UTAH’S BUSINESS JOURNAL www.slenterprise.com
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
Graphics companies Western Metals to combine forces, expand expand SLC recycling in Salt Lake City facility by 13 acres
• Industry Briefs • Begin on page 5.
• Calendar • See page 4.
R e p ort Technology
Begins on page 12.
Volume 41, Number 9
Vision's XXL scale graphics are a familiar site to Utahns. The firm created this display for the EnergySolutions arena. foot facility at 2525 S. 900 W. By Barbara Rattle “They [Color Graphics] were The Enterprise Color Graphics, a Salt not utilizing all of their space and Lake City visual merchandising we’re not utilizing all of ours graphics printer, has purchased so what it really nets is a gain Vision International, a Salt Lake for us of at least 10,000 square City leader in extra-large format feet,” Chambers said. “We’ll be digitally printed images. The occupying the entire building.” Color Graphics brought 32 companies are in the process of consolidating operations into a employees to the transaction, 55,000 square foot facility where Vision brought 37, he said. The decision to go with the they will unite under a single Vision name came about because name, Vision Graphics. Vision International vice “we have a stronger presence president Gene Chambers said throughout the U.S. for our XXL Vision is currently in the process graphics printing and they’re of moving its operations into the [Color Graphics] primarily local. Color Graphics’ 55,000 square see GRAPHICS page 3
Western Metals Recycling, the largest full-service metals recycler in the Intermountain West, plans to expand its nonferrous metal recycling facility in Salt Lake City. The expansion will include a new 24,000 square foot, customer-friendly drive-through recycling facility that will be covered in order to keep customers out of the elements. Western Metals expects the expanded facility, to be located at 4201 W. 700 S., to be open by May 2012. During construction, the existing nonferrous metal recycling facility at 4221 W. 700 S. will remain open next door. Western Metals’ current recycling facility spans eight acres, and the newly designed facility will offer an additional 13 acres for customers to recycle any nonferrous scrap metal. The company plans to add as many as 10 more employees to help streamline the
recycling process so that customers can get in, weigh their scrap using the latest scales, unload and get cash for their scrap quickly. Western Metals’ Salt Lake City recycling center buys ferrous scrap as well as common household nonferrous scrap metal items see METALS page 2
Comfort Inn to be built near Miller Motorsports Park
New Manta survey shows 27% hike in new business activity
Despite the recent economic turbulence and a survey that shows 61 percent of smallbusiness owners aren’t optimistic about the economic outlook, new data shows a 27 percent increase in new business activity in the second quarter of 2011 versus the same quarter last year. The findings are part of the first Manta SMB Wellness Index, a quarterly index on the state of small business released by Manta, the largest online community dedicated entirely to small business. The index examines nationwide data collected from multiple business resources and takes a “pulse” of small-business owners on hot topics. Manta’s latest
survey polled more than 2,300 small-business owners about their feelings on the political environment and its impact on the SMB community. The Manta SMB Wellness Index shows business activity is surging in many parts of the country. California tops the list as the state with the most activity in the second quarter of this year, and Maine saw the biggest growth year over year. Not surprisingly, businesses focused on extending the life of existing products are on the rise. Repair businesses have seen a dramatic increase year over year. In addition, there’s momentum in the e-commerce/ see MANTA page 2
The owner of the new hotel is involved in the racing industry and saw a need for more lodging in the Tooele area. Charles “Jack” Giacomini, By Brad Fullmer chairman and owner of Hotel The Enterprise Ground will be broken for a Manager’s Group, said the Comfort Inn and Suites Hotel in approximately $6 million, 41,000 Lake Point at 8580 N. Highway square foot, three-story facility 36 in Tooele County on Oct. 4, will include 69 rooms on a 2.85according to Hotel Manager’s acre site. It is slated to open May Group, a third-party hotel man- 2012. The hotel will be owned by agement firm with headquarters in San Diego and a local office in JMP Hotels; Giacomini said the Park City. see HOTEL page 2
MANTA from page 1
IT outsourcing category, and the electronics industry has also seen a lift in activity compared to Q2 2010. “Despite the challenging economic conditions, small-business owners are charging ahead; in fact, our survey found 37 percent of small business owners expect their profits will increase this year,” said Pamela Springer, president and CEO of Manta. “As a company focused on helping the
small business community, Manta sees the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive and well.” Small Businesses Elect Job Creation as No. 1 Issue As the small business community begins to once again expand, Manta’s survey found that more than one-third of small business owners (38 percent) want politicians to focus on unemployment and job creation as key initiatives. However, in a separate survey, an overwhelming majority of small-business owners polled (68 percent) say President Barack Obama’s recent jobs pro-
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posal doesn’t impact their plans to add employees — and they still don’t intend to hire. Manta’s survey revealed a majority of smallbusiness owners (67 percent) say they’re highly unsatisfied with the effectiveness of government. In fact, two-thirds of those polled (63 percent) feel the Obama administration has hurt small business; however, when asked which political party best supports them, 35 percent say “none of them.” Although small-business owners favor conservative parties two-to-one, 23 percent believe the Republican Party best supports them and 17 percent feel the Tea Party has their back. Twenty-one percent feel the Democratic Party is the political party they feel best supports small business. On the contrary, when evaluating candidates, President Obama still holds the most individual support, with 21 percent of smallbusiness owners naming Obama as the presidential candidate who best supports them. Fourteen percent prefer Texas Gov. Rick Perry and 11 percent say it’s Texas congressman Ron Paul. Surprisingly, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whose presidential platform focuses on his business experience, came in third to last with fewer than 10 small business owners (9 percent) saying they support his candidacy. Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Gov. Sarah Palin tied for last place with only 7 percent of the vote respectively. Business Boom California, Florida and Texas had the biggest boost in businesses activity in Q2, while Maine, Colorado and Arizona saw the most gains year over year. Bangor,
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011 Maine, and Portland, Maine were the cities with the biggest increase in activity compared to Q2 2010. Oregon, Utah and New Hampshire had the sharpest declines in activity year over year, while Portland, Oregon, and Houston were the cities with the lowest growth in business activity compared to Q2 2010.
METALS from page 1
such as aluminum cans and other aluminum, stainless steel, copper and brass products. Customers are paid on site for their scrap. “We will make it fast, friendly and simple to drop off any nonferrous scrap, and get paid for metal recycled at our environmentally sound facility,” said Dennis Schofield, the firm’s Salt Lake City plant manager. “One of our goals is to make it easy to recycle, so the recycling facility is not intimidating for anyone. This is a great way for community members to make money while helping to preserve and protect the environment.” Western Metals is wholly owned by The David J. Joseph Co., a Cincinnati-based subsidiary of Nucor Corp. Western Metals is headquartered in Salt Lake City and has nearly 250 employees at eight recycling facilities. In addition to the Salt Lake City location, the firm operates facilities in Albuquerque; Englewood (Denver); two facilities in Plymouth, Utah; Pueblo, Colo.; and Sparks, Nev. Across the U.S., the David J. Joseph Co. family of companies operates 60 scrap recycling centers and mill service facilities, plus seven U-Pull-&-Pay stores.
HOTEL from page 1
owner is heavily involved in the racing industry and realized the need for a hotel in the area based on his participation at the Miller MotorSports Park in Tooele County. “The owner’s experience was that he found it was difficult to get hotels for himself and his crew near the race track,” said Giacomini. “They looked at the market and determined a need for a new hotel. Miller MotorSports Park will help the marketing effort and generate occupancy.” The hotel will be built with an eye toward sustainable construction practices, with a design that is community-friendly. It will feature 10 king-bed suites and 16 queen-bed suites as part of its room offerings. The hotel will be located 25 miles west of the Salt Lake International Airport and will require between 40 and 50 employees initially. “It will be the first lodging property that travelers coming east bound on I-80 will see approaching Salt Lake,” said Giacomini. “It will have great visibility. We have determined that there is good government business and independent travelers, and that’s our market characteristic.”
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NFIB files suit to halt right-to-unionize posting requirement The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has filed a lawsuit challenging a new rule issued in early September by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The “Notice Posting Rule” requires private-sector employers to post a notice in their business informing employees of their right to unionize; failure to do so will constitute an independent “unfair labor practice” that subjects businesses to increased scrutiny, likelihood of investigation and an indefinite expansion of the statute of limitations for filing any other unfair labor practice charge. “With this latest rule, the NLRB has gone too far, passing a mandate that vastly exceeds its authority — largely at the cost of the small-business community,” said Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “In filing this lawsuit, we are joined by thousands of men and women around the nation who are standing up against the antibusiness attitude that is reflected in actions of Washington’s regulators. It is truly a wonder why the
government continues to treat job creators as the bad guys.” Added Candace Daly, Utah state director for NFIB, “The overreaching power of Big Brother is at it again. If you own a retail business with two or more employees and gross annual sales of $500,000 or more, you will soon have to hang a poster in your business that informs your workers of their right to organize a union. Obviously the NLRB is being run by pro-union appointees. The economy in this nation is never going to rebound if we have decisions like this being made in Washington, D.C. More and more small businesses will just shutter their doors if the federal government doesn’t get out of their face.” According to NFIB’s lawsuit, the NLRB’s promulgation of the new rule is a gross overreach of its statutory authority under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Moreover, the rule, which takes effect on Nov. 14, will impact employers with no history of NLRA violations. According to NFIB’s estimates, the rule will impact up to six million private-
and will continue to go after some of the major international sporting event accounts, but the competitive landscape has changed. “As our industry has matured, all these big companies have gotten into the equipment manufacturing. Like HP and Epson, they’re selling equipment all over the world so they’ve created a lot of competition for us in that sense,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to compete because of the shipping costs internationally but we’re not ruling that out. Certainly we’re going to look at some of these major events and continue to go after those.” Domestic competition has also altered, he said. “A lot of our competitors are people that are just adding to capabilities, so it could be a photo finisher that’s now converting to digital or a trade show display company that’s now adding equipment, or even companies direct that outsource a fair amount of stuff and decide to put in a press internally,” Chambers said. “So a lot of the competition that we have is smaller competition in that sense, but it does eat away at our market share. But we were one of the founding companies of digital large format printing. We’ve been around for a long time and have experienced a lot of the headaches and R&D, especially on these gigantic pieces. We really know what we’re doing and we have the facility and the capacity to do it. We’re hoping that this merger will give us the strength to stay on top.”
