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10 power-house businesses owned by Mormons

JetBlue Airways Chairman and former CEO David Neeleman speaks at Bermuda International Airport on the occasion of the Inaugural Flight from JFK to BDA. (Photo by James G. Howes.)

JetBlue Airways Chairman and former CEO David Neeleman speaks at Bermuda International Airport on the occasion of the Inaugural Flight from JFK to BDA. (Photo by James G. Howes)

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are known for being honest, philanthropic, goal-driven, successful people — a perfect combination for business success. Over the years, dozens of Mormons have made significant contributions to business and started their own corporate power houses. Here are 10 power-house businesses owned, founded or headed by LDS people.

1. JetBlue

Mormon David Neeleman founded JetBlue in 1999, though it was called “NewAir” at the time. He is no longer the CEO of the company, but during the almost decade he spent at the helm of the company, he was known to sit on the back row of his company’s planes, which had seats that didn’t recline, when traveling to demonstrate that serving the customer was more important that serving the CEO. He launched a new Brazilian airline called Azul in 2008.

2. Marriott International, Inc.

Marriott International was founded by Mormon J. Willard Marriott and is now led by his son, Bill Marriott. The hospitality company has more than 4,000 properties in more than 80 countries and territories. Each Marriott hotel room has a Bible as well as a copy of The Book of Mormon, and in 2011, the company announced that pornography would not be offered as entertainment in new hotel rooms.

3. WordPerfect Corporation

The software program WordPerfect was originally developed under contract at Brigham Young University in 1979 and grew to become one of the most widely used software programs in the late 20th century. Alan Ashton, a co-founder of the company, is a member of the LDS Church and a grandson of President David O. McKay. He is currently serving as president of the Provo Utah Temple.

4. 1-800-Contacts

1-800-Contacts began when Jonathan C. Coon, an advertising and public relations student at BYU, created a small business selling contact lenses to his fellow students. He entered a Business Plan Competition hosted by the Marriott School of Management in 1995 and won money to help him grow his business. Today, the company is headquartered in Orem and employs over 1,000 people.

5. Bain Capital

Bain Capital was founded in 1984 by Mormon Mitt Romney and two other partners, T. Coleman Andrews III and Eric Kriss. The company is a global alternative investment firm that specializes in private equity, venture capital and other areas and manages more than $75 billion today.

6. Black & Decker Corporation

Mormon Nolan D. Archibald is a well-known business man who served as chairman of the board, president, and CEO of Black & Decker. When he became president and CEO in 1986, he was the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 Company at age 42. He and his wife, Margaret, have seven sons and one daughter. All of their sons are Eagle Scouts and served LDS missions.

7. Franklin Covey Company

Franklin Covey Co. was founded in 1997 and is based in West Valley City, Utah. Mormons Stephen R. Covey and Hyrum W. Smith founded the company, which provides time management training and products based on the writings of Covey and Benjamin Franklin.

8. Huntsman Corporation

Huntsman Corporation, founded by Mormon Jon Meade Huntsman, Sr., is an American multinational manufacturer of chemical products. Huntsman, who has served as an area seventy and president of the Washington, D.C., Mission, is currently executive chairman of the company, which did $12.723 billion in revenue in 2014. Huntsman is a well-known philanthropist.

9. SkyWest Airlines

SkyWest Airlines was created when Mormon Ralph Atkin, a lawyer in St. George, Utah, purchased Dixie Airlines in 1972. It was initially meant to fly businessmen from St. George to Salt Lake City, and after some struggles, the company expanded across the western United States. Today, it has a fleet of 341 aircraft that fly to 189 destinations.

10. Nu Skin Enterprises

Headquartered in Provo, Nu Skin Enterprises was founded by Mormon Blake M. Roney and others. The company is a multilevel marketing company that provides personal care products and dietary supplements. In 2012, the company did over $2.1 billion in revenue. Roney served as a mission president in France from 2012 to 2015.

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37 Responses to "10 power-house businesses owned by Mormons"

  1. Don’t forget David Stirling CEO of DoTerra Essential Oils.

  2. Carrol Gunnell says:

    Also Frank Vandersloot of Melaleuca Co. in Idaho

  3. D. Schone says:

    Um, there is a huge omission here. Why don’t you think outside the box a little. Most of these everyone has heard of for years and years.

