Industry Briefs are provided as a free service to our readers. Company news information may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The submission deadline is one week before publication.
• J.P. Morgan has appointed Kristin Schaefer as the leaders of its private-banking business across Utah and Idaho. In her new role as market team lead, Schaefer, an executive director with the firm, will focus on growing the office’s client reach and impact across the region. Based in Salt Lake City, she will lead a team of local advisors that deliver guidance across investing, philanthropy, family office management, credit, fiduciary and advisory services. Schaefer’s career of more than 20 years includes working with successful executives, business owners and some of Utah’s most influential families to support their total wealth plans and goals across pre- and post-transaction planning, investment management, banking, lending and philanthropy. Schaefer joined J.P. Morgan in 2020 from Wells Fargo Private Bank, and has spent her career working in wealth management, commercial banking, global treasury management and international banking in markets across the U.S. Before moving to Utah in 2016, she was a global banking consultant with Wells Fargo in Palo Alto, California.
• Downeast has announced a new corporate headquarters at 6415 S. 3000 E., Suite 220, Holladay. Employees began moving into the new 13,000-square-foot space the end of February. The interior design was created by designers Kimberly Christiansen and Brooke Rydalch of Malouf Studios. The company also said that over the next year, its retail stores will have a new look and customer experience. This rebranding strategy began at the end of 2020 with the renovated flagship Downeast Home Concept Store at the District in South Jordan.
• The board of directors of Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc., Lehi, has declared a special cash dividend of $1 per share. The dividend is payable April 9 to shareholders of record March 29. The board also authorized the repurchase of up to $15 million of the company’s common shares. The repurchases may be made from time to time as market conditions warrant and are subject to regulatory considerations. Nature’s Sunshine Products markets and distributes nutritional and personal care products in more than 40 countries.
• Utah is ranked Nov. 3 overall among states, and No. 1 for the economy, in a “Best States” list compiled by U.S. News & World Report. It used more than 70 metrics, some weighted, to take into account each state’s economy, its roads, bridges, Internet and other infrastructure, its public safety, the fiscal stability of state government, and the opportunity it affords its residents. Utah’s other breakout rankings include No. 5 for both infrastructure and fiscal stability, No. 8 for crime and corrections, No. 10 for education, No. 11 for healthcare, No. 30 for opportunity and No. 47 for natural environment. In the business-related breakouts, Utah was No. 2 for employment, No. 3 for growth and No. 8 for business environment. The top state overall was Washington. Louisiana is bottom-ranked. Details are at https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings
• Salt Lake City is ranked No. 12 in a list of the “Best Cities for Spring Outdoor Activities,” compiled by LawnStarter. It ranked the 200 biggest U.S. cities based on 17 key factors, including the number of public gardens, trails, and campsites; walkability; and amount of spring sunshine. Salt Lake City also was ranked No. 5 for “Most Trails.” San Francisco topped the overall rankings. Naperville, Illinois, was bottom-ranked. Details are at https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/studies/best-cities-for-spring/
• Salt Lake City is ranked No. 37 on a list of “2021’s Best Cities for Hiking,” compiled by LawnStarter. It compared the 150 largest cities across 11 indictors of hiker-friendliness, including trail access, safety, and variety of routes, as well as climate (number of rainy and/or very hot/very cold days). San Francisco is top-ranked. The bottom-ranked city is Mobile, Alabama. In breakout lists, Salt Lake City was No. 2 for best variety of route difficulty and No. 5 for most hiking routes. Details are at https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/studies/best-cities-for-hiking/
• Beehive Startups, which spotlights Utah startups, organizes events tailored to the startup and small-business community, and reports on Utah entrepreneurs, has announced that StartFEST will return June 16-17 after a five-year hiatus. The grassroots startup festival, to be held virtually, will be solely focused on Utah's startup and small business ecosystem and will be filled with panels, collaborative workshops, and some of the state’s leading entrepreneurs and business leaders. The festival will also bring back its original startup pitch competition, Start Madness. While Silicon Slopes Summit will continue to be the business and tech community’s flagship conference and be a more-national event, StartFEST will be focused on the local startup ecosystem, with speakers and panels that will address the issues and challenges Utah entrepreneurs encounter. In addition to the return of StartFEST, the announcement marked the official relaunch of BeehiveStartups.com.
