Entrepreneurs on Parade – Start-up Extravaganza. Call it what you will but the room was packed to hear winners of this year’s Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum (UVEF) 2012 Awards (press release). Winners were gracious, new products were fascinating, and the comments of entrepreneurial sages generated lots of #UVEF tweets and note taking.
“Dad said, Be the best service provider in the industry and… don’t go into business just to make money.”
Entrepreneur of the Year – Todd Pedersen
Ron King Social Entrepreneur of the Year – Robert Workman
Here are the winners:
Most Innovative Product
We realize the importance of having reliable energy sources in our daily lives, wherever we live, work, and play. Energy enables us to use our cellphones for business, leisure, or staying in touch with family, it enables us to heat and cool our homes, and it enables us to light our offices, to list just a few examples of energy applications. While the grid that supplies electricity to most of the world is generally reliable, we all experience the occasional power outage. And, there are vast areas of the world that are simply off the grid. The problems posed by imperfect and/or unavailable energy resources is what drives Power Practical’s research and development. Energy independence is important for all of us. It’s not something it is going to happen overnight, but we should all strive for it in our daily lives. To achieve real energy security, diversifying energy resources is key. To rely on a single resource in any situation is not a solution.
Best Kept Secret
SpotterRF provides the world’s most advanced compact surveillance radar (CSR) system for affordable wide area perimeter security and small force protection. Incorporated in 2009, the company attained profitability within a year. Made in the USA and engineered for extreme conditions, Spotter technology is the most compact, lightweight, energy efficient, and cost-effective ground radar for critical infrastructure and elite warfighter requirements.
A privately held company, SpotterRF has garnered attention nationally and internationally with the world’s most compact surveillance system. Most recent 2012 awards include ASIS International “Accolades,” Popular Science Magazine “Best of What’s New,” and the Security Sales & Integration “Top 30 Tech Innovations” of the year award.
Ron King Social Entrepreneur of the Year
Robert Workman, Founder and CEO, TIFIE Humanitarian
In 2005, Robert Workman began looking for humanitarian opportunities. After 30 years as a successful entrepreneur and owner of Provo Craft and Novelty Inc., he wanted a focus that would more profoundly change people’s lives around the world. This gave rise to TIFIE Humanitarian in 2007, whose full title and mission is Teaching Individuals and Families Independence through Enterprise.
TIFIE Humanitarian is a Utah-based international organization that is pioneering a new approach to charitable efforts in Africa and the South Pacific. TIFIE has established thriving agricultural development farms, medical initiatives, business entities, and successful distribution, transportation and construction services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Western Samoa.
With this paradigm-shifting approach to humanitarian aid, TIFIE strives not only to help those in need and is the agent of positive change, but helps people realize their potential for self-sufficiency and prosperity.
Whether at home or abroad, Robert Workman is changing communities for the better around the world by introducing activities, programs and interests that bring people together into long lasting, sustainable relationships.
In 2007, Robert was recognized as the Humanitarian of the Year by ASCEND, a Humanitarian Alliance. He has been married for 30 years to his wife Angé, and they are the parents of 8 children and 11 grandchildren.
More information about TIFIE Humanitarian please visit, tifie.org
Greatest Contribution to Entrepreneurs
Shauna Leavitt Theobald was hired in September 2011 as the director of the Utah Valley University Entrepreneurship Institute in the Woodbury School of Business. Theobald was the Director for the Novell Technology Center between 2007 and 2011. This tech venture accelerator facilitated the growth of more than 35 software-based startups, creating more than 375 high-value jobs during that time period.
She has served as a board member for the following organizations: Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum; the Provo Business Development Corporation; Utah Open Source Foundation; Board of Directors for Mountainlands Association of Governments, and the Utah Valley University Alumni Board. She received the 2008 Smoot Award for Business-Education Partnership.
Shauna was the regional director of the Small Business Development Center, located on the UVU campus, from 1999 – 2006. She and her husband Michael co-taught Organizational Behavior at UVU and she currently runs the Entrepreneurship Lecture series.
Shauna holds degrees from Brigham Young University, Utah Valley University, and an MBA from Utah State University. She and Michael have four children and eleven grandchildren.
Entrepreneur of the Year
Todd Pedersen co-founded Vivint, Inc., one of the largest home automation companies in North America in 1999 and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. In 2006 and 2009, Mr. Pedersen took his entrepreneurial philosophy a step further and facilitated large credit agreements with Goldman Sachs, enabling Vivint to pursue new market opportunities. In addition to building a multi-national corporation, Mr. Pedersen has created a company culture, where employees enjoy a unique experience. This commitment to caring has extended across organizational boundaries and into the community. Mr. Pedersen was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010. Earlier this year, Vivint was acquired by The Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) for a UtahShare