The Utah Valley business leaders honored Wednesday were no surprise to some. They are the ones regularly making waves across the Utah business scene.
The leaders recognized at the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce Awards and Installation Banquet at the Provo Marriott did not hail from one industry, but represented the diversity that is Utah County.
Brandon Fugal, chairman of CBC Advisors, was named the Chamber's Rising Star. Fugal recently was the only broker in the Intermountain West region to earn a spot in Real Estate Forum's Top 25 Office Brokers. Fugal's company also earned the Chamber's Business of the Year award. Lew Cramer, President and CEO of CBC Advisors, accepted the award, saying that he was humbled by it because there are "thousands of Utah Valley companies" that are making a difference.
"Utah County is a special place. I tell everyone that that flies in," Fugal said. "It's all about the people. It's about the people and the friendships, the relationships, and those who give to the community."
One of those companies making a difference was Waffle Love, winners of the Small Business of the Year award. Adam Terry founded the company in 2012, and has grown it from one food truck to now six trucks, three brick-and-mortar locations in Utah and Arizona, and plans to open a shop soon in Long Beach, California.
"We're just so, so grateful to have had the opportunity to chase our dreams in the form of a crazy waffle truck," Terry said, in receiving the award.
Another unique winner was Sodalicious, winner of the New Business of the Year award. Though the company started with just one small location in October 2013, it has quickly grown to nine locations in Utah and Arizona. Kevin Santiago, co-owner of the company, jokingly thanked Wednesday's audience and the county in general, for loving soda, sugar and caffeine, and for keeping Sodalicious in business by visiting sometimes "four times a day."
"This is a unique area. I mean where else can you go through the temple, and then walk across the street and get a drink with the name of 'My Skinny Second Wife, extra dirty," Santiago said.
On the other side of the valley, InsideSales.com was honored as the Chamber's Innovative Business of the Year. In a valley saturated with businesses that rely on sales to survive, InsideSales.com has optimized and streamlined the selling cycle through their sales acceleration platform. InsideSales.com's reach has extended well beyond Utah's borders and is answering the needs of sales-driven companies all over the world.
The Chamber also recognized those that were paying it forward to benefit the local community. Vivint earned the Chamber's Community Partner award for its Vivint Gives Back foundation, which serves children with intellectual disabilities and their families. Vivint also works with Autism Speaks and the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome. Since 2008, Vivint Gives Back has donated $9 million and more than 150,000 service hours to local communities.
"We have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of our employees that go around the country every year, to work on schools that focus on autism. And every time they come back, they come back with an appreciation for what they have and for the good that we're doing, but most importantly, for how our technology can help the lives of these kids that suffer from autism, and how it enriches their families," said David Bywater, COO of Vivint.
LJ Cooper Wealth Advisors and the Woodbury School of Business at Utah Valley University were given the Business and Education Partnership award. Leaders from both sectors have been working together to align workforce education with businesses' needs. The majority of UVU graduates remain in Utah County or Salt Lake County, so Norman Wright, dean of Woodbury School of Business, said it is very important that the school provide workers that are prepared for the businesses of the county.
"If we'll work hard to develop the students together, we'll produce a product -- business professionals -- who can truly drive business forward in this valley," Wright said.
Without all of these "risk-takers... and partnerships that transcend others in the country," as Fugal referred to them, Utah's business culture and economic future would be very shaky.
Article written by Karissa Neely, Daily Herald.
Photographs by Glen Ricks Photography.