Foundation Board

Member Listing

Ed Bailey

Ed Bailey

Edward R. Bailey is the founder of Vision Capital Partners, and has served as the managing partner of the firm since its founding in 2004. He has over 30 years of experience in operating, consulting, commercial lending, venture capital, corporate finance and development, strategic planning, public market exposure, investor relations and marketing experience. Vision Capital Partners is a private capital group with offices in Salt Lake City, Phoenix and New York City. In addition to his work with Vision Capital Partners, he served as the director, president, CEO, CFO, secretary and treasurer of LightTouch Vein & Laser, Inc. From 1999 to 2004, he was the managing partner of Maven Strategic Partners, a private capital group and investor relations firm. Ed is also a business partner at American Star Realty and serves on the Board of Directors of Red Leaf Resources, a position he has held since 2010.

Ed attended Utah Technical College at Provo (UVU), earning his associate’s degree in general academics. He received a bachelors in business from the University of Utah in 1984. He resides with his wife, Penni, in Salt Lake City, UT.

portrait of Jeanette Bennett
Jeanette Bennett

Jeanette Bennett

Jeanette Bennett is founder and editor-in-chief at Bennett Communications, where she focuses her pen on Utah Valley Magazine, BusinessQ Magazine, Utah Valley Bride, and Prosper Magazine. Jeanette earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Brigham Young University and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business from Utah Valley University earlier this year. During two decades of running her publishing company, she has written numerous cover stories about UVU, in addition to featuring well-known athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, and politicians. In 2018 she received the Outstanding Business Leader award at UVU’s Master of Business Administration graduation. She also spoke at TEDxUVU and received the Community Partner of the Year Award at UVU’s Business and Economic Forum (now JuggernaUT). Jeanette is a regular speaker and emcee at business events, as well as a guest on local podcasts and radio/TV shows. She has presented twice at the United Nations as part of the Commission on the Status of Women. She is a board member of Silicon Slopes and United Way of Utah County, and she was a finalist for Utah’s 2019 Mother of the Year. In 2018 she was named Top Woman Entrepreneur in Media by Folio in New York City. Jeanette was born and raised in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where she landed her first job as a camera operator at the local TV station. Her love of sharing stories with the public continued to bloom, and she worked at the New Era magazine and the Deseret News before she and her husband, Matt, started their own magazine company in 2000. Jeanette has a love/hate relationship with deadlines, running, and the stock market, but she has a love/love relationship with glossy pages, watching her kids perform and compete, and enjoying Utah’s canyons. She and Matt are raising their publishing company in Orem and their five children in Pleasant Grove.

Lance Black

Lance Black

Building Relationships

Lance Black loves establishing relationships that turn into growth. “I love meeting people and seeing what makes them tick. I love to make business relationships, not necessarily because I want to do business with people — that’s always nice — but I’m curious about what makes a business successful and what makes it fail,” he says.

As CEO and partner of EKR, Black’s business is marketing and branding, Web design, Web development, and digital marketing. “Marketing is a great, underutilized method to grow businesses, so I love coming up with successful marketing tactics,” he says.

Black established Eli Kirk after completing an M.B.A. at Brigham Young University. He also holds an undergraduate degree in computer science from BYU but says it was the graduate business classes that lit up his world. “It was the first time I’d ever had a finance class or an accounting class, let alone a marketing class. The knowledge I gained through coursework and case studies gave me courage to start Eli Kirk.” Apart from what you learn in classes, he says the networks you establish in school can set you up for success. He’s currently doing business with several people he met in college.

In 2015 Eli Kirk acquired Riser, an award-winning creative agency in Utah Valley whose high-profile clients included ABC, Disney, Fox, and Google. The two seasoned agencies became EKR. “The acquisition positions us to be one of the leading creative agencies in the region, so we’re really excited about it,” says Black. Most of the 75 EKR employees occupy light, colorful office space on the third floor of the historic Taylor Brothers building in downtown Provo. A few work on location with clients.

A quoter of adages, Black says that luck comes dressed in gloves, a hard hat, and bib overalls. There is something to be said for being in the right place at the right time, he points out, but when you see an opportunity, you need the courage to act on it. “You need to make your own luck through hard work. That's the way my dad did his business, it's the way I started this business, and it's the reason EKR continues to do business," he says.

In addition to hard work, Black credits his professional success to the support of his wife, Michelle, and to his education. After a moment’s thought, he adds growing up on a farm to that list. Having serious responsibilities by age 10, he learned not to fear hard work or failure. “Life is hard sometimes, and it’s okay if you get bucked off,” he says.

Failure is a normal part of life that we shouldn’t fear, says Black, who’s not a fan of the current practice of giving every child a participation trophy. It’s okay to come in last at a track meet or to make a spelling error in an email. Just learn from it — acknowledge the mistake, and do better the next time. Some of the best successes come from failure. “The fact that I trust my employees to succeed and back them when they fail is, I think, the best leadership quality that I can share with them,” he says.

Black has hired several Utah Valley University alumni over the years. He says, “When I hire UVU graduates, they hit the ground running. They’re well trained, passionate, and not afraid of work. If that’s any indication of what the future of UVU means to this Valley, I think it’s a big one.” He points to another adage: “A rising tide lifts all boats, and I think UVU is the tide that lifts us all — community members, businesses and students. UVU is producing the future leaders and parents who will make their homes in Utah Valley, will work here, and will pay taxes here.”

As a UVU Foundation Board member, Black is bringing his marketing and branding expertise to bear on the University. A member of the Foundation’s Engagement Committee, he is helping to define the Foundation’s messaging, branding, and identity. He says, “By keeping everyone on a clear and concise message that reaches our target audience, we can generate more revenue and offer more scholarships and opportunities for our young people. My kids will go to UVU, and that’s really what’s motivating me to contribute and to figure out if I can help in some small way to make UVU a better institution.” He believes UVU is more nimble and will be better able to adapt to Utah’s future educational needs than any other institution.

At Foundation Board meetings, Black looks forward to whom he’ll shake hands with and what stories they’ll exchange as much as to how they are going to improve UVU. “I am thrilled to rub shoulders with the great people on the board,” he says. “They are all brilliant business leaders who are passionate about doing the right thing.”

“I’m a math and science person, but you can’t forget that creativity drives economies,” says Black. That’s why he’s delighted with UVU’s plans to add an arts building. “There’s a lot of math and science behind your iPhone, but why do you love it? Because it’s made by a creative company. Somebody went to an art school in order to design it.”

Black admires President Matthew S. Holland’s fundraising success toward the arts building. “Watching him build passion around this building and get community support behind it was inspiring. He’s the type of guy you’d want as your leader in battle,” he says. He also admires President Holland’s low-key leadership style. Mentioning a favorite quote (by Pauline Phillips, a.k.a. Abigail Van Buren), he says, “There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who walk into a room and say, ‘Here I am,’ and those who walk into a room and say, ‘There you are.’ President Holland is the second. Sometimes I’ll find myself more like the first person. But I want to be more like the second person. You get a lot further in life if you stop caring about numero uno and start caring about others.”

