Setting the standard for today's startups, Utah Business' 2010 Trailblazers are a force to be reckoned with. These enduring companies remained true to their goals and principles, and have demonstrated that old-fashioned values, like commitment to quality, hard work and determination, pay off in the long run. Today, these companies have solid reputations and are headed toward continued success. Join us as we congratulate 10 deserving companies who have blazed the way for others through times of treasure and turnoil.
Utah Food Bank
Utah Food Bank is the central hub for food collection and distribution for more than 125 emergency food pantries and non-profit organizations across the state. Utah Food Bank's program delivery is recognized on a community, state and national level. But it delivers more than something to eat--it delivers hope.
Many pioneers in the organization, including Lowell Bennion, created hope for Utah communities through their vision and hard work. Jim Pugh, CEO of Utah Food Bank, says Bennion really captured the vision of how a community can pull together and help the needy.
"Utah Food Bank strives to fulfill the Lowell Bennion model of direct service, focusing on the fact that every bag and every dollar makes a difference and the collective efforts of our state can transform the lives of our neighbors," he says.
It is with every food drive, every can donate, every hour of volunteer service that Utah Food Bank is able to feed hungry people in Utah. "We believe that in a state as generous as Utah, no one should have to make the decision of having enough to eat or paying for utilities or medical expenses," says Pugh. "We have gone from distributing less than 100,000 pounds of food (78,000 meals) with one battered pick-up truck to this year's projected distribution of 30 million pounds of food (23.4 million meals)."
While Utah Food Bank has held different names and broader views over the past 106 years, its mission to meet the immediate basic needs of people in its communities has remained the same.
Since the 1970s, Utah Food Bank has narrowed its focus from advocacy to more direct-service oriented food banking. The organization has adapted as the need for food has become more complex. "It has become more business-like in its efforts to boost marketing and communications outreach," says Pugh. "Through the newly-implemented RoadNet rout planning software and updated inventory process, food collection and distribution endeavors have been streamlined."
Mark Miller Dealerships 1934
From a very young age, Mark Miller, chairman of Mark Miller Dealerships, remembers a sign hanging in his father's office. It read, "We cannot afford to have a single dissatisfied customer." Taking that statement seriously has made all the difference, as the company's current motto "Famous for Customer Service" proves longevity and success over its 76-year history.
Miller says the tagline motivates the company to do what it does best over and over. "It's what drives our company. From an employee's first training session they learn their most important job is to take care of our customers," he says.
The company traces its roots to 1934 when Fred A. Carleson and Harry Carleson, Miller's grandfather, bought a Ford dealership in downtown Salt Lake City. This began a series of inventory changes within the company, first giving up Ford and adding Pontiac, Cadillac, GMC, Rambler, and in later years, adding Subaru, Toyota and Scion to the lineup.
The Mark Miller family of companies now includes Mark Miller Buick, Mark Subaru South Towne, Mark Miller Toyota Scion and a real estate holding company, MARKAT Company, LLC. The Millers also have a family foundation called The Mark and Kathie Miller Foundation, which plays an active role in the Salt Lake nonprofit community.
A true pioneer in the automobile industry, the company developed one of the first in-house computer systems to manage its business, says Miller. The company countinues forging ahead, looking to technology and green initiatives as an answer to today's challenging economic marketplace. "Our new Toyota facility was one of the first LEED certified environmentally friendly and energy efficient dealerships in the country," he adds.
And in spite of tough times in the automobile industry, the company's employee turnover rate remains low. "We put a lot of effort into attracting, selecting and retaining great employees. Our general managers have been with us for 40, 34 and 11...