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• MPLC (Motion Picture Licensing Corp.), a Los Angeles-based entertainment firm, has opened an office in Sandy and expected to add 20 jobs there. The company supports the intellectual property rights of the creative community by granting the Umbrella License to businesses, organizations and governments that wish to show copyrighted movies, television and other audiovisual content in public. Utah’s creative industry generates more than $10 billion in annual economic impact state-wide and encompasses more than 50,000 jobs. Erin Farr, senior business development manager at the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (EDCUtah), led the project for EDCUtah.
• Big-D Construction, Salt Lake City, recently completed construction of the new Cache County Children’s Justice Center (CJC) at 339 E. 800 N., Logan. It is nearly five times larger than the previous building. The new center will help child and adult survivors recover and find security in a safe environment and allow law enforcement to work more efficiently. The facility offers interview rooms, a medical wing and observation space. The Malouf Foundation had started making plans for the new facility on its Logan campus. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was shifted to a previously owned house in Logan. Big-D’s work on the project began in October 2020 and consisted of a complete renovation of the home. Big-D was able to save the one-third-acre garden on the property, which the CJC plans to maintain for the children to enjoy.
• The board of directors of Zions Bancorporation NA, Salt Lake City, has authorized a share repurchase for the third quarter of 2021 of up to $125 million and also declared a regular quarterly dividend of 38 cents per common share. The dividend is payable Aug. 19 to shareholders of record Aug. 12. The board also declared regular quarterly cash dividends on the company’s various perpetual preferred shares (series A, G and J), which are payable Sept. 15 to shareholders of record Sept. 1. The cash dividend on the Series I shares is payable Dec. 15 to shareholders of record Dec. 1.
• Utah is ranked No. 6 on a list of “best states to start a business,” compiled by personal-finance website WalletHub. It compared the 50 U.S. states across 28 key indicators of startup success. The data set ranges from financing accessibility to COVID-19 cases to office-space affordability. Utah trails No. 1 Texas, Georgia, California, Florida and Idaho. Utah is ranked No. 17 for business environment, No. 4 for access to resources, and No. 31 for business costs. The bottom-ranked state is New Jersey. Details are at https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-to-start-a-business/36934.
• Salt Lake City is ranked No. 21 on a list of “2021’s Best Cities for Carless Weekend Trips,” compiled by LawnStarter. It ranked the 150 largest U.S. cities on the ease of getting around without a vehicle, availability of things to do, and COVID-19 safety. The top-ranked city is San Francisco. The bottom-ranked city is Mobile, Alabama. Details are at https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/studies/best-cities-carless-weekend-trips/.
• Moab is the most expensive summer destination in Utah for accommodations, according to a survey by Cheaphotels.org. It compared lodgings rates across 20 popular destinations in the state during August. Only centrally located hotels or inns and with at least a 3-star rating were considered for the survey. Moab’s average price was $172 for the cheapest available double room. It was followed by Springdale, $170; Midway, $155; Park City, $126; Provo $125; Monticello, $124; Green River, $114; Lehi, $114; Torrey, $112; and Salt Lake City, $110. The lowest rate is in St. George, at less than $80. Details are at https://www.cheaphotels.org/press/utah21.html.
• The Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (Go Utah) has named Lance Soffe as targeted industries director. He will oversee Utah’s targeted industries, cultivating Utah’s business-friendly environment through corporate retention and recruitment. The industries include advanced manufacturing, aerospace and defense, financial services, life sciences and healthcare innovation, outdoor products and recreation, software and information technology. He will also liaise with the Utah Office of Energy Development on energy sector initiatives and the Utah Office of Tourism at Go Utah on tourism and film industry support statewide. Soffe most recently spent 14 years at the Utah Department of Workforce Service. He also has private-sector experience in the financial services sector, real estate and as a small-business owner. Soffe holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Utah and an MBA from Utah State University.
