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Sean Morris

By | Success

Sean Morris is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Blomquist Hale Employee Systems, a company based in Murray, Utah, that provides employee assistance and corporate wellness programs for organizations.

Like many successful business leaders, Sean’s path took unexpected turns. An active person who loves sports, Sean started out in college at Weber State University planning to be an athletic trainer. But after supporting many people emotionally and spiritually during his two-year volunteer service as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sean switched academic gears. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in family development and then went on to earn a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has worked with and counseled people of various ages, and he brings experience in a variety of fields–crisis management, marital and family therapy and training–to his current position. The principles he learned in his emotional health training translate well to being a leader in business, helping to keep people motivated and growing. A motivated and personable leader, Sean oversees all aspects of Blomquist Hale, and he prides himself on working for an organization that provides an exceptional product and service that meets both individual and organizational needs.

In addition to his business leadership position, Sean serves on the board of Lawyers Helping Lawyers and in leadership positions in his church.

Have a Vision

Ideas are great starting places for businesses, but having a vision of where that business is going is a key to success. “I want to be remembered as someone who had a vision and helped the company move towards it,” Sean says. Think about where you want your company to be positioned in the marketplace in one year, five years or more. Set goals to help move your company towards your vision to ensure success.

Take Care of Employees

The people you work with and who work for you are your greatest asset in business, and taking care of them is tantamount to success for Sean. “There are lots of studies that indicate that when employees have life challenges, it adversely affects their productivity,” Sean notes. Planning to take care of employees to keep them motivated and offering them resources to help with challenges at work and at home is investing in your business and, ultimately, your success.

Keep Getting Better

For Sean, success comes from not just providing an outstanding product or service but continuing to improve on it. While it’s important to keep doing what’s working, it’s also important to keep improving your business model as well as the product or service you offer.

Globalization has meant great growth for organizations but it also has brought pressure for doubling profits and keeping up with ever-shifting business models. As mentalities and technologies shift, your company needs to shift too. This helps clients feel confident in your business and keeps your business successful. “The real value we bring to an organization can be helpful if we keep doing it well,” Sean notes.

Colin Crabtree

Colin Crabtree

By | Success

Colin Crabtree is the president and CEO of Crabtree Auto, an auto recycling company in Ogden, Utah. A family owned business, Crabtree Auto was originally a bicycle shop opened by Colin’s father, but it evolved into a body shop just after World War II. The Crabtrees began selling parts off their vehicles, and the company became a salvage business. In 1947, it moved to Ogden where it continues today as a certified auto recycler.

Although Colin and his brother, Miles, worked in the business as soon as they were old enough, they took over the business in the 1960s and 70s. And in the 21st century, Crabtree Auto became a third-generation owned Utah family business as Colin’s son, Clay, became part owner. A member of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), Crabtree Auto’s business is purchasing late-model vehicles and selling the undamaged or fixed up parts to body and mechanical shops, insurance companies, salvage yards, and local customers.

Choose the Right People

For Colin, ca big part of success in business is choosing the right people to work with. “You’re very dependent on your employees,” he says, “So choose employees that support you.” Surround yourself with people who have the same commitment to quality service and who show you that they uphold your company values, motto and standards. Crabtree Auto’s motto is “clean, organized, quick service”, so Colin chooses employees that embody and illustrate that. And since he experiences very little employee turnover at Crabtree Auto, he chooses well. 

Learn from Others

It’s easy to make learning through trial and error the norm when you’re an entrepreneur, but Colin advocates learning from others rather than through hard knocks. Whether you talk to a mentor or other professionals in your industry, listen to their experiences and advice to know what’s going on and avoid making the same mistakes they did.

Improve Your Industry

Striving to be honest is a hallmark of Colin’s success. While he realizes that the used auto industry can have a less than honest reputation, he strives to make his business strong and his practices honest to keep its reputation strong and improve the image of his industry. He believes that success is about improving your own business, which, in turn, improves your industry.