from page 1
We decided to continue on with a national presence. We’d been using Color Graphics for some additional printing that we didn’t have in-house so it really kind of made sense to have this merger happen and put it all under one roof. It’s going to be a great merger. The synergies between the two companies are going to be very good. It’s going to give us some great capabilities to compete with companies in other parts of the country and we wanted to continue on with the large sporting events and so forth that we’ve been doing and this just gives us a little bit more muscle to compete.” Founded in 1993, Color Graphics specializes in pointof-purchase, display and retail graphics for visual merchandising and in-store signage and trade show displays. It also manufactures specialty items. Also founded in 1993, Vision International is one of the world’s leading producers of XXL format digitally printed images, such as banners, wallscapes and signage for some of the largest advertisers and sporting events in the country. Vision designed and produced the decor for the 2011 NHL Pro Bowl, printed graphics for five NFL Super Bowls, the 2002 Olympic Games, 2009 NHL All Start Game, 2009 Orange Bowl and BCS Championship Games. Chambers said Vision once shipped product internationally,
sector businesses around the country. The lawsuit asks the court to set aside the rule and declare that the NLRB’s action violates the NLRA. NFIB previously argued in its public comments on the proposed rule that in the absence of an election petition or a finding of an unfair labor practice, the NLRB lacks the authority to require employers to post any
notice, especially a notice far more detailed than those required when the NLRB’s jurisdiction is properly invoked. Further, small businesses are particularly vulnerable to accidental violations because the regulatory compliance burden most often falls on the smallbusiness owner and because small businesses do not have dedicated compliance staff. These arguments are reiterated in the complaint.
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Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
• Calendar • NOV
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• Sept. 26, 1:30-4 p.m.: First Wasatch Choice for 2040 Consortium Meeting. Demographic, housing and transportation trends in the Wasatch Front will be discussed and participants will participate in key-pad polling and discussion groups.The Consortium will help implement the Wasatch Choice for 2040, a regional “vision” developed by thousands of residents that is intended maintain and improve quality of life by enhancing the economy, protecting natural areas, providing more housing and transportation choices, saving money and energy and improving our air quality and health. Initial consortium members include the Wasatch Front Regional Council, the Mountainland Association of Governments, Envision Utah, Salt Lake County, the American Planning Association Utah Chapter, the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah Department of Transportation, and the Utah Transit Authority. Location is room 150 at the Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City. For further information or to RSVP, contact Kevin Fayles of Envision Utah at kevin@ envisionutah.org or Sam Klemm of the Wasatch Front Regional Council at sam@ wfrc.org. • Sept. 28, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.: Smart Women Smart Money Conference, presented by Zions Bank’s Women’s Financial Group. Guest speaker will be actress Geena Davis. Breakout sessions will show participants how to travel at full speed toward retirement, how to fuel a business career, and how to navigate the financial freeway with a budget. Davis’ keynote speech will motivate the audience to drive the road to success by highlighting the importance of gender equity and empowerment for success in life, finance and business. Location is the Salt Palace Ballroom, Salt Lake City. Free, but registration is required. Register at www. smartwomen.zionsbank.com or by calling 800-737-6586. • Sept. 28, noon-1:30 p.m.: “Advances in Neuroprosthetic Implants and Regenerative Medicine,” presented by the Utah Technology Council. Patrick A. Tresco, Ph.D., professor and chair of the
Department of Bioengineering, College of Engineering at the University of Utah, will talk about advances in neuroprosthetic implants that allow patients with profound disabilities to use their thoughts to control computers and machines. He also will introduce a novel approach to rebuild bodily tissues with natural biomaterials harvested from living cells. Tresco has served as a biomaterials consultant to such companies as Bard Access Systems, Fresenius and Microislet. Location is the Little America Idaho Room, 500 S. Main St., Salt Lake City. Cost is $35 for UTC members, $60 for nonmembers. Register at www.utahtech. org. • Sept. 30, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Nationwide Simulcast Training Event, presented by ChamberWest and hosted by the Salt Lake Community College Jordan campus. Cost is $39. Register at www.chamberwest.org or by contacting Holly at (801) 673-332 or firstname.lastname@example.org. • Oct. 28-29: Women in Business Conference, sponsored by the BYU Management Society and the Marriott School of Management at BYU. Keynote speakers will be Cathy Chamberlain, managing director of market strategy for Deseret Book Co.; Linda Daines, managing director for private client services at Goldman Sachs; and Jan Saumweber, senior vice president of Global WalmartTeam Sara Lee Corp. There will also be a number of breakout sessions and speakers. The Oct. 28 events run from 5:30-9 p.m. while the Oct. 29 events run from 7:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Location is the BYU campus in Provo. Cost varies depending on number of events attended. Registration deadline is Oct. 14. For more information and to register, visit www.wibc.byu.edu. • Nov. 4, 7 p.m.: Utah Technology Council 2011 Hall of Fame Gala. Keynote speaker will be Larry Ellison, founder and CEO of Oracle Corp. Location is the Grand America Hotel, 555 S. Main St., Salt Lake City. A networking session will begin at 6 p.m. Cost is $300 for UTC members, $450 for nonmembers. Register at www.utahtech.org.
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
• Gordon Eubanks, microcomputer industry pioneer and former CEO of Symantec Corp. and Oblix, has joined the board of directors of Solera Networks, a South Jordan-based network security analytics platform provider. As the president and CEO of Symantec, Gordon Eubanks guided the company in its software utility and anti-virus businesses until he left to become president and CEO of Oblix, a Silicon Valley startup acquired by Oracle in 2005. • Orem-based GroSocial has launched Customizer Enterprise, an online tool designed to enable enterprises to quickly design professional-quality Facebook tabs and deliver them directly to the connected Facebook pages of thousands of partners—retailers, franchisees and distributors in their networks. Built on the company’s flagship Customizer platform, Customizer Enterprise allows major organizations to propel their brands by running custom-designed promotional tabs across their partner networks on Facebook. Likewise, the platform enables partner companies to realize the benefits of being associated with a larger brand and to leverage that brand by promoting
• Industry Briefs •
sales, running customized contests or promotions, distributing coupons or adding highlight videos.
CONSTRUCTION • PSI has (Professional
Service Industries Inc.), an Illinoisbased independent engineering and testing firm and one of the largest consulting engineering firms in North America, has promoted Chris Barlow to project manager in its Salt Lake City operations office. Barlow is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a B.S. in construction management. He has been with PSI since May
2009. • The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Utah headquarters building, designed by Archiplex Group with Ralph Stanislaw, AIA, LEED AP+ lead designer, has become the first LEED Gold certified building in West Valley City. Although Archiplex Group was originally directed to attain LEED certification status, the architect worked with the AGC and the contractors to attain a higher certification. As an association of general contractors, specialty contractors and subcontractors, Rich Thorn, President of AGC of Utah, called on the membership to donate to the construction of their new facility in order to control costs and get the most bang for their buck. While an average 9,000 square foot building may have 20 to 30 subcontractors, more than 270 subcontractors worked together, many donating labor and/or materials, to make sure the best and most efficient building was erected while not compromising design issues. Some of the points which were earned by the AGC Building were in storm water control, water efficient landscaping, water use reduction inside the building, optimizing energy, use of regional materials and use of low emitting materials.
• Envision Engineering, Salt Lake City, has promoted Kit Farley to associate principal. Since joining Envision Engineering in 2009, Farley has designed and managed a variety of project types, including municipal, military, airport, health care and educational facilities. Some of his most noteworthy projects include the OWATC Health Technology Building and the WSU Davis Campus Professional Classroom Building and Central Plant. • The University of Utah broke ground Sept. 22 for the Thatcher Building for Biological and Biophysical Chemistry, an estimated $22 million facility to be built next to the existing chemistry building. The new state-of-the-art Thatcher Building will provide space for a complex of mass spectrometers to analyze chemicals, an entire floor for advanced undergraduate teaching laboratories, new organic and biochemical synthesis labs, world-class imaging and spectroscopy equipment and a new home for theoretical chemistry on campus. VCBO Architects designed the Thatcher Building, which will be erected by Okland Construction. The grand opening is anticipated by spring 2013.
• A new three-way partnership between local high schools, Salt Lake Community College and local businesses is designed to provide students internship opportunities while still in high school. High school students begin the PACE program as freshmen, and those who successfully complete the program receive a scholarship for the first two years of their college education. Approximately 90 spots in the program will be extended to students. Called Project PACE (Partnerships for Accessing College Education), the partnership allows local school districts to select the students for the program. Local businesses provide internships for summer employment opportunities and mentor students in the program. They also provide funding for the student scholarships. • Utah Valley University’s Office of Engaged Learning has hired Luke Peterson as director of corporate and community partnerships. As part of UVU’s effort to develop sustainable community partnerships and economic development opportunities, Peterson will help coordinate and cultivate strategies for stronger organizational and financial support among corporations, local government continued on next page
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6 from previous page
agencies and non-profit entities. Peterson has worked extensively with nonprofits and local governments across five states — most recently serving as the tourism & economic development director for Wasatch County. • Alumni, students, the public and community leaders will celebrate the grand opening of the sixth University of Phoenix location in Utah on Sept. 29. The new South Jordan learning center will serve a growing population in the southwest part of the Salt Lake Valley. The South Jordan location is a 28,100 square foot space and has 10 large classrooms in which all desks are wired for student laptops. Each room has high-quality
presentation and audio equipment and enhanced Internet capabilities. Students who meet regularly in special learning teams can access private rooms equipped with computers and 42-inch television monitors where they can practice presentations and collaborate on projects. The new facility is located at 10234 S. Jordan Gateway.
