February 9, 2015

Cover Story

Forty under 40

Each year, Utah Business magazine honors 40 of the state’s most tale...Read More

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Forty under 40

Utah’s Rising Stars

By Utah Business editors

February 9, 2015

Rob Pikus 38
Pikus Concrete & Construction, LLC

As a teenager, Rob Pikus worked on a residential concrete crew. He admits it wasn’t exciting, but it was good, honest work. After graduating from high school, attending a year of college and serving a two-year mission for the LDS Church, he didn’t think he’d get back into concrete work.

He tried a few other jobs while he was finishing his college degree, but always went back to concrete. “When I was 22 I decided to start my own company,” he says. “At first I did small residential houses alone. I packed in the forms, would lay out the job, pour the concrete, and then strip it when it was done. If I had to work into the night my wife would come and shine the car headlights on the job so I could see. I finally hired three employees in the summer of 1999, and the company took off from there.”

Pikus Concrete then grew into large custom homes, followed by small commercial projects, and finally into industrial and large commercial specialty structures. Today, Pikus can say he’s helped to build more than 500 structures in Utah alone, including Utah Valley University’s baseball stadium and the Timpanogos sewer treatment plant.

“A good leader listens to people and gives them room to grow professionally. If I was a micromanager, I would have failed a long time ago.”

Ryan Poelman 38
Chief Executive Officer, BuyPD
Co-founder, Nudge

Ryan Poelman’s life in business has been all about tenacity. Currently, Poelman helms BuyPD, a business providing turnkey rental properties to investors. BuyPD has been featured as one of Inc. 500’s fastest-growing companies, employs over 100 people, has clients in seven countries and brings in over $80 million in sales. However, BuyPD’s success did not come without Poelman overcoming challenges earlier in his career.

In 2006, he founded Bloosky Interactive, an online advertising agency that reached over $100 million in revenue annually. However, in 2010, online advertising consolidated, changing to eliminate much of what Bloosky provided. “Lesson learned,” says Poelman. “Do a better job anticipating the future.”

Poelman wasted no time in applying the lesson to real estate, founding BuyPD at the “absolute bottom” of the housing market crash. His anticipation served him well, as BuyPD completed over 3,000 home sales from 2010 to 2014.

In 2014, Poelman also co-founded Nudge, a parent to real estate service companies offering services such as property management and commercial lending.

“[A good leader has] vision and the ability to communicate it, setting proper expectations with those you work with, clients and employees.”

Heidi Prokop 39
Senior Vice President/Communications Manager
Zions Bank

In her role at Zions Bank, Heidi Prokop is responsible for media relations for the bank’s 126 branches, internal and external communications, and financial education outreach. As part of that outreach, Prokop and her team mobilized Zions Bank employees to teach 11,600 school children about savings and differentiating “needs” from “wants.”

Prokop helped the bank develop its annual Smart Women grant program, researching best practices for formulating the award criteria and application process. Over the past decade, Zions has awarded more than $180,000 to projects through the program.

“I love storytelling, and Zions Bank’s leadership, employees and clients have great stories to tell,” she says. “With local news outlets shrinking their staffs and resources, I’ve had to adapt earned media strategies to generate coverage for Zions Bank.”

Prokop serves on the boards of directors of KRCL and the Utah Film Center. Additionally, she was twice listed among Zions’ “Top Women’s Banking Team” in American Banker magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in Banking.”

“The most successful people I know are willing to raise their hands and take on new assignments, try new things and take risks, and approach their jobs with energy and purpose.”

Travis L. Snyder 36
Founder/Chief Executive Officer
The Color Run LLC, Bigsley Event House

Travis Snyder started his first business at the age of 14, mowing lawns in Orem. His love of the outdoors, exercise and ambition to succeed led him to found Racetri, a Utah triathalon; followed by Red Rock Relay, a long-distance relay race; and finally, The Color Run. The Color Run has become the largest running event in the world, with over 4 million runners having crossed its finish line since its inception.

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