This week on the Utah Business Report

Friday, October 11th, 2013

In case you missed one or more of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Business Reports on KSL News Radio, here is a recap of what we talked about this week.

We’d like to congratulate Henry Walker Homes for being selected as one of the “Emerging Eight” fastest growing companies in the Utah Business 2013 Fast 50 awards. The home builder was honored for its entrepreneurial spirit, innovative business tactics and impressive revenue growth.

The Utah Business Fast 50 program highlights 50 rapid growth companies based in Utah who reported consistent revenue progression over the past five years. The Emerging Eight category consists of businesses that are less than five years old with exceptional revenue performance and high growth potential.

Henry Walker Homes is one of the fastest growing home builders in the Intermountain West. Founded in October 2009, the company has grown to 79 employees and 29 sales consultants, and presently has over 2,800 lots in Colorado and Utah.

Collectively the principals of Henry Walker Homes have been in the home building industry for over 30 years and are instrumental in the construction of thousands of homes.

Business leaders care about the education of our youth. That’s why they joined together to form the Prosperity 2020 movement. With a solid education, our students will be better equipped for a prosperous future… and also for the jobs of tomorrow.

Many high-paying jobs will require skills based in science, technology, engineering and math. So these topics are crucial things for today’s students to learn and be involved in.

To help, a new after-school activity and learning center is open—and its goal is to be an active, inspiring place where math and technology learning is fun.

The new Zaniac learning facility is located in Sugar House at 10th east and 21st south. It will offer several programs such as Zane Math, LEGO Robotics, Minecraft Exploration, touch typing and chess instruction.

Learn more about increasing innovation, accountability and investment in education, visit Prosperity2020.com.

The Utah Educational Savings Plan continues to be ranked among the top five performing 529 plans in the country in the ten-, five-, three- and one-year categories.

SavingForCollege.com ranks Utah’s Plan as second in both ten- and five-year performance out of the 52 plans analyzed.

Utah Educational Savings Plan is an innovator and a low-cost leader in the 529 industry, consistently ranking among the nation’s top 529 plans by organizations like Morningstar, Inc., Money magazine, CBS MoneyWatch, and consumer expert and talk radio host, Clark Howard.

With a user-friendly website, UESP makes it easy to open, manage, and contribute to an account online. No minimum deposit or balance is required to open an account, so families can save a little or a lot, according to their schedules. There is also a variety of investment options along with low fees. Learn more at uesp.org.

The Utah Film Commission wants you to produce and direct its next promotional commercial. This is a great opportunity for local filmmakers to have their work seen by thousands of people, including film industry professionals, during the Sundance Film Festival.

Contestants can submit a campaign or individual commercials promoting Utah as a great place to make motion pictures. Up to eight 30-second commercials will be chosen to represent the Utah Film Commission during the Sundance Film Festival on local broadcast television.

The winners will receive $1,500, a Sundance Film Festival package, official Utah Film Commission gear, as well as free entry into a drawing to win a GoPro camera.

The contest is free and open to all Utah residents and students attending school in Utah. You can find more information at film.utah.gov.

Vivint Solar, a leading full-service residential solar integrator, recently introduced Greg Butterfield as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Butterfield has more than 25 years of executive-level experience in the software and network system management industries, most notably as president and CEO of Altiris. During his tenure at Altiris, Butterfield led the company to eight consecutive years of revenue growth and profitability. Butterfield has also held executive positions at Symantec Corporation, Vinca Corporation, Novell, and WordPerfect.

Founder and CEO of Vivint Inc. Todd Pedersen says this is a critical expansion period for Vivint Solar, a time when Butterfield’s record of consistent, annual revenue growth will help the company widen customer reach, as well as develop their technology and team.

For the full reports from this week and weeks past, visit KSL NewsRadio online. Remember to tune in between 12:30 and 1 p.m. to KSL NewsRadio every week day on 102.7 FM or 1160 AM. If your business is doing something great, let us know and we may just feature it on the Utah Business Report.

