A shot heard around the world

Do we stroll through life wondering if we are making a difference? Are there times we make a significant contribution completely unaware! We just returned from Boston walking the “Freedom Trail” taking time to learn about our American history. I want to share a story I learned about a young man who I think may have never known the significance of his involvement. His name was Edward Garrick.

At thirteen years of age, Edward worked as an apprentice for a wig maker. Not what we may think of today, but the hairdressings that were typical of those seen on our Founding Fathers. At this time,  Edwards town had been taken siege by British troops with nearly one in five residents being a soldier for the King of England. Many colonists were growing tired of and frustrated with the insurgency.

It was a cold winterlike evening on March 5, 1770. A blanket of snow covered the ground with ice exposed here and there offering little stability for navigating the streets. Edwards boss had created a wig for British Captain who by coincidence was walking with friends and crossed Edwards path in front of the Customs House on King’s Street. As they passed, Edward confidently said, “There goes the fellow that won’t pay my master for dressing his hair.” Hugh White, a Private standing as Sentry in the doorway, overheard Edwards comment and defended his Captain as he walked off without reaction. Edward quickly delivered another insult which sent the guard into a rage. In the heat of the moment, he swang his arms and hit Edward with the butt of his musket, dropping him to the ground. Edward shook off the pain getting up off the ground and ran home bleeding from his forehead. From home, he had no idea of where this interaction would lead.

Perhaps under different circumstances, this would have been nothing history would have ever reported. But with the tension that existed in the community, it caught the attention of bystanders. These local colonists defended the thirteen-year-old throwing snowballs at the guard. It was the custom of the time that if the church bell rang while no service was scheduled, it likely meant there was a fire. Someone began ringing the bell which brought more people into the streets wanting to help unaware of the incident. Hugh White’s superior came with other guards and stood at the doorstep as more gathered in the street. History differs on what happened next with some suggesting the leader sought to calm the outrage as others feel he ordered engagement. Regardless, the Soldiers eventually shot their guns into the gathering of colonist instigating the Boston Massacre.

Who would guess this blameless comment from a thirteen-year-old boy would become the rallying cry of the Revolutionary War for the Colonist? Did Edward ever know “the foundation of American independence was laid” the night these shots rang out in Boston! His actions were a result of his courage to stand for his belief. For answering the call of his heart at a time others may have passed.

As we catch ourselves wondering if our life’s journey is meaningful, understand this is human. Let me assure you that you have value and your contribution will be magnified through your willingness to act on the impulses from your heart. Granted—we may never know—but that’s okay.

Jaren

Share
Posted in Life | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Pawns in a political game

Our experiment with democracy has been a beacon to the world. Certainly, we have had times of great trial as we settle into an ever-improving environment where individual freedoms allow for personal growth and community development. Still, the world’s population is happier, healthier, and more self-sufficient as crime falls and wars become less frequent. All because our example of self-reliance and personal accountability help humanity achieve dreams filling hearts with hope.

These truths may not resonate with those tied to stories of the day in our twenty-four-hour news cycle. As our media fights for eyeballs and clicks, they latch onto anything that will grab our attention. Each side of the political spectrum is guilty of forfeiting common journalistic procedure allowing for unfortunate, misguided bias. A bias thought to fill our perceived personal preferences. Oh, if they only knew how we long for the truth as they pit us against each other for their selfish aims.

Think for a minute about how many of us are similar; even in our differences. I argue fewer than one percent of our population is out demonizing as the press attempts to make us feel differently. Their greatest days are those where they can dig up schisms and fights perhaps even internally created to achieve ratings. They feed on us believing we are enemies to thought counter to our own. Time is spent fighting one another instead of fighting for what matters. As we do this, the progress of our past shrinks into the background.

It is in healthy civil discussions of difference we have gained our greatest rewards. The promoted narcissism of trivial variances of opinion keep us from doing important work. The work of realizing things have gotten better and can continue to do so.