ENVIRONMENT • A 30-kilowatt rooftop solar energy system is being installed at the outdoor terrace atop the Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 S. The system, which includes 148 solar panels, is on the roof of The Leonardo building on Library Square and was funded by
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an award from Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky renewable energy program and a contribution from a bond approved by Salt Lake City voters in 2003. Installation of the system is nearly complete and will include an electronic “dashboard” exhibit in the new science/art/technology museum, scheduled to celebrate its grand opening on Oct. 8. • Verizon Wireless will sponsor a free Recycling Rally to collect no longer needed computers, electronic equipment and other items on Sept. 29 in the parking lot of the Verizon Wireless Call Center, 2777 S. Corporate Park Dr., West Valley City. Items that will be accepted include laptop and desktop computers/LCD and CRT monitors, televisions, computer cables/mice/keyboards/ printers, small electronic appliances/microwave ovens/vacuum cleaners, stereo/audio equipment/ gaming consoles/electronic toys/ cameras, telephones/answering machines/alarm clocks, aluminum cans/ glass/plastics/paper shredders and ell phones/chargers/ accessories. Items that will not be accepted include hazardous waste (batteries, inks/toners, mercury bulbs), units containing fluid (motors, pumps containing fluid), refrigerators or freezers and medical waste/radioactive material/Xray equipment. All collected items will be recycled or disposed of in an environmentally protected way. Cell phones and accessories will be donated to Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine program to benefit survivors of domestic violence. The
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011 event will run from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
digital content during the critical stage of principal photography, saving them time and money); and TimeStarvd, (creates masscustomized, condensed books that accelerate learning for organizations and individuals with an automated, scalable process). The Deal Forum will take place from 3:305:30 p.m. Oct. 11 in the Zions Bank Founder Room, 18th floor. 1 S. Main St., Salt Lake City.
FINANCE • Four young businesses
have been chosen to present at VentureCapital.org and Wayne Brown Institute’s Deal Forum, which provides start-up and early-stage companies with venturebased mentoring and advice from venture professionals that are imperative to help accelerate their growth. Companies were selected based on several factors, including having a credible expectation of doing $30-$100 million a year in sales in three to seven years and management with relevant experience. The four selected companies are Tribalfish (converts billions of web-based communications including social networking, news comments, forum posts, tech support, inquiries and e-mails into enriched private and/or public discussions); Vaporsens (has created what it says is the first sensor to provide continuous, non-contact detection for explosive threats); RADAR (improves the way film and television producers handle
GOVERNMENT • The Internal Revenue
Service said it continues to make strong progress in combating international tax evasion, with new details announced showing the recently completed offshore program pushed the total number of voluntary disclosures up to 30,000 since 2009. In all, 12,000 new applications came in from the 2011 offshore program that closed in mid-September. The IRS also said it has collected $2.2 billion so far from people who participated in the 2009 program, reflecting closures of about 80 percent of the cases from the initial offshore program. The IRS has collected an
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8/15/11 2:13 PM
health coverage to their full-time employees may be required to make a shared responsibility payment. Notice 2011-73, posted today on IRS.gov, solicits public input and comment on a proposed safe harbor, designed to make it easier for employers to determine whether the health coverage they offer is affordable. To that end, Treasury and IRS expect to propose a safe harbor permitting employers that offer coverage to their employees to measure the affordability of that coverage by using wages that the employer paid to an employee, instead of the employee’s household income. This contemplated safe harbor would only apply for purposes of the employer shared responsibility provision, and would not affect employees’ eligibility for health insurance premium tax credits. The request for comment is designed to ensure that Treasury and IRS continue to receive broad input from stakeholders on how best to implement the shared responsibility provisions in a way that is administrable, allows flexibility, and minimizes burden. By soliciting comments and feedback now, Treasury and IRS are giving all interested parties the opportunity for input before proposed regulations are issued. Comments can be e-mailed to Notice.Comments@ irscounsel.treas.gov. Include “Notice 2011-73” in the subject line.
• The Internal Revenue Service has issued guidance designed to clarify the tax treatment of employer-provided cell phones. The guidance relates to a provision in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, enacted last fall,
that removed cell phones from the definition of listed property, a category under tax law that normally requires additional recordkeeping by taxpayers. The guidance provides that when an employer provides an employee with a cell
phone primarily for noncompensatory business reasons, the business and personal use of the cell phone is generally nontaxable to the employee. The IRS will not continued on page 16
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additional $500 million in taxes and interest as down payments for the 2011 program — a figure that will increase because it doesn’t yet include penalties. • The Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy honored the International Trade and Diplomacy Office of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) with a 2011 Citizen Diplomat Award. The annual award, which celebrates the efforts of diplomatic work by people across the state, was presented at the 2011 Tribute to Utah’s Citizen Diplomats held at the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts at Westminster College. The Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy chose to honor GOED’s International Trade and Diplomacy Office for its positive contributions in foreign relations. The Citizen Diplomat Award is presented annually to individuals who have made significant contributions to advancing diplomacy in Utah. • The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service are requesting public comment on a proposed affordability safe harbor for employers under the shared responsibility provisions included in the Affordable Care Act that will apply to certain employers starting in 2014. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more full-time employees that do not offer affordable
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
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Creating a solid mastermind group
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
The idea of a mastermind group mend someone capture major thoughts to was put forth and expounded upon by be shared with all. Napoleon Hill in his two classic books, Personal or just business? The Think and Grow Rich, written in 1937, group should decide prior to making a and How to Sell Your Way Through Life, long-term commitment to be with each written in 1938. other if they’re willing to discuss personal A mastermind group can help you issues, or just keep it to business. And keep and your business succeed better and in mind regardless of what you decide forfaster than you can on your own. mally, after a year or so, the familiarity of Here are a few of my ideas for an the group with one another might often ideal mastermind group: digress to personal. Be prepared to help, • A mastermind group consists but it doesn’t mean that you have of people working in harmony, tryto bare your soul. ing to achieve by giving a bit more Give more than you take. than taking. I’m a giver by nature and I • A mastermind group works find that when I give more than best when there is mutual respect I take, I receive more than I for between members. expect. This especially works in • A mastermind group should a mastermind group, where sevconsist of people who are approxieral people can be grateful for mately at the same intellectual your contribution and instead of Jeffrey level. getting one in return you will get Gitomer • A mastermind group should many in return. consist of people who are approxiBook club. Select a book each mately at the same financial level. month that everyone can read and benefit • A mastermind group should consist from. Discuss the book for a portion of of people who do not compete with each each meeting and then take a daring step: other. try to arrange an interview with the author • All members of the group should so you can gain his or her insight to add to explain their motive for joining and their your own, and that of the group. expected outcome for becoming involved. It’s proprietary. It should be agreed • All members should make it priority that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas to attend the meetings. and what happens in mastermind, stays in • All members should be “on the look- mastermind. out” for member opportunities between I’m not in favor of a rigid meeting meetings. agenda, but I am in favor of having an Here are some additional thoughts understanding of the elements that each and strategies to make your mastermind meeting should consist of. group successful: • A few minutes of talking about • Appoint a facilitator to keep the THE world. meetings on track. Elect one member to • Double that amount of time talklead and conduct the meeting. It should ing about YOUR world. be a different member each meeting. The • An amount of time talking about leader has an informal responsibility to the pre-selected topic. Topics like cusmake sure that the topics and agenda stay tomer loyalty, problem employees, netwithin its parameters. working or social media make good dis • Equal brains. Anyone in the group cussion themes for each meeting. Each who is clearly superior to the group will member should arrive with ideas that quickly lose interest and leave. The key pertain to the subject, and one or two phrase is “intellectual balance.” Everyone best practices they either currently do should feel they can contribute and every- themselves or have encountered along the one should feel that they can benefit. If way. one person is contributing all, and benefit- • An amount of time talking about ting not at all, they will leave sooner than the book of the month. later. • An amount of time talking about • Give an idea. A mastermind is about one member’s issues. The issue should sharing and giving. The more ideas you be agreed upon the meeting before so that bring to the group and the more concepts each member can come prepared with an you present and the more thoughts you idea or two. provoke of the group, the more respected A mastermind group has to be conyou will be and the more your group mem- tent-rich and to the point with valuebers will be compelled to give ideas back. based dialog – and it’s every participant’s Ideas can be specific to an individual or responsibility to bring gold to each meetgeneral to the group. ing. • Come prepared. If you just show up, the outcome will not be as powerful as if you gave it a little thought prior to Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of Social the meeting. I recommend that you keep BOOM!, The Little Red Book of Selling an open word processing file and try to and The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude. add a thought or two each day. Keep in President of Charlotte, N.C.-based Buy mind you’re dialoging with peers and you Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annushould come prepared to add to the group al sales meetings and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer rather than take from the group. Take notes. During the course of the service at www.trainone.com. He can be meeting, all kinds of information and ideas reached at (704_ 333-1112 or salesman@ will fly. Capture them. I don’t recommend gitomer.com. © 2011 All Rights Reserved recording the meetings, but I do recom-
Improving your business credit score Just as a personal credit score helps or a lender extends credit to your business, hinders a consumer’s ability to obtain credit, ask that they report your payment history to businesses also have credit scores that play a credit bureaus. The more vendors that report key role in securing financing. Do you know a positive credit history to the agencies, the what your business’s credit score is? If you higher your business credit rating will be. Add credit references. If your busiwill need a loan within the next few years, it ness doesn’t already have a profile with Dun would be wise to find out. Scores are given by business credit & Bradstreet, set one up (there will be a fee). bureaus, which include Dun & Bradstreet, You can then add credit references, such as Business Credit USA, Experian Business suppliers you’ve worked with, to support and Equifax Business. Business credit scores your business’ credit profile. Increase capital and assets. Credit is range from 0 to 100 with 75 or higher con- sidered an excellent rating. Scores are based determined using a complex algorithm, a key on many factors, including whether part of which is how much worth or not bills are paid on time, the your business has compared to its debt. By building up your assets amount of available credit on bank lines of credit and credit cards, the and capital, you weight the ratio in length of time you’ve had a credit your favor. profile and the number of inquiries Build credit before you need made on your credit profile. it. Begin building a business cred Whether you’re a new business it history by getting and using a that hasn’t had time to build up an business credit card. (Do not open adequate credit score or your busitoo many credit cards, however, as ness has run into a streak of financial Dale Gunther this can decrease your score.) Once bad luck, here are some ways to you’ve established a payment hisimprove your credit score so your tory, request an increase on your business will be a qualified candidate come credit limit, even if you don’t need it. Once loan approval time. a higher limit is granted, don’t utilize it. Analyze current credit reports. Instead, keep a healthy credit-to-debt ratio Request your business’s credit reports from that doesn’t push your balance too close to the various credit bureaus and pay attention your credit limit. Build relationships with your lenders. to items that are poorly rated. Negative items may be due to mistakes, fraud, identity theft Get to know the employees — particularly or outdated information. Work with credit the loan officers and managers — at your bureaus to correct false information. If the bank. Community banks are an especially negatives are accurate, be aware that they good place to get to know your banker, as can stay on your credit report for up to seven their lenders often have a say in loan decisions made by local approval boards. years. Pay to play. Some of the credit bureaus Separate your business and personal scores. Sole proprietors or those in a partner- offer credit score improvement tools for a ship may have their personal credit informa- fee. You’ll need to evaluate them carefully to tion on their business credit report, and vice see if the cost results in significant benefits. versa. Forming a corporation or LLC allows business and personal profiles to remain separate. If doing so doesn’t make sense for Dale Gunther is vice chairman of the board of you, be sure to improve your personal credit People’s Utah Bancorp, the holding company for Bank of American Fork, which is an Equal score if necessary. Pay off credit card balances. Experian Housing Lender and Member FDIC. At the states that decreasing the balance on your start of his 16-year tenure as CEO at Bank of American Fork, the bank had two branches business credit cards can have an immediate and $80 million in assets; it now has 13 impact on your business’ credit rating. If you offices and more than $860 million in assets. must keep a balance, make sure it is less than Gunther has served as chairman of the Utah 30 percent of your credit limit. Bankers Association and currently serves Request credit-lending companies to as an American Fork City Councilman. This report. Credit bureaus create business credit article should not be considered legal or reports with information provided by credi- investment advice. Seek legal and investtors. The problem is that creditors are not ment advice from your own qualified profesrequired to send in such information. When sional.
