• The Downtown Alliance, Salt Lake City, has hired Nick Como as communications director. Como brings over a decade of marketing and public relations experience to the Alliance’s staff, most recently having served as the director of marketing and public relations at Solitude Mountain Resort. Como’s previous efforts included a marketing and development position with the Town of Alta, branding and graphics work for a wide range of local clients as a freelance strategist, as well as experience in the advertising field in New York City.
• Alex Piket has joined BHB Consulting Engineers, Salt Lake City, as a project engineer. Piket received his B.S. in civil engineering from The Hague University, the Netherlands, in 2011. He is currently working on completing his master’s from the University of Utah.
• The 2012 Heritage Awards for Restoration and Renovation were presented May 4 by Utah Heritage Foundation to recognize projects, organizations and an individual that exemplify excellence in historic preservation. The winners in the Stabilization, Restoration or Renovation category were Vectra Management Group for the Walker Center in Salt Lake City, U.S. Translation Inc. for the Malcolm Keyser Warehouse Building in Salt Lake City, Bill Williams for 153-157 Main St. in Helper, Lawrence and Lana Gardner for Victory Hall in Spring City, PCE LLC for the Washington School House in Park City, State of Utah for the Kearns Mansion Carriage House in Salt Lake City, Adam T. Mow and Lee A. Killian for 367 E. First Ave. in Salt Lake City, The Dennis Group and U.S. General Services Administration for Odd Fellows Hall in Salt Lake City, Cowboy Partners and Pioneer Theater Co. for the University Apartments/Meldrum House in Salt Lake City, Karrie and Kay Lee Schatten for 615 E. 900 S. in Salt Lake City, Midway City for Midway Town Hall in Midway, Salt Lake City for the Former Main Library/The Leonardo in Salt Lake and Ritch and Daisy Carlson for 361 E. Third Ave. in Salt Lake City. Panguitch City won in the Organization category for the Panguitch Main Street Community. Stewardship awards went to Elaine and J.P. Hughes for 137 N. West Temple in Salt Lake City and Julia and Reed Smoot for 183 E. 100 S. in Provo. Bob Nicholson of St. George won in the Individual category, while the LucyBeth Rampton Lifetime Achievement Award went to Russell Bezette of La Verkin.
• Grow America Inc., an Ogden company with a mission to support, encourage and strengthen entrepreneurs in local economies, has appointed two of its leaders, Berkeley Geddes, CEO of Grow America Insight, and Richard Swart, director of strategic programs, to key roles in the professional and regulatory associations focused on facilitating a vibrant, credible and growing global crowdfunding community. Geddes has been elected chair of the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA) executive committee and governance board, which represents the voice of the crowdfunding industry and will provide advocacy, research and education for investors and entrepreneurs. Swart has been named to the organizing committee of CfPA and also will serve as a member of the Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CfIRA) leadership group, which is focused exclusively on channeling industry expertise to support the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and other affected governmental and quasi-governmental entities, including state regulators, in the establishment of crowdfunding regulation, standards and best practices.
• May 3 marked the opening of the 200,000th Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) account. UESP has experienced a steady increase in the number of accounts since its inception in 1996. UESP is dedicated to one purpose — helping families save for college. That’s why UESP has among the lowest fees of all 529 plans and requires no minimum or ongoing contributions. Earnings on UESP accounts are federal and state tax-free when used for qualified higher education expenses. Utah taxpayers have an added benefit of a 5 percent state income tax credit for qualified contributions.
• Westminster College, Salt Lake City, has created a new Mastering Leadership Certificate Program (MLC) to help hone the skills of employees who want to advance in their careers. The 10-month MLC program, with limited classroom time, is designed to be a good fit for working professionals. The MLC is a project-based program built around two-day sessions held once a month for 10 months. The sessions focus on essential leadership skills utilizing a three-stage process: theory, practice in real-world activities and then application in the workplace. Throughout each stage, a Westminster faculty coach works with each participant and is available to consult with participants in real-time. The customized projects applied in the participant’s work place translate into immediate return on investment.
• The Air Force has reached an agreement with a private recycling company to lease land at Hill Air Force Base to develop a materials recycling facility. The agreement with North Carolina-based ReCommunity Inc. is a major step toward a full lease of a parcel of land on the installation’s southeast corner. When complete, the project will provide a facility for sorting waste material to be processed at the nearby Davis Burn Plant. ReCommunity is the largest recycling company in the United States, with 35 facilities.