Colin further improved his industry as Crabtree Auto helped form the United Recyclers Group (URG), a part of the Automotive Recyclers Association that sets quality standards to ensure recyclers are using premium recycled parts.

“My hope for my son,” says Colin, “Is that he builds on a legacy of honor.”

Chris Bowler

By | Success

Chris Bowler is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Creminelli Fine Meats, a company that manufactures, markets and distributes artisan Italian meat products to gourmet shops, high end supermarkets and fine dining restaurants nationwide. Although born and raised in Maryland, Chris had strong ties to Utah (his parents are from here), so after he finished his BA in economics at Stanford University, he came to Utah to start a tech company. Soon afterwards he was working for the state’s International Division getting ready for the 2002 Winter Olympics. This led to a job as a member of the US Olympic committee, which relocated him to Turino, Italy, helping the Olympic committee there develop the facilities and manage the logistics to successfully pull off the 2006 Olympic Games taking place there. Having lived in Southern Italy in 1994-1996 as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Chris was fluent in Italian and enjoyed being in Italy as a business man. There he met Cristiano Creminelli, a successful meat artisan looking to expand his business. Cristiano and Chris teamed up with Jared Lynch in 2007 to start Creminelli Fine Meats in the US.

Seize Opportunities
When it comes to success as an entrepreneur, it’s not enough to have a good idea or even passion about that good idea–you’ve got to see and seize an opportunity for your business to fill a need. At the time Creminelli Fine Meats was founded, the US had seen a great deal of popularity in artisan cheeses, olives and chocolates, but there was a lack of fine artisan meats with which to pair them. Chris and his partners saw a significant opportunity and seized it, thus beginning a successful business. “We wanted to make great tasting products,” Bowler says, “To share a food experience that was unique, would expand people’s horizons, and would change their opinions about food, especially about cured meats. Our approach is to do everything with an eye towards helping people feel good about what they are eating.”

Seizing opportunities is also how Creminelli grew to start selling their products outside Utah. While their first few years saw them concentrating on sales in Utah, first through Caputo’s market and then to other restaurants and shops throughout the state, seizing an opportunity to exhibit at a fancy foods show in San Diego introduced them to hundreds of great new customers- -and landed them their first contract outside of the state.

Dig In and Do the Work
To get a new business off the ground, “you need to be a jack of all trades,” says Chris. His advice in the beginning is to “be willing to do any part of the work. Dig in and solve the problems.” And if there are things you don’t do well, bring the right people in to get the job done the right way, whether it be a consultant, vendor or employee.

Chris also notes that hard work is what leads to those that key moments for your business to grow. “Don’t believe that there are any free passes,” he says. “It’s a rare occasion that you knock on one door that solves all your problems. It all comes through working and building and toiling.” Working hard is one of the most important keys to building a successful business.

Remember the Money Is In the Mission
Another aspect of Creminilli’s success has been crafting their business around their mission. Having a strong mission helps you make focused and strategic decisions for your business, rather than making opportunistic ones that may make money in the short term but don’t add to its long- term growth. “We’re here because of the mission, not the money,” Chris says. “The money makes the mission possible. We never let go of that value to make more money.”

One aspect of Creminilli’s mission has been to create a great organization that provides a good standard of living for the people involved. “I reject the notion that to be a successful company means to be overbearing and aggressive,” Chris says. “Aggressiveness in pursuing business does not have to turn into aggressiveness in personal relationships. I think people should feel uplifted when they come to work. It should be a place where people feel like they can succeed, that they are a part of something important. And that doesn’t have to be at odds with driving a great business and driving growth in your business.”

Plan for Growth
In the beginning, it can be so time-consuming starting your business that you can only hope for growth rather than plan for it. But Chris has found smart planning for gradual growth is integral to business success.

“Stair step your progress for incremental growth rather than jumping into something you may not be ready for,” Chris advises. Whether it’s with your investors, vendors or with your leases, negotiate so you’re gradually growing. In three years, Creminelli moved its operations twice, each time into bigger facilities. If they had locked themselves into long leases, that would have been difficult to do. Plan for and negotiate terms that allow for increase in six months, a year, two years… whatever you find to be most realistic.