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Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
Small Business in Utah Embezzlement in the workplace: what to do when it happens and how to detect or avoid it Owning a small business is mize your financial recovery and not for the faint of heart. With make certain that the employee the uncertainty, stress, paperwork is brought to justice. The most and regulations, every small-busi- important thing you can do is to ness owner has more than a few act quickly. Acting quickly makes sleepless nights. In order to make it much more difficult for the a small business work, owners employee to hide assets, destroy have to delegate to trusted evidence or cause more employees. Employees harm to the business. often become more like The first step family members than mere you should take is to workers. One of the most call a lawyer. If you difficult things for a smallhave an existing relabusiness owner, then, is the tionship with a lawyer, realization that an employhe should be your first ee is embezzling. call. If he can’t serve Unfortunately, embezall your needs, he likely zlement is rarely uncovered knows someone who Loren in its infancy. Small busican. If you don’t have Washburn nesses can lose hundreds of a lawyer, try to find one thousands of dollars, even who has litigation expemillions, before the theft is uncov- rience and ideally one who is ered. In one recent case a single familiar with the criminal justice embezzler stole more money from system. A lawyer who has experihis company than all the bank ence with law enforcement will be robbers in Utah stole in the same much more successful in encourtime period. More importantly, aging and assisting law enforcethe financial impact of embezzle- ment to conduct a timely and comment on a small company can be petent investigation. Create a plan crippling, causing a company to with your lawyer for preserving lay off workers and, in the most evidence, confronting the embezextreme cases, even declare bank- zler and identifying assets you can ruptcy. pursue in litigation. Although small businesses Next, call an accountant. are susceptible to embezzlement, Depending on the nature of the they are not defenseless. If you embezzlement, you may suspect suspect that your company is the that your accountant was either victim of embezzlement, there are complicit in the embezzlement or a few things you can do to maxi- was negligent for failing to uncov-
er it. You may want to hire a new accountant to look at your books. Most embezzlers create accounting entries to cover their tracks. Discovering the pattern of false entries will make it easier for you to identify when the embezzlement began and exactly how much money was stolen. A skilled forensic accountant will greatly assist in this process. Finally, contact law enforcement. The best person to call is someone you know. During my nine years as a prosecutor, I was often surprised that close friends who were the victims of embezzlement did not call me, instead reporting the crimes to a duty detective. While law enforcement is generally professional and responsive to anyone who reports a crime, they are people and will respond even more aggressively if they are able to identify with the victim. There are dozens of law enforcement agencies you could call from your local police department to the United States Department of Justice. Though prosecution guidelines change, a good rule of thumb is that any loss under $100,000 is likely to be handled by your local law enforcement agency, and the federal government is unlikely to get involved in cases under $500,000. The criminal process can be long and is often disappointing to
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victims. The sad reality is that it is unlikely you will recover even a fraction of what the embezzler took. Embezzlers rarely put away money for a rainy day, instead spending the stolen funds on vacations, high living and luxury items that depreciate rapidly. So most often the money that has been taken will never be recovered. That being said, the best time to recover assets is when you first discover the crime. The longer you wait the more likely the money or assets will dissipate or disappear. As a victim you will have an important role in a criminal case, especially at sentencing. Investigators and prosecutors are very busy and inevitably will not pay as much attention to your case as you will; seek frequent updates to keep their attention on your case. Similarly, a judge is much more likely to order full restitution and a significant prison sentence if the victim is present at sentencing to communicate the full impact of the crime. You should ask to address the judge at the sentencing and do your best to explain how this crime affected your business. Be specific, talking about the employees who were harmed or let go as a result of the embezzlement. Of course, ideally you will never reach a point where litigation is required. In every case of embezzlement I prosecuted, there were steps that the employer could have taken to stop the embezzlement before it ever happened. The employer also could have taken steps to detect the embezzlement much earlier than they did. Therefore, the most important step you can take to avoid embezzlement is to have strong accounting controls with multiple parties involved. Embezzlers generally have access to funds before they are recorded on the books of the company or have access to the accounting system to make adjusting entries hiding their embezzlement. By fashioning appropriate controls at these two places you can reduce the likelihood that an employee will embezzle from you. Implementing frequent audits likewise provides an important safeguard against embezzlement. One of the best times to conduct an audit is when your bookkeeper is on vacation. A startling number of embezzlements are uncovered when the embezzling employee goes on vacation or becomes ill. By doing an audit when the bookkeeper is out of the office, you
will be less tempted to rely on their explanations of transactions that don’t make sense on their face and instead will dig deeper to uncover what is really going on. You may never be able to detect all embezzlement by looking for red flags, but paying attention to your employees and your business can increase your chances of catching the embezzler at an early stage. Some common red flags of embezzling employees are: an employee who refuses or is reluctant to take a vacation, a large number of adjustments in the books of the company, an employee who resists a promotion or reassignment of job duties from a position giving them access to accounting, an unusual unwillingness to delegate job duties, a disconnect between the growth you believe you are experiencing and the financial position of the company, and an employee whose expenditures are disproportionate to her income (e.g., if you’re sitting in the upper bowl and your bookkeeper has front-row, center-court seats, it’s time to start asking questions). Perhaps the best defense is to know your employees and ask questions when you have the nagging feeling that something might be a little off. While you may feel like you are being disloyal to your employees, assuming they would never embezzle virtually assures that you won’t uncover embezzlement when it happens. As Ronald Reagan was fond of saying to Gorbachev, “trust, but verify.” With any luck, you will never become a victim of embezzlement. However, most businesses will eventually suffer some employee theft. By thinking about it ahead of time you will reduce the likelihood that your business will be jeopardized by an employee stealing from you. Loren Washburn joined Clyde Snow & Sessions after eight years of legal service in the U.S. Department of Justice. He is an experienced trial attorney focusing his practice in the areas of criminal tax, white collar and civil regulatory defense. During his eight years as a federal prosecutor, Washburn tried more than a dozen jury trials in federal district court and oversaw more than 100 complex white collar investigations. He served as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division’s Northern Criminal Enforcement Section following a clerkship with Senior Judge Stephen H. Anderson in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
Sorenson Communications' Nearing 18th anniversary, new tech allows those XMission has redefined its with hearing difficulties business in recent years Salt Lake’s first-ever Internet to read phone conversations Service Provider earns 80 percent of its annual revenues from the business community
By Brad Fullmer The Enterprise Salt Lake City-based Sorenson Communications continues to make significant advances in its product offerings to the deaf and hard-of-hearing population with the recent release of CaptionCall, a division of the eight-year-old company. CaptionCall is a phone system that allows primarily hard-of-hearing users to actually follow conversations on their phone much like they would closed-captioning on television. Sorenson Communications spent more than two years designing and developing the product, adding depth to Sorenson’s other products and services, including its widely popular Video Relay Services (VRS), of which Sorenson is the leading provider worldwide. “CaptionCall has really impacted the way I have dealt with talking to people on the phone,” said Leslie Guido, network development specialist for MetLife Inc. in Salt Lake City. “I have gone from not being able to talk on the phone to talking on the phone again with this service. I am able to actually see the conversation I am having on a screen so even if I did not hear
something 100 percent, I have that backup to help me.” Guido said she had progressive hearing loss throughout her life and wore hearing aids to compensate for the loss. She got a cochlear implant last year, but she still found talking on the phone as an obstacle at times. “I have had progressive hearing loss since I was a small child,” said Guido. “I wore hearing aids all of my life. With the cochlear implant I was able to get into the workforce again but talking on the phone was yet another obstacle.” Guido is a dental provider recruiter for MetLife who works with dentists in five states and has to speak with various dental offices regularly. “If I did not have this phone I don’t know how I would be able to communicate as well or effectively as I do,” she said. “I am really thankful this product is available and on the market today. It has made a major difference to me.” “We’re driven by innovation,” said company president/CEO Pat Nola, an 11-year Sorenson veteran, including the see SORENSON page 12