• Orlando, Fla.-based Mercantile Capital Corp. has closed a commercial loan for Sunshine Hospitality Group LLC dba Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites for $14.5 million in total project costs. The Holiday Inn is a four-story, 111-room hotel, also equipped with six meeting rooms. It is located in the International Center near the Salt Lake City International Airport and has been in operation since mid-2007.
• The Utah Department of Commerce has announced upgraded online services across several divisions that are designed to provide better customer service for consumers and businesses. At the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing site, www.dopl.utah.gov, there now are listings of thousands of disciplinary actions against licensees and non-licensees dating back to 2007. At the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, www.consumerprotection.utah.gov, additions include an upgraded searchable charity database where consumers can enter names of an entity and quickly find out if they are registered with the state and how much of any donation goes to the charity’s end user. At the site for the Division of Corporations and Commercial Code’s One Stop Online Business Registration Program, www.corporations.utah.gov, are user navigation and interface improvements; an improved glossary and frequently-asked-questions page; live help; access for non-profits, out-of-state and foreign registration; an enhanced receipt system; the ability to preview articles; an improved ownership (principals) section; registration for additional tax types; and “Doing Business As” upgrades to support fast, accurate small-business creation. At the Utah Division of Real Estate site, www.realestate.utah.gov, is an online customer chat service to further help Utahns with questions about the division’s services. It is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Department of Commerce is responsible for issuing more than 300,000 licenses and regulating hundreds of industries. Utah.gov is the entry point for more than 1,000 online services. The Department of Commerce and its divisions receive more than 2.6 million visits annually to their websites. Sixty percent of all businesses register online, with about 2,600 new registrations each month.
• The Buckner Co., Salt Lake City, has hired Frank Lancaster as its new vice president and corporate controller. Lancaster joins the insurance firm as a seasoned accounting professional who has spent most of his career in the insurance industry. Since January, 2012, The Buckner Company has increased their employee count by 10 percent. Founded in 1936 in Ogden, The Buckner Co. specializes in insurance for the construction, agriculture and commercial business industries.
• Intermountain Financial Group, the Utah agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., has hired Shawn Bassett and Nick Burgess as financial services professionals. Bassett earned his bachelors of science in psychology from the University of Utah, and his master’s degree in health systems administration from Georgetown University. Burgess graduated from the University of Utah with a major in marketing and a minor in business. He has worked in an administrative role with the Burgess Group, a family firm that deals with assisting both domestic and international individuals in wealth creation, succession planning, estate preservation and charitable giving, for five years before joining Mass Mutual.
• Paul C. Burke, who is a partner and serves as general counsel of Ray Quinney & Nebeker, has been named Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for 2012 by the Utah State Bar. Burke was recognized for his significant pro bono work during the preceding year. Most notably, Burke represented an abused teenager in a complicated child welfare case, which included district court proceedings, two appeals and an appellate mediation.
• Jones Waldo has elected Kathleen McDonald as its newest shareholder. The firm also elected four new members to its board of directors: Paul M. Harman, Bruce E. Babcock, Timothy B. Anderson and Lewis M. Francis. McDonald, who has been with Jones Waldo since 2006, is actively engaged in both the firm and the community. She was recently elected as the co-chair of the Jones Waldo Women Lawyers Group and she is involved with Tracy Aviary, the Bennion Center and Women Lawyers of Utah. Her primary focus is litigation and has experience in environmental law, construction, appeals, arbitration and mediation, eminent domain, insurance/tort and legal ethics and professional responsibility. Two long-time board members stepped down from service: Glen Watkins, who had served for 13 years as chairman of the board, and Susan Peterson, a 12-year veteran as the board’s vice president. Both Jones Waldo senior shareholders are still active at the firm.
• The Salt Lake City law firm Parr Brown Gee & Loveless has promoted associates Gregory Nelson and Austin Riter to shareholder, and hired Laura Kennedy as an associate lawyer. Nelson works in the firm’s corporate transactions group with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, private securities offerings and business structuring and formation. Nelson is a co-founder of GenX Capital, a networking group for investors and entrepreneurs, and teaches as an adjunct professor in Weber State University’s MBA program. Riter is part of the commercial litigation group, focusing principally on First Amendment and media law. He started with Parr Brown in 2005 and spent two years completing federal district and appellate court clerkships beginning in 2007. He also teaches a class on federal courts as an adjunct professor at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law. Kennedy joins the firm after more than 15 years of experience in clerkships with the U.S. District Court, Utah Supreme Court and Utah Court of Appeals. She received her law degree, magna cum laude, from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University.
