Utah: A Pocket of Prosperity in the Coming Decades

vSpring held today the kick off event for the 2005 v100 (most promising entrepreneurs) at the Larry H. Miller Innovation Center.

Greg Warnock, vSpring partner who came up with the idea for this group
gave a great address about enterpreneurship — the requirements and the
rewards. Interestingly enough, all five vSpring managing directors came
from entrepreneurial backgrounds.

Governor Huntsman gave an excellent address as well, reiterating his support for entrepreneurship and economic development.

I read yesterday that Inaugural Address of Michael Young, the new
president of the University of Utah. In his very bullish-on-Utah
speech, he asked what other state has a governor that speaks fluent
Mandarin? I would add, and what other governor has seen at such close
range (watching his father) a small family business turn into a
multi-billion dollar empire (Huntsman Chemical)?

Governor Huntsman understands the changing world landscape (having
served in many foreign policy positions in government) and
entrepreneurship first hand. He has a tremendous grasp of where
technology is going and the impact of China and India on future
economic development. I am confident that Utah is poised to play a
significant role in innovation in the coming years. Our venture capital
coffers are filling up, we’re activating more angel investors (FundingUtah.com) and angel investor groups (Top of Utah Angels), and there are more opportunities for mentoring than ever before (Junto Partners).

I think Utah has a great destiny in business innovation and
entrepreneurship. In fact, while Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett’s
partner) thinks Western Civilization is “at or near its apex” (quote
from the 2005 Annual Shareholder Meeting), I think there will be
“pockets of prosperity” even amidst a general decline. (Read the full text of my notes
from that meeting to see what how greed and gambling and an unheard of
emphasis on financial management leads Munger to believe that we will
soon decline.) I believe that Utah will be one of the foremost pockets
of prosperity.

Utah has a good education system, the highest birth rate and longevity
rates in the nation, a very entrepreneurial population (the most Inc.
500 companies per capita for 2 years in a row), a highly rated health
care system, a tremendous awareness of world cultures and languages
with the majority of higher education students speaking a second
language, and many other virtues including a healthy focus on family
life which bode well for our state.

Our state has the Rebel Billionaire winner, Shawn Nelson, founder of
LoveSac. We have Warren Buffett investing more heavily here (he already
owns R.C. Willey and today a huge deal was announced that included Utah Power). Ken Jennings shows the world how brilliant Utahns can be with his $2 million plus winnings on Jeopardy.

Okay, so I’m looking for proof anywhere I can find it that Utah has a
bright economic future. But the demographic and business trends
actually do seem to support this notion. Utah is a great state, but the
best years are definitely ahead of us.

Here are the vSpring 100 winners for this year. I’ve bolded the ones I know best.

Adam Edmunds – Silent Whistle, www.silentwhistle.com
President & CEOAmy Lewis – Mediconnect.net, www.mediconnect.net
CEOAmy Paul – Bard Access Systems, www.bardaccess.com – Group Vice PresidentBen Peterson –
MingleMatch , www.minglematch.com – PresidentBjorn Espenes – Infopia ,
www.infopia.com – President
& CEOBlake Moderzitski – UV Partners, www.uven.com – General PartnerBrad Christensen – Novell,
www.novell.com – Director of
Product ManagementBrad Pelo – NextPage, www.nextpage.com – Chairman of the BoardBrad Walters –
MaxStream , www.maxstream.net – CEO & PresidentW. Brett Graham –
Ingenix, www.ingenix.com
VP of Strategic PlanningBrett Walker – VitalSmarts, www.vitalsmarts.com – Chief
Marketing OfficerBruce Law – Sprout Marketing, www.sproutmarketing.com
– President and FounderBryan Sparks – Solera Networks, www.soleranetworks.com
Chairman, CTOCarl Ledbetter – UV Partners, www.uven.com – PartnerCraig Christensen – Altiris, www.altiris.com – Vice
President & General CounselCraig Miller – Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints, www.lds.org
Director of Member NeedsCurt Allen – Agilix Labs , www.agilix.com – President &
CEOCydni R. Tetro – NextPage, www.nextpage.com – Vice President Product and Corporate
MarketingDallin M. Anderson – Montigen Pharmaceuticals, www.montigen.com – Chief
Executive OfficerDaren Thayne – MyFamily.com , www.myfamily.com – CTO &
SVP of DevelopmentDarin D. Gilson – Banyan Ventures, www.banyanventures.com
Managing DirectorDavid Bateman – Property Solutions, www.propertysolutions.com – FounderDr. David L. Bean –
Attensity Corp., www.attensity.com – CTO and Co-founderDr. David J. Bearss
– Montigen Pharmaceuticals, www.montigen.com – Founder & Chief Scientific
OfficerDavid McGinn – Agilix Labs, www.agilix.com – CFO/ COODavid Rowe – Trend Micro, www.trendmicro.com
Executive VP of Global MarketingDon Cash – Omniture, www.omniture.com – VP of Mid
Market SalesDrew Major – Move Networks, www.movenetworks.com
FounderDwain Kinghorn – Altiris, www.altiris.com – Chief Technology OfficerEliot Jacobsen –
0 to 60 Ventures, – PresidentEric Jacobsen – Dolphin II, www.dolphintwo.com
Managing DirectorEric Smith – Control4, www.control4.com – CTOFred Lampropoulos – Merit Medical
Systems, www.meritmedical.com – Founder, Chairman, President, &
CEOGary Kennedy – Double Eagle Ventures, – FounderGary L. Crocker –
AnzenBio & Crocker Ventures, www.anzenbio.com – Chairman & CEO/ President and Managing
PartnerGary Williams – Brigham Young University, www.byu.edu – Associate
Director-Center for EntrepreneurshipGlen Mella – Control4, www.control4.com – Chief
Marketing OfficerDr. Glenn D. Prestwich – University of Utah and Sentrx
Surgical, www.utah.edu
Presidential Professor & CSOGreg Butterfield – Altiris , www.altiris.com – President
& CEOGreg Jones – Visual Influence, www.visualinfluence.com
– President & COOGreg Peterson – GH Peterson Holdings, www.ghpeterson.com
Managing PartnerGreg Whisenant – Wasatch Solutions , www.wasatchsolutions.com – General ManagerDr. Gregory
Critchfield – Myriad Genetics Labs, www.myriad.com – PresidentIan Stiles – Agilix Labs, www.agilix.com – Software
ArchitectJames L. Sorenson Jr. – Sorenson Media, www.sorenson.com
CEOJames Clark – Neoteris, www.neoteris.com – CEOJan Newman – Altiris, www.altiris.com – VP of
Business DevelopmentJay Verkler – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day
Saints, www.lds.org – Director,
Family & Church HistoryJD Gardner – vSpring Capital, www.vspring.com – Venture PartnerJeff Kearl – LogoWorks, www.logoworks.com – Chief
Marketing OfficerJim Perry – Perrypoint Ventures, – CTOJohn Dunn –
Banyan Ventures, www.banyanventures.com – Founding PartnerJohn E. Richards
– BYU Center for Entrepreneurship, www.byu.edu – Assoc Teaching ProfessorJon Hansen –
MSTAR.NET & Chicago Venture Partners, www.mstar.net – CEOJosh Coates – Berkeley Data Systems, www.berkeleydata.net
President / CTOJosh James – Omniture, www.omniture.com – CEO/Co-FounderJoshua J. Steimle – MWI,
www.mwi.com – CEOKent L
Thomas – CFO Solutions, www.cfosolutionsllc.com – Founder & Managing
MemberKimberly Jones – Verite, www.verite.com – CEOLarry Rigby – ZARS , www.zars.com – President &
CEOLee Gibbons – LDS Audio, www.ldsaudio.com – CTOMark Calkins – Agilix Labs, www.agilix.com – VP Platform
MarketingMatt Asay – Novell, www.novell.com – Dircetor, Linux Business OfficeMatt
Mosman – Levanta , www.levanta.com – CEOMichael Hall – Senforce, www.senforce.com – President
& CEOMichael Proper – DirectPointe, www.directpointe.com
President & CEOMike Dutton – Dolphin II, www.dolphintwo.com
PartnerMike Tippets – Helius, www.helius.com – SVP Engineering & StrategyNathan S.
Hatch – Helius , www.helius.com – Senior Vice President Marketing &
Corporate DevelopmentNicole Toomey Davis – Enclavix, www.enclavix.com – President
& CEOPatrick Burke – Myriad Genetics, www.myriad.comindex.htm
– Business Development ManagerDr. Patrick M. Byrne – Overstock.com, www.overstock.com – Chairman
& PresidentPaul Allen – Infobase Ventures, www.infobaseventures.com – CEOPeter D. Meldrum – Myriad
Genetics , www.myriad.com
President & CEOPhillip J. Windley – Brigham Young University, www.windley.com – Associate
ProfessorDr. Ragula Bhaskar – FatPipe, www.fatpipeinc.com – CEORalph Yarro – Canopy Group, www.canopy.com – President &
CEORebecca Olpin Krull – Starbridge Systems, www.starbridgesystems.com – Director of SalesRichard D.
Hanks – Mindshare Technologies, www.mindsharetech.net – Chairman and PresidentRob Jeppsen
– Primary Intelligence, www.primary-intel.com – Chief Strategy OfficerRodney Tiede
– Broadcast International, www.broadcastinternational.com – President & CEORon
Heinz – Helius, www.helius.com – President & CEORon Lindorf –
Humanvoice, www.humanvoice.com – ChairmanScott C. Lemon – Agilix Labs,
www.agilix.com – Technical
EvangelistSeth B. Johnson – Redi2 Technologies, www.redi2.comcontact.html – Chief Executive OfficerSheryl
G. Hohle – BioCatalogia , www.biocatalogia.com – PresidentSpence Hoole – Diversified
Insurance Brokers, www.diversifiedinsurance.com – PartnerStephen W. Gibson –
The Academy for Creating Enterprise, www.creatingenterprise.com – Co-Director &
FounderTerry Dickson – Avinti , www.avinti.com – CEO & FounderThomas Ngo – NextPage,
www.nextpage.com
CTOTim Stay – Marketing Ally, – FounderTodd Shepherd – Studeo, www.studeo.com
Co-Founder/PartnerTom Creighton – Epixtech, www.epixtech.com – Chief
ArchitectTom Stockham – MyFamily.com, www.myfamily.com – President & CEOTy D. Mattingly –
Raser Technologies, www.rasertech.com – Independent Corporate Development
ConsultantW. Tim Miller – Echelon Biosciences , echelon-inc.com –
PresidentWeston Swenson – Forum Systems, www.forumsys.com – President & CEOWeston Whitman –
Harvard Business School, www.hbs.edu – MBA Candidate 2005Will West – Control4, www.control4.com – President
& CEOWilliam Marble – Calixus, www.calixus.com – Board Member

2 Comments

  1. cort

    With you saying that Utah has the right mix to start standing out in the crowd of the business world, what industries in Utah do you see as standing out the most in the next 10 to 20 years?

  2. what, you do not know yourself yet? maybe you need to go on a walkabout and discover yourself LOL!!

    You did not bold yourself. Congrats on getting named to that list.

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