Women’s History Month Double Feature: Lavanya Mahate & Lynne Ward

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

This post is part of a series of blogs that feature prominent businesswomen in Utah to celebrate Women’s History Month. You can also join in the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #whm13.

Today is a double feature on Lavanya Mahate and Lynne Ward.

*   *   *

Lavanya Mahate

1. What is your role in your organization?

Owner of Saffron Valley Indian Restaurant.

2. What is the mission of your organization?

To help Utahns experience India through food, culture and gifts.

3. What is the key to the professional success you have achieved?

Hard work, passion and perseverance.

4. Who is your greatest professional influence?

Dr. Dinesh C. Patel

5. What do you see as the biggest challenges women face in business today?

Having to balance work and family.

6. If you could sit down and talk to yourself at age 18, what advice would you give?

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

*   *   *

Lynne Ward

1. What is your role in your organization?

Executive Director of UESP (Utah Educational Savings Plan).

2. What is the mission of your organization?

To provide a 529 college savings program for families who wish to save for higher education.

3. What is the key to the professional success you have achieved?

Working harder than anyone else.

4. Who is your greatest professional influence?

The many mentors I’ve had over the years.

5. What do you see as the biggest challenges women face in business today?

Managing multiple priorities.

6. If you could sit down and talk to yourself at age 18, what advice would you give?

Start a 401(k) as soon as possible.

*   *   *

This March marks the 102nd national Women’s History Month. The United States has celebrated this month highlighting the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society since 1911.

This year’s 2013 National Women’s History Month theme, “Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination,” honors generations of women who have used their intelligence, imagination, sense of wonder and tenacity to make extraordinary contributions to the STEM fields throughout American history.

This week on the Utah Business Report

Friday, January 11th, 2013

In case you missed one or more of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Business Reports on KSL News Radio, here is a recap of what we talked about this week.

Utah’s housing market continued to improve through October. The Utah Association of Realtors said home sales rose nearly 12 percent from the previous October, while the median sales price was up more than five percent.

In October, Utah Realtors sold more than 3,200 homes, townhomes and condos. Between January and October, there were more sales in 2012 than there were in all 12 months in both 2008 and 2010.

2012 marked a turnaround for real estate in Utah, according to Cal Musselman, 2013 president of the Utah Association of Realtors.

A sharp drop in homes available for sale has contributed to rising prices since more buyers are competing for fewer properties. That makes for a seller’s market.

Even though prices have gone up in recent months, homes are still more affordable than they were in 2011.

Home ownership is also starting to look more attractive since the cost of renting is rising. Rent increased about four percent in 2012, and is anticipated to rise another five percent this year.

Historic Downtown Provo is writing a new history.

With the completion of the Provo Center Street exit and UTA’s Frontrunner, Downtown Provo is not only easier to access, but also full of new life.

And there’s more capital investment in Downtown Provo than ever before. This investment is propelled by major construction projects including: the Provo City Center Temple, the Utah Valley Convention Center, Marriott Hotel renovations, Nu Skin’s expansion, the Central Bank expansion and 300 new residential units.

There is never a shortage of things to do and see. This is thanks to more than 53 independently owned restaurants and a variety of entertainment venues, from the Covey Center of the Arts to Velour’s Live Music Gallery.

Downtown Provo, Inc., is a recently formed non-profit entity devoted to the growth, development and marketing of the area. There are a lot of exciting developments in Provo, making it a top destination in Utah Valley now and in the near future.

Visit DowntownProvo.org for more information.

Right before the end of the year, the Utah Educational Savings Plan reached a milestone of $5 billion in assets under management. These savings show that Utah families recognize the value of higher education, and also that preparing today opens the door to many opportunities for children.

The Plan’s executive director, Lynne Ward, says the Utah Educational Savings Plan has over 211,000 accounts contributing to the billion-dollar total.

UESP is one of the highest recommended 529 plans in the country. It’s earned top rankings and scores from the likes of Morningstar Inc., Money magazine, CBS MoneyWatch and financial expert Clark Howard.