By Brad Fullmer The Enterprise When Pete Ashdown started XMission in 1993, he had no grand visions of the Internet revolutionizing society like it has, he just wanted to be able to surf the Web from home. So said Ashdown during a mid-September interview at XMission’s headquarters at 51 E. 400 S. in Salt Lake, the firm’s home since 1995. As XMission closes in on its 18th anniversary Nov. 11, the founder of Salt Lake City’s first-ever Internet Service Provider continues to be amazed at how the world of technology has changed in less than two decades. “I had no idea it was going to become so ubiquitous,” Ashdown said. “I had been on the Internet in some form or another since 1988 and it was really just computer hackers, research and development, universities and hobbyists that were using it at the time.” Ashdown was studying computer science at the University of Utah and was employed at Evans and Sutherland, a firm renowned for its work in computer graphics, and neither the U nor Ashdown’s employer provided home Internet access. “I figured there were other people like me that wanted to use the Internet at home without their boss peering over their shoulder asking what they were doing,” said Ashdown. “It wasn’t always work-related. I started XMission with the intent of roping in other computing enthusiasts. I did a lot of advertising in the early days to computer user groups and bulletin board systems you could dial into – a precursor to Internet discussion boards. I was really going after a niche market.” Ashdown put together an 18-month business plan and shopped his idea to numerous banks — and even the Small Business Administration — with little success. “I was dissatisfied with the response I was getting; most [banks] didn’t know what the Internet was,” Ashdown recalled. He
Ashdown left his plan at his parents’ house one weekend and his father, Bob, stumbled upon it by accident. “He called me that Monday and said ‘I’ll help you get this thing started,’” said Ashdown. “He didn’t have any idea what the Internet was; it was more his faith in my abilities than any understanding he had of the business.” So with an initial investment of less than $30,000, the company was founded. Ashdown dropped out of school and eventually quit his job by mid-1994 to focus 100 percent of his efforts on making the business grow. Ashdown was a virtual one-man band those first months, doing everything from sales to marketing to accounting to technical support. By 1995 the World Wide Web was becoming mainstream, and it seemed like everyone wanted Internet connection. Ashdown’s company was well-positioned for success. “Fortunately I got off to an early start,” he said. “Some people locally thought the Internet was somewhat synonymous with XMission and we had amazing, explosive growth in those early years. We were doubling, tripling our sales every quarter.” see XMISSION page 12
U of U launches 23 technology companies, collects 233 invention disclosures and signs 81 licenses It’s one thing to take the top spot from MIT in creating startup companies from university research, but it’s quite another to maintain a steady commercialization program. Data released in September by the University of Utah shows continued progress in commercializing technologies from July 2010 to July 2011. Highlights of the findings include the creation of 23 companies, 233 invention disclosures, 81 license agreements and engaging more than 2,400 students. The amount of startups (23) launched during fiscal year 2011 ties the university’s record over a one-year period. In fiscal years 2008 and 2009, the university also had 23 startups. The University of Utah has spun off 132 startups since 2005 — when it boosted support for commercialization — and the average since then is 19 per year. Most startups are based on technologies developed in the College of Engineering and the School of Medicine, but most departments are involved with commercialization. Here are the other highlights from the last fiscal year: • The University of Utah collected 233 invention disclosures in fiscal year 2011, compared to 205 in 2010. An invention disclosure occurs when a faculty member submits a form to university administrators announcing he or she has invented a novel device or process. • Fifty-five new inventors and 120 repeat inventors were logged during fiscal year 2011, compared to 32 and 122, respectively, in 2010. An inventor is defined as someone who files an invention disclosure. • Eighty-one technology license agreements were signed in fiscal year 2011, compared to 68 in 2010. Generally, a license is signed when a company wants to use or sell a technology developed on campus. • Seventy-four commercially sponsored license agreements were facilitated in fiscal year 2011, compared to 81 in 2010. These agreements represent research partnerships between companies and faculty members. FY 2011 Startup Companies • AvanSci Bio is developing automated laboratory systems focusing on the microdissection of slide-mounted tissue specimens. • Axon Optics is developing a coating that blocks light known to trigger migraines and does not have the drawbacks of current technologies. • Beijing Great Sun Biotech is helping improve drug delivery technology for cancer chemotherapy. • CB Bioenergy is using combinations of microbes and nutrients to produce methane gas from depleted coal-bed methane seams, depleted oil reservoirs, oil shale and other carbon sources that are non-recoverable due to costs or environmental factors. • Cell Reader is offering a novel assay method and device for accurate and faster cancer cell screening. • CoNextions is developing a novel, suture-less device for lacerated tendon repair. One of the initial applications of the device will be lacerated flexor tendon repair. • Domain Surgical is developing a novel surgical cutting tool that uses ferromagnetic technology for cutting tissues.
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
• E-Sens is developing a multi-use microsensor array technology for monitoring the parameters needed to manage both chlorine- and chloramine-disinfected water systems. • Espira is using a process called the digital polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to analyze DNA molecules, which could help improve detection of cancerous tumors from a simple blood, urine, sputum or stool sample. • Elute is developing antibodies or antiinfective agents for use when grafting bones during implants or orthopedic surgery. • Granite Mountain Technologies is commercializing a digital logic technology that can significantly improve power and performance of integrated circuits commonly found in electronic devices. • HOT Water Global is developing a new ozonation technique coupled with sand filtration to quickly remove oil from process water and prevent oil sheen. • Innoception Technologies is developing software, hardware and support services to quantify and diagnose physical and psychiatric problems caused by chronic stress (such as fibromyalgia, sleep disorders and chronic pain). • Insurgen is developing a type of fused stem cell to treat diabetes. • Knudra is using a proprietary technology to offer faster drug screening services that require fewer expensive drug compounds with more accurate drug affinity interaction results. • MacCure is focusing on the detection and treatment of small vessel disease in human subjects — specifically, diseases related to the diagnosis and treatment of small vessel disease in the choroid of a human eye such as macular degeneration. • Perfect Vision is producing devices that prevent bacteria and other contaminants from entering the eye during intravitreal therapeutic administration. • Seismic Option Safety (SOS) Systems is developing a system to allow trapped miners to contact the surface and provide their location. • TransViragen is providing genetically-modified mouse and lab models used in labs, from custom model generation to phenotyping, for research in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, academic and government sectors. • Telome Health is developing assays of telomere length and other diagnostic tests for physicians, individuals and companies. A telomere is a section of repeated DNA sequences at the end of a chromosome, and their length has been linked to people’s health. • US Bioremediation is developing a novel biological method to extract or neutralize toxic metals in acidic environments. Applications include environmental cleanup and recovery of trace metals with economic value. • Xandem is developing a powerful, innovative and cost-effective technology that can detect and track people through walls. • Xend is a novel intraocular lens that corrects a patient’s astigmatism and pseudophakic dysphotopsia (unwanted light images).
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past six as the top executive. “This has been a tremendous year in terms of technology releases. CaptionCall is another exciting product that allows us to provide the highest quality service for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. We started getting serious about developing this solution two years ago.” “It’s a great device,” said Ann Bardsley, public relations director for Sorenson Communications. “My mother is 92, is hard of hearing and has macular degeneration issues, and it really helps her understand conversations better. It is very user-friendly.” CaptionCall works using the latest voice-recognition software, in addition to having calls routed to Sorenson’s in-house call center. Nola said a good analogy would be that of a court reporter physically recording all conversation. “Our call centers are [tracking] the call and correcting words when they see a mistake,” said Nola. “Otherwise we have about 80 to 85 percent accuracy. The dialogue will come up on the screen as a person is talking so the user can read the dialogue to make sure they understand the context of the call.” Nola said there is a modest two- to three-second lag time, similar to live captioning on television. “It’s for people with moderate to severe hearing loss,” said Nola of the intended customer base. “We’re several times faster than our competitor; you can actually see the flow of the conversation compared to not understanding the conversation at all, or not understanding key parts. A person may be confused on a word or two and that can make all the difference in understanding the phone call. By looking at text, the user has more confidence.” CaptionCall requires a standard phone line, along with a highspeed/broadband Internet connection. The phone works like a regular phone and has a traditional keypad in addition to a seven-inch display touch screen with adjustable text sizes. The $149 phone features a 40-decibel gain for amplified volume, which resets back to standard volume when the call is completed. The ringer also has adjustable volume control along with different rings pitches. CaptionCall is funded by the FCC at no cost to the user, and users pay standard phone company rates once the phone is installed. Sorenson Communications is a privately-held company, one of 32 corporations under the Sorenson Co. umbrella, which was founded by local business legend James LeVoy Sorenson, who died in January 2008. The firm has 5,000 employees nationwide, including over 1,000 in Utah, according to Nola. For years the firm boasted double-digit growth; as revenues have grown, growth has dropped into single-digit numbers. Nola declined to disclose annual revenues, other to say it’s significantly more than $100 million, and under $1 billion. “We have products that provide a great social service,” said Nola. “Every day we work, we’re providing a better way to improve communication for deaf and hardof-hearing people; it improves people’s lives in a significant way.”
