Foundation Board

Mission Statement

The UVU Foundation operates in support of UVU's current and future needs as a vital component in the community's economic and educational engines. The Foundation is a forward-thinking philanthropic body supporting the vision of the University by contributing expertise, experience, dedication, and financial resources.

Member Listing

photo of Frantz Belot
Frantz Belot

Frantz Belot



photo of Lance Black
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.

photo of Curtis B. Blair
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.


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.”

headshot of Rob Gardner
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.

photo of Teresa Harding
Teresa Harding

Teresa Harding

Teresa Harding is an entrepreneur, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, cover feature of several magazines, philanthropist, speaker, and a world life, mindset, and business strategist. She has empowered millions of people from over 50 countries around the world through her audio programs, educational videos, and live seminars. For more than14 years, millions of people have enjoyed the warmth, humor, and transformational power of Teresa’s business and personal development trainings.

Mrs. Harding built a business that, in 8½ years, reached sales of over a billion dollars a year. She has been on the ground helping open markets in over 40 countries. She is a sought after speaker who is invited to train in countries around the world. She shares her business strategies, Speed Systems, and personal development trainings with entrepreneurs and leaders worldwide who are launching and growing their businesses and those who are ready to gain access to higher levels of success in their personal lives. By request, many of her trainings have been translated into several languages.

Mrs. Harding and her husband Roger, have implemented scholarships to support those who are seeking to further their education and better their life. They donate to charities and causes that give a hand up to support independence and financial freedom around the world. She has served on boards for charitable and university organizations, and has acted as President of her local chapter of the largest women’s organization in the world.

headshot of Heather Kahlert
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.

photo of Duane Madsen
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.

photo of Kris McFarland
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.

photo of Kara North
Kara North

Kara North

Kara North graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor Degree in Business Management. While attending UVU, she participated in the symphony and chamber orchestras and performed as a featured violinist. She went on to earn her juris doctor from the S. J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. Upon graduating, North practiced with a large insurance defense firm in Las Vegas; in 2011, she returned to Utah and currently practices at Johnson Livingston, PLLC. As Miss Orem 2003, North also organized “Read with a Queen and a Wolverine,” which featured UVU athletes and Willy the Wolverine. For her service she was given the Presidential Student Community Service Award from President George W. Bush.


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Ryan Napierski

Ryan Napierski, Chair of UVU Foundation Board

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.

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Kyle Reyes

Kyle Reyes



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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.

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Nathan Savage

Nathan Savage

Nathan Savage is the environmental sector president for Savage Companies, a supply chain solutions company with over 250 locations in North America and the Middle East. He also serves on the company's board of directors. Before assuming his current position, Nathan worked as the executive vice president and group leader for Savage Companies' oil and gas solutions group. He has been a part of the company's senior leadership since 2006.

Since joining Savage Companies in 1995, Nathan has served in various capacities including as a group leader for the refinery and sulfur solutions group and the commercial development group. He has also worked in operations, finance, and business development. Prior to joining Savage Companies, Nathan worked as an operations manager with a venture capital group for a wireless telecommunications company.

Nathan graduated with a bachelor's degree in Economics from Brigham Young University. He went on to earn his master's degree in Business Administration from West Virginia University.

Nathan and his wife, Shannon, are the parents of four daughters and seven grandchildren.

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Amy Sunderland

Amy Sunderland

Ms. Sunderland is a Portfolio Manager of the Grandeur Peak Global Reach Fund (GPROX) and the Grandeur Peak Global Micro Cap Fund (GPMCX). She is the Guardian Portfolio Manager of the Grandeur Peak Global Opportunities Fund (GPGOX). She is also a Sr. Research Analyst with a specialty focus on the Consumer sector globally.

Ms. Sunderland was a junior and later senior research analyst at Wasatch Advisors from 2003-2011. She was a general analyst on the Wasatch Small Cap Growth Fund (WAAEX) and the Wasatch Micro Cap Fund (WMICX), as well as a consumer sector specialist. Before Wasatch, Ms. Sunderland worked on the Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management Team.

Ms. Sunderland graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Utah where she earned a BS in Finance and Business Information Systems. Ms. Sunderland was selected as the Outstanding Finance Scholar of the Year by the dean, and was a Coca-Cola Scholar. She holds the CFA designation.

Ms. Sunderland was born in China and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. She moved to Salt Lake City at age 10, bought her first house at age 12, and build aa successful real estate business. Ms. Sunderland began investing in stocks at age 14 and has been a passionate investor ever since.

Amy currently resides in Salt Lake City. She and her husband Seth, have four children. She enjoys reading, kickboxing, basketball, camping, hiking, and traveling to places that are off the beaten path.

headshot of Astrid Tuminez
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.