Asked if he’s received any awards lately, Black tosses out “Daddy of the Year.” He and Michelle have six children and he confides that he wishes he had 15. “I just love babies, and I can’t wait for grandkids,” he says. The youngest of eight children himself, he has 54 nieces and nephews.

In order to squeeze in family time, Black turns down some of the invitations he gets to serve on community boards, but he has served on the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce Board for several years and was instrumental in the change from Provo-Orem Chamber of Commerce and the messaging associated with it. He currently serves on the chamber’s Board of Governors.

Curtis B. Blair

Curtis B. Blair

Cultivating Entrepreneurs

With the Wasatch Front becoming known as Silicon Slopes and a preponderance of technology companies springing up in Utah County, Curtis Blair sees the county as an entrepreneurial incubator. And that makes for a perfect partnership with Utah Valley University. UVU has more potential to produce entrepreneurs than any other school in the west, he says.

“Companies are setting up programs specifically to recruit, train, and cater to the UVU student coming out of the College of Technology and Computer Science,” says Blair. “I think you’ll see internships spin out from that.” He sees opportunities for UVU to join forces with the business community in ways that will improve Utah County’s ability to recruit more businesses. “Employers will find a very skilled, ready-to-work workforce coming out of UVU, and 85 percent of UVU alumni stay in Utah after they graduate.”

In addition to businesses, UVU benefits the local community more than any other school because it draws on business techniques to find solutions to social problems, says Blair. “Social entrepreneurism is alive and well at UVU, more so than at other institutions. And the immediate benefit goes to the community where I live, where I’m hiring, and where my kids go to school,” he says.

With his latest venture, Hoodoo Capital, Blair is fostering entrepreneurship himself. The holding company is an incubator for small businesses, but it differs from the traditional model, which takes control of management and places high expectations on returns in exchange for its involvement and funds. “We are not as aggressive on that side because we’re looking at the next generation of leadership and trying to grow them into being business leaders and CEOs of their own firms. It’s an incubator for ideas and for people,” he says.

Blair is invested in running businesses that have a high level of culture. “I believe that a company takes on the attitudes and behaviors of its shareholders, its owners, and its founders. A healthy climate inside a business is tantamount to making that business succeed,” he says. He loves connecting people with one another, and marketing and branding is the currency with which he does it. It’s more than branding, he says; it’s bonding.

“You can tell I’m a humanist, right? Have you taken the Myers Briggs personality profile? I encourage all business associates and partners to find out what their personality profile yields. It can help establish your foundational strengths, discover your most effective team style, and enhance your company culture. What bonding is to marketing, captivation (attracting the right partners, employees, and customers) is to culture,” he says.

Blair has brought his efforts to empower the next generation to his position on the UVU Foundation Board, as well. When he worked with the Foundation ambassadors to plan an activity for the board’s retreat, he left it to them to do much of the planning: “I wanted to paint the vision and let them paint the steps and strokes on how we get there,” he said. “All too often we underwhelm our UVU students, but they’re very capable.”

Additionally, at Blair’s suggestion, each ambassador was assigned to a Foundation committee and now attends committee meetings. “That way they can get a sense of what it’s like to be in a meeting where resolutions are being passed, where they can hear and participate in meaningful discussions and see the direct impact these meetings have on their University.

The Foundation Board considers everyone’s input, including that of the student body president, says Blair. “It’s a very cohesive group. We all want to add value, and I think our hearts are aligned on growing the University. If there are concerns, questions or dissension, it’s brought forward. You don’t have people saying yes in front of everybody and no behind their backs. There’s an open dialogue and transparency. That’s one of the reasons it’s such a successful board,” he says.

The Foundation has demonstrated its vision for the future by acquiring property that will be needed for future expansion in Vineyard, Thanksgiving Point, and potentially Payson, says Blair, who also serves on the UVU Board of Trustees. “One of the things I like about President [Matthew S.] Holland is that he has enough foresight to see the role UVU is going to play in the Valley. He has a long-term view. In 20 years we’re going to be the major educator in the state for students age 18 to 25,” he says. But that’s in addition to the large number of older and nontraditional students. “At UVU our traditional student is everybody. We embrace our diversity.”

Blair stands 110 percent behind the University’s effort to raise money for an arts building. “I know how important STEM is, I know how important critical thinking is, but there has to be a root deep into the fine arts in our community,” he says. As an indication of the depth of his conviction, at the 2014 Feast on the Fairway, which raises funds for UVU Culinary Arts Institute scholarships, Blair was selected to participate in a hole-in-one competition. Just before hitting the ball, he turned to the camera and declared that if he won the million-dollar prize he’d donate the entire amount to UVU’s arts building campaign.

He came close to being able to fulfill that promise. “At Talons Cove, they have a balcony right on the 18th green, where people can watch. And there’s nothing more exhilarating or deflating than to hear your ball hit the green and the whole crowd rise in anticipation and then deflate as the ball goes right past the hole. A great shot—would have won closest to the pin—but not a hole in one,” he says. That didn’t stop him from making a donation for the arts building. “A school curriculum that embraces the arts not only contributes significantly to a student’s education and development but has the power to inspire, motivate, and educate today’s students in ways that no other program can,” says Blair. “And that includes having a football team,” he adds with a laugh.

Although Blair was born in Provo, his father’s job with a food services company took him to a different state every couple of years. But he returned to Provo to earn a degree from the College of Humanities at Brigham Young University. He and his wife, Lisa, who hails from San Francisco, have four boys and one girl. Their oldest boy recentlyreturned from a mission in Brazil, and the second returned from a mission in Tallahassee, Florida. Their third son is still in high school but is taking concurrent enrollment classes at UVU. Curtis describes his teenage daughter as the princess of the house and the most like him—strong willed, entrepreneurial, and a little stubborn.

Blair’s advice to the next generation? First, relationship capital is the most important capital. Second, you’d better know the reasons you’re in business, because they determine not only the destiny of your company but its culture. And third, fill your social circles with people you want to be like, and you’ll find out that, by the law of association, you become like them and they become like you. “The law of association is as real as the law of gravity,” he adds.

As we get a little older, we start thinking less about how we’re going to get ahead and more about how we’re going to pay it forward, says Blair. In planning his legacy, he puts his family first. Next in line are trust relationships, including serving his community, followed by Hoodoo Capital and education, particularly UVU.

Scotty W. Cooksey

Scotty W. Cooksey

CEO, UVU Foundation
Vice President of UVU Institutional Advancement

Scott Cooksey began at Texas Tech in 1997 as director of development and external relations for the Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. In 2008 he was named associate vice chancellor for Texas Tech University System. In February 2015 he was selected to be senior associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement. He began his current position at UVU in January 2016.