UESP gives college savers a simple, sound and tax-advantaged way to save for future higher education expenses. They require no minimum deposits or balances to open an account, and earnings in UESP accounts grow tax deferred.

Making this kind of commitment to your child’s education is critical for their future. If you haven’t started saving yet, this is something to consider.

One of the world leaders and best-known irrigation product manufacturing companies has decided to expand in Utah again.

Orbit Irrigation Products will move 60 jobs from Asia to their North Salt Lake headquarters manufacturing location. To support the growth of their company, Orbit will invest $37 million in capital investment over a 15-year period.

Orbit was founded in Davis County over 40 years ago. The company distributes products to more than 40 countries in five continents. Most of Orbit’s design, manufacturing, production and warehousing happens at their North Salt Lake headquarters.

Orbit is part of Utah’s manufacturing sector, which is the third largest employment sector in our state with more than 114,000 people.

Looking to take your business to the international market like Orbit? The Chamber’s strategic partner World Trade Center Utah helps businesses prepare for and compete in a global market.

The Utah Department of Natural Resources recently announced a new director of the Division of Wildlife Resources: Greg Sheehan. He replaces the retiring Jim Karpowitz.

Sheehan has been the division’s Administrative Services Chief since 2002. He has served in key advisory and administrative roles for some of the agency’s most notable successes, like the Watershed Restoration Initiative, boosting fish hatchery production by rebuilding and improving hatcheries, the Walk-In Access Program, and an access agreement with Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.

Sheehan was chosen after an extensive and nationwide search. The Department of Natural Resources Director Mike Styler says Sheehan brings a business background and a new perspective to the position. Styler says that Sheehan is committed to a bright future for Utah’s wildlife.

Sheehan looks forward to working with the public and supporting Utahns’ diverse interests in wildlife recreation.

For the full reports from this week and weeks past, visit KSL Radio online. Remember to tune in between 12:30 and 1 p.m. to KSL News Radio every week day on 102.7 FM or 1160 AM. If your business is doing something great, let us know and we may just feature it on the Utah Business Report. 

UESP earns gold rating from Morningstar

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Have you started saving for your or your child’s education? You may want to consider the top-ranked Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP)!

UESP recently received a Gold Analyst Rating from Morningstar Inc, a leading provider of independent investment research. This is the highest rating given by Morningstar, and only four 529 plans out of the 64 analyzed achieved this honor.

According to Morningstar’s report, 529 plans receiving a Gold rating incorporate the industry’s best practices and contain investment choices that are highly regarded by Morningstar analysts. “These plans are our highest-conviction recommendations and stand out as best of breed for their ability to help college savers meet their goals,” the report states.

Morningstar analysts evaluated five factors to determine a plan’s rating: strategy and investment process, risk-adjusted performance, investment option manager, stewardship practices of the administration and parent firm, and investment option value proposition compared to its peers. Analysts then assigned forward-looking ratings of Gold, Silver, Bronze, Neutral and Negative to each plan.

“Simplicity, combined with ingenuity, makes the Utah Educational Savings Plan among the best choices for college savers,” says Morningstar analyst David Falkof in his report on UESP. “The Utah plan, to its credit, has been among the leaders at bringing down costs for college savers.” UESP’s groundbreaking customizable age-based and static investment options were also cited by Morningstar as factors in UESP’s Gold rating.

“The accolades from Morningstar reinforce that UESP is an excellent choice for individuals saving for future higher education expenses,” says Lynne Ward, Executive Director of the Utah Educational Savings Plan. “We are committed to being a responsible partner to our account owners and their beneficiaries. We will continue our efforts to provide a Gold-rated 529 plan for college savers.”

This is the seventh year UESP has received top 529 plan honors by Morningstar.

UESP, which manages nearly $5 billion in assets, requires no minimum deposits or balances to open an account, so families can save a little or a lot, according to their own schedules. Earnings on UESP accounts grow tax deferred and are federal and Utah state income tax free when used for qualified higher education expenses such as tuition, fees, certain room and board costs, and required books and supplies. Funds can be used at any eligible educational institution that participates in federal financial aid programs for students, not just at institutions in Utah.

