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• BKD CPAs & Advisors has selected Jeff Ronsse as North Region managing partner, effective June 1. Ronsse succeeds Abe Cole, who was selected as BKD’s next chief operating officer. Ronsee has served as instructor at multiple BKD internal trainings, as an accounting and auditing director for the Oklahoma practice, and most recently as managing partner of BKD’s Colorado-Salt Lake City practice.
• Bank of Utah, Ogden, has hired Randy R. Hahn as a vice president senior trust officer and personal trust manager. He will manage the personal trust department in the bank’s City Creek Banking Center in Salt Lake City, with the Dec. 31 retirement of Lisa K. Mariano. Hahn has more than 20 years of experience as a trust professional and has worked for top financial institutions in the U.S., including as senior fiduciary officer, supervisor and compliance manager for Oxford Financial Group Ltd. in Indianapolis; senior vice president, senior trust officer and trust department manager for Herring Bank in Amarillo, Texas; senior vice president and trust department manager for First American Bank of New Mexico; and president and senior trust officer for Belmont Trust Company in Dallas. Hahn earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a J.D. degree from the University of Utah S. J. Quinney School of Law. Mariano started at Bank of Utah in 2013 as a vice president and trust officer and later became vice president and personal trust manager. She previously served as vice president and senior trust officer for both Key Bank and Wells Fargo. Her education includes an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah.
• The board of directors of Altabancorp, American Fork, has authorized a share repurchase program for up to 940,000 shares, which represents approximately 5 percent of the company’s outstanding shares as of Nov. 15. The repurchase plan effectively represents a renewal of the company’s prior repurchase plan that lapsed Sept. 30. The repurchase plan remains in effect through November 30, 2021. Altabancorp is the bank holding company for Altabank, which has 26 branch locations in Utah and Idaho.
• Galileo, a Salt Lake City-based company focused on card issuing, virtual card solutions and digital banking, has appointed Seth McGuire as chief revenue officer. He is responsible for expanding Galileo’s business relationships and scaling marketing and business development functions for additional growth. Prior to joining Galileo, McGuire was president and chief operating officer at Backbone PLM. Earlier, he spent nearly six years at Twitter in senior and management positions, including managing Twitter’s data and enterprise solutions business.
• The application deadline for the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is Feb. 8 at midnight. All college students in Utah may participate in the business model competition provided by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and sponsored by Zions Bank. Applicants have a chance to win $60,000 in cash and prizes. Details are at https://lassonde.utah.edu/uec.
• Aaron’s Holdings Inc. has completed its spin-off of its Aaron’s Business Segment and changed its name to PROG Holdings Inc., based in Salt Lake City. PROG began operating as a standalone business following the spin-off. It began “regular-way” trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 1 under the ticker symbol PRG. Under the terms of the spin-off of the Aaron’s Business segment, Progressive shareholders of record as of the close of business Nov. 27 received one share in The Aaron's Co. Inc., the new company that will operate the Aaron’s Business segment going forward, for every two shares of Progressive common stock held by them. Progressive completed the distribution of Aaron’s common stock to its shareholders Nov. 30. PROG provides lease-purchase solutions through more than 30,000 retail partner locations and operates Vive Financial, a provider of a variety of second-look credit products that are originated through federally insured banks.
• St. George is ranked No. 10 and Salt Lake City is No. 18 in a list of the “most dynamic metropolitans” in the U.S., out of 375 on the list compiled by Heartland Forward, a think tank focused on economic renewal in the middle of the country. Salt Lake City moved up 53 spots from No. 71 last year. Salt Lake City is featured in the report for its educated workforce, entrepreneurial culture and research university. The index incorporates various metrics, including job growth, average annual earnings, GDP gains, total jobs at new businesses, and educational attainment. Midland, Texas, was ranked No. 1.
• The Trump administration has disbursed more than $8 billion from fiscal year 2020 energy production on offshore areas and federal and American Indian lands. It includes $53.9 million in Utah.
• Salt Lake County has hired Jevon Gibb as its economic development director. He will lead Salt Lake County’s economic development team in regional collaboration and economic strategy to support economic recovery and long-term economic development opportunities that address continued growth. Gibb, a military veteran, brings a wide breadth of business experience and economic knowledge, from deployed service in Afghanistan as an attorney in the U.S. Navy to problem-solving for local businesses.