In 2012, Cooksey’s fundraising accomplishments were recognized with the Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award from the Lubbock Association of Fundraising Professionals. He has also received the Founders Distinguished Service Award from the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association and the Institutional Advancement Excellence Award from the Texas Tech University System.

Prior to joining Texas Tech, Cooksey was director of development for a large nonprofit organization in Atlanta. He has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Texas Tech University and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).

Danielle Corbett

Danielle Corbett

Danielle Corbett is a junior pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Art & Design with a minor in Art History. She takes pride in UVU’s dual-mission and the invitation President Tuminez extends to students, faculty, staff, and the community to "come as you are."

In the years preceding her role as Student Body President, she was a member of the Wolverine Ambassador program where she was able to advocate for the importance of higher education in the community. She also served as a member of the Executive Service Council at UVU’s Center for Social Impact. During her time on Service Council, she began to better understand the importance of representation, advocacy, and taking a systemic approach to understanding social problems. She is especially interested in issues surrounding mental health, sustainability, and the accessibility of educational opportunities.

Upon graduating from UVU, Danielle is planning to pursue a Masters degree in design. She hopes to work as an Art Director for independent films or musical productions.

portrait of Mary Crafts
Mary Crafts

Mary Crafts

All About Integrity

Mary Crafts has won dozens of awards for her catering business, Culinary Crafts, including being named Best of State 12 times—twice over the entire hospitality industry—and Caterer of the Year by the International Caterers Association. She’s been named Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year by the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce twice and one of 30 Women to Watch by Utah Business magazine. But the award she’s proudest of is the Kirk Englehardt Excellence in Business Ethics Award from the Utah Valley University Center for the Study of Ethics. That’s because she’s all about integrity.

“After 30 years of having integrity be my mantra, to be acknowledged by my peers for standing for integrity was quite the thing,” she says. Another award she’s particularly fond of is being named one of the 10 Coolest Entrepreneurs by UtahValley360. “I love that at age 62 I was thought of as cool,” she beams.

To Crafts, integrity includes maintaining her company debt-free, always paying her employees on time and always paying every bill on time, even during the recession. When she built a shiny new headquarters for Culinary Crafts in Pleasant Grove, Utah, people advised her not to sign a personal guarantee on the loan. “Why not?” says Crafts. “There’s not a line drawn between my company and myself. If I take someone’s money and then I’m not able to pay them, you’re darned right I’m personally liable. And I would sell my home and everything I own to make sure I take care of my obligations. When people know that about me, they want to do business with me. They want to work for me. Integrity is the single greatest thing we have in business.”

And that commitment to integrity is part of what Crafts has passed down to her children. Her two sons work with her — Ryan as chief operations officer and Kaleb as chief sales officer — and currently own 49 percent of the business. She confides that the best part of working with your children is that they bring the grandkids.

“Sometimes they say that the next generation doesn’t feel the commitment for a company that the first generation did. That’s not the case here. I’ve created a good company, but they are going to make it great,” says Crafts. “I’m so proud of them — their leadership abilities and their commitment to integrity and their desire to be of service to the greater good in this world. This is not just about making money, it’s about what we can do for this community.” When Crafts retires, she plans to sell her share of the company to her sons and her daughter, Meagan, who is currently studying theater at UVU.

Crafts also credits her success to her commitment to excellence, which she clarifies is not the same thing as perfection, which can cause undue stress and harm your health. “Whatever your best is on any given day is all that’s asked of you,” she says. Whether a client is having a small, low-budget luncheon or a dream-of-a-lifetime wedding, Crafts brings her best to every client and every relationship.

“So many wonderful memories and good times in our lives revolve around food. Think about the traditions we have with holidays and birthdays, Christmas and weddings,” says Crafts, who loves being in the food industry and serving people. She’s also passionate about eating seasonally and locally and eating for health. “Food is the biggest thing we take into our bodies,” she points out.


On the Foundation Board, Crafts serves on the Engagement Committee, which gives her a chance to be involved in events such as the Scholarship Ball and scholarship luncheons. The committee is also putting together a program to market UVU to the public, analyzing what the community thinks of the University and how the Foundation can transform that impression to garner more donations. “We’ve got a long way to go,” she says. “UVU, being the largest school in the valley, is way behind in what we need for donations and tax dollars to be able to keep up with the growth.”

Right now, UVU is probably the most exciting place in Utah County to serve on a board, says Crafts. It’s growing by leaps and bounds, training the leaders of tomorrow to work right here in our state. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for anyone who wants to make a difference in their community right here right now,” she says.

After the Foundation Board’s first retreat, Crafts said, “I love these people, I’m anxious to see them again, I want to be engaged with them. They have become people that I can rely on in my business life and my personal life. You can’t develop a better relationship with a person than you can on a board that’s committed to be of service to something.”

Crafts is also a member of the National advisory Council for the Woodbury School of Business and says that the business majors UVU is putting out are really close to rivaling Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management graduates. She also serves on numerous boards throughout the community, including at Zions Bank, Intermountain Healthcare, United Way of Utah County, International Caterers Association Educational Foundation, Thanksgiving Point, The Living Planet Aquarium, and Women in Philanthropy, an organization she created together with former UVU Foundation Board member Cynthia Gambill.

A graduate of BYU, Crafts says that, as a student, she never thought she would be the breadwinner of her family. She advises young women to be prepared for any eventuality. “You never know what’s ahead of you, and you can save yourself a world of headache by graduating from college,” she says.

She also advises that we’re not in a position to receive the great blessings of this world if we hold onto our money and possessions tightly, but if we open our arms and let what we have flow out to others, we’ll be in a position for life to flow back to us. “I try and always live my life with my arms outstretched so I can be in the circle and flow of life,” she says. And the greatest lesson she’s learned in life is that in the end it’s just about love. “We are all looking to give and receive love. And fear, not hate, is the antithesis of love. I never want to make any decision out of fear, because it’s probably going to be wrong. If I make a decision that’s based on love and letting go of fear, it’s always right.”

Rob Gardner

Rob Gardner

Rob Gardner is the vice president of finance and operations at Barebones Living, an outdoor retailer focused on long-term sustainable solutions. Before joining Barebones Living in 2015, he was vice president of finance and accounting at Goal Zero, a renewable energy company for outdoor lifestyles. Prior to that, he served as CFO for Roberts Arts and Crafts as well as manager at Sorenson Capital, a private equity firm. While residing in Colorado, Gardner was employed as a senior associate with CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann, a national public accounting and consulting firm.

Gardner was a managing partner of Cougar Capital, a student-run venture capital and private equity fund which is run by second-year M.B.A. students at the Marriott School at Brigham Young University. The students conducted due diligence on potential investments and co-invested with the industry partners. Rob is also a founder and former board member of Autism Journeys, a nonprofit company that specializes in treatment and therapy for children with autism and other developmental disorders. He also has served since 2012 as a member of the Utah Valley University Foundation's investment committee.

