Each year, the summit provides an opportunity for Gov. Cox to recognize outstanding individuals and companies for their contributions at work and to the state.

Below are the 2024 Governor’s Awards honorees.

Check out the summit webpage on the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity’s site to learn more about the governor’s awards, including a history of previous award-winners.

Utah Business Leader Community Impact Award
Presented in partnership with the Salt Lake Chamber
Keith B. McMullin, Retired President & CEO, Deseret Management Corporation

Keith B. McMullin recently retired as president and chief executive officer of Deseret Management Corporation, serving since 2012. He was a general authority and member of the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1995 to 2012. Before this, he served as managing director of the Church’s welfare services activities. He also had earlier been with Ford Motor Company and several small businesses. McMullin is a graduate of the University of Utah. In addition to his service in the community, McMullin was a long-standing member of the Salt Lake Chamber Board and was elected chair in 2016.

“I thank Gov. Cox, Lt. Gov. Henderson, and the One Utah Summit for this special award. Utah, the Crossroads of the West, is also an important crossroads for the nation and increasingly other parts of the world. Its governor, businesses, and citizens are extending the state’s influence in remarkable ways. In Utah’s finest traditions, may we continue to be united, respectful, and dedicated to promoting the well-being of others.”

—Keith B. McMullin

Utah Businessperson of the Year
Presented in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity
Lavanya Mahate, Founder & CEO, Saffron Valley Restaurants, Bix Bakery & Cafe, and RISE Culinary Institute

Before venturing into gastronomy, Lavanya Mahate served as the Women’s Business Center director at the Salt Lake Chamber, helping clients realize their dreams of entrepreneurship. Lavanya is also the founder of RISE Culinary Institute, a nonprofit that provides free culinary training to refugees. Lavanya was named one of the 30 Women to Watch by Utah Business magazine in 2009. She received the Rising Star Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners in 2011, Outstanding Business Owner in 2014 by the Utah Asian Chamber of Commerce, Pathfinder Award in 2017 by the Salt Lake Chamber, Entrepreneur of the Year in 2022 by Girl Scouts of Utah, and many other awards and recognitions. She has served on several boards, including the Utah Hogle Zoo, the Utah Asian Chamber of Commerce, the India Cultural Center of Utah, the Governor’s Multi-Ethnic Committee, the Salt Lake County New American Task Force, and the Salt Lake County Board of Health.

“I am deeply grateful and honored to have been selected by Gov. Cox as the Utah Businessperson of the Year. The fact that out of all the founders in Utah and all the companies on Silicon Slopes, Gov. Cox and the team selected me for this award is truly humbling and awe-inspiring. This recognition comes with a significant responsibility and duty that I am ready and eager to embrace. I have been fortunate to be guided and inspired by many mentors — both women and men — along my journey. Now it is my turn to pay it forward and inspire the next generation of young entrepreneurs.”

Lavanya Mahate

Utah Business of the Year
Presented in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity

bioMérieux is a family-led global biotechnology company founded in 1963 and headquartered in Marcy-l'Étoile, France, with its North American headquarters in Salt Lake City. It is a world leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics focused on making the world a healthier place. bioMérieux is present in 45 countries, serves more than 160 countries with the support of a large network of distributors, employs over 14,000 people globally, and has 14 research and development centers.

bioMérieux established a presence in Salt Lake City in 2014 by acquiring and integrating BioFire Diagnostics, one of the most successful companies ever created from technologies developed at the University of Utah. According to BioUtah, bioMérieux is the second-largest life sciences employer in the state, with 3,500 team members spread across six sites with approximately 300 jobs available today. Since 2014, bioMérieux has invested more than $200 million into its Salt Lake City operations, including constructing a new headquarters facility, a Global Center for Molecular Diagnostics, and a manufacturing center employing 1,300 team members and operating 24/7.

“In a state with so many amazing, successful companies, we are honored that Gov. Cox is recognizing bioMérieux as the 2024 Utah Business of the Year. We may not be a household name in Utah, but our work profoundly impacts human health globally. This award recognizes the innovative and pioneering spirit of our 3,500 Salt Lake City-based team members. This award is for them, from research and development to manufacturing and all the back-office support teams. We’ve known for a long time that bioMérieux is a really special company and a great place to work. And we are delighted that as a result of this recognition, the Salt Lake City community will now learn more about that, too.”

