innovation, rich with resources to turn dreams into realities. Spanning the state and covering a variety of industries, these entrepreneurs have established businesses that are molding Utah's landscape into one of the country's healthiest environments for business. With inspiring stories, solid business philosophies and trend-setting innovations, these leaders prove that there is light peaking through today's dark economic clouds. Join Utah Business as we applaud some of the state's most pioneering entrepreneurs and their companies.
Matthew Heaton, CEO and Owner | BlueHost
After starting his first successful business at age 17, Matthew Heaton knew the typical 9-to-5 office job was not for him. Exuding an entrepreneurial spirit, Heaton started another venture: BlueHost. Founded in 2003, BlueHost provides cost effective Web hosting services to small businesses and individuals. After starting with only 50 customers, BlueHost has become the world's fastest growing Web hosting company, providing Web hosting services to more than 1.4 million Websites. Heaton attributes the company's success to its customer commitment: the company operates 24/7, receives more than 200,000 support requests each month and is able to maintain average call hold times of less than 30 seconds. When Heaton's not leading the Provo-based company, he can be found playing ping-pong; Heaton is known as one of the best ping-pong players in the state, competing on a national level.
Scott Johnson, CEO and Founder | AtTask, Inc.
With little more than an idea and perseverance, Scott Johnson built AtTask into a leading SaaS company with more than 1,300 world-wide customers, including American Airlines, GE Healthcare, Google and HBO. The company's acclaimed software, @task, is a proven project management solution that gives executives complete visibility, intelligence and accountability over their organization's strategic direction. "@task gives executives the tools so they can actually model out what it would be like if they did certain initiatives. So, if they make changes or reorganize, @task helps them see how doing so will affect the company," Johnson says.
And though the economy has hit a hurdle, Johnson isn't taking a break: the company's goal for 2009 is to achieve 90 percent growth.
Jeff Anderson, CEO and President
Improving education. That's the goal of Audio Enhancement, a 30-year-old company dedicated to enhancing audio in the classroom. Under the leadership of Jeff Anderson, who was named CEO and president in 2005, the company's annual sales revenue has grown from $15 million to $37 million. Anderson has also led the company's drive for innovate products; the company started with the utilization of FM radio waves, but has since developed infrared microphone technology--an innovation that has significantly improved classroom audio. It's the company's innovative spirit that Anderson says has led to its success. "I can't even count the number of times we were told this would never work," he says. "So many people thought we were crazy, but we quietly went on our way and worked to develop the solution."
Andrea Anaya, CEO | Career Step
As a single mother working to support her family as a medical transcriptionist, Andrea Anaya discovered the need for adequate training in the transcriptionist industry. A naturally self-motivated individual, Anaya hand-wrote a custom training program and later produced hard copies of the program, hoping it would become her full-time job. After years of marketing the program using a variety of methods, Anaya finally began seeing results. In 1999, Anaya published the program online and has since helped numerous individuals train as medical transcriptionists. Today the company continues to expand its training programs. "The original medical transcription program is now in its sixth edition and earlier this year we launched a new medical coding and billing program," she says. "We were able to change our industry completely, overcoming major bias against 'newbies' by building great relationships with companies and stressing quality outcomes."
Marc Bingham, CEO
Blue Diamond Capital, LLC
Marc Bingham began his storied career as an entrepreneur in 1971 when he started Phone Directories Company. The company began with one directory in Carbon County, but grew to more than 200 directories and experienced years of record-breaking success. After more than 30 years at the helm of the award-winning company, Bingham sold PDC and began his next endeavor: Blue Diamond Capital. Based in Orem, Blue Diamond is a real estate development and investment management firm that is playing an integral role in building Utah and its neighboring states. With a portfolio that spans industries including hospitality, medical office, commercial office, industrial space, raw land development and more, Blue Diamond is a key player in the state's business landscape.
Gary Goodrich, CEO, President and Director
Chris Jensen, Corporate Secretary and Treasurer
Richard Sorensen, Executive Vice President, COO
Founded in 1997, ProPay Inc. started providing merchant accounts for small and large businesses to process payment online. CEO Gary Goodrich took the company from its infancy and helped the firm produce more than $24.8 million in revenue in 2008, with growth...