We need to be aggressive; we must be aggressive, but aggressive in doing what is right, what is best for all. Fighting inequality together, fighting inefficiency together, fighting abuse together, fighting manipulation together. Working together has proven our collective efforts open doors of opportunity. These joint labors form a citizenry that is yet to lose on the world stage. History has shown us that when America puts her best foot forward; anything is possible.

Jaren

Share
Posted in Leadership | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Why do I support Greg Johnson for House seat 46?

Because Greg will effectively represent us and our current representative is underserving our area.

On Greg

Over the last decade in which I have had the opportunity to get to know Greg, I have found him to be a remarkable person. To begin, he is a dedicated father sacrificing for the growth and development of his four children. He is a devoted husband to Jill who give of themselves unselfishly. Greg is a man of faith advocating for all walks of life and is ready to assist anyone who crosses his path in need. For those who have met him personally, you understand that he carries a charismatic personality infecting people with hope and happiness. I know his skills along with a deep conviction of integrity will build strong relationships as he serves our community.

His default is toward conservative principles having learned from parents who believed in self-sufficiency. Life has proven to Greg that government serves us best by giving a hand up rather a handout. That governing doesn’t mean getting in our way but allowing the free market to operate effectively. He knows that through civility, we learn from differing views so that compromises reach an end goal of mutual benefit. Greg’s life work has shown ways in which bridges are built by finding commonality. When elected, I bet that he will quickly rise to leadership roles enabling our area representation which you will see from my perspective as sorely been missing.

About our current legislator

Serving the public is hard at best. We owe Marie a sincere thank you for dedicating her time. We characterize her as “a nice person.” Unfortunately, nothing more nothing less.

Within the boundaries of our district, we have remarkable leaders who could do so much for our area. Greg is a perfect example as shown above! Having a nice person has gone on far too long. We need a legislator who does more than fill a seat. Recognize in addition to her lack of leadership skills, a member of the minority party doesn’t participate in critical caucus meetings where important legislation begins. Additionally, Marie’s committee assignments fall into meaningless roles providing no serious voice for our area.

A greater argument than discussing her credibility would be engaging in a healthy discussion on her perspective in advocacy. Her default vote falls critically short of our needs. Perhaps better stated, is counter to the majority of our areas ideals. Many argue our area is moderate leaving open the door for someone of her “perceived” voting interests. I suggest Independent may be the best description for our voting block. Have you ever asked yourself why she doesn’t put her party on campaign materials? My belief is many feel she has similar interests not paying attention to details.

Her record, which is readily available online may offer some insight. From a thirty thousand foot view, let’s look at a couple of things that push well beyond Independent voting tolerances. First, we care for our children, those unborn and through young adulthood. Planned Parenthood has given Marie a one hundred percent rating. Her votes have included a stand against legislation that would have prohibited abortions based on a diagnosis of Down Syndrome (HB 205). I wonder if she has ever visited with special needs children or their parents? Whom of these persons would she have felt were worthy of being aborted! She was absent when HB 461 came to the house floor which sought a 72 hour waiting period to get an abortion and voted against HB 171 that requires abortion clinics to be licensed. Waiting periods improve the unborn child’s chance of survival. Her standing with Planned Parenthood is troubling to both Pro-life and moderate Pro-Choice voters.

Law enforcement rated her an F, and Immigration Reform an F.Marie voted against legislation that placed stiffer penalties on human trafficking (HB 136), against extra protection for police (HB 20), and a clearer identification for undocumented immigrants (HB 70).

The UEA has given her a one hundred percent rating. We won’t say this is bad unless we take into account Marie doesn’t favor school choice with Parents for Choice offering her a paltry thirty percent grading. If you believe free market principles could benefit our schools, then she isn’t your candidate having voted against SB 73 which eliminated requirements on schools from having to terminate more recently hired persons over tenured teachers. Is that intuitive to an organization who wants to keep the best employees?