—Colin Hill, General Manager, bioMérieux North America

Utah International Person of the Year
Presented in partnership with World Trade Center Utah
Fraser Bullock, President & CEO, Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games

Fraser Bullock is president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games. He is recognized for his decades-long contributions to Utah’s Winter Olympics endeavors and his steadfast advocacy for the state’s Olympic legacy. As COO and CFO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Bullock played a key role in delivering one of the most successful Olympic Winter Games in history, recognized for a great athlete experience, near-flawless operations, and generating a $100 million profit. From guiding the successful 2002 Winter Olympics and Paralympics to laying the groundwork for hosting the 2034 Winter Olympics, his visionary leadership has left a lasting impact.

His dedication and leadership as a business and community leader have led to a profound international impact on our state’s economy.

"We are blessed in Utah to have leaders like Gov. Cox who have the vision to see the value the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bring to the people and communities of our state. I'm appreciative of this honor. But I want it to serve as a message to communities across Utah to further highlight the opportunities the Winter Games in 2034 can bring to all of us and to reflect the great pride we feel in our State of Sport."

—Fraser Bullock

Utah International Business of the Year
Presented in partnership with World Trade Center Utah
PMI Foods

Founded in Salt Lake City in 1992, PMI Foods is a global food distribution company with offices strategically distributed across six continents and products sold in more than 60 countries. Due to its unique structure and in-depth knowledge of local requirements, it can provide global supply chain solutions.

“To be recognized by the governor for our work at PMI Foods is truly a humbling experience. Our mission is to feed people by sourcing and distributing protein products worldwide. We love doing business in Utah. We have a wonderful, highly skilled, talented pool of people in this state, allowing us to grow PMI Foods. We are excited, honored, and grateful to receive this award on behalf of our 30 global offices and over 650 employees worldwide. Thank you, Gov. Cox.”

—Darin L. Parker, President, PMI Foods

Cameron Russell Williams Rising Impact Award
Presented in partnership with the Cameron Russell Williams Impact Fund
Kimmy Paluch, Managing Partner, Beta Boom

This award honors a business and technology entrepreneur who’s poised to have an impact on bringing together diverse people and providing opportunities that create prosperity for Utahns.

Kimmy Paluch grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and fell in love with computers as a kid. She’s a tech entrepreneur, former software engineer, and diversity advocate. In college and early in her career, she was often the only Black woman computer scientist in the room. She developed the whitespace gaming division for LeapFrog Inc. and served as Director of Digital Marketing for a 3D printing toy startup in the Midwest. Kimmy has a B.A. in computer science and Spanish from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. She’s been recognized as one of VC Journal’s Women of Influence, Impact magazine’s Women of Impact, and Utah Business Women of the Year.

“My deepest gratitude to Gov. Cox and the Cameron Russell Williams Impact Fund for this recognition. Through my work at Beta Boom Capital, I have the privilege of investing in incredibly inspiring founders who are building extraordinary startups that are solving our society’s greatest challenges. Through this work, I aspire to create a legacy of impact that hopefully honors the incredible legacy of the life and man for whom this award is named. I, like Cameron, believe in creating rising tides that can lift all boats, so I’m especially honored to accept this award. Here’s to always ‘think big, and then bigger than that.”

—Kimmy Paluch

Pete Suazo Business of the Year
Presented in partnership with the Suazo Business Center
Rancho Markets

This is the inaugural year of the Pete Suazo Business of the Year award in partnership with the Suazo Business Center. The recognition celebrates the company’s success and contributions to Utah’s business and Latino communities and the state’s overall economy.

Rancho Markets was founded on the values of determination, great faith, and vision. Rancho Markets is Utah-owned and operates in 10 locations across the Wasatch Front. The company understands the shopping needs of its valued customers. It puts customers first and strives to provide the best prices and quality products. Rancho Markets is a valued community partner and thanks community members for their unwavering support.

“Dream big. Work hard. Do better. Stay humble.”

—Eli Madrigal, Founder & CEO, Rancho Markets

Utah Office of Energy Development Award

Energy Pioneer Award
Presented in partnership with the Utah Office of Energy Development
OxEon Energy

OxEon Energy LLC is a cleantech startup located in North Salt Lake. OxEon was founded in 2017 by three long-term colleagues instrumental in creating the company's technologies. The company has had significant success in attracting commercial, state, and federal government organizations utilizing its core capabilities in energy transformation technologies. The company's sales volume in its first year surpassed $2 million. The company expects further growth in its core technologies of high-temperature electrolysis, hydrocarbon reforming, synthetic fuel production, and power generation by high-temperature fuel cells.