Steve Evans

By | Success

Steve Evans is the Chief Financial Officer of AspenPress & Packaging LLC, a company based in Sandy, Utah, that provides full color printing, signage and packaging for individuals and businesses worldwide. He brings an entrepreneurial spirit, a background in accounting and marketing, and experience in various industries to this venture. He also brings a passion for customer service and a commitment to making excellent products.

An Indirect Route to Printing

Although Steve always knew he’d be an entrepreneur, he never imagined it would be in the printing industry. In fact, his route to the printing industry has been anything but straight. After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in accounting from the University of Utah, Steve got his start working in accounting firms, doing audits on various businesses. But it didn’t take long for him to realize that type of regiment wasn’t for him. He was recruited to the skiing and snowboarding industry as a marketer and comptroller, and after spending time in that industry went to work for a printer, who wanted Steve to help get the business ready to sell. When it came time to sell, however, the printer changed his mind and asked Steve to help him run the business, which he did for several years. In 2002, Steve went out on his own to form AspenPress.

Turning Mistakes into Success

Some of Steve’s best learning moments have been mistakes he’s made along his road to success. He’s learned to turn those lessons from mistakes into secrets for success. One such lesson is to not underestimate the need for cash flow when you start a business. He cautions to be careful not to spend more than you’re bringing in or to borrow from the next payroll to fund the current one.
Another nugget of wisdom Steve gained was to not assume. “It’s good to trust in business,” he says, “But you also need to be thorough and protect your business.” He cautions to get things in writing as well as asking for specifics and thorough explanations. “Ask yourself, ‘If this doesn’t work out, how will it affect my business?’” he advises.
Having a mentor is something Steve recommends for all business owners, whether they are just starting out of have been in business for decades. To avoid reinventing the wheel, it’s important to look down the road 6 months or a year and have a guide to offer counsel and keep you focused. “After 13 years in business, I still have a mentor I look to,” Steve says.

Success Measurements

For Steve, defining and measuring success is about several factors. “Profits are important,” he says, “But it’s not all about the money. You’ve got to have a passion for what you’re doing.”
Aside from a passion for your work, other measures of success are having happy employees and good products. AspenPress prides itself on having happy, productive, hard working employees who feel valued. And Steve feels that being proud of your products and recognizing the impact of your work is a strong measure of success as well.

Gifford Briggs

By | Success

Gifford Briggs is the Vice President of Big D Construction, a top commercial construction company in Utah. After earning his undergraduate degree in construction management from Brigham Young University, Gifford worked for several commercial construction companies before he joined Big D. He earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix while working his way up to the Vice President position in 2012. In 2005, Gifford helped build and open the Big D Utah county office in Lindon, Utah, which is responsible for $70-90 million in construction annually. He oversees business development, estimating, project management and field construction for the office. For Gifford, commercial construction is exciting. “One day you’re working on a higher education facility, the next factories, offices, and more,” he says. “There’s something new every day.”
Additionally, Gifford volunteers his time in the community, having served as a board member of the Pleasant Grove Business Alliance and the Utah State Workforce Investment Board and a community council member of Foothills Elementary School. He also chaired the Mountainland Regional Council of the Utah Department of Workforce Serves for three years, championing economic empowerment in that region.

