Staying power is the secret to business success, Huntsman Gay CEO Bob Gay tells Utah Technology Council

SALT LAKE CITY, April 12, 2010– “Too often businesses fail because they fail to pay attention to the obvious,” says Bob Gay, Co-Founder and CEO of Hunstman Gay Global Capital. “Business leaders jump into action without really doing their homework, and then they lack the staying power to really succeed. “ Gay shared his remarks with a sold-out audience of Utah business leaders at the Utah Technology Council (UTC) Annual Members’ Meeting Luncheon at Salt Lake’s Grand America Hotel on April 9.

Gay noted the example of several companies his father launched with the late Howard Hughes as well as recent companies funded by organizations such as Bain Capital in Boston, Mass. In a humorous example, he noted a company called “Hop-Too” with overhead slides and a plan to launch Chinese fast food delivery for Boston University.

Bain was highly interested in Hop-Too, but didn’t fund the company formally. Instead, they helped the company launch the firm through individual investments by the executives with a pass of the hat. Soon, Hop-Too food began showing up at Bain’s meetings until several weeks later when three of the company’s employees became very sick from the Hop-Too food. The investors suddenly realized that in all their analysis no one had actually tasted the food. It was terrible. Equally problematic, no one had asked the universities if food delivery services could operate on their campuses. They could not, and Hop-Too was unable to get the permits required. A short time later, Hop-Too was dissolved.

In other examples, Gay noted the seven months his father spent with Howard Hughes test flying every commercial jet in the country before deciding to go “all in” on the creation of TWA. TWA was a company with staying power because Hughes insisted they do their due diligence thoroughly before he took that critical step.

“Staying power is the secret,” Gay said. “Do thorough homework. Never ignore the obvious. And remember that arrogance is the downfall of business,” he added. “A great product and a strong business plan are not enough. Pride, quality and service will produce the staying power that will allow companies to last and succeed.”

UTC 2010 Awards

At the event, UTC President Richard R. Nelson and Chairman Alan Hall also presented the following UTC Awards:

UTC recognized Utah Governor Gary Herbert for his “bold leadership” resulting in significantly higher funding for public and higher education in the 2010 legislative session, thus helping to provide a quality workforce for Utah even in the face of budget reductions in many areas of the state’s budget this year.
TRUSTEE EMERITUS – JOHN M. KNAB – was acknowledged for his work in helping to establish the structure and foundation of the Utah Technology Council (formed as the result of a merger between UITA and ULSA in 2006) as one of the founding members of the UITA Executive Committee where he served for years. John Knab has made numerous contributions to Utah’s technology industry during his many years as a leading executive and employer as will as through his work in organizations such as UTC.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR – JEFF VANEK, acknowledged for his work on UTC’s survey of high school students to help determine what motivates them to further their education.
OUTSTANDING TECHNOLOGY ADVOCATE – REPRESENTATIVE BRADLEY G. LAST, acknowledged for his sponsorship of the Clean Tech Bill – Renewable Energy Financing Provisions. He also was the co-sponsor of the E-Commerce Integrity Act.
LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR – SENATOR STEPHEN H. URQUHART, acknowledged for his leadership and sponsorship of the E-Commerce Integrity Act. This landmark legislation places Utah at the forefront of trademark protection.
LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR – SENATOR DAN LILJENQUIST, acknowledged for his leadership and sponsorship of the E-Commerce Integrity Act.
DISTINGUISHED EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR – DEAN RICHARD B. BROWN, acknowledged for his efforts in improving Utah’s Quality Workforce. He has been instrumental in advocating STEM efforts through programs such as the Engineering Initiative.
HR EXEC OF THE YEAR – ALISON NIELSON, of Control4, was acknowledged for her ardent support of the HR Exec P2P Forum for the last four years and for co-chairing that Forum.
SALES EXEC OF THE YEAR – KELLY THOMPSON, Alexander’s Print Advantage, was acknowledged for his phenomenal growth of accounts and ability to service his customers with a professional and proficient attitude, as well as his tireless support of UTC through the Sales Exec P2P forums.
MARKETING EXEC OF THE YEAR – BRUCE LAW, Sprout Marketing, was acknowledged for his marketing guidance to the UTC which has helped to create the framework of UTC’s strategic agenda. He was also acknowledged for his long-term involvement on the Executive Committee and for initiating the Marketing Exec P2P Forum with Cydni Tetro.
EMERGING EXEC OF THE YEAR – BRANDT PAGE, Launch Sales & Marketing, was acknowledged for his tireless energy in starting a successful Utah company and for his exceptional support and participation in the Emerging Exec P2P Forum.
CTO OF THE YEAR – CHRIS HELLEWELL, Spillman Technologies, was acknowledged for co-chairing the CTO P2P Forum and for his avid support of that Forum for the last five years.
CFO OF THE YEAR – KENT THOMAS, CFO Solutions, was acknowledged for his great ability and expertise in mentoring young Utah start-ups and for his leadership within the UTC CFO P2P Forum and as co-chair of the Forum.
CEO OF THE YEAR – JEFF NELSON, Nelson Labs, was acknowledged for his ability to grow an outstanding Utah technology company while serving as a community builder and establishing a corporate culture
for others to emulate. He has also played a major role in UTC’s Life Science Leadership Council and its work on BIOVision.
In addition to the industry awards, Nelson noted that UTC’s Board of Trustees also presented the following awards:
TRUSTEE OF THE YEAR – TIM HUNT, Go Natural CNG, was acknowledged for his co-efforts with Todd Stevens in the formation of the UTC Clean Tech Sector, and for his membership outreach and his involvement as a Trustee as well as for his Executive Committee service.
TRUSTEE OF THE YEAR – TODD STEVENS, Renewable Tech Ventures, was acknowledged for his co-efforts with Tim Hunt in the formation of the UTC Clean Tech Sector, as well as for his membership outreach and his involvement as a Trustee and for his Executive Committee service.

The UTC board also recognized outgoing trustees KENT ERICKSON for his outstanding contributions as a member of the Board of Trustees from 2006-2010 and JOHN L. WEST for serving on the Board from 2002-2010 as well as helping to establish the headquarters for UTC and their annual Golf Tournament.
For more information on UTC initiatives and events please visit

Additional Resources
Twitter: UtahTechCouncil
Facebook: Utah Technology Council

About Utah Technology Council
Utah's premier professional association, the Utah Technology Council has become the essential business resource for high-tech, life science and clean tech companies seeking to achieve greater success. At its core, UTC exists to foster the Growth of the state's 5,700 technology companies, ensure Utah develops the highest Quality Workforce in the nation and attract an ever-increasing array of Funding. Members join UTC to share insights with industry peers, counsel with government and academic leaders and receive help from professional service providers and funding resources. To become a member of this “must-join” organization, visit or call 801-568-3500 today.