As nations worldwide aggressively chart a course for substantial decarbonization by 2050, the challenge of “hard-to-abate sectors” threatens this goal. Decarbonizing electric power generation using renewable and nuclear energy will fill a big role in the plan, phasing out fossil generation from the electric grid, electrifying light-duty transportation with electric vehicles, and electrifying space heating using heat pumps. It doesn’t directly address heavy transport and a broad sector of industrial energy consumers, including the “Four Pillars of Modern Civilization” ammonia, plastic, steel, and cement. Anticipating this need over three decades ago, the OxEon team developed Cross-Sector Energy Conversion technologies for efficient production of hydrogen, SNG (synthetic natural gas), and liquid transportation fuels from electricity and CO2. This process didn’t have a name when OxEon started working on the problem but is now known as the power to fuels (PtF) or PtX. The technology OxEon used to demonstrate rocket propellant production on Mars is being industrialized for sustainable fuels and materials production on Earth.

“We are grateful for the leadership of Gov. Cox, his administration, and the Legislature for making Utah a great place to build our business. Our team has labored in near obscurity for decades with little thought of recognition. The drive to persevere through a phalanx of obstacles was sustained by the vision of creating processes for producing clean and sustainable fuels vital to society. The selection of OxEon for the Energy Pioneer Award is at once a great honor and yet humbling in the realization that it is not in actuality about what we have accomplished thus far but rather a recognition that the time for our vision of building a sustainable fuels industry has arrived, and that is recognition enough.”

—Joseph Hartvigsen, CEO, OxEon Energy

Governor’s Medals for Science and Technology
Presented in partnership with the Utah Innovation Center

K-12 Education
Juliette Bautista Barahona, Founder and Director, Club Ability

Juliette Bautista is dedicated to fostering an inclusive and accessible environment. As the founder and director of Club Ability, she instituted a transformative approach to teaching technology. She began her journey working with children with disabilities. From there, Club Ability expanded to fill a void in providing STEM education to girls and women and their families, especially those in Hispanic families that are sorely underrepresented in the field, where Latinos make up only 7% of Utah tech jobs despite being 15% of the Utah population. She has served nearly 1,000 K-12 students, primarily from low-income families. Since Club Ability’s 2019 inception, the educational programs have served a Utah population that’s 93% low-income, 98% Latinx, and 20% have a disability.

Club Ability’s curriculum integrates adaptive learning resources and custom-tailored programming instruction to make technology comprehensible and accessible to a broad spectrum of learners. This innovative model has not only enhanced educational opportunities for those with special needs but also serves as a beacon for integrating technology in education for Latinx and other underrepresented groups in STEM. Her efforts have positioned her as a pivotal community figure, inspiring many by creating opportunities that enable active contributions through technology. Her initiatives lay a foundation for emerging leaders in STEM from diverse backgrounds. The impact of Juliette Bautista’s work extends beyond the classroom, as she has garnered both national and local recognition as a science educator.

“Receiving the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology touches the very core of my heart, representing much more than personal recognition: it’s a celebration of our community at Club Ability, from the student ‘tech creators’ to every individual and organization that has believed in our vision. I firmly believe that together, we can position Utah as a leader in STEM education, using technology to unite everyone and bridge differences in race, language, and gender. This award is a victory for all of us, a testament to our collective spirit and shared commitment. My gratitude towards Utah is immense, not only for being the refuge where my family found health but also for providing me with a network of friends and mentors who helped me build Club Ability. I haven’t walked this path alone. Every step has been possible thanks to many others, especially my daughter Jimena.”

—Juliette Bautista Barahona, Founder and Director, Club Ability

Cornelia Ulrich, Ph.D., M.S., Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah

Dr. Cornelia Ulrich is an internationally recognized cancer epidemiologist/cancer prevention scientist and an accomplished leader. She is the Chief Scientific Officer and the Executive Director of the National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and the Jon and Karen Huntsman Presidential Professor in Cancer Research in Population Health Sciences at the University of Utah.

Dr. Ulrich’s research focuses on lifestyle and biological factors in cancer prevention and prognosis. Throughout her career, she has committed herself to developing and leading organizations, multidisciplinary teams, and international consortia that seek to advance scientific discovery focused on cancer prevention in critical areas. Her leadership of HCI has led to its growing impact on cancer prevention, care, and control in Utah and beyond. She also maintains an impressive research program, mentors formally and informally, and serves in national and international leadership roles, such as the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Advisors.