If the second amendment of the United States means anything to you; don’t vote for Marie. On guns, she enjoys a seven (yes that is a single digit) percent rating. An example here is she voted against legislation that would have extended clear understanding on the use of a firearm for self-defense (HB 259). If healthcare affordability has meaning for you, note she voted against a Senate bill that allowed for the crossover of state lines (SB 298). What’s wrong with extending the waiting period for a divorce Marie? Statistically, hearts change which is good isn’t it? She voted against HB 316 that extended filing for ninety days and didn’t eliminate the provision for extraordinary circumstances. These limited provisions are designed for when a timely divorce would eliminate harmful situations for either party.

I hope that you will join me in supporting Greg Johnson, candidate District 46 for the talent he will bring to our state legislature and his ability to fill a need that has been missing for at least ten years.

Share
Posted in Leadership | Leave a comment

Protected: If you hang your hat on one thing; be careful

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in Life | Enter your password to view comments.

Protected: People disliked the traveling salesman

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in Business | Tagged , , | Enter your password to view comments.

34 years together and counting

34 years ago, the girl of my dreams and I committed to each other in vows of matrimony. At that time I felt I was the luckiest man alive. Now, 34 years later with four fabulous children and five grandchildren, I realize in 1984 I really had no idea. Over these years we have been battle tested and seen the glory of our world, yet I stand here today and offer I had no idea the beauty and wonder of this woman. She is my rock and the reason I strive to better myself every day. She spreads love and compassion as she serves our family and friends. Kim—you are the love of my life! May we continue to enjoy life’s experiences together for the years to come.

Share
Posted in Life | Leave a comment

The Secret of Civility

More so than ever before our society is placing people in boxes; boxes of us versus them! Our influence comes twenty four hours a day from technology that is bombarding us as it carefully places our interests into pigeon holed entertainment. The way we see the world becomes more extreme as we bathe innocently in data designed to attract us. Seemingly like minded people fuel the energy gained by finding and sharing support material. Some information comes from imprudently designed falsehoods portrayed by companies/people who don’t even exist.

These boxes we separate others into can be the go-getters vs people who are struggling, people we trust vs those we avoid, groups unknown vs neighbors and friends, cowboys vs individuals who haven’t seen a horse, people who hold religious faith vs some who avoid organization. The current political environment seems to have added to the growing division. Our boxes become more extreme as political factions occur whether it is party affiliation or cause of individual preferences in debates on global warming or as seen today in discussions of gun control after the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas.  These boxes can be personal with issues based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

We blind ourselves to life as we label individuals or groups believing they are foolish for having their beliefs. After successfully placing people into boxes, we remove their humanity striping ourselves of ability to understand or enjoy an empathetic heart. We no longer believe “these people” could add anything of value to intelligent conversation. As we seek to find ways to either validate our belief or rebut their opinion; we build up fortresses around the boxes we have placed them in. Incivility grows and we gather into groups to fight against the thoughtless actions of those we now sense we are against. The greatest box becomes us vs them. What may have been seen as unkind, uncaring or selfish actions on our part become needed defenses protecting us from the enemy!

What would our world be like if we could see through clear eyes and open hearts to the things that tie us together as human beings; rather concentrate on differences? What if we sought out those things we have in common; or at least could see people as human or caring?

Fact is some found in these separate boxes are members of our family. My Aunt—who I consider a saint—would become my mortal enemy if I held no understanding of our commonalities. Our differences are stark: conservative/liberal, Agnostic/God fearing. If we didn’t share a deep conviction of love that comes through understanding hearts, our placement in boxes could suggest the value of our relationship would never exist, and we would never advance in learning from each other’s experiences. If we engaged in physical or verbal assaults blindly supporting our perspective; we well would be astonished to run into each other on the battle front representing opposite sides.

What if we placed all the boxes existing in today’s discussions into a large stadium with direction from a moderator engaged to find our commonalities. The announcement would come across the sound system, all who love the outdoors step over to the north ten yard line. Some from nearly every box would leave their group and move toward this location. There would be no separation of race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, religion or political opinion.

