By Mark Tullis | Posted - Apr 17th, 2024





Governor Spencer Cox Honors Individuals and Companies at One Utah Summit and Announces The Startup State Initiative

Salt Lake City, Utah, April 17, 2024

Above: Juliette Bautista Barahona, a pioneer in STEM education and digital literacy, a 2021 Women Tech Awardee, and founder of Club Ability, received the Utah Governor's Science and Technology Medal for outstanding contribution to technological and educational advancement in the state. 

At last week's One Utah Summit, Governor Spencer Cox, Lieutenant Governor, Deidre Henderson, and the summit’s organizing partners honored several individuals and companies making significant contributions to Utah’s economy, local communities, and industries. These awards have had different names through the decades-long history of the governor’s economic summit. Two years ago the Governor's Economic Summit went through a brand refresh and going forward is now called One Utah Summit. The long-standing practice of honoring notable Utah contributors has remained a highlight of the Summit.

The Summit dedicated the lunch hour of its plenary session to honor individuals and companies that help make Utah "The Startup State." That is the moniker of a new initiative announced at the Summit by Governor Cox and several members of GOEO. It is a collective effort to amplify Utah's already thriving entrepreneur community and elevate statewide conversations, networks, and resources around the idea that Utah is, in fact, the most hospitable place in the nation—the world—for entrepreneurs to start a new business.

As a practical measure of the initiative, GOEO announced a new website,—a portal designed to support startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs through a variety of tools: a business plan generator, a step-by-step guide of navigating the startup journey, and other tools to help motivate and equip entrepreneurs in Utah "to start something new," which turned out to be the de facto slogan of the Summit. 

Calling out the efforts of several notable contributors, the Summit honored individuals that live and work full-time in the state and have supported the local economy for five years or more. On the company side, eligible companies have maintained operations in Utah for five or more years.

The Governor’s Awards recipients for 2024 are:

  • Utah Business Leader Community Impact Award — Keith B. McMullin, Retired President and CEO, Deseret Management Corporation (presented by the Governor’s Office in partnership with the Salt Lake Chamber)
  • Utah Businessperson of the Year — Lavanya Mahate, Founder and CEO, Saffron Valley Restaurants, Bix Bakery & Cafe, and RISE Culinary Institute (presented by the Governor’s Office in partnership with GOED)
  • Utah Business of the Year — bioMérieux (presented by the governor’s office in partnership with GOED)
  • Utah International Person of the Year — Fraser Bullock, President and CEO, Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games (presented by the Governor’s Office in partnership with World Trade Center Utah
  • Utah International Business of the Year — PMI Foods (presented by the Governor’s Office in partnership with World Trade Center Utah)
  • Cameron Russell Williams Rising Impact Award — Kimmy Paluch, Managing Partner, Beta Boom (presented in partnership with the Cameron Russell Williams Impact Fund)
  • Pete Suazo Business of the Year — Rancho Markets (presented in partnership with the Suazo Business Center)
  • Utah Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology
    • K-12 Education — Juliette Bautista Barahona, Founder and Director, Club Ability
    • Academic/Research — Cornelia Ulrich, Ph.D., M.S., Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Huntsman Cancer Institute
    • Industry — Gregory C. Critchfield, M.D., M.S. (presented in partnership with the Utah Innovation Center)
  • Energy Pioneer Award — OxEon Energy (presented by the Governor’s Office in partnership with the Utah Office of Energy Development).

Mark Tullis
About the Author

Mark Tullis - Mark is Co-founder and Editor of TechBuzz News. Born and raised in Ogden, Utah, Mark attended Weber State, Brigham Young, and Tufts Universities. He has been involved in tech, media, publishing and education since the 1980s. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, and playing the saxophone.



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