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• Utah is about average in a list of states most- and least-affected by the 2019 government shutdown, compiled by personal-finance website WalletHub. The report looked at the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with criteria ranging from each state’s share of federal jobs, to federal contract dollars per capita, to the share of families receiving food stamps. Utah was ranked No. 29 in the list of most-affected states. In breakout lists, Utah was No. 48 in the lowest percentage of families receiving food stamps. The most-affected areas are D.C., followed by New Mexico, Maryland, Hawaii and Alaska. The least-affected are Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Iowa and Indiana.
• Utah is the No. 4 “growth state in America,” according to U-Haul data analyzing U.S. migration trends for 2018. Growth states are calculated by the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a state versus leaving that state during a calendar year. U-Haul said that while migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, its growth data is an effective gauge of how well states and cities are attracting and maintaining residents. Utah arrivals of one-way U-Haul trucks were up 9 percent, while departures were up 6 percent from the state’s 2017 numbers. Arrivals accounted for 50.8 percent of all one-way U-Haul traffic in Utah. Among cities with notable net gains of one-way U-Haul trucks were St. George, Hurricane and Ogden. Utah was No. 21 the prior year and No. 38 the year before that. The top “growth state” was Texas, followed by Florida and South Carolina. The bottom was Illinois, followed by Michigan and California. Details are at myuhaulstory.com.
• The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah had 504 startup teams formed during 2018 fiscal year, bringing the total to 1,300 since 2002. The institute’s annual report also indicated that 125 cash prizes totaling $405,000 were awarded, bringing the total to $2.6 million since 2007; $747,000 in 191 scholarships was awarded, bringing the total to $3.8 million since 2002. 191 scholarships awarded in the most recent fiscal year; the fiscal year saw 3,100 college students participate in programs; 7,700 high school and middle school students participated in outreach; and academic enrollment in entrepreneurship reached 1,200.
• Auric Solar, a West Valley City-based solar system installer, has changed its brand to Auric Energy. The company said the change “reflects the company’s opportunity to provide a greater range of products and services to its clients at all scale of projects.” It said it will continue to focus on solar, while adding electrical and battery storage among other services to be announced. The company has nearly 200 employees and has had installations at more than 100 commercial facilities and nearly 4,000 homes and housing developments.
• The Utah Division of Consumer Protection will receive $10 million in settlement funds related to a $575 million nationwide lawsuit against Wells Fargo for violating state consumer protection laws. The division contended that Wells Fargo opened millions of unauthorized accounts and enrolling customers into online banking services without their knowledge or consent, improperly referred customers for enrollment in third-party renters and life insurance policies, improperly charged auto loan customers for force-placed and unnecessary collateral protection insurance, failed to ensure that customers received refunds of unearned premiums on certain optional auto finance products, and incorrectly charged customers for mortgage rate lock extension fees. The settlement involved all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Wells Fargo will also create a consumer redress review program through which consumers who have not been made whole through other restitution programs already in place can seek review of their inquiry or complaint by a bank escalation team for possible relief.
• Sentient Lasers, a Park City-based company that sells aesthetic medical lasers, has hired David Walston as a controller. Based in the Park City headquarters, he will be responsible for financial strategy, including reporting, decision-making and forecasting to support the company in achieving its organizational and financial goals in 2019 and beyond. Walston has more than 10 years of financial experience. In 2016, he founded and served as CEO of Walston Advisory Firm. Prior to that, Walston spent nearly seven years with ProvenMen Ministries in Virginia, where he partnered with the executive director to develop financial forecasts and assist in establishing goals and policies.
• Merit Medical Systems Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of disposable medical devices, has increased the size of its board of directors by two — from nine to 11 — and elected Jill Anderson and Elizabeth Huebner to fill the new board positions. Anderson co-founded Cianna Medical Inc. in 2008 and served as chief executive officer until Merit acquired Cianna in November 2018. Prior to Cianna, Anderson served as president of BioLucent Inc., a privately held medical device company, from 2001-07. She also served as vice president of oncology services for Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network. Anderson has served on the boards of directors for Cianna, Mammoplan LLC and Solis Women’s Health. Huebner served as a director of Blucora, a financial technology company focused on providing online tax preparation and wealth management products, and served on a pair of committees. She held multiple executive finance positions at several companies before retiring in 2006 when she served as senior vice president and chief financial officer for Getty Images Inc
• The Ensign Group Inc. — a California-based parent company of the Ensign group of skilled nursing, rehabilitative care services, home healthcare, hospice care and assisted living companies — has acquired the real estate and operations of Bella Terra Cedar City, a skilled nursing facility with 120 skilled nursing beds in Cedar City. Financial terms were not disclosed. The acquisition brings Ensign’s portfolio to 189 skilled nursing operations, 24 of which also include assisted living operations; 56 assisted and independent living operations; 22 hospice agencies; 24 home health agencies; and seven home care businesses across 16 states. The company owns the real estate at 73 of its 245 healthcare operations.
• Murray Area Women in Business recently presented the first Distinguished Doyenne Award to Debbie Nelson from The Stone Soup Project. “Doyenne” means a woman who is the most respected and prominent person in a particular field, the chamber said. Nelson serves at the women’s homeless shelter.
• The Gateway, Salt Lake City, has hired Ted Anderson as senior general manager. He will oversee all operations and management of the 1.4 million-square-foot shopping, dining and entertainment destination. He has 18 years of experience, most recently serving as senior regional property manager for Shopcore Properties and DDR Corp. Anderson earned a degree in accounting from Southern Utah University.
• Hobby Lobby will open a 61,000-square-foot store at Valley Fair Mall, West Valley City, this fall. The store will be on the south end of the property. Hobby Lobby has more than 800 stores in the U.S.
• Peter Meldrum, co-founder of Myriad Genetics, died Dec. 20. He was 71. Meldrum was president and CEO from the company’s inception in 1992 until he retired in 2015. Meldrum co-founded the company with Dr. Mark Skolnick. It had more than 2,000 workers when he retired. After his retirement, Meldrum served as executive director of The Meldrum Foundation, the family’s private charitable foundation. He also was chairman of the board for Golden Pine Ventures LLC, a seed-stage venture capital company focused on the formation and development of biotechnology and biomedical companies. Meldrum earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Utah in 1970, and an MBA from the UofU in 1974. Honors include being selected by Scientific American as one of the “Top 50 Scientific Visionaries in the World” and being a member of the “Scientific American Thinkbank”; being awarded the Governor's Medal for Science and Technology in 1998; receiving MountainWest Venture’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2001; receiving the Distinguished Chemical Engineer Award from the University of Utah in 2007; receiving American Federation for Aging Research Award of Distinction in 2008; and being inducted into the Utah Technology Hall of Fame in 2009.