As you read this, did you think to yourself there are people in some boxes who don’t love the outdoors? If so, let’s keep breaking down the walls. Remember back to a time when foes became friends. In Utah we united as a citizenry when Salt Lake held the 2002 Winter Olympics, America united behind individual athletes. Barriers are missing in these times, it isn’t always sports; we break down walls to help in times of need. Think of a time you remember a small or large group unite in a time commonalities were prominent.

Still have doubt? Now the announcer says all who love dancing step to the 15 yard line, those who are broken-hearted to the twenty yard line, lonely twenty five yard line, madly in love thirty yard line. Are the barriers breaking down now? All who have saved a life thirty five yard line, been saved stand in the end zone. Those who have lost a loved one to the sideline, step parents to the goal post, those who are afraid to the center, and those who are addicts/family of addicts join those who have saved a life!  In each of these areas we will see that what had been thought mortal enemies are standing together talking about commonalities in all shapes, sizes and color. No longer are we us vs them. We are the human race filled with kindness, empathy and dreams. We all want to make the world a better place with new and ever changing achievements.

Our world could be a beautiful place if only we could see that there are more things that bring us together then we think!

Jaren

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Once upon a time

More so than ever before our society is placing people in boxes; boxes of us versus them! Our influence comes twenty four hours a day from technology that is bombarding us as it carefully places our interests into pigeon holed entertainment. The way we see the world becomes more extreme as we bathe innocently in data designed to attract us. Seemingly likeminded people fuel the energy gained by finding and sharing support material. Some information comes from imprudently designed falsehoods portrayed by companies/people who don’t even exist.

These boxes we separate others into can be the go-getters vs people who are struggling, people we trust vs those we avoid, groups unknown vs neighbors and friends, cowboys vs individuals who haven’t seen a horse, people who hold religious faith vs some who avoid organization. The current political environment seems to have added to the growing division. Our boxes become more extreme as political factions occur whether it is party affiliation or cause of individual preferences in debates on global warming or as seen today in discussions of gun control after the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas.  These boxes can be personal with issues based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

We blind ourselves to life as we label individuals or groups believing they are foolish for having their beliefs. After successfully placing people into boxes, we remove their humanity striping ourselves of ability to understand or enjoy an empathetic heart. We no longer believe “these people” could add anything of value to intelligent conversation. As we seek to find ways to either validate our belief or rebut their opinion; we build up fortresses around the boxes we have placed them in. Incivility grows and we gather into groups to fight against the thoughtless actions of those we now sense we are against. The greatest box becomes us vs them. What may have been seen as unkind, uncaring or selfish actions on our part become needed defenses protecting us from the enemy!

What would our world be like if we could see through clear eyes and open hearts to the things that tie us together as human beings; rather concentrate on differences? What if we sought out those things we have in common; or at least could see people as human or caring?

Fact is some found in these separate boxes are members of our family. My Aunt whom I consider a saint would become my mortal enemy if I held no understanding of our commonalities. Our differences are stark: conservative/liberal, Agnostic/God fearing. If we didn’t share a deep conviction of love that comes through understanding hearts, our placement in boxes could suggest the value of our relationship would never exist, and we would never advance in learning from each other’s experiences. If we engaged in physical or verbal assaults blindly supporting our perspective; we well would be astonished to run into each other on the battle front representing opposite sides.

What if we placed all the boxes existing in today’s discussions into a large stadium with direction from a moderator engaged to find our commonalities. The announcement would come across the sound system, all who love the outdoors step over to the north ten yard line. Some from nearly every box would leave their group and move toward this location. There would be no separation of race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, religion or political opinion.

As you read this, did you think to yourself there are people in some boxes who don’t love the outdoors? If so, let’s keep breaking down the walls. Remember back to a time when foes became friends. In Utah we united as a citizenry when Salt Lake held the 2002 Winter Olympics, America united behind individual athletes. Barriers are missing in these times, it isn’t always sports; we break down walls to help in times of need. Think of a time you remember a small or large group unite in a time commonalities were prominent.

