Utah County founders and business leaders were well-represented Saturday night at the Utah Region EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
Of the 24 Utah Region finalists, six were Utah County business leaders, competing in four of the categories. In each of those, a Utah County business leader took home the award. Unique to this year’s awards, all of the finalists in the Direct to Consumer Products category were from south of the Point of the Mountain. Nate and Vanessa Quigley, co-founders of Provo-based Chatbooks took home the night’s award, after going head-to-head with Susan Petersen of Provo’s Freshly Picked, and Sam Bernards, Terry Pearce and Tony Pearce of Purple in Alpine.
In accepting the award, the Quigleys said they were most proud of their team of 105 employees — 70 percent of whom are women. Chatbooks is a subscription photo album service that delivers photo books directly to user’s homes.
In the Consumer Services category, Case Lawrence of Provo’s CircusTrix was named the Entrepreneur of the Year. Lawrence’s company has expanded exponentially, and he talked Saturday night of how that has been possible — by “reimagining the space you’re in.” He was speaking both of disrupting the extreme indoor sports industry and the physical space of each of his extreme sports parks around the nation. In keeping with that theme, and with a promise to his kids, Lawrence dabbed before thanking his wife and employees for making CircusTrix successful.
Derek Maxfield, CEO of Younique, won the award in the Retail and Consumer Products. Younique is a Lehi-based beauty products company which uses a direct selling business model. Maxfield said the award also belonged to his sister, fellow co-founder Melanie Huscroft, and to the thousands of direct sellers that make the company successful.
“What happened with Younique is so much more than me,” he said in his acceptance address, explaining that the company’s nonprofit organization helping survivors of sexual abuse has been the primary reason for the business since its beginning. “Our foundation, that is why we’ve succeeded as a company — because God wanted those women to have that healing.”
Andrew Smith, CEO and co-founder of American Fork’s Four Foods Group, won the Real Estate, Hospitality and Construction category. Though lauded for his determination and drive, he said in his acceptance speech that he completely did not expect to win, joking that the thing he worried most about preparing for the evening, was whether to wear his long hair up or down.
“Let me just tell the men in the room, the struggle is real. Be patient with your wives,” he said to laughter.
Tim Ballard, founder of the Draper’s Operation Underground Railroad, earned the Social Entrepreneur award. His organization is dedicated to saving victims of human and sex trafficking around the world. In his acceptance remarks, he mentioned he and his wife are in the process of adopting the first two children Operation Underground Railroad saved from sex trafficking just a few years ago. He dedicated his award to those “children who have no voice.”
“I want to be their voice,” he said.
In the Distribution and Manufacturing category, Sam Malouf, CEO and founder of Logan-based bedding company Malouf, won the award, to the very loud cheers of his team. Steve Daly, CEO of Ivanti in South Jordan, won the Technology award. Ivanti helps information technology professionals manage their systems. Karl Sun, CEO and co-founder of Lucid Software — a cloud-based application company based in South Jordan, won for Business Services.
“The Utah Region finalists have all built unique brands that stand out from all the rest,” said Scott Haws, co-founder and CEO of Narr8 Media, and master of ceremonies for the evening. “These companies have actually created the future.”
The award winners in each category will go on to the national EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards at the Strategic Growth Forum and National Awards gala in November.