• Lifetime Products Inc., a Clearfield-based manufacturer, has opened a health clinic on-site in the Freeport Center next to the Lifetime headquarters and manufacturing facilities. It serves only Lifetime employees and their dependents. To ensure top-quality care, the 5,400 square foot Lifetime Health Clinic is operated in partnership with Intermountain Healthcare with a full-time, licensed medical provider and two medical assistants, as well as a part-time physical therapist. All work-related visits to the Lifetime Health Clinic are always free of charge, and all other visits require a small fee to cover the clinic’s supplies.
• Struck, a Salt Lake City digital creative agency with expertise in interactive marketing and retail branding, has completed a brand revitalization of its first floor retail space at the Grand America hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. One highlight of the project is a digitally-animated, interactive “monster wall” installations Struck brought to the hotel’s fantastical toy store named JouJou.
• Bountiful-based Fluid, a creative services agency, has hired Ryan Anderson as creative director and Chad Oborn as business development manager. Anderson has been in the advertising industry for 17 years, previously working at Richter7. Oborn was previously an account manager for Thomas Arts.
• Utah is ranked No. 6 in 2011 in direct spending in all three phases of commercial real estate development and construction, according to a recent report issued by the NAIOP Research Foundation. According to the report, Utah’s development accounts for $3.6 billion in spending and 77,550 jobs supported, up from its No. 26 ranking last year. Utah’s development contributed heavily to 2011 being the first year commercial real estate (office, industrial and retail buildings) has posted gains since the recession, according to NAIOP’s report “How Office, Industrial and Retail Development and Construction Contributed to the U.S. Economy in 2011.”
• In the Salt Lake City metro area, average home prices fell 3.7 percent in the past year, according to the Fiserv Case-Shiller Indexes, which track home price trends in more than 380 U.S. metro areas. By the end of 2012, home prices are expected to fall another .3 percent. Those are among the findings of the latest quarterly data. According to Fiserv Case-Shiller projections, home prices in Salt Lake City will see a rise of .9.5 percent between Q4 2012 and Q4 2013.
• New restaurants and retailers are popping up at Station Park in Farmington. Now open are Café Zupas Restaurant, Panda Express and Diamond Wireless. In addition, Petco pet suppliers is now open near Sally Beauty and Chase Bank. The first of several casual-dining family restaurants will soon follow in May with Utah’s first Johnny Rockets diner opening near Cinemark Theatre and the new village center area of the development. Additional restaurants are slated to open in the area, including Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana in May, followed in June by Sushi Monster and Parkstone Wood Kitchen, a new upscale steakhouse concept restaurant. A Subway Restaurant and a Roxberry Juice will also open next to Café Zupas and Panda Express.
• The Women Tech Council is accepting nominations for the 2012 Women Tech Awards, which recognize technology-focused women who are driving innovation, leading technology companies and contributing to the community. Nominations will be accepted until May 31. Judges for the Women Tech Awards are selected from among the top technology companies and professional firms in Utah. The award recipients and finalists will be recognized at a Women Tech Awards Luncheon in September. For more information about the Women Tech Awards or for a nomination form, visit www.womentechcouncil.org.
• The New Car Dealers of Utah presented a $5,637 check to Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain Area Inc. on May 11. The donation is the result of funds raised from the Utah International Auto Expo, an annual event of the New Car Dealers of Utah. The Auto Expo honored discount coupons from area McDonald’s restaurants, valid for a $2 discount on one adult admission redeemable all four days of the expo. For every $2 coupon redeemed, the Auto Expo donated $1 to Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain Area. The New Car Dealers of Utah has been providing donations to Ronald McDonald House from the International Auto Expo for over 10 years.
• Visit Salt Lake, the city’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, has hired Kimberly Leary as director of convention sales, focusing on the education market, while Tobin “Toby” Huebner is now its director of sports market sales, responsible for securing athletic-oriented events, meetings and conventions in and around the Salt Lake area. Leary brings to Visit Salt Lake 15 years of hotel sales experience, most recently as director of group rooms for Salt Lake City’s Sheraton Hotel. Huebner offers 12 years of varied experience, the last three of which were spent as sales manager for both the Salt Palace Convention Center and South Towne Expo Center.