Still have doubt? Now the announcer says all who love dancing step to the 15 yard line, those who are broken-hearted to the twenty yard line, lonely twenty five yard line, madly in love thirty yard line. Are the barriers breaking down now? All who have saved a life thirty five yard line, been saved stand in the end zone. Those who have lost a loved one to the sideline, step parents to the goal post, those who are afraid to the center, and those who are addicts/family of addicts join those who have saved a life!  In each of these areas we will see that what had been thought mortal enemies are standing together talking about commonalities in all shapes, sizes and color. No longer are we us vs them. We are the human race filled with kindness, empathy and dreams. We all want to make the world a better place with new and ever changing achievements.

Our world could be a beautiful place if only we could see that there are more things that bring us together then we think!

Jaren

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Our manipulated world

Suicide is on the rise and professionals say we can do something about it. Many times hope is all that is needed by those affected. This can be as simple as words from a stranger asking “are you okay?” A commonality among potential victims is that they make a pact with themselves that if one person reaches out, even a stranger; they will tell them—everything—and ask for help.

We know their despondent feelings aren’t unique as every single person in our society has felt (is feeling) despair. This emotion has occurred throughout the history of mankind. But ask yourself if you think we are living in a time of heightened depression today? My argument is that there is cause to believe we are.

In 1860, Mathew Brady used the body of John C Calhoun with a headshot of Abraham Lincoln to create the portrait used on the five dollar bill. This may have been necessary or even innocent but indicates a process that today that is ever changing. In 2004, John Kerry was falsely accused of being present with Jane Fonda in an antiwar rally with a manipulated photo. On the cover of Newsweek in 2005, Maratha Stewart’s face was placed on the body of a slimmer woman to portray that she lost weight in prison. The editor stated, “The piece that we commissioned was intended to show Martha as she would be, not necessarily as she is.”

The most prolific uses are companies editing glamour shots to improve skin complexion, hair, body shape or other features. The process of photo enhancement is used in and out of commercial applications. On the commercial side, ninety percent of our society wishes for less editing so we could see people as they are, or in other words with our individualized imperfections. As technology continues to allow greater access across multiple devises, the affect is lowering self-esteem. This is evidenced by a survey where eighty percent of women interviewed had feelings of insecurity after witnessing photos “made perfect.” We have become accustom to a practice that was once thought to be an abuse of technology.

Altered life has stepped well beyond photos into nearly every aspect of our lives. Think with me for a minute about where the make-believe has taken us. Log on to any device and see airbrushed vacations, jobs, food, and relationships. Our endless glass screens often fill our days with more data than our personal interactions. They are altering what are seen as becoming greener and greener pastures of perceived dramatic differences between us. This practice isn’t reserved for only the fun side of life but it occurs in modifying our problems as well. These life capsules are filled with significantly more drama than reality. Think what “fake news” does by modifying bits of truth into full blown outrage. We absorb this drama every day innocently unaware what it is doing to us internally. Our society—who once feared the ramifications of manipulating photos—now has entire lives transformed through an influenced reality.

Coincidently our suicide rate is of epidemic proportions. The impact is hitting our youth particularly hard as suicide is the leading cause of death in our youth ages 10 to 17. One young man who had attempted suicide stated, “ For me, it started with low self-esteem thoughts, like, I’m not doing well, I’m not enjoying this…you look for other options that allow you to do that, and suicide was one of them.” For every person who dies, there are six times as many who have attempted and are receiving treatment? In nearly every case nothing more than a sense of hope would have prevented the act.

As our medium of exchange becomes more prevalent and the impact more severe, my wish is that we are able to stem the tide and give ourselves a reality check. Technology is designed to entertain. It is only thought to be entertaining when it is exaggerating life to an extreme. Many times this manipulation can be innocent by those who only want to be popular. What we are seeing are minor motion pictures of an augmented reality. By understanding this, we are allowed to see that we really do have it as good as others. Our pastures are really pretty and green. Life is good when you think it is—not so good if you don’t think.