• CenExel Clinical Research, a Salt Lake City-based provider of medical and scientific support in the design and execution of clinical trials, has hired Judith Montero as director of clinical assessments. Montero will work closely with rater personnel at all CenExel Centers of Excellence to ensure the highest quality of ratings scales and assessments are performed in psychiatric, pain and neurology trials, the company said. Prior to entering the pharmaceutical industry in 2002, she worked in a multidisciplinary clinical setting providing psychological services and conducting neuropsychological assessments to heterogeneous populations. She has nearly 20 years of experience in the clinical research industry, including at Syneos Health.
• Carterra Inc., a Salt Lake City-based company focused on antibody screening and characterization, has announced that Joseph D. Keegan has been appointed as executive chairman of the board of directors. Keegan has been a member of Carterra’s board for the past five years and has over 30 years of experience leading public and private life science platform companies, including serving as CEO of ForteBio Inc. and Molecular Devices Corp. He currently serves on a number of boards of directors, including those of Bio-Techne and Interpace Biosciences.
• AC Hotel Park City, owned by Ensign Hospitality, has opened. Part of AC Hotels by Marriott, the design-driven hotel brand from Marriott International, the 100-room hotel is designed to combine a small-town lodge feel with elegant, comfortable rooms and sleek, modern amenities. AC Hotels has more than 155 hotels in more than 20 countries and territories. Ensign Hospitality LLC develops, owns and operates hotel properties throughout Utah.
• Red Door Capital Partners LLC, a Salt Lake City-based independent private equity firm, has hired Mike Warren as executive vice president of strategy and partnerships. He will oversee all relationships with the investment advisor and family office communities. Mike will also be member of the Investment Committee and Deal Flow review team, working directly with issuers and their executives.
• Rob Moore, CEO of Big-D Construction, Salt Lake City, has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. The board consists of 37 business and community leaders throughout Utah who bolster the state’s economic development. Big-D has grown from $2 million to over $2 billion in revenues since Moore joined the company in 1976. EDCUtah is a private, nonprofit economic development organization specializing in corporate recruitment, economic research, site selector marketing, and community development. It is a partner of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development for corporate recruitment.
• Utah First Credit Union, Salt Lake City, in association with The Community Volunteers of Utah, will provide new shoes to more than 1,000 Utah children during the holiday season. Utah First has been providing children with shoes for 25 years through its “Warm the Soles” program. Utah First works closely with area schools and other local nonprofits in identifying children in need who can benefit from a new pair of shoes. Utah First and its members’ donations are combined with grants from the Walmart Foundation and local Sam’s Club stores. Once wrapped and tagged, the shoes will be delivered to children at several locations throughout Salt Lake City, including the Guadalupe School, Bennion and Whittier elementary schools, The Volunteers of America’s Homeless Youth Resource Center, the Boys and Girls Clubs and The Road Home. Details are at www.UtahFirst.com.
• Purple Innovation LLC, a Lehi-based manufacturer of comfort products, has announced it will donate 10 percent of net proceeds from sales of its Kid Collection on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, to the Precious Dreams Foundation, which provides bedtime comfort to children in foster care and homeless shelters. Items include blankets, pillows, plush toys, pajamas, socks and books. The foundation will deliver the comfort items, called Comfort Drops, throughout the holiday season to shelters and centers across the United States. In addition to donations from Kid Collection sales, Purple will be participating in a number of Giving Tuesday Comfort Drops and Purple mattress donations to shelters in Atlanta; Austin; Compton, California; and Salt Lake City.
• The Jordan Education Foundation, South Jordan Chamber and Walmart South Jordan recently hosted the seventh annual “Christmas for Kids” fundraiser designed to provide 450 middle and high school students in the Jordan School District with Christmas gifts. This year, volunteer shoppers did not shop in-person with students as in years past. Instead, volunteer shoppers were given a list of their student’s needs and shopped Dec. 7 using a gift card provided by Jordan Education Foundation through community and business donations.
• Walker Edison, a provider of ready-to-assemble furniture, recently donated 50,000 masks to Jordan Education Foundation. The donated masks are high-quality, reusable and adjustable.