    Glenn Beck has been a devoted Mormon for over ten years. He started The Blaze TV, News, and Radio Network from nothing and built it into a very powerful news and information network not to mention Mercury One which is the Charitable organization he started which raises millions of dollars annually for charitable needs around the world.

  4. jayman says:

    Because God rewards faithfulness with power, position, wealth, and influence.

  5. Terry Maxfield says:

    Also, my brother in law, Todd Pedersen who started Vivint.

    • Todd says:

      Your brother in law is a jerk, and quite frankly I would not admit to being related to him. I met him once up by Strawberry. Tried to be nice to the guy and he found it prudent to make fun of me and my child.

  6. H. Chris says:

    I agree with D. Schone… these are well known. Glenn Beck is a big one you missed and what about the founder of Vivint Security and Solar, Todd Pedersen. Or Garrett Gee the founder of Scan. `

  7. Brian Kelley says:

    Interestingly, your list excluded probably the wealthiest LDS businessman – Steven Hazy, founder of International Lease Corporation and reported by Forbes to have a net worth of at least $3.7 Billion (more than Huntsman, Marriott or for that matter, any one else on the list).

  8. Diane J Brienza says:

    How about the Missouri Star Quilt Company?? Look what they are doing for the community of Hamilton Missouri.

  9. GTRPLR says:

    Glen Beck is an entertainer. He has others run his business and charitable organizations. If you include Glen Beck, you should include the Osmonds. They’re entertainers too. I watched Glen Beck’s show several times when it was on Fox News. Seems like his topics were taken right out of the Book of Mormon or other Mormon canon. Nothing new or original. Wonder if he paid the Church for using its materials for making money? Or was he merely spreading the Gospel while making millions doing it?

    • Jean Younkin says:

      I have heard people criticize Stephen Covey for the same reasons…”I don’t like him cuz he’s making millions by selling Book of Mormon ideas…” The way I see it… whatever it takes to spread the message and help others be better, happier people makes the world a better place. Some people feel better about paying for knowledge that they would turn away if it was offered as a gift… thinking they smell a rat in the wood pile. I am just sorry I don’t have the gift of making a profit from truth… But I celebrate those who can.

    • Nadine Anderton says:

      A lot has happened with Glenn Beck since his days at Fox. If you haven’t watched him since then, your comments greatly underestimate his influence. He is much more than an entertainer. I find your remarks very offensive, uncharitable, and judgmental. Each of the other member-business creators are wealthy, too, so let’s not rule him out because of that. Much of what he makes goes to worthy causes, like his current project to help the Christian refugees in the Middle East find safety.

      • Doris Franzoy says:

        Agreed…all LDS should living/teaching concepts from scriptures… Nothing wrong with that. Glenn Beck does much good. He is the brains behind “The Blaze”

    • D. Schone says:

      GTRPLR, maybe you don’t list your name because your comments are so ignorant. Glenn Beck is absolutely more than an entertainer and he absolutely runs his media empire which he built from nothing over the past five or so years since he left Fox. Certainly he doesn’t do all the work himself because he has hundreds of employees that he pays salaries to which is how companies work. And that doesn’t even begin to include all the charitable endeavors he orchestrates or his tireless efforts to try to unify all Christian faiths to come together in a common cause to save our country and turn hearts back to God.

    • Steven Iversen says:

      To GTRPLR,
      I do not understand people like you and Grobyn. Do you read stories online just so you can make negative comments?

  10. Brazillion says:

    Wrong. God rewards faithfulness to His commandments with peace of mind and eternal life. His blessings are for the care of the soul. Otherwise, liquor, smoking and pornography industries would never flourish. It is good to be learned (and wealthy) when we give heed to the counsels of God. What of the hundreds of thousands of faithfulness 3rd world saints who pay their tithing but will never be able to to enjoy a Marriott hotel room? Frankly, some members ought to study the doctrine a little better.

  11. Good job for these people and I know others small but very good companies and good products like Do Terra oils

  12. Clifton Palmer McLendon says:

    You forgot InstaFire. The CEO, Konel Banner, served in the Texas Dallas Mission in the late 1970s.

