Best of State


The Best of State Awards were created to recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and businesses in Utah. By recognizing excellence in our community and sharing examples of success and triumph in so many worthy endeavors, we hope we will all be inspired to reach a little higher, to try a little harder, and to work a little longer for our dreams and goals.


Mark Layton - Founder and President
President of Mark L. Layton Productions, Inc. since 1978, Mark is an award-winning writer, producer and director of national and worldwide film, video and stage events. BA, Brigham Young University.

Dana Layton - Chief Executive Officer
Dana has over 20 years of executive experience in management and production of media, live special events, tradeshows, and conventions, producing high profile events in major cities throughout the world. BA, Magna cum laude, Brigham Young University. MBA, BYU Marriott School of Management.

Evan Schmutz - General Counsel and Chairman of the Board
Director and head of litigation at Hill, Johnson & Schmutz, P.C..Evan is a member of several bar associations, and is a professional lecturer and speaker. BA and JD, Brigham Young University.


Dr. Cynthia A. Bioteau
Salt Lake Community College
Dr. Bioteau is the President of Salt Lake Community College. She has over 30 years of experience as an educator and administrator, serving in educational and mental health institutions throughout the East, most recently in North Carolina. She enjoys flyfishing, kayaking, gardening and hiking with her husband and two adult children.

Bill Bridges - Utah Valley University
Mr. Bridges is currently the Director of Institutional Advancement at Utah Valley University and formerly served as an assistant dean there. He developed and served as Executive Director of the North American Museum of Ancient Life. He and his wife Elaine are the parents of eleven children.

Clark Campbell
David Eccles School of Businessy
Clark Campbell is a professor of Executive Education at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. He is a former Senior Vice President of Administration at O. C. Tanner Recognition Company. He has a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MBA. Clark and his wife Meredith (violinist and recording artist) are the parents of seven children and six grandchildren.

Keith S Christensen
Christensen Industries
Keith is the owner of Christensen Industries, a manufacturer of parts for domestic and military aircraft. He also co-owns Wind River Petroleum, an operator of convenience stores in Utah and Idaho. Keith is an attorney and has served on the Salt Lake City council and many government and community boards.

Dan Clark
Author, Motivational Speaker
Dan Clark is an internationally recognized speaker, New York Times best selling author, philanthropist and adventurer. Dan is the primary contributing author to the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series and author of twenty of his own best selling books and is published in more than 30 million books in 30 languages worldwide.

Jim Detjen
Jim is President and CCO of Katapult Design, a 35-year old graphic design, illustration and brand identity firm. He is the founder and CEO of the distinguished Bagpipe World Cup Organisation, and serves on many corporate, editorial and community boards throughout the United States. Jim is also a highly decorated US Army veteran.

Ken Foster -Foster & Associates
Mr. Foster has been in marketing communications for 35 years working for advertising and public relations firms and the University of Utah's marketing and public relations office. He is the author of six books and has consulted with corporations and institutions across the country. Ken and his colleagues have earned more than 600 awards for creative communications and he has taught at the University of Utah for 28 years.

Ron Gunnell -Paradigm
Mr. Gunnell is a co-founder of The Paradigm Group, a diversified holding company, and Health Benefits America, a premier outsourcer of benefit management solutions. He also sings in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and is responsible for hosting celebrity guests.

Sharlene Hawkes - StoryRock
Advisory Board Chair
Ms. Hawkes is Chief Operating Officer for StoryRock, Inc., the market leader in multimedia digital yearbooks. A former Miss America, she was an award-winning ESPN sportscaster for 16 years covering events from World Cup Soccer to the Kentucky Derby.

David Jordan - Stoel Rives LLP
Mr. Jordan, a Partner with Stoel Rives law firm, concentrates his practice in commercial litigation. He is the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, and has served as vice chair of the U.S. Attorney General's Advisory Committee. Mr. Jordan was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, and is a member of the State Board of Regents.

Fred Lampropoulos - Merit Medical Systems, Inc.
Mr. Lampropoulos is Chairman and CEO of Merit Medical Systems, Inc., which he founded-a company now ranked 10th on Fortune Small Business Magazine's list of America's Fastest-Growing Small Public Companies in its July 1st edition 2004. He is an award-winning co-inventor on more than 100 patents.

Taz Murray - Dynamic Confections, Inc.
Mr. Murray is co-founder of Utah-based Dynamic Confections Inc., one of North America's top 15 candy makers. Alpine Confections, Inc. is known for managing fine quality confectionery brands, including Harry London, Kencraft, Maxfield's, Hallmark Chocolatier, Mrs. Field's, Botticelli, Dolce D'Or, Fannie May and Fanny Farmer.

Elly Muth - Cerg,Inc.
Ms. Muth had a distinguished business management career with the JC Penney Company responsible for all regional marketing efforts. She is a member of the Salt Lake Council of Women Hall of Fame.

Thomas Shepard - VISA International
Mr. Shepard is Executive Vice President of Gobal Marketing Partnerships and Sponsorships for Visa International in San Francisco. He has also served as Executive Director of the US Alpine Ski Championships from 1987-1991.

Jim Wall - Deseret Morning News
Mr. Wall is the current President and Publisher of the Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City. He is a Past President of New England Newspapers, Inc.

Best of State Medal
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