Utah companies recognized for leadership, training and creativity

Three executives earn top honors, while other firms gain Top Workplaces awards for everything from direction and values to communication and benefits.

Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune Jake Bradford, 12, hugs Chief PAWSitivity Officer Ollie at the Ronald McDonald House Wednesday May 25, 2016. Ollie is a certified facility therapy dog.

The Salt Lake Tribune’s Top Workplaces report annually selects three top executives — one each from a large, midsize and small company — for leadership awards.

It also recognizes companies for their work in specific areas such as employee training, encouraging new ideas and promoting a work-life balance.

The annual survey, conducted by Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm, resulted in these leadership and special awards for 2020:

(Photo courtesy of MX) Ryan Caldwell, is founder of MX, a Lehi-based financial technology company.

Leadership: large company

Ryan Caldwell, MX • It’s a given that as founder of a Lehi-based financial technology company, Caldwell is smart and driven. “Ryan is very passionate about the MX mission — empowering the world to be financially strong," said one employee commenter. “That mission always comes first and foremost.”

But employees say their leader is much more, using words like “candid,” “compassionate,” “caring” and “chill” to describe him.

“One thing that inspires my confidence is his ability to recognize when to take a step back to reflect on what is truly important,” another worker wrote. “Beyond his ability to lead a company, he is equally passionate about his family, friends, opportunity, inclusiveness, and being a good person, which inspires me to be a better employee and individual.”

(Photo courtesy of AvantGuard Monitoring Centers) The Ogden headquarters for AvantGuard Monitoring Centers.

Leadership: midsize company

Justin Bailey, AvantGuard Monitoring Centers • His employees may be distant physically, but Bailey has found a way to keep them emotionally connected during the past six months through “presidential dispatch videos.”

It’s one of many ways the leader of this Ogden-based alarm monitoring company instills confidence in his team.

Described as “talented, smart and innovative," Bailey "knows what is going on in the industry,” said one employee. “He is forward thinking and is proactive rather than reactive. He has selected an amazing executive team to back him up and to work with.”

Employees also appreciate that he "does his best to know EVERY person’s name in the company” and “he is always telling us how much he appreciates us and that the work we’re doing is worthwhile.”

Leadership: small company

Julie Smith, Get Away Today Vacations • Employees at this South Ogden travel agency — which specializes in vacations to Southern California, Hawaii and Mexico — appreciate everything about their boss. Commenters used words like: positive, happy, fun, caring, hardworking, motivated.

“She is an incredible role model and leader for our company,” said one employee, "and I’m so grateful to have her as an example and friend.

Another said Smith and the other managers lead “with hope and optimism.”

“I feel encouraged to be better,” the person wrote, “because of their amazing, inspiring and positive examples.”


Lendio • Employees like where this 9-year-old Lehi business services company is headed, using words such as “transparent," “teamwork," “humble" and “hardworking” to describe the culture. “We are on pace to help the entire small-business marketplace find resources they need to succeed,” said one commenter. “We are going to go far.” Added another person: “Whatever direction Lendio goes, I trust and respect the process in which they will get there.”


BambooHR • Managers at this Lindon-based company — which provides human resources software for small- to medium-size businesses and has become a mainstay in Top Workplaces surveys — earned positive praise from employees. My manager “coaches me, thanks me for things I’m doing well, is open about improvements that need to be made and helps me to make those improvements," said one person. “I know he truly cares about my success as a person and a professional." And this from a longtime employee: “Every manager I have had at BambooHR (and I’ve had a few over the years) has trusted me to be a professional and do my very best work. I am trusted with projects and support is always available to help me achieve my end goals.”

New ideas

Avalaunch Media • This digital marketing agency in Lehi specializes in visual content and is considered one of the top infographic providers in the United States. To earn that distinction, employees say, creativity has to be a top priority. “It’s part of our culture,” said one worker. “Most people who are hired have a big personality that drives new ideas." Employees said they felt comfortable sharing their thoughts in a variety of formats “including company announcements, group chats and emails.”


Tesani • Since it launched in 2013, this Orem-based holding company has built several businesses from the ground up. Good communication is the key, according to employees. “From the CEO and co-founder down to each employee, there hasn’t been a time," said one commenter, “where we couldn’t ask a question or — when decisions are made — that it isn’t been shared openly as to why." Synergy among co-workers is another factor. “Tesani makes sure that everyone is aware of the goals," said one employee. "I always have a strong feeling that we are all on the same team.”


Achieve Today • The nature of this Orem-based educational technology company — which provides one-on-one coaching and immersive learning — makes employees feel their jobs are worthwhile. “We genuinely serve other people’s needs,” said one commenter. “I get to help the students in a big way because they tell me so,” added another.


Health Catalyst Inc. • Employees at this heath-care vendor shared numerous examples of how strong values permeate the workplace. “During the pandemic," one worker noted, “leadership has tried everything possible to maintain team member engagement and not unreasonably reduce benefits.” The company has been “transparent about our market position and operations,” said another person. And “included the whole company in the decision to move the main office.”

Clued-in senior management

1-800 Contacts • Top-level managers, including the CEO of this Draper-based company, communicate across a number of channels so everyone knows how things are going — good and bad. “They take the time to meet with individuals at any level of the organization, which just makes them feel more approachable and human,” a commenter said. “They reach out to see how we are doing. They always look at ways we can be better.”


Ronald McDonald House Charities • The Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City serves as a home away from home for families whose children are getting treatment at area pediatric hospitals. But the charity can’t deliver on its mission without having open lines of communication. Employees "always have someone to rely on” and they always know what the “plans for the future” hold.


RainFocus • Employees at this Lehi-based event marketing software company feel appreciated because their hard work gets “recognition from managers” and “mentions from other departments." There’s nothing better than “seeing our product succeed and hearing about the successes.”

Work-life flexibility

Sirsi Corp. • The pandemic has heightened the need for a flexible work schedule, whether employees are home-schooling children or visiting elderly parents. Sirsi, a Lehi company that makes software for libraries, understood the work-life balance issue long before COVID-19 hit, employees say. “They allow me to take the time I need to tend to my family, realizing family needs to be the priority over work.”


Tanner LLC • There are numerous training programs at this Salt Lake City accounting firm that employees find especially helpful. The “fast-track" training “where we share common issues, successes and failures," is appreciated, said one employee. So is the coaching program “which helps me grow” added another commenter. A third person said: “The leadership and crucial conversations training have been the most valuable."


Stratus.hr • It’s no surprise that a Sandy-based human resources company would offer a generous employee benefit package. “I had my teeth cleaned yesterday and it was at no cost,” said one commenter. “My prescriptions are practically nil,” added another. This employee raved about all the comprehensive offerings: “I have great benefits. I am saving for retirement. I love our parties and activities, our employee recognition programs and monthly coaching sessions with my manager.”