    Try InstaFire — it’s better than a peck on the head with a sharp rock!

  13. Fauna Smith says:

    I am probably reading this wrong…could you clarify what is meant by “not allowing pornography in the new rooms”. It seems like it is saying “we used to allow pornography, but now we don’t”…?

    • Elena says:

      I think they are probably referring to pay per view cannels that may be in some of the older
      hotels. I’ve stayed in Fair Field, Townsend Suits, Court Yard, and the Residence Inn and none of the ones I stayed in had anything like that and I really appreciate that.

    • John says:

      When staying in a Marriott in Paris several years ago we channel surfed into very offensive pornographic programming. Hotels are often owned by local investors, and operators or franchisors like Marriott are hired to run the hotel and provide the branding. I take the statement to mean that current and future contracts (with local owners) disallow pornography. I sure hope so.

  14. Brian says:

    A lot of people on here naming niche or regional companies. The companies in the article are household names.

  15. Ron says:

    Don’t forget Rex Maughan owner of Forever Living Products and Resorts. He has given millions to the church.

  16. TheMessenger says:

    Too bad doTerra uses GMOs, eh?

    Aha! Now I know who’s been getting titanium dioxide into so many “natural” products–causing this consumer to stop buying or refuse to buy many products (and even turn down samples :/), e.g., Daiya shreds. But maybe it was a Huntsman competitor…hmmm. This additive occurs naturally, it is true–but never in food. Maybe the approvers were the same who brought us “food” grown from seed that has been injected with foreign material from other species…ya think? (Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard the arguments, so just take a look @ gmoawareness.org–and the cozy relationships between the White House and Monsanto–and then revisit D&C 89:4.)

    I applaud all who, wealthy, indigent, or somewhere in between, use their abilities and resources to build up and expand Zion, to respond to our Lord’s mandate to relieve suffering, or just plain make the world a better place…one smile, hug, laugh, dance, artwork, ear-bending, walk, ride, treatment, repair, or kindness at a time. We all have something valuable to give, n’est ce-pas?

  17. Maria says:

    ToMessenger, NO DOTERRA does NOT us GMOs, you are a liar…unless you can prove it, stop spreading lies.
    DOTERRA SHOULD HAVE been on the list…It a remarkable company whose mission is help others be healthier and wealthier using therapeutic grade essential oils. And giving back to communities around the world. From an humble start in 2008 to now, they have surpassed 1 billon on sales, no sales direct company has accomplished such success.

  18. Grobyn says:

    Seriously!!! People want to include Vivint ($564M 2014 annual revenue), DoTerra ($325M est’d 2015 revenue), Young Living ($163M in 2010), Missouri Star Quilt Company ($18M), Instafire (approximately $200K)?!?!?!

    That’s ridiculous…. compare the sales numbers of the listed companies against the sales numbers of those small companies and then tell me again that they should be listed in a grouping of “”power house businesses owned by Mormons””…..

    You people who mention those types of businesses should be on this type of list TRULY NEED to find employment outside of the state of Utah for a few years to realize that the world is much larger than the bubble of Happy Valley…..

  19. Cheri Scott says:

    I personally, enjoyed the article. I did not know some of these companies were owned by LDS people, and I’m sure there are many more. No matter how many the author included, there would be more that he did not include, but if I wanted to read a book I would buy one! We all have many and varied opinions, but I don’t see how, in a forum like this, it’s beneficial to squabble.

  20. Thomas says:

    Also Natures Sunshine Products, some of the highest quality herbal supplements in the world.

  21. momo says:

    Mormo means demon one short letter of a n. Mormon are follwers of satan . Paganost that use christian label

  22. Jason Jepperson says:

    Why not mention IHC and United Health care? All ran by Mormons. And why not mention while your at it how they screen out Non-LDS candidates who are very qualified for a job. I know first hand, I have lived in Utah (thanks to my parents) all my life as a Non-Mormon and have felt the sting of religious discrimination my entire life here. If you deny it happens you would be a blatant liar. And if anyone would choose to look at employees statistics on any of these companies it would easily proved.

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