Those first years offered myriad challenges for the fledgling firm, including temperamental standard phone line connections and numerous local ISP competitors, in addition to America Online. “We still have people connect via a telephone modem but it’s a tiny fraction of our business,” said Ashdown. “I was happy to see that go; it was a real hairball as far as technical support goes. When you’re telling people to tighten down screws on a phone line to get better connection to copper, that’s not ideal.” By the time the dot-com industry peaked in the late 1990s, competition from other ISP companies was “fierce and diverse,” which kept XMission committed to continually improving its customer service and technical infrastructure, Ashdown said. The firm’s pro-local focus also attracted a very loyal, devoted customer base. “We were very conservative with our advertising and marketing,” said Ashdown. “People came to us via word of mouth, which is a testament to the quality of our service and support.” Roll with the Changes While the bulk of XMission’s customers during its first decade in business came primarily from providing Internet connections to the residential community, the firm’s marketing and sales efforts have done a complete 180-degree revolution the
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Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
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past half dozen years. Since 2003, Ashdown and his staff of 45 employees have focused their efforts more intently on providing various Internetrelated services to local businesses, both small and large. Approximately 80 percent of the firm’s revenues come from business clients; as recently as 2003, 80 percent of its revenues came from residential customers. Part of that change is because of competition from the likes of Qwest (now CenturyLink) and Comcast, which limits XMission’s service capability. The firm does support the UTOPIA movement, but that is limited to certain cities such as Orem, Lindon, Brigham City, Murray, Midvale and West Valley City, and not available on every street in those communities. “If we had UTOPIA-style service throughout the state we would still be doing 80 percent of our business in the residential market,” said Ashdown. “I don’t blame people for having to seek other options – I would do it too.” It’s also an ongoing effort letting clients know about the firm’s expanded service capabilities. In addition to providing high-speed Internet connection, XMission offers business phone, server collocation, advanced networking, domain registration, e-mail and website hosting and scalability services, among others. “In many people’s minds we’re still a residential Internet provider; people don’t understand we do so much more than just providing access,” Ashdown said. “There’s a lot of marketing we’re crafting right now,
we’ve got advertising campaigns to change that perception.” Like many other businesses, the recession negatively impacted XMission’s bottom line, but Ashdown believes the ship has been righted. “We had a decrease [in sales] in 2010; this year is coming back up to ’09 levels,” he said. “We’ve recovered but the economy has affected us. Businesses are cutting back services each month and very little new business is being acquired. We need to stay patient.” New technology and more powerful, robust servers offer expanded capabilities to clients of any size or need. “The hottest thing is virtualization,” said Ashdown. “You take a service running on its own hardware and put it in virtual space. We used to have stacks of [server] boxes that now can be collapsed into one server. Servers have 96 GB of RAM, 24 core processors … it’s extremely powerful hardware.” XMission uses Stackable software to help with client website scalability. Ashdown said a client like Red Butte Gardens in Salt Lake City is an ideal example of a client that benefits from scalability. “Red Butte has a huge onrush of Web traffic once a year for its concert ticket sales,” said Ashdown. “They moved their service to Stackable; it’s economical for them in that they pay for one day of increased service, rather than having multiple servers they don’t need the rest of the year.”
The value of Call Recording and why businesses should care When a business owner is looking nology. to set up the phones within his com- One of the other usages of Call pany, he can’t help but be overwhelmed Recording, which is often overlooked, is with complex terms like VoIP, SIP, Hosted as a training tool for a sales team. When VoIP, PBX Systems, Managed Services, a salesperson is given the opportunity to and Unified Communications. In today’s record his or her calls, they can review world, a business owner is expected to their recordings to improve their skills and understand the relevance and sigunderstand how they really sound nificance of every single feature when they’re communicating with that their Unified Communications prospects. This easy-to-use tool provider offers. However, many helps managers coach salespeobusiness owners don’t receive the ple in a constructive manner and proper explanation as to how that improve the overall health of the feature can be applied to benefit company. Customer service reptheir organization. resentatives are also well-suited Jay Brown Some of the usages of the to take advantage of this type of Call Recording feature make it function when working with cusone of the top features a business owner tomers. When a conversation takes a turn should take into consideration when exam- and needs to be recorded, contemporary ining their communications needs. The Call Recording technology provides users most obvious application of Call Recording with a way to record a conversation even is in situations that deal with liability. after a call has been initiated. Users can Professionals who deal with the dissemi- then add their own comments and send that nation of sensitive information should be recording as an attachment in an e-mail. using Call Recording at all times, as it is This simple but necessary technology is the easiest way to ensure compliance to allowing professionals to collaborate, creprocedures and reduce the risk of litigation. ate accountability and improve their busiCall Recording is indispensable to both the nesses like never before. medical and legal fields and it would be From my experiences, most companies reckless for an organization to continue to would be shocked by what their employees run itself without implementing this tech- are saying, how they’re saying it, and what
message they’re communicating to the outside world. I couldn’t imagine running a sales force without giving our salespeople the ability to listen to their own recordings. This tool is as valuable as it is practical, and it has provided our organization with a muchneeded competitive advantage even in today’s markets. As the world continues to flatten, more companies are entering existing markets, while even more competitors are extending their reach into new markets. The added pressure of the financial crisis is pushing businesses harder than ever to find new ways to differentiate themselves. In order to stay competitive, businesses need to leverage technologies in order to create competitive advantages for themselves. Call Recording is one the simplest and most cost-effective ways to accomplish this, so it’s only a matter of time before this becomes an industry standard. In sum, if you haven’t started using Call Recording yet, you will. Jay Brown is president of Murray-based TriTel Networks Inc., a telephone and data communications company established in 1984.
UTAH’S BUSINESS JOURNAL
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Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
L O C A L . I N D E P E N D E N T. U N I T E D . LOCAL FIRST UTAH: WORKING TOGETHER TO BUILD A STRONGER CUSTOMER BASE FOR LOCALLY OWNED, INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES. It’s not always easy being a locally owned, independent business. Competing for customers with large national chains, coping with small marketing budgets, doing it all yourself. But now there’s Local First Utah, a 501 (c3) non-proﬁt organization whose sole purpose is to support local businesses through public education.
JOIN ABSOLUTELY FREE Local First Utah is made up of a growing group of businesses identifying themselves as local and independent. There’s no membership fee and you’ll never be required to pay a dime to participate.
WHY JOIN LOCAL FIRST? By displaying the Local First window decals and using the LF logo, you’ll be telling customers that you’re locally owned and independent, allowing them to “vote with their dollars.” F R E E D I R E C T O R Y L I S T I N G : Every Local First business receives a free listing on our on-line directory at LocalFirst.org. This directory provides a convenient resource for customers and businesses to locate locally owned businesses to patronize. VA L U A B L E M A R K E T I N G : All of Local First’s efforts focus on driving customers to locally owned businesses. Promotions, events, and advertising will all help bring new customers through your door.
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LCF Ent Ad.indd 1
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Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
Utah on the Rise Back to Basics In The Construction Trades By Chris Hipwell President, Associated Builders and Contractors, Utah Chapter
When we look at the technology boom of the past decade many traditional career options for the younger generation have been overlooked. But now our current economic climate is calling for “back to basics,” and the time is ripe to consider the advantages of a career in the long-established vocational trades. Trades can offer great benefits, including advancement opportunities, job security, paid training (while you learn) and financial strength — and that’s just the beginning. Maybe your dream is to build a skyscraper, a bridge, a highway or an entire city? There are many paths to fulfill those dreams, including vocational school programs, trade associations and national training curriculum. Many of these programs offer craft training, job shadowing and intern opportunities that allow you to earn a salary while you learn the craft. And, because of the shortage of skilled labor, now is the time to start a career in any construction trade. This column explores the world of masonry and the advantages, opportunities and growth
potential it can provide. Masons work with brick, concrete block, glass block, tile, terra cotta, stone and other technically advanced materials. Work can be as simple as building a wall, or as complex as creating an ornate exterior or constructing a modern-day skyscraper. A skilled mason’s craftsmanship can endure for generations. Heath Holdaway, owner and vice president of IMS Masonry Inc., shares his insights into a career in the masonry field. As director of operations, Holdaway is responsible for all company operations to ensure production efficiency, safety, quality, service, as well as cost-effective management of resources. As vice president and stockholder, he is responsible for providing leadership to all employees of the company and determining and developing the best strategies for increasing market share and profitability. Heath and his partner Alan Johnson have worked hard to build IMS Masonry into one of Utah’s largest commercial and industrial masonry contractors performing work throughout the western United States.
Heath Holdaway, owner and vice president IMS Masonry Why do you think training and education are important to the construction industry? It is important for the company to stay abreast of new technologies in the construction industry to keep up with the changing markets and help us remain competitive. When we offer education and training for our employees on a continual bases, it provides them with personal growth opportunities as well as improves their professional skills, which in turn benefits our company. Please describe your career path for your current position. One of the opportunities of the construction industry is that you can get into the field without
having to have a degree, and if you are willing to work hard you can learn as you go. I started in masonry as a hod tender and worked my way up through the ranks as a mason, foreman, estimator, project manager and now into my current position of operations manager and vice president/stockholder. How did you get started in the industry? I came from a family of commercial masonry contractors. However, it was friends who got me into residential masonry. Once I had some experience behind me I switched markets and went to work for a commercial masonry contractor. How has training, education and construction impacted your life? By taking an interest in all the training available to me from ABC, Utah Masonry Council and other classes I have been able to gain valuable information and skills that I put to work, and that process has opened doors and created many opportunities for advancement. What do you enjoy most about your career? I enjoy taking an active part in deciding the direction of IMS Masonry at an executive level and being able to participate and see it grow to the level it is today. I enjoy being able to drive around the valley and see the buildings IMS Masonry has created. There is a certain satisfaction in seeing the craftsmanship, especially the masonry portion, where there are unique architectural elements involved in the project and that will be around for hundreds of
years. How do you feel that you positively impact your company and the construction industry? As part owner, I am always looking to better the company. I am constantly looking for new opportunities in the materials we install, the relationships we have and the areas we serve. I am also a part of taking our company to the next level by implementing training, education, safety, quality, and other processes. What does craftsmanship mean to you? “Craftsmanship means not only knowing the trade but putting your heart into your work and doing a job you can be proud of.” Why would you recommend your career path to someone who is thinking about the construction trades as a career? The construction industry offers the opportunity for growth and advancement through specific job training without having to have a college degree. By working my way up from the bottom to the top I have learned every aspect of the trade hands-on. It has given me the unique ability to see and understand projects at every level. When I see people that show interest and are driven I can now share what I have learned by mentoring them and encouraging them to participate in educational opportunities provided to further their careers. What are the current challenges your company is facing and how do you propose to overcome them? The current economy has been a challenge. We are always looking to participate in business and trade-specific training. In addition, we are engaged in a national masonry peer group that allows IMS to learn from some of the top mason contractors in the nation and share best practices in our industry about materials, implementation of processes, filling the need for skilled labor, etc. In addition to IMS’s commercial success, the company was one of the first mason contractors to be awarded the MCAA’s (Mason Contractors Association of America) Certified Mason status.