Don’t get lost in the magic of worlds behind the glass. Our greatest moments are the full enjoyment of life’s up and downs. Without either, life would truly be depressing.

Jaren

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

HBA New Building Committee

History

My earliest recollection of the idea of a new building came when Ross Holliday, who at the time was chair of Governmental Affairs, suggested we consider the idea as a resource for non-dues revenue. Since that time and over varied conversations deliberating the virtues and pitfalls; the Board approved our new building fund. Shortly after this and early in his presidency, Jarom convened a New Building committee Co-chaired by Steve Dailey and Ross Holliday.

Prior to the first meeting, many committee members visited sites and contacted land/office brokers to see what opportunities existed in the market. As these ideas were shared, it became obvious the committee needed direction due to the variety of options available. The range of ideas spread from an acre parcel off 12300 South where we would build a single use building with limited visibility, to a ten acre parcel west at 700 W that would be developed using profits to build.

Wisely, the committee acted on defining what was agreed on as the ideal building opportunity. We felt as though efficiency would harness our diversity of interest, thus allowing for us to be nimble enough to act quickly in the hot real estate market. The basic parameters were set.  We agreed that the building should be located between Redwood Road and 1300 East, 3300 South and 14600 South. A multiple tenant building, up to 40,000 square feet, and have high visibility (ideally on I-15).

Not many in the room felt we could find a building that would contain all on the wish list but felt components of each allowed for significant improvement to our current offices. Additionally, it gave us the desired revenue and strengthened our balance sheet.

In that meeting, Steve had remembered the “Miller building” which was half built and sitting vacant. He asked if anyone knew anything about it. We didn’t. Debate ended with a commitment to reach out to the bank our group we felt was holding the asset as an REO. That night I ran into Heather Osmond in an HBA function. In our small talk I discovered she and her husband Jared had bought the building. In later discussions with the Osmond family, we were presented with an opportunity to buy. This is largely due to their commitment to our association.

Due diligence

This came fast, arguably part of the reason it has created emotional energy. Time is money to the Osmond’s. Their original plans are held at bay as we move through the delays that naturally come as an organization such as ours makes decisions on long term commitments. Pressed for time, the committee has done everything it their power to answer questions for the board as they are seeking many for themselves. While there are frustrations with the speed, it is believed to be a better path then starting from scratch. The members working on the project have the experience to handle the tasks required. Board processes are being learned. From start to finish, the current building we are pursuing can be completed within our current real estate markets economic strength. We know if we are to start this over again from ground up, it would be a two year process at a minimum. This timing could contain interest rate risk along with the unknown economic conditions some may fear.

The joint boards of the State and Salt Lake met and voted to continue with the pursuit of the office building. The parameter was that consideration be made to sell at least a third of the opportunity to an outside party. While there are differing views as to the interpretation of the motion, fact is the building committee needed to act in an ever changing environment. Many may not understand that we pulled out of the opportunity prior to the time our earnest money went hard. We didn’t have the answers to critical financial needs. In a conversation with Jared Osmond where we announced we were pulling out of the contract. He generously offered an extension if needed. We declined not having an answer. He suggested he would dig a little personally. Jared came back to us with a financing option from a conventional lender who offered terms we felt were superior to those sought after with a private party, or financially strong industry sponsor.

The lender is Central Bank. They are a strong local bank with deep ties to our industry. Their flexibility in part comes from an interest in seeing our organization succeed in meeting our objectives. The terms they offered carry interest charges that we had hoped would be donated. (Please note this was a dream, we were certainly ambitious in asking knowing it was a big ask). The charge needed to be added to our numbers. It hadn’t been accounted for previously. The terms they offer have added flexibility to more options on ownership and the disposition of assets as we move through construction. Too, they guarantee long term financing.