A Strong Work Ethic

Growing up in rural Sevier County, Utah, Gifford learned a strong work ethic from his game warden father and school teacher mother. While Gifford admits he wasn’t the smartest kid in school, he felt school was important, so he applied himself and got straight A’s, earning the valedictorian spot in his graduating high school class.
Gifford went on to study at Brigham Young University, and temporarily interrupted his studies to volunteer for two years as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bahia Blanca, Argentina. There, he worked hard to serve the people of Argentina and learned to speak Spanish. Upon his return, he resumed his hard work studying zoology with an emphasis in marine biology, while he worked for Facilities Services at BYU laying tile and vinyl and installing carpet. Gifford discovered he liked working with his hands. He changed his undergraduate major to construction management after realizing he could make a better living for his family in that industry.
Getting a job with Big D Construction was also the product of Gifford’s hard work, with a little creativity thrown in. “I always wanted to work for Big D, ever since he toured the Scott Matheson courthouse [they built] as a college student,” he says. An exec at Big D told him to gain experience after college and apply after five years. So Gifford went to work as the marketing manager of a construction company, then for a mechanical contractor. And after five years, he mailed a small wooden bat with a tag that said “I’m ready to go to bat for Big D” to the exec. Even though he didn’t have a position open, the bat left such an impression, he was referred to another executive in the company and was hired soon thereafter. Gifford still has that bat in his office, reminding him that hard work and a little creativity pay off.

Advice for Success

Gifford finds several factors have helped him succeed over the years.
Work is education. While Gifford earned two college degrees, he believes that learning is an everyday process rather than a formalized event. He advises those coming out of college to do the same. “A degree will prepare you for your career, but don’t be afraid of hard work,” Gifford says.
Leave your ego at home. Intelligence is important, but so is gaining experience. “You do yourself a disservice by not being willing to work your way up,” he says. “I worked under my best friend for seven years, and I learned a lot. You can’t let your ego get in the way.”
Hire the best people. Hiring people who are willing to learn and work hard is the key to having a successful team. Gifford also advises hiring people who are smarter than you as well.

Howard Fields

By | Success

Howard Fields is the Chief Executive Officer of Hallmark Cabinets, a Utah-based company that manufacturers high quality custom cabinetry for homes and businesses around the western United States. Howard’s roots in cabinetry go back to his college days, where he put himself through school as a cabinet maker, installer and salesman. While earning his associate’s degree in business from Western Wyoming College, Howard was awarded the Truman scholarship, a highly competitive scholarship awarded to just one student per state. He then went on to earn his political science bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University. Howard brings a rich, diverse professional background in law, carpentry and sales to his current position, and Hallmark is the second cabinetry company that has flourished under his ownership. He purchased Hallmark Cabinets in 2008 and oversees 40 employees. Howard is a certified kitchen designer and serves as president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s local chapter.

Success as an Entrepreneur

Like many successful businessmen, Howard began his professional life in a completely different line of work. He studied political science with the intention of becoming a lawyer but quickly discovered that was not the path for him. While working at his brother’s manufacturing firm, he noticed that cabinet work was ongoing and decided to continue with cabinetry, working as the sales manager of that company for 15 years. He then purchased a struggling manufacturing company in Logan, Utah, and turned it around. After selling the business ten years later, Howard considered retiring, but he then purchased Hallmark Cabinets and has been running it ever since.
Howard advises those interested in starting a business to gain experience in their chosen field before taking the leap to entrepreneur. “Just because you’re a skilled craftsman doesn’t make you a good businessman,” he says. He also advises understanding accounting and numbers well and understanding how your product fits into the market in down economic times so you can plan ahead to stay successful.

Success Is Showing Up

For Howard, the best way to achieve long-term success is putting in hard work. “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” he says. Howard credits his father with teaching him the meaning of hard work and good morals.
He also believes that business owners need to be leaders, setting and demonstrating the priorities and values for the company. “You must show you care about quality, morale and the like,” he says. That leads to happy employees, which he says is also essential to success. “Success is more than money,” he says. “If you don’t have happy employees, your organization will be in turmoil.”

Keith Norris

By | Success

Keith Norris is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of COMPLETE XRM Inc., a company that provides software solutions to help customers stay organized as well as deliver content and services more efficiently. A lifelong entrepreneur, Keith started his first company before he finished college. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and then a Masters of Business Administration from Weber State University, where he earned the Goddard Scholar award for academic achievement. He has a diverse background in marketing and real estate, and he earned the Presidents Club/Presidents Elite award from Coldwell Banker for being in the top 1% of sales in 2003-2006. Keith was also a finalist in the 2003 University of Utah Entrepreneurial Challenge and has also been an active member of the Utah Technology Council since 2013.