• The Delta Dental Community Care Foundation has announced it is giving $25,000 to the Utah Food Bank. This announcement was made on Giving Tuesday. The donation and matches could ultimately provide 207,000 meals for Utahns facing hunger. The Utah donation is part of $2.5 million in funding from the foundation to food banks across 15 states and Washington, D.C., in addition to $11 million in previously awarded grants in response to COVID-19. Foundation support in 2020 totals nearly $15 million, including nearly $225,000 to nonprofits in Utah.
• Mountain America Credit Union and the Utah Jazz are asking Jazz fans to nominate charities for the 2020-2021 “Pass it Along” program, which will award $5,000 each to five local nonprofits and be featured during a Jazz TV broadcast during the season. The program is in its eighth year, donating $180,000 so far. Nominations can be made at https://www.nba.com/jazz/passitalong.
• Amp Human, a Park City-based human performance company, has added British Olympian and Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas to its athlete roster and investor list. The partnership marks a two-year agreement that will see Thomas as an active advisor to Amp Human as it expands its human performance portfolio. Geraint also will be a shareholder in the early-stage company. Thomas was an early adopter of Amp Human's flagship product, PR Lotion, and has been a supporter of the company's vision since its inception in 2018, the company said.
• Comcast Corp. has announced the first round of award recipients under the Comcast RISE award program. More than 700 businesses will receive consulting, media and creative production services from Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, or technology upgrades from Comcast Business, based on the specific needs. This includes five black-owned small businesses in Utah. Comcast RISE launched in October to help strengthen small businesses hard hit by COVID-19. It opens eligibility to include black-, indigenous- and people of color-owned, small businesses. Utah recipients are Caribbean Nightingale LLC, Provo; Chef Jean-Roody LLC, Salt Lake City; Isha Esthetics, Murray; ManCave Barbershop, Layton; and Pretty Please Teethers LLC, West Haven.
• Michael Welch, who began his career as an intern in Salt Lake City and currently works as general manager for the TAC Air-APA FBO in Denver, has been selected to the 2020 “Top 40 Under 40” list of aviation leaders by Airport Business magazine. The list showcases the top talent and leading thinkers in the aviation industry who are driving success and innovations for the future. The list is compiled by members of the Airport Business staff. TAC Air is an aviation ground services company. Welch spent many years as line service technician in Salt Lake City and line service manager at TAC Air-APA in Denver. He was then promoted to lead TAC Air-BDL as general manager and in 2020 moved to the general manager role at the TAC Air-APA FBO at Centennial Airport in Denver.
• The family of the late Erin Valenti, a local entrepreneur, recently partnered with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business to establish the Erin Valenti Women in Entrepreneurship Scholarship starting in the 2020-21 academic year. The scholarship fund was initiated by donations from Valenti’s family, friends and supporters, who gave more than $100,000 to honor her legacy as a tech entrepreneur and advocate. This money and future donations will be held in an endowment to provide annual scholarships to promising female entrepreneurs at the University of Utah. Valenti died unexpectedly in 2019 at the age of 33. Among her accomplishments, Valenti was the founder and CEO of Tinker, a product development agency and venture studio, and was actively involved with Utah’s Women Tech Council and founded SLC Tech Startups, a professional networking group in Utah. The first of these scholarship recipients received awards for the 2020-21 academic year: Justine Nguyen, a first-year, pre-business major; Sydney Hewitt, a first-year, pre-business major; and Ella Bachorowski, a first-year, pre-design major.
• Mariner Wealth Advisors, a Kansas-based wealth advisory firm, has opened an office in Salt Lake City. It is the company’s 42nd office and 26th state. Mark Dickamore, senior wealth advisor, opened the new office under the guidance of Eddie Dulin, managing director of the firm’s Scottsdale, Arizona, location. Dickamore specializes in customizing wealth management solutions for clients, integrating trust services and estate planning, personal insurance solutions and retirement planning, and servicing the niche client base of academia professionals. He has 16 years of experience in assisting high-net-worth individuals.
• SmartSearch, an ID check and “know your customer” Saas software firm, has opened its first office in the U.S. in Lehi. The company said the office will enable the company to make greater inroads into the U.S. market and protect more firms against fraud. The office will be led by national sales director Chad Rawlings. It will import the technology and expertise directly from the United Kingdom to make the technology available and affordable to protect U.S. businesses,” the company said. In the UK, SmartSearch serves more than 4,500 client firms and around 40,000 users with national and international compliance checks.