• Biomerics, a Salt Lake City-based medical device contract manufacturer, is expanding its manufacturing operations in Athens, Texas. The expansion totals 24,000 square feet, including professional office space; engineering labs; quality inspection labs; 10,000-square-foot, Class 8 clean room; and machining center. Biomerics FMI currently employs 420 people at its 80,000-square-foot, five-facility campus. Construction is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter.
• Galileo, a Salt Lake City-based company offering a global payments platform and a subsidiary of Social Finance Inc. (SoFi), has opened a Latin America headquarters and innovation center in Mexico City. The move follows the incorporation of Galileo's Mexican subsidiary and the opening of its first office outside the U.S. in Mexico City last year. The company said the expanded presence will enable it to serve strategic markets across Latin America in-market and in-language, and co-innovate with technology firms to bring differentiated products and services to its clients. The new office will initially employ about 25 people across engineering, payment technology, product innovation, client success and operations, with capacity for about 55 team members.
• CBC Mortgage Agency, a Cedar City-based, nationally chartered housing finance agency and a source of down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers, has named Tai Christensen as its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) officer for 2021. She will lead an effort to promote a culture of inclusion for employees of all races, ethnicities and gender identities. Christensen began her real estate finance career more than 14 years ago as a mortgage processor. She joined CBCMA in 2018 and has served in her role as director of government affairs since 2019, a position she will maintain alongside her new role.
• Ivanti Inc., a Salt Lake City-based company offering an automation platform designed to make IT connections smarter and more secure, has announced that Charlesbank Capital Partners LLC has signed a definitive agreement to make a strategic investment in the company. The amount was not disclosed. Charlesbank, a private investment firm managing more than $8 billion of capital, will join existing investors Clearlake Capital Group LP and TA Associates as an institutional shareholder in Ivanti. CEO and chairman Jim Schaper and the current management team will continue to lead Avanti. Charlesbank, Clearlake and TA will have equal representation on the Ivanti board of directors. UBS Investment Bank and Citigroup acted as financial advisors and as capital markets advisors for Ivanti. Sidley Austin LLP provided legal counsel for Ivanti, with Ropes and Gray LLP representing Charlesbank. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, pending customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions.
• Aquila Investment Management LLC, adviser/administrator to the Aquila Group of Funds, has hired Eric Okerlund as a Utah-based credit analyst. He joined as a member of the Aquila Tax-Free Fund For Utah (UTAYX) investment management team, and will conduct research and credit analysis as part of the investment team. Aquila Tax-Free Fund For Utah (UTAYX), an investor in municipal bonds that fund local schools, highways, airports, hospitals and other publicly funded amenities. Okerlund has over 30 years of auditing and municipal finance experience, most recently serving as budget officer for the city of West Jordan, Utah. Prior experience includes serving as senior accountant of Provo City Corp. for 11 years and auditing roles with the Defense Contract Audit Agency and the Internal Revenue Service. Okerlund obtained an MBA and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting at Brigham Young University. Okerland succeeds Amy Rydalch, who accepted the position of city manager for Oakley.
• Prelude, the venture fund at Cottonwood Heights-based Mercato Partners, has announced a $3 million early investment round for GloveBox, a mobile insurtech company based in Denver. Prelude led the round, which also included Heffernan Insurance Brokers and other industry partners. The investment will enhance and expand the platform for both agencies and policyholders.