Gardner received a Master of Business Administration from Brigham Young University with an emphasis in finance, strategy and entrepreneurship. He also holds a Master of Accountancy and a B.S. in Accounting from Brigham Young University. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Cameron S. Gunter

Cameron S. Gunter

Getting Down to Business

What Cameron Gunter likes most about being a member of the Utah Valley University Foundation Board is knowing that he’s helping a university that focuses on preparing students to get into the workforce and to earn money. Gunter says President Matthew S. Holland has done a good job of adding facilities, building UVU into a major university, and expanding key programs, particularly STEM education and the arts.

“What president Holland and his staff have done is create an environment for students to get engaged. And I hope they continue working with the tech companies and other businesses to learn what kind of employees they need and to help give students real-world working experience so they can come out productive,” says Gunter.

Although UVU is a young university that hasn’t had a lot of friends in the past, the money it’s raising right now is spectacular, according to Gunter. “UVU is worthy of more support because it gives opportunities to students who don’t have the funds to go to a higher priced school,” he says. “It offers them scholarships when available and real-world learning opportunities. I think that kind of engagement helps students graduate with more than just intellectual knowledge. There’s something to be said about really engaging in business and understanding how things work.”

Gunter says his fellow board members are the movers and shakers of Utah Valley, creating business opportunities and driving the economy, and they care about their civic responsibilities in the community. He’s says UVU is making its Foundation Board more effective by adding different types of business owners with a range of different strengths.

As a businessman and former certified public accountant — he earned an accounting degree with a minor in finance from Idaho State University — Gunter brings his own strengths to the board. He worked on the Foundation’s audit committee to make sure the Foundation’s financial statements, tax forms, and policies were correct.

At Gunter’s real estate development company, PEG Development, he has been pleased with the UVU interns and graduates he’s hired. The company has been involved in the construction, redevelopment, and operation of many of the most visible projects in the Provo area, including the Wells Fargo, Zions Bank, and University Medical buildings and the renovation of the Provo Marriott. Under his leadership, PEG Development has grown into a regional real estate development, consulting, property management, and investment firm, and it is now expanding into Canada. It was recently nominated for Developer of the Year in Utah.

Gunter learned to work hard growing up in Arimo, Idaho, on a dairy farm and dry farm. When he wasn’t doing chores, he did sports. He and his wife, Jamie, live in Spanish Fork and have five kids. Gunter says Jamie has instilled a good work ethic and sense of responsibility in their children. He credits her with starting them out on a path to success. Everyone in the family loves participating in sports and outdoor activities, from water skiing and hiking to snow skiing.

As a sports enthusiast, Gunter has served as president of the Brigham Young University Cougar Club. He currently serves on the Downtown Provo Inc. board and the Utah Hospitality Association board of directors.

Gunter’s advice to those who wish to succeed? “Work hard and have integrity — do what you say you’re going to do, even if you don’t like it or if it’s not going to be lucrative. Beyond that, have fun and be genuine.”

Lindsay Hadley

Lindsay Hadley

CEO/Founder Hadley Impact Consulting

In just ten years, Lindsay Hadley has become one of the most sought-after consultants and producers in the nonprofit sector. Early in her career, she facilitated dozens of international humanitarian projects in Kenya, Peru, Mexico, and Thailand. Since then, she has demonstrated her exceptional fundraising skills, raising more than $24 million for social causes.

Hadley was executive producer of The End of Polio Concert in Perth, Australia, and the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park two years in a row (2012-2013). The Global Citizen Festival has featured Neil Young, Foo Fighters, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, and John Mayer and garnered support from Bill Gates, Bono, Hugh Jackman, Gerard Butler, Larry King, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank, and countless world leaders. The festival secured a live audience of more than 60,000, leveraged $1.3 billion in new funding commitments, and reached more than three billion people worldwide. It is the largest charity event syndication to date.

In 2014 Hadley launched FilmRaise, an online platform that connects filmmakers, charities, and viewers for social change. She raised $500,000 in pledges on FilmRaise for some of the world’s top nongovernmental organizations, including the Nelson Mandela Foundation and The Malala Fund. The platform has been praised by Indiewire and Forbes as “innovative” and “inspiring.”

Hadley was selected as a winner in Utah Business magazine’s 2015 Forty Under 40 awards. She cofounded the tech startup Time Machine, which is designed so that brands, events, and charities can create custom campaigns to gamify the engagement of their communities.

Hadley is the mother of two small boys and the wife of a loving and supportive husband. She prizes family and personal relationships over everything else.

Dru A. Huffaker

Dru A. Huffaker

President of Alumni Board of Directors
Liaison: School of the Arts
Employer: Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Dru Huffaker is an accomplished and decisive executive with proven results in international mass retail sales, marketing, and strategic business development. She has worked extensively in the direct response TV arena, with a variety of international marketing networks including QVC, The Home Shopping Network, and The Shopping Channel in Canada. Currently, she is the Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Cedar Fort Publishing & Media.

Dru began her journey at UVU as a non-traditional student. While attending the university full-time, she worked on campus as the Executive Assistant to Ian Wilson, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs. Dru graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and completed a Master of Business Administration degree from Western Governors University.

“I feel a deep tie and commitment to the mission of Utah Valley University. All are welcome here…from sterling scholars to those who need a second or third chance. We invite all to come and flourish here at UVU. It’s never too late to start. If you began your college experience years ago but never finished…now is the time to come back and complete it! As a first-generation college graduate, I have learned that education is the key that opens the door to endless possibilities. Once we receive our formal education, it becomes our opportunity and blessing to serve and lift others.”

Dru is a proud Wolverine, as is her husband, Mel, and all six of their children.

Heather Kahlert

Heather Kahlert

Heather Kahlert is the Vice President of The Kahlert Foundation. The Kahlert Foundation is strategically dedicated to improving the quality of life and well-being in the areas of health care, youth programs, education, veterans, and human services. Ms. Kahlert serves on the executive and advisory boards of Make-A-Wish Utah, Alpine School District Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the David Eccles School of Business at The University of Utah, Primary Childrens Hospital Foundation, Utah Valley University Foundation, The Woman’s Success Center at Utah Valley University, Chair of Utah Philanthropy Day, and many more. She has made multiple seven figure impact grants in the state of Utah over the past three years, including principal grants for Utah Valley Hospital, University of Utah School of Medicine, Huntsman Cancer Institute, and the David Eccles School of Business. As a graduate of the University of Utah and long term Utah resident, Ms. Kahlert has a particular passion for inspiring others to ‘give more’ in whatever capacity they can in the communities in which they live.

Jeff Moss

Jefferson Moss

Jefferson Moss is the divisional executive director for UVU Institutional Advancement and COO for the UVU Foundation. In this role, he provides the day-to-day management of the University endowment. He also helps facilitate new alternative investment strategies that the Foundation is pursuing. In addition, he oversees the development services team, which includes database management and prospect research. Prior to coming to UVU, Moss served as a wealth strategist for Key Private Bank. In this role, he led a team of wealth management specialists who provide comprehensive solutions for all aspects of wealth management, including trust and estate planning, financial planning, investment management, tax strategies, insurance solutions, and credit facilities.