Providing Business Solutions

Before cloud technology became second nature to businesses, Keith and his business partner began talking about possible solutions to accessing business files remotely rather than hauling a heavy briefcase along with you. Software seemed to be the answer, and when the timing opened up in 2006, they took the leap to begin COMPLETE XRM, developing proprietary customer management software (CMS) to help businesses access files on the go. They partnered with Franklin Covey early on to develop the project management software, PlanPlus, which they later acquired and now run as a separate company. COMPLETE XRM’s product offerings have since grown to include calendaring collaboration, lead management systems, customer support solutions, platforms for tablet and Blackberry technology, and more. Keith served as its Chief Sales Officer until he became CEO in 2009.

Secrets to Success

One of Keith’s secrets to success is finding people you can work with synergistically. Because he considers himself more an implementer than an idea person, Keith knows the value of bringing in people with innovative ideas. He’s also found that a strong, successful company is one where the individuals who work there have personal values that overlap with core company values.
As far as personal secrets to success, Keith credits staying active physically and mentally with keeping his heart strong and his mind sharp. He works out every day, rides in bike races and is currently training for a triathlon. On his commute to and from work and in his spare time, he listens to lots of books on tape from authors that are successful in business. Staying active gives him energy, which better helps him focus in business.
But if you ask Keith how he defines success, he says it’s all about being passionate about your work and being happy doing it. “Finance is how you keep score,” he says, “But loving what you do is the biggest measure of success.”

Greg Shuey

By | Success

Greg Schuey is the co-founder of Stryde Marketing, a content marketing company based in Salt Lake City, Utah that helps companies grow their brands and sales through content creation and promotions. Greg studied business management at Utah Valley University and Brigham Young University, and his background is rich with experience in search engine optimization, and affiliate and online marketing. Passionate about the ever-changing opportunities that online marketing brings to help companies grow, Greg founded Stryde in April of 2013, and he serves on the advisory board of both Signs.com and Right Intel, and he’s a member of the Corporate Alliance.

Take a Chance

For Greg, success is about taking chances and having understanding family members. He knew that Stryde would be ahead of the curve starting out in content marketing, but he also knew there would be a market for it. “Content marketing is new to most small businesses, so we need to explain how it differs from search engine optimization and other services,” he says. “But everyone needs our services, so we’re steadily growing.” Taking a chance on the company means Stryde is in a prime position for growth. Being an entrepreneur means working long hours sometimes, and Greg credits an understanding family with being able to pursue success at Stryde. He often starts works early to spend time with his small children in the afternoon and evening. Striking a balance is important, as is supportive and understanding family and friends.

It’s the Experience You Bring

Greg also finds success in surrounding yourself with a good team of passionate people. While finding and hiring good people can be a mixture of luck and chance, Greg’s assembled seven amazing team members at Stryde. And while the company has been in business a couple of years, the team members boast 25 years of combined marketing experience and 113 years combined ownership and management experience, making them a dynamic team with loads of experience to draw from for future success.

Keith Gordon

By | Success

As an owner and Chief Executive Officer of Legacy Healthcare, Keith Gordon oversees a Northern Utah based hospice and home health care company that strives to meet the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients as well as those seeking rehabilitation. He founded the company in 2004 with his current partners. Keith has been involved in this industry since 1995. After earning his undergraduate degree in behavioral science and health and his graduate in gerontology from the University of Utah, he brings a rich background and insight in healthcare administration. Legacy Healthcare has continued to be recognized as a top agency one can depend on for their medical care at home.