• Blackrock Neurotech, a Salt Lake City-based company focused on developing brain-computer interface (BCI) technology, and ClearPoint Neuro Inc., a California-based global therapy-enabling platform company providing navigation and delivery to the brain, have announced an agreement to develop an automated surgical solution for implanting BCIs into patients with a wide range of neurological disorders, including paralysis, ALS, blindness and hearing loss. BCIs read, analyze and translate brain activity into commands, which are then relayed to output devices that carry out desired actions. Under the agreement, Blackrock will help fund the development of a new surgical solution that will leverage the ClearPoint platform and global installed base. Blackrock’s Utah Array has 29 human patients using the company’s BCI implants for up to seven years.
• USA Vein Clinics, an Illinois-based network of minimally invasive vein treatment clinics, has announced several new clinic locations, doctors and online consultations. Its first Utah clinics will be in Roy, Holladay and West Valley City. Dr. Rex Manayan is accepting patients in the Utah area. He is a surgeon with more than 30 years of experience. USA Vein Clinics has more than 90 clinics in 18 states.
• Utah’s my529, the state’s official 529 educational savings plan, has reached $20 billion in assets. It is the third-largest direct-sold plan in the nation. As of July, families are saving more than $20 billion at my529 for their children to attend some kind of higher education. The amount saved in 529 plans nationwide is $438 billion. Utah’s my 529 has been serving families across the country for 25 years, and has reached a benchmark of more than 465,000 accounts.
• The “Farmers Feeding Utah” campaign recently made a food delivery in West Valley City to approximately 1,500 people. The “Miracle Project” took place at Granger High School and included donations of beef, milk, cheese, potatoes, eggs, sweet corn and other seasonal produce. Farmers Feeding Utah is a campaign of the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation, a nonprofit organization established as the charitable arm of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. Donations to the foundation for the Farmers Feeding Utah project are used to purchase, process and deliver food to families in need. The campaign so far has provided approximately 1.5 million pounds of food, with a retail value of more than $3.4 million, to more than 33,000 Utah residents.
• The Young Living Foundation and Heart of America (HOA), a national nonprofit, have installed education and solar home kits for 75 Navajo student families who are without electricity. The families identified by the San Juan School District receive kits that include school and art supplies, books, games and a solar power station kit that powers electronic devices, lights, and small appliances. Young Living Foundation will also provide 100 Chromebook computers to be distributed by the district. The project culminated with a wellness center transformation at Whitehorse High School in Montezuma Creek. Since 2009, the Young Living Foundation has donated a total of $23 million to address the needs of communities around the world.
• Vista Station, a four-building, Class A office property in Draper, has been sold by a joint venture by The Boyer Co. and Gardner Co. to Sterling Realty Organization, based in Washington. Financial terms were not disclosed. The sale was announced by Cushman & Wakefield. Vista Station is located within the Vista Station Office Park. The four buildings total 541,678 square feet. It was built in 2016-18 and was 100 percent occupied at the time of the sale. Kip Paul of Cushman & Wakefield and Eli Mills of CBRE represented the seller. SRO represented itself.
• Newmark, a commercial real estate company, has hired Katie Wilking as director. She will be based in the company’s Park City office. Wilking specializes in leasing retail and office properties and aids a wide range of commercial clients from nonprofits to nationally recognized occupiers. A Park City native, Wilking joins Newmark from Cushman & Wakefield. Wilking’s education includes a Masters of Real Estate Development (MRED) from the University of Utah.
• Your Employment Solutions (YES), a staffing and HR agency, has opened an office at 661 W. State St., Suite A, Pleasant Grove. It is the company’s second Utah County office to open this year. YES has 10 locations in Utah. The new office will be managed by Kenneth Lane, an employment professional with familiarity leading YES into new areas.
• Mister Sparky, a provider of residential electrical services, has expanded into Utah with a new location in Salt Lake City. The locally owned Mister Sparky franchise will provide electrical services across Salt Lake City, Herriman, Riverton, Bluffdale, South Jordan and other nearby towns. Mister Sparky of Salt Lake City is owned and operated by franchise owners Jared Klepko and Troy Lesh. The brother-in-law duo previously launched the Hotworx franchise in 2019. Klepko also owns an Amerispec franchise.