Prior to Key Bank, Moss spent two years in San Francisco working for Credit Suisse in their Private Bank. While in the Bay Area, he cofounded the Bay Area Entrepreneurial Network, which provided training and mentoring for several hundred entrepreneurs.

Moss has been involved in launching several companies. He built his last company, Rustico, from a startup into a multimillion dollar company. After successfully selling the company, he returned to Brigham Young University where he received his MBA. While there, Moss was selected as a member of Cougar Capital, a student-run Venture Capital firm. He also worked for vSpring Capital as a portfolio consultant and for USTAR as a venture analyst.

Moss is active in the community. He currently serves as an elected member of the Utah State Board of Education. He also served on the Utah State Board of Regents and was elected to serve a term on the City Council in Saratoga Springs. He currently serves in the Utah State House of Representatives.

Jefferson received his B.A. in Political Science and his M.B.A. both Brigham Young University.

Shawn Lindquist

Shawn Lindquist

Shawn Lindquist has served as chief legal officer of Vivint since May 2016. From February 2014 to May 2016, he served as chief legal officer, executive vice president, and secretary of Vivint Solar, Inc. From February 2010 to February 2014, he served as chief legal officer, executive vice president and secretary of Fusion-io, Inc., a leading provider of flash memory solutions for application acceleration. From 2005 to January 2010, he served as chief legal officer, senior vice president, and secretary of Omniture, Inc., an online marketing and web analytics company, during the completion and integration of the merger of Omniture with Adobe Systems Incorporated. Prior to Omniture, Lindquist was a corporate and securities attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C., one of the leading legal advisors to technology, life sciences, and other growth enterprises worldwide. He has also served as in-house corporate and mergers and acquisitions counsel for Novell, Inc., and as vice president and general counsel of a privately held, venture-backed company. He has served as an adjunct professor of law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, as well.

Lindquist holds a B.S. in Business Management-Finance and a J.D. from Brigham Young University.

Duane Madsen

Duane Madsen

Financial Wizard and Genealogist

Duane Madsen recently spent three weeks discovering his ancestors in Finland, homeland of his maternal grandparents. Now that he’s retired, Madsen’s greatest passion is genealogy, and he generally spends an hour a day on it. In addition to the relatives he discovered through research, the trip produced some unexpected discoveries. “On the boat from Sweden to Finland one night there was a lot of dancing and a lot conversation, and I met another couple that I’m related to,” he says.

Madsen spent his at career Goldman Sachs in San Francisco. “My greatest passion then was making money, and I was very good at it,” he says. He believes in hard work and rose at three a.m. for 25 years to put in long hours. “Those who are fortunate enough to be gifted mathematically have been blessed with a very valuable way of looking at the universe,” he says. “I’m clearly a numbers driven person.”

More recently, as chair of the UVU Foundation’s Investment Committee, Madsen headed up the effort to find a new firm to manage the Foundation’s investments. “I would say that our newest advisor, Meketa out of San Diego, is quite an outstanding firm. I think you will find that verified by the data as we move forward,” he says.

Asked why he would encourage others to join the Foundation Board, Madsen says, “It’s a strong board that’s getting stronger. I think this is going to be a fantastic ride, seeing the University succeed.”

“I think it’s pretty exciting what’s happening here,” says Madson. “The growth that’s occurring at the University is clearly remarkable. I think academically the University is surging.” UVU’s platform is more interesting in many ways than Brigham Young University’s, he says. BYU is more structured and less flexible, where UVU responds to the needs of the community. “I think UVU is a great institution, and I think its president has a vision that is in the process of being fulfilled.”

Madsen also likes the fact that UVU is willing to make an investment in young people even when they haven’t previously demonstrated academic potential. Most universities spend a lot of time evaluating how well a student did in high school, but that’s not necessarily an indicator of how well they will do in college, he says. “UVU will accept a lot of people who did not do well in high school, and some of those people will be huge academic surprises,” he says.

One of Madsen’s sons is currently attending UVU, considering a major in computer science. A second son previously attended, dabbling in a number of programs before heading to the BYU School of Accountancy. “I think he felt it was a good transition and a way to pick up some loose ends academically prior to getting deeply involved in the master’s in accounting program,” says Madsen.

In all, the Madsens have 10 children and 36 grandchildren scattered throughout the country. They also enjoy a six-acre berry farm in Mapleton, which boasts just about every kind of blackberry, raspberry and gooseberry extant.

Madsen’s commitment to higher education extends beyond UVU. He is a trustee of the State of Utah Educational Trust, a $2-billion fund for the public universities in the state—not including UVU, which didn’t exist when the fund was created. He chairs the Center for Law and Religious Studies at BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, and he’s a member of the president’s advisory committee at BYU.

Madsen is also an ecclesiastical leader of about 80 young people who run a summer camp at the Aspen Grove Family Camp & Conference Center in Provo. And he recently spent five years at the Missionary Training Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Provo, preparing missionaries to serve in Russia and Ukraine.

Kris McFarland

Kris McFarland

Pulling for the Underdog

“I’m a fan of the underdog, so I love it when UVU beats BYU or anybody else in athletics and other competitions,” says Kris McFarland. What’s surprising about that statement is that McFarland is a Brigham Young University alumnus.

McFarland first became involved with UVU as an adjunct professor, teaching a class that prepared professionals to take the Senior Professional in Human Resources certification test. He is grateful to be able to work with the outstanding group that makes up the UVU Foundation Board. “Every one of them has been successful in their own right in their personal and professional lives. But they check their egos at the door and work together for the greater cause of the institution.” Board members recognize the importance of UVU to the state and to the community, and they’re engaged with both heart and mind, he says.

As a member of the Foundation’s Governance Committee, McFarland is part of the team that recruits new members and provides training for current members. The committee ensures that board members are excellent representatives of the University who help bring in donations for important initiatives.

McFarland credits President Holland’s leadership for the extraordinary growth the University is experiencing. “He didn't just sit and pontificate, he was very involved,” he says. “He didn't try to change the institution and lose the certifications and associate and technical degrees; he built on them. Just the increase in funding has been amazing.”

In the past, Utah had a highly educated population that attracted employers to the state, but the level of education has fallen off, says McFarland. UVU is filling a vital role in turning the tide. Keeping a broad mission is key, he says. “Not only does it educate auto mechanics, which we need, but it attracts students who will get into the university environment, discover an interest or aptitude, and continue their education,” he says. “There are very few institutions in the nation that are set up to fulfill such a wide need for future employers.”

Several of the McFarlands have attended UVU, including Kris’s wife, Sheryl. The couple’s oldest daughter attended on a volleyball scholarship and earned a degree in secondary education, and their oldest son graduated from UVU with a degree in business management. Both chose UVU because, like their father, they’re fans of the underdog. The McFarland’s youngest son, who recently returned from a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Korea, is returning to UVU with a full-tuition academic scholarship. He’s considering pre-medicine as a major because he’s seen UVU graduates get accepted to prestigious medical schools. “He can stay in the basement, save a lot of money, go to UVU and get a great education,” says McFarland.