Utah taxpayers can claim a 5 percent annual Utah state income tax credit on contributions to each beneficiary’s account, if the beneficiary is under age 19 when designated on the account. For the 2012 tax year, account owners can claim a Utah state income tax credit for their UESP contributions up to $1,780 per qualified beneficiary if filing singly or $3,560 per qualified beneficiary if married filing jointly. Utah-based corporations that own UESP accounts can benefit from a $1,780 tax deduction per qualified beneficiary.

For more information about the Utah Educational Savings Plan, visit uesp.org.

 

This week on the Utah Business Report

Friday, August 10th, 2012

In case you missed one or more of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Business Reports on KSL News Radio, here is a recap of what we talked about this week.

We talked about the $15 million small business initiative launched by Goldman Sachs, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and Salt Lake Community College. It’s called 10,000 Small Businesses, and it aims to help such businesses nationwide in an effort to create jobs and boost local economies.

SLCC’s School of Professional and Economic Development will be in charge of the education and training part of the program. The program will kick off in January 2013, and applications are being accepted right now. For more information, visit slcc10ksb.com.

As part of the Chamber’s 125th anniversary, we want to share the rich history of the members that have made the Chamber so successful.

Founded in 1953 by Merrill and Lucille Christopherson in Salt Lake City, Christopherson Business Travel has been Utah’s business travel leader for more than 50 years.

Today, Christopherson operates three full-service locations in Utah, Colorado and California, employs more than 250 travel professionals and serves over 900 national clients.

A certified woman-owned Utah corporation, Christopherson currently ranks as the largest travel agency in Utah and the 14th largest in the nation. Named by the Salt Lake Chamber as Small Business of the Year in 1996, Christopherson won the Best of State award in 2010 and 2011, has been recognized as one of Utah’s fastest growing companies, and was listed on Travel Weekly’s 2011 Power List.

U.S. Bank is presenting a total of 46-thousand dollars in grants to ten nonprofit organizations in the Greater Salt Lake area. These organizations support arts and culture, economic opportunity and education in the community.

Economic opportunity grants support organizations that provide affordable housing, encourage self-sufficiency, and assist economic development. Educational grants are provided to innovative programs that help low-income and at-risk students succeed in school and prepare for post-secondary education.

The organizations that received grants include Chamber members Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah and Junior Achievement of Utah Incorporated for education, and also The Road Home for economic opportunity.

Zions Bank business clients have a new option for managing their accounts on the go. Zions recently launched a free smartphone app called Business Mobile Banking.

The app enables clients to check account balances, monitor recent account activity, transfer funds between their Zions Bank accounts, pay bills, and review and cancel scheduled bill payments. The Business Mobile Banking app has the same security features as Zions Online Banking. No personal data or account information is stored in the phone.

Business Mobile Banking is available on Apple’s App Store and in Android’s Google Play. It is also accessible through a compatible phone’s web browser at ZionsBank.com.

The Utah Educational Savings Plan is one of only seven other 529 savings plans in the nation that received a dual 5-cap rating from SavingForCollege.com, an independent website informing families and financial advisers about 529 plans.

The 5-Cap Rating system awards five caps to programs that offer outstanding flexibility, attractive investments and economic benefits that provide a substantial boost to an account owner’s savings. 529 plans are given two ratings, for their treatment of in-state participants and on their treatment of out of state participants. UESP earned five caps in both categories.

UESP requires no minimum deposits or balances to open an account, so families can save a little or a lot, according to their own schedules. Earnings on UESP accounts grow tax deferred and are federal and Utah state income tax free when used for qualified higher education expenses at any eligible educational institution that participates in federal financial aid programs for students.

You can start your educational savings plan today at UESP.org.

For the full reports from this week and weeks past, visit KSL Radio online. Remember to tune in between 12:30 and 1 p.m. to KSL News Radio every week day on 102.7 FM or 1160 AM. If your business is doing something great, let us know and we may just feature it on the Utah Business Report.