• Parsons Behle & Latimer has announced that shareholder Alex B. Leeman has been named general counsel for the firm. Leeman practices primarily in the commercial litigation practice group, where he focuses on business and employment litigation, real estate disputes and professional malpractice defense. He also has experience with a range of real estate issues, including access and land use disputes, leases, title exceptions and title insurance claims, and construction defect cases. He has been involved in eminent domain litigation on behalf of both the landowner and the condemning authority. He also represents Utah attorneys in disciplinary matters before the Utah State Bar and Utah Supreme Court and has defended attorneys and law firms against malpractice and FDCPA claims. He has also defended other professionals involved in malpractice and administrative disciplinary matters.
• Sundance Mountain Resorts has announced improvements that will begin this spring for the 2021-22 winter season. The improvements include two new lifts, upgraded and enhanced snowmaking, additional parking, and Creekside building renovations. The expansion will include the retirement of Rays lift with renewed access to the Mandan Summit from the base via a Doppelmayr high-speed quad. An additional fixed-grip quad will provide access to the backside of the Mandan Summit, primarily to be used for summer activities. Between 125 and 150 parking spaces will added, as will upgraded and enhanced snowmaking, including a snowmaking reservoir, to allow for additional snow guns and the ability to open more terrain early in the season. The Creekside building renovation is being undertaken this summer to enhance guest amenities and create additional gathering places.
• The D. Gary Young, Young Living Foundation has partnered with Roots Charter High School, Yuwa School and six women’s enterprise groups around the world, along with additional new initiatives with “Hope for Justice,” as it continues to support its charter for 2021 with the overall goal of empowering and protecting the world’s young. The foundation will fund the school lunch program and farm expansion at the Roots Charter School, a nonprofit, farm-based charter high school in West Valley City. Yuwa School is in India.
• Carvana, an Arizona-based car sales company, has acquired 107.47 acres in Tooele’s Ninigret Depot. The announcement was made by Newmark Knight Frank. The selection was facilitated by NKF and Fischer & Co. In February, Carvana announced it would open a vehicle inspection and reconditioning center in Tooele in a $42.5 million project. The announcement came after the company was approved for a $757,736 tax credit incentive by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) board.
• The Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce has announced the finalists and honorees to be recognized April 15 at its annual gala at Peery’s Egyptian Theater in Ogden. The Western Big Hat Award recipient is Col. Jon Eberlan. The Wall of Fame inductee is Debbie Williams. The Athena Leadership Award recipient is Danielle Croyle. Chamber Impact Award recipients are Weber County and Ogden City and the Standard-Examiner. Finalists for Large Business of the Year are Eide Bailly, Northrop Grumman and Ogden Clinic. Finalists for Small Business of the Year are Huntsville Square, Mountain Donuts and The Monarch. Finalists for Volunteer of the Year are Jessica Brooks, Samuel Smith and Walter Stuart. Finalists for Chairperson of the Year are Jodi Brown, Joseph Nielson and Maresha Bosgieter.
• IBA Consultants, a building envelope consulting firm, has opened its sixth national office in Salt Lake City. The company specializes in the identification and elimination of potential and existing building envelope deficiencies stemming from waterproofing, glass and glazing, wall cladding and roofing issues. It opened its first office in 1996 in Miami. IBA opened the Salt Lake City office to service the Mayflower Pioche Village in Park City and other projects in the Intermountain West.
• Zenovate, a Salt Lake City-based company offering a mental health platform, has welcomed Cydni Tetro to its board of directors. Tetro is an experienced technology leader, STEM advocate and founder of the Women Tech Council. Her experience includes supporting companies like Facebook, Disney, Marvel, the NFL and Target with their technology.
• Owlet Baby Care Inc., a Lehi-based nursery ecosystem technology company, has appointed Jim Fidacaro as healthcare general manager. Fidacaro has 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry, with a background in digital healthcare and medical devices. Prior to joining Owlet, Fidacaro drove Philips’ strategic roadmap for Healthcare Informatics and marketing operations for Connect Care, following roles as vice president, marketing and business development at ImaCor and CEO of Synsei Medical, and an executive at Mindray as dean of the Technology Research Institute.