For more information call (801) 708-7036 or visit www.abcutah.org.
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
Wouldn't it be nice if ... ?
• The new “super committee” • High-quality teachers were would actually make real progress paid better while poor teachers in reducing enormous federal bud- were weeded out? get deficits? • History-making develop• European political leaders ments across the Middle East and would finally and fully address the Northern Africa would eventually Continent’s sovereign debt chal- lead to democracy and freedom lenges? for tens of millions of peo• American compaple long denied? nies would begin hiring • We could benefit more again in a big way? from years of practical • Some of the business experience of mind-boggling research millions of retirees, rather advancements in energy than simply “putting them production and alternaout to pasture”? tive energy more rapidly • We weren’t running a made their way into the federal budget deficit this economy? Jeff Thredgold year of $160,000,000 Interior plant maintenance. • The game of polievery 60 minutes? Guaranteed. tics in Washington, D.C. • The Federal Reserve’s involved a little more cooperation eventual attempt to unwind and a little less confrontation? unprecedented monetary stimulus • We didn’t have a $14.5 tril- would be successful, with inflalion gross national debt? tion staying under control? • “Far left” liberals and “far • Congress and the adminDraper location: 12252 S. 1325 E. 801-676-0935 right” conservatives in the media istration would get serious about Salt Lake location: 2735 S. 2000 E. 801-485-2542 would back off a bit? reining in the growth rate of • There was a stronger col- entitlement programs in coming cactusandtropicals.com lective effort to improve opportu- years? (Note: In regard to Social nities in America’s inner cities? Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. we do not have to cut spending, we have to slow down the growth rate of future spending. BIG difference!) • The administration would stop talking about being “probusiness” and actually promote pro-business policies and remove anti-business initiatives that dominate its agenda? • Incompetent corporate CEOs who drive companies into the ground were not rewarded with multi-million dollar “golden parachutes” to simply go away? • Airlines that lack serious competition in various markets didn’t gouge the public? • More working people would save seriously for their Golden Years? (An estimated onethird of the U.S. population saves Have you ever wondered who your financial advisor really works for, you or zero for retirement.) the firm? Our goal is your success as an investor. We work strictly for you. • Wall Street “high rollers” And we are backed by the strength and reliability of LPL Financial, the largest had greater legal and financial accountability for the financial independent broker/dealer in the nation.* market abuses of recent years? LPL Financial stands out among financial firms for its financial strength and • Politicians were elected freedom from the conflicts of interest on Wall Street. based on experience and ability, not on who can spend the most money and sling the most mud? We focus on one bottom line: yours. • We could make real prog*Based on total revenues, Financial Planning magazine, June 1996-2008 ress in “clean burn” coal technology? • The administration was more focused on providing incentives for wealth creation and less focused on wealth redistribution? LPL Registered Principal • There were less irritating ways to bring buyers and sellers 9657 South 700 East together than junk mail, spam, Sandy, UT 84070 pop-up ads, telemarketing, and (801) 572-1077 endless TV commercials? firstname.lastname@example.org • Our national campaign seawww.lpl.com/james.rigtrup son was much shorter and less exhausting…for candidates AND voters? Securities offered through LPL Financial – Member FINRA/SIPC a Registered Investment Advisor “Government” would recogInvestments may lose value and are not insured nor guaranteed by any government agency unless otherwise disclosed. nize that it is there to serve the people, and not the other way
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around? • The unique combination of liberals, moderates, and conservatives elected to Congress last November could actually work together to address this nation’s ills? • Solid Mexican economic growth would provide more good jobs at home? • Members of Congress had to participate in the same health care program as the one being dumped on the American people? • We actually got serious about U.S. energy independence with a program geared to conservation, alternative sources of energy, access to much more oil and natural gas in Alaska and on the Continental Shelf, and developing massive deposits of oil shale and shale gas across the nation? • Each long-term member of Congress was required to take a year off, start a new business with limited funding, meet a payroll, and then deal with the complexities and hassles THEY have created? • The outcome of many lawsuits was determined more by the facts and less by who has the deepest pockets? • The role of “peacekeeper” wasn’t associated with so much violence? • We would all keep in mind that despite the problems and challenges we face in the U.S., this is still the greatest country in the world?
Jeff Thredgold is the only economist in the world to have ever earned the CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) international designation, the highest earned designation in professional speaking. He is the author of econAmerica, released by major publisher Wiley & Sons, and serves as economic consultant to Zions Bank.
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require recordkeeping of business use in order to receive this tax-free treatment. The IRS also announced a similar administrative approach that applies with respect to arrangements common to small businesses that provide cash allowances and reimbursements for work-related use of personally owned cell phones. Under this approach, employers that require employees, primarily for noncompensatory business reasons, to use their personal cell phones for business purposes may treat reimbursements of the employees’ expenses for reasonable cell phone coverage as nontaxable. This treatment does not apply to reimbursements of unusual or excessive expenses or to reimbursements made as a substitute for a portion of the employee’s regular wages. • Kevin S. Carter, director of the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), has been appointed chairman of the Western Regional Partnership’s governing body – the partnership’s Steering Committee. The Western Regional Partnership (WRP) is an organization originally created by U.S. Department of Defense to develop solutions supporting the WRP Partners and protecting natural resources while maintaining United States homeland security and military readiness.
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
• Kevin E. Anderson of Anderson Call & Wilkerson in Salt Lake City has joined the Owners’ Counsel as the Utah member-attorney dedicated to representing property owners in eminent domain litigation. Anderson and the attorneys at Anderson Call & Wilkerson focus their practice on the areas of eminent domain, land use, business law, real estate and construction litigation on behalf of landowners and developers throughout the state of Utah. Anderson’s eminent domain cases have involved some of the most high profile condemnation actions throughout Utah and the West. These cases have included condemnation actions to acquire land for airport runways, navigation easements, public buildings, highways, electrical power plants, substations, power lines, railroad corridors, access driveways, pipelines and schools. • John (Jack) D. Ray, a shareholder in Fabian Law, Salt Lake City, has been elected treasurer of the Utah Association of Justice. The Utah Association for Justice (UAJ) is a nonprofit association whose mission is to “Preserve Justice and Accountability.” UAJ is an organization of trial attorneys in Utah who fight to preserve and protect the legal rights of the individual. For the past 15 years of his 23-year practice, Ray has focused almost exclusively on represent-
ing individuals seriously injured by unacceptable medical care. • Durham Jones & Pinegar, Salt Lake City, has created an Intellectual Property Law Section. The practice section is chaired by shareholder Kevin Johanson. The firm added its first intellectual property attorneys to its practice 18 months ago. In that time, the firm’s group has grown rapidly to include eight attorneys and a full-time paralegal dedicated to patent prosecution, trademark and copyright law, technology transfers and licensing and related litigation. The most recent addition to the section, Jeffrey A. Stephens (Harvard Law School, 2007), joins the firm directly from a clerkship with the Hon. Pauline Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.
MANUFACTURING • Global direct sales com-
pany, XANGO LLC, a Lehibased category creator in health and wellness, unveiled an updated brand identity and several natural products at its global GO! Convention in Salt Lake City. The new logo reflects XANGO’S growth as a global community of people and cultures with nearly two million distributors in more than 30 international markets. XANGO’s new nutrition products feature a first-of-its-kind multivitamin for children and a line of
supplements targeting individual health concerns such as heart and bone health. The company’s new line of personal care products incorporate the mangosteen fruit in topical age-defying serums and aromatherapy hair and body products.
NATURAL RESOURCES • Boart Longyear Ltd., a
120-year-old global mineral exploration firm, has created a new business division, Boart Longyear Financial Services (BLFS) group. Through a partnership with Ecologic Leasing Services, BLFS now offers customers competitive financing solutions for Boart Longyear mineral exploration drilling equipment. All Boart Longyear drilling capital equipment technologies are included in the new program — multi-purpose, production, reverse circulation, rotary, sonic, and surface and underground coring.
• Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a Salt Lake City charity that raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals across North America, will launch its 24-hour video game fund-raising marathon called Extra Life on Oct. 15, at 8 a.m. local time. The Extra Life Marathon was created to honor the late Victoria (Tori) Enmon, a 15-year-old girl who
played video games during her battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Each Extra Life participant is asked to raise money by recruiting at least four sponsors to give a minimum of $1 for each hour of the marathon. Individuals can sign up to participate and can donate to the cause at www.extralife.org. • The Utah Food Bank, a statewide network of 150 emergency food pantries and agencies, has named Karen Sendelback CEO. Sendelback brings more than 30 years of national nonprofit experience to her position. She has held leadership roles at several organizations across the country, including Friends of the World Food Program, the American Kidney Fund, the American Lung Association and the American Red Cross. Most recently, Sendelback served as the director of development for the U.S. Ski Team Foundation through the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association in Park City. • The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded a $20,000 grant to Salt Lake City-based nonprofit TreeUtah to support conservation efforts along the Jordan River. Funds will be used to plant 2,700 trees and undertake 30 restoration projects.
OUTDOOR PRODUCTS/ RECREATION • Snowbird Ski and
Summer Resort will host a ski and snowboard gear swap to help raise funds for Snowbird Sports Education Foundation. Admission is free, and there are no tag fees. Twenty-five percent of the sales will benefit Snowbird Sports Education Foundation. The swap will include both hard goods and soft goods. All major credit cards will be accepted. The event will run from noon to 7 p.m. Sept. 30 and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 1 and 2 at Snowbird Center Level II.