As a freshman at BYU, McFarland took a class in organizational behavior from Kerry Patterson, who later cofounded the company Vitalsmarts, an innovator in corporate training and organizational performance. Patterson focused on business applications rather than abstract theory, and McFarland was inspired to figure out how to make a living applying what he was learning. At 24 years old, he’d already worked in sales and a few other professions, and he wanted to do more than just make a living. “I set out to find out what discipline owned leadership training and communication training, and I found human resource development.” He later earned a master’s degree in sociology, with an emphasis in organizational behavior.

McFarland’s appreciation for education wasn’t passed down to him from his family. Neither of his parents, who are descended from Midwestern farmers, finished high school. When McFarland enrolled at BYU, he was already married and had a one-year-old child. Because of that, some of his extended family tried to discourage him from attending. “I had to fight through the family culture. People who have grown up in families where education is valued and encouraged may not realize the challenges a lot of first-generation students face.” Education is not an indicator of intelligence or superiority, he says. It just puts people in a better position to support their families and to help and serve others.

Today McFarland is senior vice president of human resources for Worker’s Compensation Fund. Established in 1917 as a state agency offering compensation for injured workers, WCF is now a mutual insurance company owned by its policyholders. As a result of recent legislation, the company is starting to cover businesses in other states whose owners are domiciled in Utah. In addition to heading up human resources, McFarland is responsible for the company’s strategic growth outside Utah. “There is a global shortage of skilled, educated workers, so my job is to make sure we’re prepared for the next decades,” he says.

McFarland says he’s one of the rare people who is actually doing what he went to school to do. “I went into HR to help people. My greatest satisfaction and personal fulfillment have come from helping others — professionally and personally,” he says. “Self-actualization comes from being part of something bigger than us and outside ourselves. What kind of mark will we leave? And how will we help the community in which we live?”

Part of the reason McFarland chose WCF as an employer is its commitment to community involvement. “I’ve always been hardwired to give back or help as part of my profession,” he says. In addition to serving on Utah Valley University’s Foundation Board, he serves on the education committee for the Associated General Contractors and is a board member of the Jordan River Commission.

“I get personal satisfaction from seeing other people succeed and grow,” says McFarland, who has always lived by the mantra of training his replacement. “Anybody I help will be better than me, because I share with them what I know.” Added to what they already know, that makes them better by definition, he says.

photo of Heidi Miller
Heidi Miller

Heidi Miller

Heidi was born in Salt Lake City, UT and attended Granite High School.

Heidi is a community leader with a primary goal to enrich the lives of others. To that end, Heidi and her husband Greg established two foundations, the Do Good as You Go Foundation and the Sherry Black Education Foundation.

Heidi serves on community and professional boards, including the Utah Zoological Board at Utah’s Hogle Zoo and the Institute for DNA Justice.

Greg and Heidi are the parents of six children (Bryce, Joshua, Courtney, Alyssa, Oakley, and Sabrina) and at least six grandchildren.

Affiliation to UVU: The Miller family are large philanthropic donors to UVU. Greg and Heidi's largest donation to the university was a gift-in-kind donation of approximately 63,000 used books. The books were given in honor of Heidi's diseased mother, Sherry Black. An event was held at the Fulton Library where members of the Miller and Black families were able to shelve a few of Sherry's books. Greg and Heidi also attended the CCS Founders Tour with President Holland in March 2018.

Ryan Napierski

Ryan Napierski

Ryan Napierski currently serves as president of global sales and operations. Prior to his current appointment, he served as president of Nu Skin’s North Asia region and president of Nu Skin Japan.

Napierski has also served as vice president of business development and chief operating officer for the North Asia region. He has fulfilled multiple positions for Nu Skin since joining the company in 1995, including vice president of global business development for corporate distributor success, acting general manager for the United Kingdom, vice president of European business development and key account manager for United States executives.

Napierski has a bachelor’s degree in business from Utah Valley University, a master’s degree in business administration from Duke University and a master’s degree in international business from Goethe Universitat in Germany.

Paul Rogers

Paul Rogers

Founder of Paul Rogers & Associates, Paul Rogers first entered politics in 1978, when he was elected to the Utah House of Representatives. In 1982 he was elected to the Utah State Senate. After 10 years of elected service, Rogers began his lobby practice. For the past 27 years, he has been influential in the outcome of numerous state issues related to developing Utah's technology sector, economic development, tax policy, insurance, education, and health care.

In 1984, Rogers directed the successful Bangerter for Governor Campaign. He served over 12 years as a member of the Utah State Board of Regents. He has received many service awards, including the Distinguished Service Award from the Utah Republican Party in 2009. He and his partner, Jeff Rogers, were recognized by UVU for their volunteer efforts in the creation of Utah Valley University. He also received an honorary degree from UVU in 1987. He and his wife, Susan, are lifelong Utah County residents and have eight children.

photo of Heidi Thorn
Heidi Thorn

Heidi Thorn

Heidi is the president and CEO of Navitus Sustainable Industries, an emerging renewable power developer. Navitus provides innovative solutions for reliable base-load power generation and comprehensive recycling systems for communities, industry, and military installations. Currently, Navitus has nearly $250 million in projects under development, which will generate more than 50 megawatts of clean, renewable power.

Thorn has an extensive background in finance, securities, business development, and executive management. Previously with Morgan Stanley she oversaw investments and securities transactions and strategies, trading, as well as sourcing and advising various public finance, real estate, IPO, manufacturing and energy related transactions and businesses. Heidi holds several securities licenses, including Series 7, 66 and 31 Managed Futures.

Previously, Thorn helped successfully launch a startup financial services company and took it from a single state presence, generating less than $1 million in monthly transactions to, in less than three years, becoming the national industry leader - generating over $400 million in monthly transactions and nationwide presence. Thorn oversaw and developed multiple business channels, established national wholesale banking relations, government & regulatory relations, key strategic alliances, recruiting, training and other business development activities.

Thorn is actively involved with community and civic organizations. She has taught business & finance to elementary and junior high students as well as been a guest entrepreneur/mentor at Stanford University.

Astrid S. Tuminez

Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez

Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez (pronounced too-MEE-nez) was appointed the seventh president of Utah Valley University in 2018, and is the institution’s first female president. Tuminez brings to UVU a broad and rich experience in academia, philanthropy, technology, and business. Born in a farming village in the Philippine province of Iloilo, Tuminez moved with her parents and six siblings to the slums of Iloilo City when she was two years old, her parents seeking better educational opportunities for their children.

Her pursuit of education eventually took her to the United States, to Brigham Young University where she graduated summa cum laude in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and Russian literature. She earned a master’s degree from Harvard University in Soviet Studies (1988) and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in political science (1996).