• ArbiterSports, a Sandy-based athletic event management company, and GoFan, a Georgia-based digital ticketing and event management system for high schools, have announced a partnership to provide schools with an all-in-one event management platform for their athletic directors and fans. GoFan is a 20-year-old company that has sold more than 20 million tickets to date. ArbiterSports, more than 35 years old, offers a scheduling platform that simplifies the process of entering game and event schedules, sharing schedules with other schools, assigning officials, and coordinating event logistics. The combined offering will enable schools to manage schedules automatically from a single location, coordinate and communicate with game officials, use live data to sell digital tickets in advance and at the gate, and run event reports on demand.
• SimpleNexus, a Lehi-based developer of a homeownership platform for loan officers, borrowers, real estate agents and settlement agents, has announced several promotions. Kevin McKenzie is chief operating officer. McKenzie, who is also the firm’s chief financial officer, will absorb the responsibilities of COO, including oversight of human resources, information technology, legal, corporate development and facilities. John Aslanian is chief revenue officer (CRO). Aslanian previously was senior vice president of sales. He joined SimpleNexus in 2019 with more than two decades of experience in the mortgage and software industries. Andria Lightfoot is chief customer officer (CCO). She joined the company in March as vice president of professional services. As CCO, Lightfoot will oversee all customer-centric activities of SimpleNexus’ customer division, including professional services, customer success, support, training and integration engineering. Pam Faulkner, formerly director of mortgage solutions, will join Lightfoot’s team as a vice president of customer journey.
• Weave, a Lehi-based customer communications platform for small businesses, has hired Wendy Harper as chief legal officer, Matt Hyde as chief revenue officer, and Matt Hillary as chief information security officer. Harper most recently served as a principal at Ernst & Young for the past eight years. She has experience in advising both private and public companies in corporate governance, litigation, intellectual property, employment, and complex legal and regulatory matters, including matters of domestic and foreign policy and risk management. Hyde has grown and scaled sales organizations in the B2B and enterprise solutions space for over 15 years, with experience in driving revenue growth by building sales teams and a culture that delivers results. Prior to Weave, Hillary built security programs for MX, Workfront and Instructure.
• GuideCX, a Draper-based platform for customer onboarding, has appointed Sid Ewing as head of marketing. He will assist in expanding the company’s branding and messaging tracks to deepen product awareness and strengthen overall customer experience. In his two-decade career, Ewing has served as digital marketing manager for global research and advisory firm Gartner, was responsible for developing the digital efforts of specialty outdoor retailer Backcountry.com, and most recently was the vice president of marketing at SimpleNexus.
• Pluralsight Inc., a Draper-based technology workforce development company, has promoted Gary Eimerman to general manager of Pluralsight Skills. Eimerman previously was head of skills development. Eimerman will lead all aspects of the tech skills platform. Since joining Pluralsight in 2013, Eimerman has served in a number of capacities across the company. Prior to joining Pluralsight, Eimerman was the director of product development at TrainSignal.
• Snap Finance, a Salt Lake City-based provider of pay-over-time digital financing options, has appointed Doris Hektor as chief compliance officer (CCO), Gaurav Kohli as chief technology officer (CTO), and Tim King as chief financial officer. Hektor has 25 years of financial services risk management and compliance experience, recently serving as chief risk officer at Encore Capital. Prior to that, she was with senior vice president and managing director of consumer and community banking compliance at JP Morgan Chase. Kohli has more than 15 years of leadership experience delivering high-scale SaaS platforms in fintech and telecommunication, most recently serving as CTO at Token Inc. Before that, Kohli held a dual CIO/CTO position at Renew Financial and served as vice president of platform and architecture for Visa’s Cybersource Division. King has 30 years of experience in financial services, most recently serving as CFO of Alliance Data. King succeeds Spencer Clawson as Snap’s CFO. Clawson will continue to serve the company as executive vice president of finance and special projects.
TRAVEL & TOURISM
• Visit Salt Lake (VSL), a private, nonprofit corporation promoting Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination, has named Bart Blaisdell as senior vice president of finance and operations. He will oversee financial reporting and budgeting for VSL as well as managing day-to-day operations. He has over 10 years of financial management experience, holds a master’s degree in accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant. Blaisdell most recently was chief financial officer for Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines, a sightseeing tour and charter company and one of the oldest airlines in the world. Previous roles include working for Ivory Homes and Intermountain Healthcare.