Dr. Ulrich was director of the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Germany for five years and now serves as one of less than a dozen women directors of National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers (out of 72 total centers). Dr. Ulrich is a role model for cancer researchers, educators, and physicians everywhere.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized with the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology. This award exemplifies an extraordinary environment for science and innovation that exists in Utah, and particularly at Huntsman Cancer Institute, where our teams are working side by side with patients and communities to deliver a cancer-free frontier across the Mountain West and beyond. Utah is world renowned for being at the forefront of lifesaving discoveries — from harnessing the power of cancer genetics to reduce risk to cancer care innovations for rural and underserved communities to innovative therapies that harness the immune system, data science, and so much more. It’s astounding to consider the progress made here in Utah in scientific discovery, with teams from diverse backgrounds and around the world working together. There is tremendous potential in what we can do with continued focus and prioritization of biomedical research as a driver of innovation and economic impact.”

—Cornelia Ulrich

Gregory C. Critchfield, M.D., M.S.
EarlyDiagnostics, Inc.
Sera Prognostics, Inc.
Myriad Genetics, Inc.

Dr. Critchfield has a solid educational foundation, including a BS in microbiology (Brigham Young University), MD (University of Utah), MS in biophysical sciences (University of Minnesota), post-graduate pathology residency (Universities of Michigan and Minnesota), and fellowships in clinical chemistry and health computer science (University of Minnesota).

He maintained a clinical pathology practice in Utah, where he directed urban and rural laboratories, and became director of clinical pathology at Intermountain Health Care. He also served as a reviewer and study section chair for the NIH for 15 years in biomedical computing for SBIR, STTR, and R01 programs. He advised startup companies on business operations and applying for SBIR funding.

Dr. Critchfield is a successful business executive. Joining in 1995, Greg became senior vice president and chief medical and science officer of Corning Clinical Laboratories/Quest Diagnostics, with responsibility for science, medicine, and innovation across the U.S.

In 1998, Dr. Critchfield became president of Myriad Genetic Laboratories, building Myriad into one of the world’s leading molecular diagnostics companies, with >50% annual compounded revenue growth in diagnostic testing for 12 years. Seven molecular diagnostic products were launched during Greg’s tenure. He built a foundation of scientific evidence by enabling NIH researchers to use Myriad’s genetic sequencing capabilities to perform >10,000 analyses to study hereditary cancer risk for breast, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, colorectal, and endometrial cancers. Numerous related publications provided the scientific basis for changing clinical guidelines and insurance coverage of genetic testing for hereditary cancer predisposition. Of note, Critchfield’s Myriad forensics team served the nation by rapidly performing first-pass DNA analyses to identify victims of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks.

In 2010, Dr. Critchfield joined the board of Sera Prognostics, and in 2011, he became chair and CEO. He led Sera's financing stages, including its successful IPO in 2021, developing strategies to address preterm delivery, the biggest challenge in pregnancy worldwide. His team discovered proteomic biomarker predictors of pregnancy outcomes, generating multiple U.S. and international patents. He led the creation of strategic partnerships with nonprofit, commercial, insurance, and healthcare delivery organizations to validate the accuracy of Sera's PreTRM® test. Prospective, controlled clinical studies demonstrated the clinical and economic benefits of proactive intervention in patients identified by the PreTRM® test to have a higher risk of preterm delivery. He serves as a board member of Sera Prognostics.

Dr. Critchfield currently serves as Co-CEO of EarlyDiagnostics, Inc., a leading biotech diagnostics company devoted to providing accurate, affordable, and non-invasive liquid biopsy tests for early cancer detection and precision medicine.

Dr. Critchfield has focused on applying information science to create innovations that improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs. Appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Science and Technology by Gov. Michael Leavitt, he became chair in 2006-07 during the term of Gov. Jon Huntsman. Dr. Critchfield has decades of experience as an author, patent-holder, and business executive in private and public companies, with a proven track record of successfully launching innovative, revenue-generating diagnostics products that improve health and lower costs. By developing better science to produce superior outcomes, he and his teams have made significant contributions to the health of women, newborns, and underserved populations — groups without a strong voice but with the greatest need for material improvements in healthcare. He has broadened his influence by serving on the boards of eleven molecular diagnostics, biopharmaceutical, and medical device companies.

“I am very honored to receive the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology for the industry category. Thank you, Governor Cox. Utah provides an excellent environment to envision, create, and build. I’m so proud and thankful for all the people and organizations who should also be recognized for this award: my family — especially my wife, Wendy — for tireless support, friends, teachers, mentors, co-workers, companies, industry organizations, and institutions dedicated to creating better science and technology. I also recognize the many patients who have participated in studies to discover and deploy life-altering and life-saving technologies. Scientists dream of having their ideas find practical impact in the real world. It’s exciting to see that, in fact, today’s ideas can become tomorrow’s realities that enable all humans to live better, healthier, and more fulfilling lives. Thank you!”

—Gregory Critchfield