Before assuming her current position, President Tuminez was a world leader in the fields of technology and political science, most recently serving as an executive at Microsoft, where she led corporate, external and legal affairs in Southeast Asia. Tuminez is also the former vice dean of research and assistant dean of executive education at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, the premier school of public policy in Asia. She and her husband, Jeffrey S. Tolk, have three children. In her spare time, she enjoys running, dancing, and martial arts.

D. Clark Turner

D. Clark Turner


Clark Turner likes to invent things. Take for example NOMAD, a portable dental x-ray machine that won a Wall Street Journal award and an Edison Award. In 2004 Turner founded the company Aribex to manufacture NOMAD. After selling Aribex in 2012, he founded Turner Innovations, a research and development company. “One of my objectives is to make sure that we’re working on innovative things, not me-too products. They have to be highly differentiated and unique,” he says.

Nestled in a nondescript building west of Interstate 15 in Orem, the company presents an unassuming front, but some pretty remarkable inventing is taking place there. The company is working on a number of projects, including a 3-D x-ray system for the National Institutes of Health and some unique, battery-powered medical units.

Among other accolades, Dr. Turner has won the Utah Innovation Award and was named Emerging Executive of the Year by the Utah Technology Council. He credits his Ph.D. in chemistry from Brigham Young University with setting him up for success. Although he hasn’t specifically used that Ph.D. in his career, he says the skill set it taught him is universally applicable — how to analyze problems, do research, report your research in peer-reviewed journals, and establish scientific credibility.

“I’m pretty passionate about education. A good solid education is the path out of poverty to improved quality of life,” says Turner. That passion for education led him to join the Utah Valley University Foundation Board. He has enjoyed seeing the evolution of the school from a technology college to a full university. “UVU has become a really good preparatory university for students who want to go on and get graduate degrees,” he says.

Turner enjoys the insider knowledge he gets at Foundation Board meetings. He says, “President Holland is a great communicator, very good at laying out a vision, explaining the vision, and keeping people focused on the primary goals. It’s one thing for two or three people to have a shared vision and goal, and it’s another to get 20 or 30 people of accomplishment all working together to achieve that goal.”

At some point the Foundation Board could get too big, but Turner doesn’t think it’s approaching that limit yet. “I would encourage adding more people of accomplishment from the community. It will bring in more good ideas from people who have different skill sets,” he says. He sees the board’s engagement with the community as one of its most important roles. More than just raising funds, board members are making connections that will broaden the University’s base for future support.

Turner was part of a group that looked into ways the Foundation might invest in student start-ups, both to support student entrepreneurship at UVU and to increase the Foundation’s endowment. He also serves on an advisory committee to BYU’s College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and is a trustee of the Utah Technology Council.

Turner met his wife, then Pamela Peterson, when they were in the marching band together at BYU. Pam stayed home to raise the couple’s kids, but now that they are older, she has started a baking business — MamaBear’s Kitchen — and sells her goodies at the Provo Farmer’s Market.

The couple has four children. Their oldest son earned a bachelor’s degree in business management at UVU before getting an M.B.A. at Notre Dame. Their second son is currently taking classes in exercise physiology at UVU while working full time. They both chose UVU because it’s a good, affordable school, and it’s close enough to their home in West Mountain, Utah, that they could easily commute.

The Turners’ third son works at Turner Innovations with his father and is considering becoming a pilot. Their youngest child, a daughter, is studying at Brigham Young University and is planning to pursue a Ph.D. in genetics and biotechnology. “I’ve tried to encourage all my kids to go into STEM areas: science, technology, engineering or math. But only my daughter has done that so far,” says Clark Turner with a smile.

Turner’s advice to the next generation? First, work hard. He subscribes to Thomas Edison’s advice: “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Second, develop strong relationships, both personal and working relationships. “You can’t do it all yourself, so surround yourself with good people who are able to contribute in ways that you can’t,” he explains. “I probably could be more effective if I pushed people a little bit harder. But it’s been important to me that we have good, comfortable, working relationships.”

Third, and he says this is the key to his success, look at problems from different perspectives and come up with creative ways of solving them. As an example, he points to the NOMAD x-ray unit. “Nobody else had thought about holding an x-ray source. In fact, it was against the radiation control rules. We had to go state by state and get an exemption from the rules in order for people to use it. It was a lot of extra work, but we were able to differentiate ourselves and prevent competitors from coming in,” he says.

When he’s not inventing, Turner likes to unwind by tending to his fruit trees. He says, “One of the things I really enjoy is starting with nothing and having something that I’ve created at the end. We had a bare patch of land, and now we have 48 fruit trees. Every year we have a harvest. It’s very fulfilling to be able to reap the fruit of my labor, literally.”

Neal Williams

Neal Williams

Technology Innovator

When Neal Williams becomes frustrated by technology’s limitations, he invents new technology. “I’m always excited about new inventions, new developments in technology, and bringing them to market,” he says. “I’ve been in the software space, but I also follow other technologies.” Always thinking about what he might do next, he watches new fields such as robotics and 3D printing and imagines how advances could improve our lives.

Williams’ latest endeavor involves technology for Internet advertisers. It gathers statistics about people who have influence in social media such as blogs or YouTube videos. “Advertising dollars are moving away from television, cable television and radio and more toward the Internet, because that’s where a lot of the young people, and even some my age, are spending time—watching YouTube and checking their Facebook page rather than watching TV shows,” says Williams.

Williams’s company brokers deals to get an advertiser’s product reviewed by someone who has influence on the Internet. “Say an advertiser has a new health and fitness product, and they want to promote it. We’ll find some people who do blogs or have a YouTube channel where they talk about health and fitness products. We’ll get them to review the product. Our technology will identify the people we should work with, and it estimates the amount of exposure an advertiser will get and how many people will be influenced by it.”

Engodo, the company Williams founded to produce this technology, was acquired by a company in Los Angeles last year, but Williams and his team remained in Provo, working in what was originally the Hide & Fur Building across the street from the new UTA Commuter Rail Station. With original brick walls and wood floor, the immaculately renovated space has the feel of an urban loft.

Williams started his first company, Corda, in the late 1990s. At the time, he says, people were taking screen shots of Excel graphs and pasting them onto Web pages. Every month they’d repeat the process. Williams could see the enormous potential in a technology that would display live data. In his basement he started developing that technology and gradually built the enterprise into a company with around 80 employees that produced cutting-edge technology. After Corda was acquired and renamed Domo, Williams agreed to stay on for a few years to help with the transition. “I went into retirement for a while after that,” he says. “But I got bored and wanted to find something else to do, so that’s what I’m doing here.”

Originally from Arizona, Williams earned an associate degree at Eastern Arizona College, then transferred to Brigham Young University to get a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology. In Utah he met Domonique Harper, whom he married, and found a job as a software engineer at WordPerfect. The couple has five kids, three of their own and a niece and nephew they adopted. They love to go camping, and they love to go to the beach. “We’ll rent a beach house in North Carolina and invite my brother and his kids or my sister and her kids, hang out at the beach every day and just enjoy each other’s company,” says Williams. More than anything else, what he and Domonique have tried to instill in their kids is that they be kind, honest, hard-working people.