• Exit Realty, a Canadian real estate firm, has signed Dennis Bleak and Martin Lingwall as its newest franchisees. They now operate Exit Realty Plus at 948 E. North Union Ave., Suite C104, Midvale. Exit Realty has more than 3,600 brokerages and in excess of 100,000 agents in North America.
• Salt Lake City-based AlphaGraphics Inc. concluded its third annual AlphaGraphics Fights Hunger food drive earlier this summer with a preliminary food collection total topping 30,000 pounds. So far, the donation is nearly 20 percent larger than last year’s. • Salt Lake City-based O.co (also known as Overstock.com) is
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011 celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its Worldstock Fair Trade department, which is devoted to fair trade with artisans in more than 60 countries. Worldstock Fair Trade distinguishes itself from competitors by returning 60 to 70 percent of the sales price to its suppliers. We have established contacts in over 60 countries creating employment opportunities for approximately 10,000 artisans around the world. In August 2011, Worldstock passed the $70 million mark in payments made to artisans and the groups that represent them.
• Gold’s Gym Utah as opened one of the nation’s first Gold’s Gym Express locations. The new concept facility features a smaller, streamlined and convenient approach to fitness. Recently at 12101 S. Factory Outlet Dr. in Draper, it is Gold’s Gym Utah’s 17th fitness facility statewide. Comparable to a fullamenity Gold’s Gym in both benefits and service, Gold’s Gym Express features cardio and weight training ﬂoors, a cardio cinema, free weights, full locker rooms and free group personal training. The 15,000 square foot gym offers month-to-month, no-obligation memberships starting at $9.99 per month. Full-amenity Gold’s Gym Utah members also have free access to the new facility.
2920 South 925 West Ogden, Utah 84401 801-621-4185 www.wadman.com
“Building Value for 60 Years”
Wadman Corporation held our 2011 Charity Golf Tournament at Mt. Ogden Golf Course on September 15, 2011. We would like to thank our sponsors who supported the tournament. Funds raised at the tournament will be used for the renovation and remodel of the Family Connection Center’s Bountiful Nursery in Davis County. This facility assists families overcoming domestic violence and abuse. Thank you for your generosity and support of this project!
SANDERS ASSOCIATES ARCHITECTS 2668 Grant Avenue Ogden, Utah 84401 801.621.7303 www.sandersarch.com
UTAH’S BUSINESS JOURNAL
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
Preserving life (except the uninsured) Watching the Republican ence members screamed “yes!” presidential candidates and their Many of the rest cheered, while agitated tea party supporters at the the would-be presidents stood by CNN/Tea Party debate, an ordi- woodenly, without the dignity of a nary citizen might feel confused. demurral. Those people sound angry, but It was a revealing moment exactly what do they believe our that may foretell a new and meangovernment should (and er Republican platform: shouldn’t) do on behalf of If you lose your job and its citizens? your health care, don’t Ensuring affordable expect any help, except health care for everyone perhaps from the church. seemed to be on the forAnd if your innocent bidden list, even for Mitt kids get sick, too bad Romney, who had tried to for them. Forget about do exactly that as governor Medicare, Medicaid of Massachusetts. Every Joe Conason and any American who one of the candidates vehecan’t afford private mently insisted, with preinsurance. This is a free dictably enthusiastic applause, country — so don’t get sick. that President Obama’s health care “That’s what freedom is all reform must go, immediately, if about — taking your own risks,” not sooner. And just as predict- said Ron Paul (a medical doctor ably, none of them suggested how who doesn’t apply the Hippocratic to provide affordable health care to oath to his congressional service) the roughly 50 million Americans in answering Blitzer. “This whole who lack coverage — a number idea that you have to take care of that reached a new record last everybody ...” he went on disdainmonth. fully, before the audience cut him Indeed, when CNN anchor off with shrieks and applause. Wolf Blitzer asked whether a young Yet during the same debate, man lacking private health insur- Rick Perry, the GOP’s leading ance should simply be allowed contender, justified his program to die if he suddenly suffered an to inoculate young schoolgirls accident or illness, some audi- against cervical cancer by explain-
ing that he was putting life first, as always — and then boasted about the millions of state dollars he has spent seeking a cure for cancer. While all the other candidates attacked the Texas governor for his Gardasil vaccination program, what bothered them more than the state funding was the alleged lack of parental consent. In principle, most of them seemed to think that state-funded protection for children against a deadly disease might even be acceptable. Perry himself wasn’t exactly clear on this topic, either, since he has denounced Medicare as unconstitutional. He took umbrage at Michele Bachmann’s suggestion that a $5,000 donation from the vaccine’s distributor had influenced his decision — but he actually took at least five times that amount, so perhaps Texas is just a place where legal bribes, like everything else, are bigger. For anyone trying to understand what Republicans think about government’s role in health care, however, the debate displayed a puzzling level of incoherence. Is vaccinating schoolchildren a state function? Should taxpayers fund a cure for cancer? And why should government at the state or federal
level assume responsibility for those needs, while ignoring millions of families and individuals without health insurance? These are not academic questions, even for right-wing ideologues. Within hours after the debate concluded, the Gawker website revisited the sad story of Kent Snyder, the late libertarian activist behind the Ron Paul presidential industry, who died three years ago from complications of pneumonia. It was Snyder who pushed Paul into the presidential sweepstakes that have brought him millions of dollars and landed his dim son Rand Paul in the United States Senate. Snyder died without insurance — which his sister said was unaffordable to him because of a pre-existing medical condition ‚— and left $400,000 in hospital bills for his mother. Whether the Paul family did anything to help the Snyder family isn’t clear, but other friends were driven to take up an Internet collection to help defray the costs. Lack of insurance — and the lack of adequate insurance — present a daily concern for increasing numbers of Americans. According to the Census Bureau,
the exact number has reached 49.9 million, the highest number since the advent of Medicare and Medicaid and the highest percentage of uninsured Americans since the recession of 1976. The consequences are tragic and — although financially costly to American society compared with other advanced countries — go far beyond mere money. Being uninsured means foregoing necessary care, especially preventive care, which annually causes the premature deaths of at least 50,000 people. The Republicans up on that debate stage and the tea party claque don’t think this is their problem. They don’t care. They must be the only Christians in the world who would cheer wildly at the idea of someone dying from lack of health insurance. And they will nevertheless vote for the Texan who spent millions of state dollars vaccinating those little girls. Is it the fury and the bile that kills brain cells? Joe Conason is the editor in chief of NationalMemo.com. Copyright 2001 Creators.com.
Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2011
The 'Ponzi' sound bite Many in the media and in checks are going to keep on getpolitics have gone ballistic over ting those checks. Nobody has the fact that Texas Gov. Rick Perry advocated anything else, or would called Social Security “a Ponzi dare to cut off a financial lifeline scheme.” for millions of people. Although many act shocked, What is at issue is the particshocked, as if Rick Perry ular mechanism through had said something which people can be unthinkable, Gov. Perry is provided for in their not even among the first retirement years. Some thousand people to call politicians loudly proSocial Security a Ponzi claim that they want to scheme. Not only conser“save Social Security.” vatives, but even some But programs exist for Thomas liberals, have been callpeople — and it is the Sowell ing Social Security a Ponzi people who should be scheme for decades. saved. Moreover, neither the media Whether or not the checks nor the politicians who are carry- that retirees continue to get say ing on over the use of the words “Social Security” is beside the “Ponzi scheme” show the slightest point. The point is that they keep interest in any hard facts that would on getting the money they need to tell us whether Social Security live on, whether that money comes is or is not a Ponzi scheme. It is from a different institution or from a “gotcha” moment, and that is Social Security. apparently what some people live The fundamental problem of for. Social Security is that the irreWhat makes this nonsense sponsible way its finances are set become fraud is the insinuation up, and the changing demographthat calling Social Security a ics of the country, mean that there Ponzi scheme means advocating is simply not going to be enough that people who are depending on money in its trust fund to pay Social Security be abandoned and today’s young people what they left with nothing to live on in their are legally entitled to, when time retirement years. That is the big comes for them to retire. scare — and the big lie. The money is just not there, People getting Social Security some of it having been spent for
What makes this nonsense become fraud is the insinuation that calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme means advocating that people who are depending on Social Security be abandoned and left with nothing to live on in their retirement years. That is the big scare — and the big lie. unrelated purposes. Making up a growing shortfall, as baby boomers stop paying into the system as they retire, and start drawing money out of the system, would mean ever-increasing burdens on the taxpayers that the taxpayers are unlikely to put up with. Social Security worked fine when the small generation from the 1930s received pensions from the money being paid in by the larger and more prosperous “baby boom” generation that followed. It worked fine when the average life expectancy of the first generation was not long enough for most of them to collect Social Security checks for more than a few years — if at all.
Declining birth rates and greatly increasing life spans have created havoc with Social Security’s finances, which are based on having the first generation’s pensions paid with money collected from the second generation — and the second generation’s pensions paid by the next generation, etc. Any private financial scheme set up in a similar way would be illegal. That is why Charles Ponzi went to prison. The politically expedient way of dealing with the situation is to “save Social Security” with short-term fixes that kick the evergrowing shortfall down the road for some later Congress to deal
with — or to be overwhelmed by, when voters refuse to pay ruinous tax increases to keep the system going. Another way to deal with the problem is to give younger workers the option to set up privately-owned retirement accounts instead. These accounts would be beyond the reach of politicians, and based on each generation setting aside money for its own retirement. Studies have shown that private accounts would pay retirees far better than Social Security. Meanwhile, people currently depending on Social Security can continue to get what they were promised, even if that requires taxpayer subsidies for the current generation of retirees — as distinguished from subsidizing unending generations to come. These are the kinds of options that need serious discussions, instead of “gotcha” sound bites. Sound bites are usually not very sound, and they are an irresponsible way to discuss serious issues. Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. Copyright 2011 Creators.com
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