Meet Scott Osborne, South Jordan's new mayor
South Jordan • Scott Osborne would have loved to stay and chat over lunch, but he was in a bit of a hurry.
The new mayor of South Jordan had a ribbon cutting to attend before heading back to the office where he runs two companies, and then hustling home to care for his 85-year-old mother, who lives across the street.
A meeting with state legislators, the ribbon cutting and Tribune interview, and an all-day "visioning" meeting for the city made Osborne's first full week as mayor a busy one.
"I don't think my feet have touched the ground" since he was appointed Jan. 3, he said.
But busy equals happy for Osborne, who wanted to give back to the community he has called home since 1981. With his four children grown and his businesses running smoothly, Osborne joined the pool of 19 applicants to replace retiring Mayor Kent Money.
The City Council's choice of Osborne to lead the burg of nearly 54,000 came as a surprise to Osborne. Though he has always taken an interest in the workings of the city and local politics, he was competing with several former council and planning commission members and others with political experience.
"Having a newcomer appealed to us, simply because he had nothing to unlearn," said Councilman Brian Buttars. "He brings no baggage with him."
Buttars also cited Osborne's business experience as a factor in tapping him for the part-time job, which carries an annual salary of $16,427. Though City Manager John Geilmann runs day-to-day operations, Buttars said the mayor serves an important role as a leader on decisions impacting the city and its $30.5 million budget.
Mixing business and pleasure • Osborne runs Osborne Engineering Supply, which was founded by his father. He began working there selling drafting tables and slide rules, but has shifted with the industry and now offers Computer-Assisted Design software, plotting machines and custom-made paper products for blueprints and plans.
Osborne's passion for golf inadvertently led to another venture, Vision Perfect Software. His friend Steve May invited him to Wendover to play in a tournament May organized. After the event, May complained about how tough it was to manage the logistics. Osborne sat down with a programer from his other company and developed a tournament-management program.
The software has since been used in tournaments all over the world. Selling a niche product comes with a perk: Osborne can golf at any course that uses his product and indulge in one of his favorite pastimes.
"Some people question whether what I do is golf or not," Osborne joked abut his talents. "But I enjoy the game."
May calls Osborne "a great friend, a great guy," and says he'll do well as mayor. Osborne is family-oriented, May said, an attribute the city promotes.
Osborne's family has always come first, said his wife, Denice, and he manages to spend plenty of time at home despite his busy schedule. The couple got in the habit of taking their kids when traveling for business, and today take at least one big trip each year with the whole family. The U.S. history buffs loved Colonial Williamsburg and Gettysburg, Denice said, as well as international destinations like Italy. Osborne harbors a burning love for India, where he often travels for business.
The Osbornes boast they have the most adorable grandchildren in Utah, and possibly the nation. The three girls and two boys live nearby, and Osborne often spends time with them. Lately their favorite activity has been flying the remote-controlled helicopters they got for Christmas. Osborne got one, too.
From neighbor to mayor • Osborne, who serves in the LDS Church as a stake high councilman for young single adults, said he is inspired by young people. His youth group up to 1,500 young adults show up at activities is always looking for volunteer projects, Osborne said, an asset he hopes to use to benefit the city.
Suzie McInnes, who has lived next door to the family since 1981, describes Osborne as a good neighbor. This year, McInnes was unable to plant most of her large garden. Osborne always made sure she had her favorite cantaloupe from his garden, McInnes said, without her even mentioning her situation.
"He's like the whole package," McInnes said. "He is honest, he can speak eloquently and he's just a great guy."
Osborne credits McInnes for pushing him to seek office. She frequently reminded about the filing deadline and made him promise to apply.
He may have been cautious about seeking office, but since being appointed Osborne has thrown himself into the work. His vision for South Jordan's future includes a regional mall near the Mountain View Corridor, further development in Daybreak that is expected to double the city's population, and infrastructure to cope with the growing traffic and transit coming to the city.
"We have enjoyed the blessings of South Jordan," Osborne said of his wife and family. "We felt like this was a chance to pay back."
About Scott Osborne
Age • Age 57
Education • Graduate of Bingham High School
Family • Married to Denice for 35 years. Four children, five grandchildren
Employment • Owns and operates Osborne Engineering Supply and Vision Perfect Software
Hobbies • Spending time with family, golf, gardening and serving in the LDS Church
Fun facts • Can get on any golf course that uses his tournament software, including courses in India, England and famed Pebble Beach
Loves to garden and plants at least 8,000 square feet of vegetables each year but also loves to plant roses.