Domonique earned a degree in landscape architecture from Utah Valley University back when it was Utah Valley Community College, and currently the Williams’s oldest daughter is studying anthropology and criminology at UVU. Williams joined the UVU Foundation Board in 2013 and serves on the relatively new Student Venture Fund committee, which, through funding and mentorship, plans to help UVU student entrepreneurs turn promising ideas into technology startups.

With Silicon Slopes, Utah already has a reputation as a place for technology startups, says Williams. “It would be great if Utah could become even better at job creation and become more of a technology hub,” he says. One of the biggest problems facing technology companies today is finding talent, he says. They’re always struggling to find people who are trained and ready to contribute right out of college. So the more trained graduates UVU can produce, the easier it will be for companies to start up and grow quickly.

Williams says he was an introvert and a workaholic earlier in his career, but over time he has come to appreciate the value of relationships. He now takes the time to develop them. “For some people, that comes naturally,” he says. “But I’ve had to work at being more social, more approachable, trying to make connections with people. Thinking about and serving other people really adds a richness to life.”

Serving on the UVU Foundation Board has given Williams the opportunity to establish relationships with other board members and to work with them on issues that will benefit both students and the local economy. He’d like to see the board identifying the areas that will most improve the University and the community and then help make UVU successful in those areas. The performing and visual arts building is an example. “Once that’s done it will be a great addition for the community as well as the students. Being able to spearhead fundraising for that and help it come to pass is very fulfilling,” says Williams.

What wisdom would Williams pass on to the next generation of entrepreneurs? “Perhaps one of the most important things is persistence,” he says. “Especially in the early months and years of a company, it’s a roller coaster ride. You think you’re going to go bankrupt and lose everything one minute, then the next day you think you’re going to make it big and be able to hire 100 employees. Good things will happen and bad things will happen, and the hard part is staying consistent when things are getting rough, when everyone around you is saying it’s not going to work out and telling you to get out while you still have something left.”

Taylor Woodbury

Taylor Woodbury

Upholding a Family Tradition

Taylor Woodbury has always known what he wanted to do — work at the Woodbury Corporation, or “Corp,” as it’s known by the Woodbury family. He is one of more than 20 members of the fourth generation of Woodburys to work at Corp, which will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2019. “I’m proud to be a member of the company,” he says. “It can be tough at times working with family, but at the same time it’s really rewarding.”

Taylor Woodbury’s great grandfather, F. Orin Woodbury, started the Woodbury Corporation when his furniture business floundered near the end of World War I. Partnering with his brother-in-law, he began with residential brokerage, then moved into industrial real estate. The next two generations of Woodburys joined the firm and moved into retail development.

Taylor Woodbury prepared himself for his role at Corp by earning a bachelor’s degree in economics, a J.D., and an M.B.A. from George Washington University. A strong believer in formal education — his mother currently runs a charter school — he says, “I’m biased, obviously, but I believe there’s no better subject to study than economics to change the way you view the world.”

One of the things Woodbury likes about working at Corp is that he does a variety of different jobs. He’s currently the company’s treasurer, responsible for all of its cash management, including a portfolio of hundreds of entities as well as the family assets. He also helped the company start a couple of private equity funds, and he enjoys doing estate planning and gifting for the family’s charitable giving. Participating in company administration, he’s had the opportunity to plan and implement improvements. He’s currently involved in two development projects as well, one for freeway frontage at Hill Air Force Base and another in Bluffdale.

Although he’s based in Salt Lake County, Woodbury is focused on Utah County. He sees it as an incubator of entrepreneurial activity. “I think one of the endearing things about Utah County is that there’s a real spirit of entrepreneurism, and I feel like the American dream is alive and well there,” he says. “To a large extent that spirit is fostered by Utah Valley University. It’s a central part of the community. It provides an opportunity to get a top-notch education no matter what your previous station in life or whether you’re 20 or 40. I think Utah County has turned into a place where anything can happen for anybody.”

As a member of the UVU Foundation Board, Woodbury says UVU spends its limited funds wisely. He feels strongly that everyone should be able to get an education and improve their lot in life, and he sees UVU as operating with that goal in a way that other schools are not. “As I look around the area, I don’t feel like there’s any institution that does that better,” he says. “UVU is the institution that’s fulfilling its mandate the best to provide education to all, and that’s really gratifying to see. I’m always amazed to see all the success stories that UVU produces. They’re doing a tremendous job.”

The University’s core values, “serious, inclusive, and engaged,” are spot on, says Woodbury, particularly “serious,” which perfectly represents where the institution is today in its growth cycle. Those who are closest to the University already know how great it is, but a lot of people in the community still don’t view it as a serious institution or a school of choice for top students. “The public perception of UVU and where it fits into the higher education system in Utah has completely changed under President Holland’s leadership, and the cool thing is that it’s not just the public perception, it’s the students’ perception as well. President Holland has created a culture where the students are proud to be at UVU. There aren’t a lot of leaders who can do that,” he says.

Being an ambassador for the University is one of Woodbury’s favorite duties as a Foundation Board member. When an acquaintance recently mentioned being disillusioned with the institutions he supported, Woodbury told him to check out UVU and all the good it’s doing. “There are a lot of opportunities to make people aware of UVU, and the Foundation is doing a good job of raising awareness. The public perception of the University is really improving,” he says.

The other members of the Foundation Board are like the “Who’s Who” of Utah County, according to Woodbury, who considers serving on the board to be an honor. “It’s amazing who they’ve been able to get to serve on the board. Without exception they are all inspiring and accomplished and are doing such cool things with their lives,” he says. As one of the youngest members of the board, he admits to feeling a little intimidated by the others at times, but says that they’re a fun group to be a part of.

Apart from his family — Woodbury and his wife, Sarah, have four kids — Woodbury’s principal passion outside of work is water polo. He’s an assistant coach for both the girls and boys teams at Olympus High School in Holladay, Utah, and he coaches a team of younger kids during the off season. He also plays in an adult league that he helped organize. He also has served as a Boy Scouts of America cub master for the past five years and has made a point of ensuring inclusiveness by inviting every boy and parent in the neighborhood to participate.

What advice would he give to the next generation? Hard work can make up for a lot of deficiencies. “In law school, there were a lot of people who were clearly brighter than me, but because they’d always gotten by on their intellectual gifts, they didn’t really know how to bear down and focus. It was always gratifying to me when I got an A,” he says. Secondly, strive to stay positive in every situation. “You have to be able to take things in stride, to look for the solutions instead of the problems. It’s a lesson I have to keep reminding myself of.” And thirdly, be mindful of your reputation. “It’s by far the most valuable asset you have, so make sure the things you’re doing and saying are reflective of the reputation you want.”