Be Prepared

Keith’s advice to budding entrepreneurs is to find something you like to do and to be prepared for the rigors of being a leader. He suggests that you: Be prepared through formal education. Keith suggests finding a college and major that will give you training in what you want to do. He decided to study hospital administration after taking a career quiz in college, which suggested that he would excel in healthcare or hospital administration. That appealed to him, so he found the UofU and a course of study that would support his career plans. His degree offered him not only the business insight, but the patient and clinical insight as well. His career counselor told him that the future of healthcare would be primarily focused on Senior Care; he then focused his post graduate classes to Gerontology (the study of aging) which has provided the right formal education training for where healthcare is in fact trending today, on elderly care. Be prepared to know the numbers. Whether you learn through formal schooling or work experience, Keith knows that being successful means knowing the numbers. “If you lose track of your money, you lose track of your company,” he says. While Keith didn’t major in accounting, he worked as a banker throughout college, to gain experience in spreadsheets, profit-and-loss statements, and more, thus helping him to be better equipped as a business owner. Be prepared to lead in tough times. Keith has found that being a leader means making tough choices, choices that many staff may not approve of, because they do not have all the information you have. Honesty is always best, even if it stings at times. Not being honest leads to mistrust and revolt. Always, always have a positive attitude no matter what. You are the barometer of success! It can be lonely at times as the leader, and sometimes your weaknesses are exploited, but if you remain true to yourself and your integrity, you will be prepared to be successful. “Trust is the most valuable thing you can earn.”

Three Strong Values

Keith holds to three guidelines that have keep Legacy Healthcare successful.

1- Offer the best care possible. We take care of people; our job is to provide quality care to patients and families. We should wake up each day thinking I will do my best.
2- Hire, recognize and support the staff. If you value your staff and recognize them for their efforts, they will feel acknowledged and strive to give the best care possible. No one likes to work in an environment where they feel unappreciated!
3- Always communicate openly and effectively at all times. The number one problem in any organization is communication. So why not make it your top priority?

Keith’s mentor once told him that you should always hire people smarter than you are. Too many leaders believe they should know everything and be above everyone. The successful leaders that are most successful are those who are smart enough and secure enough to hire those that could eventually take their job. In that, you do in fact become the wisest one in the company.

Kurt Flygare

Kurt Flygare

By | Success

Kurt Flygare is the president of IntegraCore, a privately held company based in Salt Lake City, Utah and Atlanta, Georgia that provides turnkey supply chain management solutions. A Minnesota native, Kurt earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Brigham Young University and brings nearly three decades of executive experience to his current position. As president, he oversees IntegraCore, which has grown steadily each of its 25 years in business and which has exceeded 100% growth for the past seven years due to its ability to scale with clients’ needs. IntegraCore has received numerous awards and honors, including being named among the “Fast 50” by Utah Business magazine.

Successful People Are Decisive

Kurt feels that success in business is about being able to make decisions, even if that means making mistakes. “The worst thing is when no one makes a decision,” he says. “You can get lost in analysis paralysis, but it’s better to make a decision and move forward.” And if it’s a bad decision, as some are wont to be, that’s ok. “You talk about it, learn from it, and move on,” Kurt says. Being decisive allows you to seize opportunities and continually move forward in business, something that’s vital to success.

Bring in Passionate, Accountable People

Kurt encourages new entrepreneurs to bring the right people into your business but hold them accountable. “Often, startup owners hire friends and family, which is fine, but unless you’re very direct, accountability can become blurred.” He recommends holding people accountable, not in a punitive way, but to ask people to channel their time and talents into taking responsibility for their part in your business. “Give them latitude to do their work, but expect them to get things done,” Kurt says. Having the right people on board means they are passionate and will openly share their ideas to help the company improve or grow. But it’s important that people are also able to check their egos and move forward for the good of the company. “You have to be able to bruise hard and heal quickly,” Kurt says. “Speak your mind, but if your idea isn’t taken and things don’t go your way you need to keep pressing forward.”

Enact Processes but Be Flexible

Kurt has seen many businesses not be able to grow successfully because they don’t have processes in place for growth. Success, for him, comes from putting processes in place, but also keeping in mind that clients may need a bit of flexibility. “Not every customer is going to see it your way, so if you think it’ll be a good customer, then you need to show some flexibility,” he notes. Striking a balance will help you keep things efficient while being able to grow.