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• The board of directors of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce has appointed Curtis Blair as the chamber’s new president and CEO. A business leader and entrepreneur, Blair succeeds former president and CEO Rona Rahlf and interim president and CEO Stan Lockhart. Blair has more than 25 years of executive experience in marketing, consulting, negotiation, and experience with extensive domestic and international customer relations. Most recently, Blair was principal and co-founder of Hoodoo Capital and Consulting, vice president of partner and channel alliances of DirectPointe, and a successful entrepreneur and leader in several other organizations. Blair is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a B.A. from the College of Humanities.
• MVE+Partners, a Salt Lake City-based architecture, planning, interiors and design firm, has hired Charles Pigg as director of Utah as an independent consultant. Pigg will lead the firm’s business development initiatives and support the company in expanding its presence across the central U.S., with a focus on Salt Lake City and the greater Utah market as well as other neighboring and developing regions, including Denver, Phoenix and Boise. Pigg has over 43 years of architecture and urban planning experience, serving as president, founder and creative director at architectural design firm Charles Group International since 2001. Earlier experience includes work at Jerde Partnership of Los Angeles, where he served as creative director for nearly 25 years and worked closely with Jon Jerde as one of his original designers.
• IBA Consultants, a Miami-based firm specializing in curtain-wall consulting and building envelope inspection and testing, has hired Nick Villaverde as senior consultant. He will open and manage IBA’s new branch office in Salt Lake City that will serve the Mountain West region. Villaverde has more than six years of experience in structural engineering design and building envelope inspections of low-rise and high-rise commercial construction projects. He also has experience managing renovation construction projects from conception to completion while working for GACE Consulting Engineers and MCR Developers in New York City. The new Salt Lake City office will also be the headquarters for IBA’s new Division of Building Enclosure Commissioning, helping developers and contractors who are bidding on federal and other government projects meet the demand for more-thorough building enclosure specifications in request for proposal responses.
• CleanSpark Inc., a Salt Lake City-based software and services company, has closed on a previously announced underwritten public offering of more than 4.4 million shares of common stock at a public offering price of $9 per share for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $40 million. CleanSpark said it will use the net proceeds for working capital requirements; the growth of its sales and marketing team; product development, including software enhancements and improvements; and general corporate purposes and strategic mergers and acquisitions. H.C. Wainwright & Co. acted as the sole book-running manager for the offering. Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP served as legal counsel to CleanSpark, and Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP served as legal counsel to H.C. Wainwright & Co. in connection with the offering.
• Park City leads all Utah locations as the best spot for retirement, according to SmartAsset, which considered tax-friendliness, medical care and social opportunities as factors. Park City was followed, in order, by Price, Nephi, Salt Lake City, Providence, Bountiful, Hurricane, Ivins, Brigham City and Roosevelt. Details are at https://smartasset.com/retirement/retirement-calculator#utah.
• Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, Provo, has selected Dr. Adam Hickenbotham as the founding dean of its new College of Optometry. Hickenbotham will oversee the development of the curriculum, the hiring of faculty and staff, and guide the new college through the accreditation process in preparation for an anticipated opening in 2023. Hickenbotham has more than 17 years of clinical experience, including the management of multiple surgery centers and private practice clinics. He has owned a private clinic and has worked in both small and large practices for many years. He also has more than 20 years of background in academic settings, research, administration and other roles, and is the holder of numerous patents on laser surgical technology in the U.S. and several other countries. He founded surgical research company Thru-Focus Optics LLC and held several roles in academia. Hickenbotham’s education includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brigham Young University.
• Weber State University recently hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for an all-electric home constructed in central Ogden, following a year of planning, construction and landscaping. The project is at 2807 Quincy Ave. The net-zero home is the outcome of an innovative collaboration between Weber State University and Ogden City. Students from the Department of Construction & Building Sciences in WSU’s College of Engineering Applied Science & Technology made up the construction team. As many as 50 students worked on the project; the senior team consisted of 12. The project was selected as one of 10 finalists in the Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, a two-year competition involving the design and construction of highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. The home supports the mission of the Ogden Civic Action Network, which is committed to revitalizing the east central neighborhood in Ogden, with support from Weber State and many other Ogden institutions.
• Katharine Ullman of the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah has been named an Allen Distinguished Investigator. Launched in 2010 by the late philanthropist Paul G. Allen, the ADI program funds early-stage research that is less likely to receive support from traditional funding sources. Ullman and Maho Niwa of the University of California San Diego are leading a research project to investigate the interactions between the nucleus and one of its neighboring organelles, the endoplasmic reticulum. The announcement was made by The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, a division of the Allen Institute. Each award confers $1.5 million in funding over three years. Including the new awards, a total of 82 Allen Distinguished Investigators have been named over the past 10 years.
• Foldax, a Salt Lake City-based company focused on heart valves, has added Ajit Yoganathan and Chris Jenny to its Scientific Advisory Board and Dr. Frank Shannon and Dr. Geoffrey Answini to its Medical Advisory Board. They will join boards that contribute to the continued development of the Tria LifePolymer heart valve technology. Jenny is an applied materials and biomaterials expert in material characterization with focus on biocompatibility, mechanisms of implantable device failure, and material degradation. Yoganathan is the Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Engineering and Regents’ professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, and a member of U.S. National Academy of Engineering. Shannon is Medical Advisory Board chair and chief of cardiovascular surgery, research and quality programs at Beaumont Health in Michigan and co-principal investigator for three transcatheter valve clinical trials. Answini is chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and co-director of the cardiovascular service line at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, with experience with 40-plus clinical trials.
• Elevar Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company with offices in Utah, California and South Korea, has entered into an exclusive agreement with taiba Middle East FZ LLC under which taiba will commercialize and distribute Apealea (paclitaxel micellar) in certain countries throughout the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. Apealea has been approved by the European regulatory authorities for use in combination with carboplatin for the treatment of adult patients with first relapse of platinum-sensitive epithelial ovarian cancer, primary peritoneal cancer and fallopian tube cancer. Under the terms of the agreement, taiba will be responsible for managing named-patient requests through which physicians can legally and ethically prescribe Apealea for patients prior to commercial availability.
• The board of directors of PolarityTE Inc., a Salt Lake City-based company focused on discovering, designing and developing a range of regenerative tissue products and biomaterials for the fields of medicine, biomedical engineering and material sciences, has voted to terminate the company’s shareholder rights plan “after receiving stockholder input and evaluating that input in the context of company objectives.” The termination of the plan was effective Sept. 28.
• Icon Health & Fitness, a Logan-based designer and distributor of connected fitness equipment and software, has announced a $200 million growth investment led by L Catterton and joined by existing investor Pamplona Capital Management. Icon said the investment will further accelerate its growth strategy of delivering its expansive range of interactive fitness products connected by iFit, the company’s content technology and media platform.
• BookClub, a Salt Lake City-based platform created to scale author-led book clubs, has raised $6 million in seed financing led by Maveron, with participation from GSV Ventures, Signal Peak Ventures and Pelion Venture Partners. Mike Levinthal also joined the round as a private investor. BookClub will use the funds to establish a portfolio of authors on the platform across both fiction and nonfiction book titles, create cinematic video experiences with authors, and build a unique community platform for one-on-one interactions with authors and book groups.
• Claravine, a Lehi-based technology platform focused on marketing data, has announced $5 million in Series A funding led by Grayhawk Capital, with participation from Next Frontier Capital and Peninsula Ventures. The company’s funding now totals $12.4 million. The new funding will help Claravine further build out product development and go-to-market strategies.
• Black Cliffs Partners, a Salt Lake City-based private investment firm, has become a major shareholder in the Boulder Ridge Group, a software-as-a-service technology provider that targets small to medium-sized businesses focused on specific vertical market industry segments. Financial terms were not disclosed. In addition to private company investments, Black Cliffs’ team is also an active real estate investor.
• SoloSuit, a Provo-based legal technology startup focused on debt collection lawsuits, has appointed Scott Erickson as chief technology officer. As CTO, Erickson will lead the company’s technical direction, adding functionality to the product and scaling it. Erickson has more than six years of industry experience, most recently as a software development engineer at Amazon. His education includes a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Brigham Young University.
• Jack Wolfskin, a Park City-based producer of outdoor apparel and gear, has appointed André Grube as chief financial officer. Grube succeeds Ante Franicevic, who left the company to pursue new professional opportunities after a short handoff. Grube will be responsible for Jack Wolfskin’s finance, tax and legal, HR and office management functions. Grube joins Jack Wolfskin after being group CFO for Swiss outdoor company Mammut Sports Group. He previously held positions in the finance departments of PepsiCo Germany GmbH, Punica Getränke GmbH and Procter & Gamble International.
