Utah companies making a difference across the globe

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USB flash drives, copper and metal products, blenders and family history records have seemingly little in common. They are products and services people around the world use each day, but they all share another common denominator: they are all made in Utah.

Utah-based companies, including Ancestry.com in Provo and Blendtec in Orem, play a role in Utah’s connection to global markets. Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, provides family records and information to more than 2.7 million paying subscribers. Blendtec, a manufacturer of high-speed blenders and accessories, is active in more than 85 countries throughout the world.

Digital family history records can be shared with individuals all over the world (Heather Erickson).
Digital family history records can be shared with individuals all over the world using Ancestry.com. (Heather Erickson)

Both corporations chose to build their headquarters in Utah Valley not only because of the proximity to BYU and UVU, but because of the exemplary character of students and residents living in the local area.

Harvey Scott, vice president of corporate and international development at Blendtec, understands the importance Utah Valley plays in Blendtec’s success.

“BYU and UVU produce amazing students where almost everyone is bilingual. We run a call center out of Orem, and we are able to provide a level of service that we could not provide without those students in the area,” he said. “Every single day there are over 130 languages spoken in Utah. We’ve got an incredible asset with so many different languages spoken in such a localized area.”

Utah corporations make an impact all over the world, exporting products and services to diverse nations across the planet. Utah continues to grow as one of the nation’s leading exporters of goods and services, ranked fifth overall by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce despite boasting only the 33rd largest population.

According to its website, Kennecott Copper, located in the Salt Lake Valley, produces nearly a quarter of U.S. annual refined copper production. The Bingham Canyon Mine is one of the top-producing copper mines in the world, with a total production of more than 19 million tons.

IM Flash, located in Lehi, is the largest exporter of non-metals in Utah, producing about 7 percent of the world’s digital flash storage devices.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Metals make up a majority of Utah’s exports, representing about 55 percent of the total. Computer electronics, Utah’s 2nd-largest export category, was up 20 percent. Exports of food and related products rose 14 percent, and exports of transportation equipment grew by 2 percent. Exports account for about 15 percent of Utah’s gross state product, and Utah is the only state to have increased its exports every year for the past 10 years.”

Ancestry.com began as a small publishing company in 1983 but has expanded into an internationally renowned corporation.

Heather Erickson, head of global communications at Ancestry.com, notes the tremendous growth within the company since its inception.

Ancestry.com headquarters located in Provo, Utah (Heather Erickson)
Ancestry.com headquarters located in Provo. (Heather Erickson)

“We have 1,400 employees, with 900 based in Utah in the Provo office. We also have a few other offices in Salt Lake City. We also have offices in San Francisco. We have offices in Sydney and London. We have grown because we are a global business.  We have been fortunate to be a leader in the family history industry. You get to not only work on challenging things, but we’re also working with DNA and family information; but it’s a meaningful product that is important to families.”

Ancestry’s products allow individuals and families to find and connect to their ancestors and relatives, providing them with an understanding of their family history across generations. Erickson said, “Users of Ancestry.com can even take an ancestry DNA test, which displays ancestors and can create ties to cousins and family members. Launched in May of 2012, the DNA tools provide a very in-depth analysis that allows individuals to predict ethnicity and link to cousins.”

The Blendtec corporation is also helping to bring Utah into the international spotlight.

“(Blendtec) is active in 85 countries. This is really significant. We are growing at an unbelievable rate. We began in the mixer business, and now we’re at the top of the blender industry. We’ve become the best in the business,” Scott said.

Blendtec’s innovative products allow customers all over the world to increase health benefits from the food they prepare.

“It is changing the way that we address our eating habits. Before, it took four or five minutes to make fresh soup. You can make a hot soup out of your Blendtec in 90 seconds. The raw food movement across the U.S. would not be possible without a high-speed blender. As we perfect this machine, it grants families access to easily prepared, healthy food,” Scott said.

Jeff Wasden, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Blendtec, also remarked on how blender technology is changing the way people interact with their food.

“The average family spends about 40 minutes a day preparing food (down from six hours in 1965). We have reduced meal prep time by over five hours a day by eating more prepared and processed foods. This shift in how and what we eat is one of the reasons we have had an explosion in obesity over the past 30 years. People are discovering that high-speed blenders enable them to make healthy food fast. In five minutes or less, you can make and drink a smoothie packed with fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts.”

These are just a few of the many companies whose influence stretches far beyond Utah’s borders. Utah continues to attract new companies and employees seeking opportunities for growth and expansion, making it an ideal place for people to make a difference.

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