Central Bank has a requirement of having at least ten percent cash down. Our estimate was that this would mean $712,000. This meant both Salt Lake and the State would need to contribute their equal share. Ross and I visited knowing Salt Lake’s cash positon is stronger. We talked about whether it would be easier for Salt Lake to loan the State funds so that CD’s wouldn’t have to be cashed out. We both understood the state’s ability to contribute improved with time and that there was a day at the completion of the building we bring better understanding with the needed capital. To date, we have anticipated nothing in member donations and overstated expenses. These will lessen the need for capital if we chose to leave our LTV constant.

The building committee elected to take the changes in financing to an emergency board meeting. This method was called merely because it is offered as an option in our by-laws. The terminology may be a slight contributor to the emotion as we know many aren’t able to come with short notice. The term emergency may suggest to some “trouble” which was not the case at all.

Board meeting

The difficulty in any large group is meeting the varied needs of members. The understanding of the committee was that we would talk about the $712,000 down payment which included a change in the numbers. As Ross Holliday surveyed the group, he could see there were attendees who hadn’t enjoyed the detail of members who had been actively involved in meetings throughout the year. There is a tight rope walk which is nearly impossible to negotiate as one is providing new members enough data and burdening those with greater experience too much information. I have described the meeting as having offended both groups equally. Some remained hungry for more as others were checking out mentally.

The discussion took a turn which was unexpected for the committee. Discussions began readdressing the motion that had passed in a previous board meeting. With emotions high—for many of the reasons above—discussion led to conversations asking the State if they held a quorum; they didn’t. This naturally meant they would have to reconvene at a later time. Salt Lake voted on a motion to approve their side of the funding which gave the State help in reaching their commitment. It failed 14 yes and 15 no as recorded. There were actions and emotions that erupted from both sides which is understandable. In questioning the day’s events, members who mainly were the yes votes began seeking answers from leadership and staff. One question asked was directed toward the validity of votes from some who were felt to be new to the discussion. We learned there were two that attended, had voted and don’t hold current membership status. By-laws offer that a board member must be dues paying. The change would mean the vote was 14 yes and 13 no as recorded. Motion passed.

What to do? Leadership and staff are more interested in the stability of the association then the outcome of a vote and have chosen to re-address the motion after the State board meeting. A second motion that passed the emergency board meeting was that Salt Lake would not proceed without the States participation. This passed unanimously as recorded. There would be no reason to address a vote from Salt Lake if the State isn’t on-board with us.

Where are we today

Nate Larsen in my opinion was bold and brave in placing himself out in a public forum with his feelings. It is hard at best to be able to share comments in person let alone in this type of medium. You see some of the responses; he has received many in private correspondence as well. Those as is typical are of support and admiration. What his actions have done is engage us in philosophical debate. It has brought what are thought to be warring enemies onto the same page in healthy discussions of what is best for our association. I have stated that I know of no individual who is in support of the building without reservation and have learned the strongest no votes are a yes with some simple questions answered. We are doing finding these solutions now. I thank those who have come to my office to learn of details as I see them. These are members I hold in high regard knowing it is on their backs we are where we are today and that without them we fail going forward.

Because it is hard to bring everyone onto the same page, and knowing there are some who haven’t enjoyed the experience of understanding the sophistication of a large commercial deal. I want to attempt to answer what may be remaining questions:

  • Has the committee laid out the HBA space? No- the building is framed as anticipated for the use of the Miller Company. The committee has felt we would take approximately the same space as occupied in our current offices but have efficiencies with sharing some employees such as a shared receptionist. Our numbers show the west wing merely because we had to pick a space. We will be happy to occupy nearly any space that remains after future tenants pick theirs.
  • Are we anticipating bringing education to the new building? We understand it is very difficult to provide parking in a class “A” office environment because the ground is so expensive. The state needs to address education which we are doing. Our options include both using the proposed building for a time and due diligence on an outside location. We are confident as of this writing that we can add fourteen stalls, and that Boyer will grant us up to twenty four spaces to be used in periodically. We have asked that they give us unlimited parking from the time we occupy until they build out their offices (18-24 months anticipated). This will give the state time to ensure the viability of their education offering and to find a more suitable location if needed. I have reached out to Carlos Braceras of UDOT to see if we could use the vacant land between the parking and freeway entrance. Fact is, we are under parked for education in our current offices and would not be able to provide parking in any new office building that fits within our parameters if we desire class “A” offices. Again, it is too expensive and why many educators default to outlying areas or using campuses.
  • Do we have a partner in the deal? No- but it is the charge of the board that we look for one in an effort to mitigate risk. Nearly all who have learned of the opportunity have wanted to join in ownership with us. Examples beyond the contractors who have given numbers (Rimrock and Davies Construction) are potential tenants and the Osmond family. Jared offered to take our existing building in trade suggesting the value is higher than appraisal ($1,590,000). He also would look to buying a third of the building and/or bringing an online version of their store as a tenant. The committee knows the greatest value in the building comes at the time we have purchased and built out all but the tenant improvements. We wanted to wait for this value bump (increase) to optimize the opportunity for the association. We have many no votes that would change to support if we had such a commitment. Now knowing this disconnect, the committee is active in getting a formal commitment which isn’t binding so we can accomplish both objectives. The parties to be approached will be the Osmond’s and Davies Construction.

There may be other questions but these are the most commonly asked.

The last point I want to address is risk. This discussion can’t be held without viewing some pros and cons.

  • The pros are that we accomplish the objective of the board who established the new building committee; we create a revenue stream in continued attempts to offset the reliance on the parade and secure PAC dominance. The numbers bear this out in a conservative approach. Our projections anticipate no donations; have two hundred thousand in contingency with other minor unexpected expenses while understating revenue. And we occupy a building that is part of the most significant office/retail/residential development of our state (some say nation) as the prison is relocated. It will be an even more important geographical location bolstering value as this project is built out over the next ten years.
  • The cons are—along with what I addressed above— the threat to our future viability. This is a welcome discussion and what drives both sides to hesitancy and even points of pulling out. It is difficult at best to place the time and knowledge gained by those who are on the committee and arguably those who are in active discussions daily into the hearts of the concerned. Our banker members are hesitant. They fear what the last recession brought or others economic downturns less significant may bring. The worst case scenario presented, if we were to keep our existing building, is a sixty five percent loan to value. It would take a tremendous fall for us to reach a point of value dipping below this amount. We would have certainly discussed options prior to reaching that point if it were to occur. At sixty five percent, we enjoy the ownership of our existing building free of debt. This asset could be sold if needed. Even at an extreme discount there is still great value there. The other risk is that a major tenant fail and we are stuck without the revenues of their rents. As in the above, we have the stability of the existing buildings rents (currently estimated at $160,000 annually and not in our numbers) that could be used as an offset for the needed time. Too, as each year progresses; we have lower debt and increased revenues. This cataclysmic event can lessened by staggering our leases and seeing that we mitigate through the selection of tenants. Nothing can prevent the impossible unforeseen, but we can set in place protections as we proceed. I talk here about us keeping both assets merely to show a worst case. The options we have head are to sell the completed building for a profit at completion, turn the construction loan into permanent financing at finished value, sell our existing building and take out cash, sell our existing building and reduce the long term debt to sixty percent, reduce the debt as described and bring in a partner for one third, or two thirds. There are perhaps options we haven’t talked about or seen to date that may arise. The last con no one may have addressed is the potential unintended consequence of fallout by some whose perception is that the organization is content with the status quo. I can only state the safest way to ensure our future regardless of the outcome will be to talk through the opportunity without predetermined minds.

In my conversations I am comforted in the dedication to our association and interest we share in being a part of a team. Regardless of where we fall, my hope is that we get there with well more than a margin of a single vote. It is our future; we have had those before us take bold moves. They have paid off, let’s get to a place the future leaders look back and note that we did what was best during our time. We are in a window of opportunity rarely seen let alone taken advantage of.  Here’s a thank you from a man who has come to greatly appreciate what it is our collective efforts do for communities. We have powers higher than us who are helping at times we have felt all was lost. Keep up the good work!

Jaren

Share
Posted in Business | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment