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2003 Best of Business.

BUSINESS ARE MANY-FACETED CREATURES. We often measure their success in traditional ways: how they grow, what feeds them, what they produce and what impact they make. For this year's Best of Business, we highlight some companies based on these classic standards as well as a few less-traditional means of measuring what delineates the "best." Earmarked by eclectic tags from "Best Marketing to Generation Y" to the "Best Imitation of the Jetsons," we share a few of the lesser-known faces and facets of Utah business.

BEST IMITATION OF THE JETSONS

MIRROR IMAGE'S SKYWALKER VTOL

For your 2004 Christmas wish list, how about a personal flying machine--if you've the nerve to ask for the $200,000 gift. Ogden-based Mirror Image Aerospace is building the SkyWalker VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) device, which can take off from your backyard, fly up to 8,000 feet high and land wherever you please (pending the FAA's approval). A prototype will be launched this fall, and the futuristic craft is predicted to be available to consumers by 2004. The craft will be regulated under the FAA's Sports Pilot license (requiring 20 hours of flight time and prohibiting flying over 120 miles per hour.)

MOST EXOTIC BUSINESS LOCATION

SNOWBIRD ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES

Besides being located in a rugged canyon that receives more snowfall than almost anywhere else in the contiguous United States, the Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort's administrative offices take utilizing space to a new level. The long hallway housing the resort's sales, marketing and communications staff is suspended under the Snowbird Center's skier bridge, over which thousands of skiers and snowboarders, and the occasional very loud and vibrating snowcat, pass every year en route to the Tram.

BEST COMPANY VOICEMAIL

A N D

If you get the company voicemail system for the Salt Lake City-based advertising and branding agency A N D (named for co-founders Anderson 'n Douglas), the recorded voice provides instructions for using the system in English, and then offers to give you the same directions in Pig Latin--and delivers. E-way ink-thay at-thay's abulous-fay.

A N D was also a top choice for Best Web Site: Quippy text, unusual graphics, a monkey: The company's site has all this and more, including insight into a staff member's former job as a Solid Gold dancer. A N D's entertaining web site is a testament to the company's creative bent and frequent industry success--last year A N D submitted six entries to the Addys and took home seven awards.

MOST EARTH-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT

UINTA BREWERY

Green is as green does, and if Uinta Brewing Company's success is any reflection of how much they plan to give back to the environment, then Utah can look forward to enjoying both better land and air, as well as beer, for years to come. Uinta Brewing owner and conservationist Will Hamill, at the helm of Utah's number one seller of craft beer, puts his money where his mouth is by operating his brewery (1722 S. Fremont Drive) with 100 percent wind-generated power, covering the building's roof with reflective material for natural cooling in the summer and using low-energy lighting in the building. Hamill also donates all of the brewery's spent grain to local farmers, thereby reducing what goes in the landfill, and is a loyal sponsor of several local environmental organizations, including HawkWatch and The Nature Conservancy.

BEST NEW UNIVERSITY SPIN-OFF

APPLIED MEDICAL VISUALIZATIONS

This software company spun off from the University of Utah is developing another tool for anesthesiologists in the operating room. With this technology, says company co-founder James Agutter, physicians are able to get a better understanding of how anesthetized a patient is, thereby providing another safeguard against accidents. Widespread use of the technology is still a ways out--following a series of studies and clinical trials, Agutter hopes his company's software will become a common operating tool room in another three to five years.

BEST EXPLOITATION OF A GOOD IDEA

WORST-CASE SCENARIO HANDBOOK

Anyone who's wondered how to dodge a bullet or survive a shark attack (short answer: punch the beast) will appreciate the explosive success enjoyed by Salt Lake City native David Borgenicht, co-author of The Worst-Case Scenario Handbook. The original book, outlining how to get out of 40 sticky, life-threatening situations, spawned a series of several other Worst-Case Scenario handbooks, a series of calendars, a television show on TBS, and regular appearances by Borgenicht and fellow media machine Joshua Piven on NBC's Today show.

BEST ORGANIZATIONAL RELATIONS TRAINING

ARBINGER INSTITUTE

Working with clients including 3M, Raytheon, Cornell University, LensCrafters and the U.S. Navy, Arbinger has helped heal stubborn corporate rifts when other programs have failed. The unique philosophy that drives Arbinger is an outgrowth of BYU philosophy professor Terry Warner's research and is discussed in Arbinger's book Leadership and Self-Deception. The training helps employees rethink their leadership style and focus outside of themselves.

BEST COMPANY WEB SITE BIO PAGE

DAZ PRODUCTIONS

This typically humdrum section of most company web sites rarely requires a second peek. But Draper-based DAZ Productions isn't most companies: DAZ creates 3-D models for use in digital art and animation. Some of their models have found their way into movies like Spider-man and The Matrix, and even onto the cover of a recent issue of Scientific American. At www.daz3d.com, not only do the creative DAZ staffers share important personal details like "I speak Texan," but their secret identities are revealed when each individual's photo is scrolled over.

BEST WEB SITE

GENETIC SCIENCE LEARNING CENTER

Take a visual journey into the auditory canal of the human ear in search of the genetic code that informs the cells to support hearing. This is one of the visuals offered by the University of Utah's Genetic Science Learning Center's popular web site, designed by the staff and local designer Amy Thorpe. The site, http://gslc.genetics.utah.edu, was recently recognized by Scientific American magazine as one of the five best in the country. The easy to navigate, informative and oft times humorous site gets more than 40,000 visits per week. It offers information about the intricacies of genetics, including controversial topics such as cloning and stem cell research. Of note is the site's "Try This at Home" section with a recipe outlining "How to Extract DNA," which involves soupified peas, liquid detergent and rubbing alcohol. This section warns: "Because this step is pretty messy, certain sources of DNA should not be used, like ... the family pet, or your little sister's big toe." Visitors can also "click and clone" an animated mouse called Mimi, step by step, from isolating the donor cells of Megdo the mouse to helping deliver the cloned baby from surrogate mom Momi.

BEST BUSINESS TO SINK YOUR TEETH INTO

DENTRIX DENTAL SYSTEMS

Larry Gibson was developing language translation software when his dentist friend asked him to help computerize his dental practice. After streamlining his friend's office, Gibson decided to go into the business full time, starting the company Dentrix Dental Systems, Inc., which now provides software for about 40 percent of dental practices in the U.S. The company's software takes the paperwork out of processing dental procedures such as accounts receivable, insurance claims and scheduling. While checking out patients' teeth, dentists can chart the work they perform with a computer point-and-touch, which automatically prices the work and prepares billing. The company also offers similar software, AVI Mark, which helps veterinarians streamline their practices. American Fork-based Dentrix is the only company to be ranked on Mountain West Venture Group's list of Utah's fastest-growing companies for eight consecutive years.

BEST NEW PUBLIC BUILDING

SALT LAKE CITY'S NEW MAIN LIBRARY

It fulfills all the needs a modern library should: It houses a collection of resource materials numbering in the hundreds of thousands, contains a technology center offering 140 computer stations and features self checkout. But above and beyond the traditional functions of a library, the downtown library (designed by architect Moshe Safdie and Associates Inc. and overseen by Architect of Record VCBO Architecture) serves as a community gathering place and event venue, and is a symbol of the evolution of Salt Lake City from a Western outpost to a burgeoning metropolis

BEST PERK

MAY OFF

In addition to regularly accrued vacation time, all full-time, year-round employees at Park City Mountain Resort get the entire month of May off, half paid, half unpaid. Although in our paycheck-to-paycheck society, this may sound more like a penalty than a benefit, employees have the option of spreading their missed salary over several pay periods, minimizing the financial hit. Sort of takes "Spring Break" to a new level.

BEST CORPORATE FEUD

SCO VS. IBM

Lindon-based fledgling software company The SCO Group has taken on technology behemoth IBM in an intellectual property violations suit. SCO alleges that IBM is guilty of misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference, unfair competition and breach of contract with regard to the UNIX operating system, of which SCO claims ownership. Results of SCO's tangle with the big kid on the block have included picketers outside of their company offices, a cyber campaign against SCO execs and personal confrontations.

BEST EXAMPLE OF TROPICAL FRUIT IN A DESERT STATE

NONI JUICE

It's a long trip for a small fruit. From a flowering tree in the South Pacific to the semi and environs of Utah comes Noni, a cheesy-smelling fruit from the Morinda Citrifolia tree. Noni-derived juice has put Utah-based Morinda Inc. on the international business map. Morinda Inc. is one of the few network marketing companies to make Inc magazine's prestigious Inc 500 list and has been touted as one of the county's fastest-growing privately held companies. Between 1996 and 2002, company revenues topped $1.7 billion. Noni Juice may even enjoy celebrity status for its recent role in the newly released film The Legend of Johnny Lingo, which was financed in part by Morinda. The product's performance might even position it to win next year's "Feature-length Infomercial" category in our Best of Biz.

BEST PARTNER WITH EDUCATION

QUESTAR

Rather than just throwing money at shortfalls in Utah schools and hoping they will go away, employees at Questar believe their time and energy is the best way to give local schools a boost. Each year, Questar selects a Title One school from the Salt Lake School District on which to focus their efforts. Services Questar staff members offer to the students include tutoring, chaperoning field trips and participating in fundraisers to buy every student in the school a Christmas present.

BEST NEWLYWED BUSINESS

UTAH SYMPHONY & OPERA

Despite early public reluctance to merging these two Utah arts institutions, following a whirlwind courtship, shotgun wedding and abbreviated first season, the Utah Symphony & Opera seems to be making beautiful music together. Stay tuned for the company's Faust Festival in October and November, billed as the organization's first full-blown collaborative effort.

BEST DISPLAY OF INDUSTRY

COX HONEYLAND

Inside the Cox Honeyland store in Logan, visitors can view the workings of some of the smaller members of the Cox production staff: A two-foot wide, four-foot tall freestanding glass enclosure holds a hive revealing the industry of the honeybee. Visitors can turn the glass container around and watch the bees buzz out though a pipe in the bottom to the neighboring fields and residential flower gardens south of Logan. Cox Honeyland has been operated by the same family since 1929. Workers position the hives all over the Wasatch Mountains and even in southern Idaho, allowing the bees to gather the honey from a potpourri of native wildflowers. In the winter, the bees are moved to California, where they can glean pollen from the almond and citrus crop.

BEST BUILDING MAKEOVER

BENNETT FEDERAL BUILDING

Considering the inconvenience, dust and sometimes obnoxious construction types hanging around, large building renovations are not typically a sexy topic. But worth taking note of is the convenience accompanying the completion of the seismic upgrade of the Bennett Federal Building (100 S. State Street), designed by GSBS Architects. Not once during the entire 15-month project were employees in the building displaced (interior work was completed on nights and weekends), and the new contemporary glass and steel facade on the building has prompted more than one observer to wonder where the old building went.

BEST MARKETING TO GENERATION Y

ZIONS BANK

Last year they created Code Green, a multi-tiered promotion to get Utah college students excited about the mundane subject of checking and savings accounts. The campaign, by advertising agency Richter 7, involved edgy radio ads and an on-campus poster campaign with the look of a concert promotion. At the center of the campaign was the Code Green web site, featuring members of Zions Bank upper management rapping about the virtues of creating a sound financial history. After signing up for a checking or savings account, students were entered in a contest for Creed concert tickets.

BEST AD CAMPAIGN

THE TRUTH-ANTI-TOBACCO

Ever sat down on a park bench by a frumpy guy wearing a giant rat suit? If that's not odd enough, the guy begins talking about the evils of smoking. Crowell Advertising and Love Communications created The TRUTH anti-tobacco campaign for the Utah Department of Health. Not as famous as the un-sexy lab rat is the campaign's radio spot called "Polka." Against a backdrop of polka music, a fatherly type awkwardly uses slang to try to persuade teens that it's "cool" to chill out to some "phat" polka music, dude. The ad, which concludes that smoking is as uncool as getting jiggy to polka, garnered a national Silver Addy Award at this year's competition.

BEST NEW BUSINESS BOOK

CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS

Utilizing more than 20 years experience in communication theory and practice gathered while running their Orem-based company--Vital Smarts--Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillian and Al Switzler (still Utah County residents all) collaborated on Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. This personal and professional interaction guidebook became an instant success soon after its July 2002 release, rising almost immediately to the top of the New York limes bestseller list. Vital Smarts now also offers Crucial Conversations companion study materials and training seminars for groups and individuals.

BEST PLACE TO ENTERTAIN OUT-OF-TOWN CLIENTS

THE NEW YORKER

With its sophisticated menu and cosmopolitan ambiance, it's no wonder downtown Salt Lake City's New Yorker is a popular pick for those entertaining clients from outside of the Beehive State. Besides being able to dazzle your clients with this restaurant's wide selection of domestic and imported wines, the wait staff know how business folks like to be treated and are typically attentive without interfering.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Olympus Publishing Co.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:On The Cover
Author:Fields, Melissa O'Brien; Skoy, Jenie
Publication:Utah Business
Geographic Code:1U8UT
Date:Sep 1, 2003
Words:2422
Previous Article:Novell.
Next Article:Thinking outside the bank: private bankers offer services from loans to--occasionally--dog-walking.
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