• 1-800 Contacts, a Draper-based contact lens retailer, and nonprofit EyeCare4Kids have launched “Sight the World,” which will a virtual vision clinic providing care to underserved children and adults worldwide. Sight the World will use innovative vision care technology from 1-800 Contacts to provide free glasses and contact lenses. Families will be able to browse countless styles offered from 1-800 Contacts through both its contact lens business and glasses brand, Liingo Eyewear. EyeCare4Kids has already provided more than 300,000 pairs of glasses to kids in need, due in part to the support from the 1-800 Contacts family of brands including Liingo Eyewear and Boomerang Lenses. With the launch of Sight the World, the organization is poised to increase its impact and is committed to providing more than 3 million pairs of glasses and contact lenses worldwide.
• Swig, a drink shop chain that is part of American Fork-based Four Foods Group, has launched the “Save The Cups” campaign, with the goal of raising $50,000 during October to help women pay for breast cancer treatments. Before starting Swig, founder Nicole Tanner was diagnosed with cystosarcoma phyllodes, a rare, fast-growing form of breast cancer that necessitated surgery. Details are at swignsweets.com/savethecups.
• Ascent in Cottonwood, a 160-unit multifamily property in Cottonwood Heights, has been sold by Buchanan Street Partners to Warmington Properties for an undisclosed amount. The sale was announced by Institutional Property Advisors (IPA), a division of Marcus & Millichap. IPA’s Danny Shin, IPA senior vice president, and Brock Zylstra, Steve Gebing and Cliff David represented Buchanan Street Partners. Phil Brierly is Marcus & Millichap’s broker of record in Utah.
• The Utah Office of Tourism and the Utah Tourism Industry Association recently announced the 2020 Utah Tourism Hall of Fame recipients: Val Hale, Joyce Kelly and Bill Malone. Recipients are selected based on their history of contributions to the state’s tourism industry through leadership, long-standing contribution to their region or to the entire state. Hale is executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, where he has guided the state’s economic development efforts in business, tourism and film. Kelly is international marketing manager at the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office. Malone is president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau.
• Ivanti, a Salt Lake City-based company that automates IT and security operations, has been named a “Top Five Scoring Best Support Website” by the Association of Support Professionals (ASP). It is the fifth time Ivanti has been named an ASP winner. The ASP competition scores support websites in 22 different areas, including usability, design and navigation to knowledgebase, community engagement and site development strategies. The support sites are evaluated by a judge panel of support experts. Those companies with outstanding average scores were selected to be named to the 2020 Top Five Scoring Website list.
• The Larry H. Miller Group of Companies has named Richard “Rich” Hyde as president of Prestige Financial Services, a business enterprise group in the LHM Group portfolio. Hyde previously was chief operating officer of PFS since 2013. He has more than 25 years of senior-level leadership experience managing financial companies in various financial industries. Hyde joined PFS in 2002 as senior vice president of servicing. In addition to subprime auto, he has spent time in credit card, small dollar, manufactured housing and mortgage finance, including holding senior-level roles at CitiFinancial Mortgage, Conseco Finance, and Associates Capital Bank. Hyde succeeds David Smith, who served as interim president of PFS over the past year, following the retirement of long-time president Bryant Henrie. Smith is currently the chief strategy officer for the LHM Group.
• Avetta, an Orem-based supply chain risk management company, has announced three new executives have joined its leadership team. Taylor Allis joins as chief product officer, Christopher Lewis has been promoted to chief technology officer, and Jitesh Chanchani has joined as senior vice president of partnerships. Prior to joining Avetta, Allis was global vice president of product and marketing at Enablon. Allis also has served in leadership positions for Sun Microsystems/Oracle, TTEC, IQNavigator/Beeline and three startups. Lewis started at Avetta as a vice president of data analytics in March of this year. He has more than 25 years of experience in product development and delivery of analytical solutions. He spent the last few years at IHS Markit. Prior to that, he was CTO at Seismic Micro-Technology for more than 18 years before it was acquired by HIS. Chanchani has consulted for Avetta since February. He has 25 years of experience in the enterprise software space, across many functions, including product management, business development and M&A. Prior to joining Avetta, Chanchani served as the CEO of a venture-backed SaaS software company, Accend Inc. He also held leadership roles at IHS Markit, VMware and Symantec.
• Beta Wealth Group, a financial planning and wealth management firm, has expanded to Park City. Founder and CEO Jodi Vleck opened the office in Park City. She has over two decades of experience in wealth planning and portfolio management in San Diego.
• InMoment, a Salt Lake City-based experience improvement company, has appointed Graham Tutton as global head of consumer products. Tutton has more than 25 years of experience in leading customer experience at several global brands. Tutton spent the past decade in senior leadership roles accountable for customer, employee and product insights, deploying and managing all aspects of the enterprise Net Promoter System, and supporting operations teams at Comcast.