DTA Staff

DTA Staff

It’s like a blank canvas—warm corn or flour tortillas. Inside these circular edible envelopes you’ll find whatever inspires Chez Chef. From spicy al Pastor and mind-melting cabeza to succulent citrus shrimp and sizzling chicken, you have plenty of options. And the fixin’s are just as diverse as the proteins.

Salt Lake City has been gifted with tons of tenacious taquerias so you can up your lunch game. Whether you are on the go and need a utensil-less snack or you want to pair your meal with a salt-rimmed margarita, options abound downtown.

Taqueria 27
There’s a ton of buzz about “T27” (as many simply call it), and for good reason. Choose from culinarily creative the taco and guacamole of the day, sample an extensive list of 100-percent agave tequilas, and get loco with mole platters. But if you must prioritize, don’t miss the bevy of bodacious tacos, because that’s what put T27—now with three locations—on the map. 149 E. 200 South, 385-259-0940, www.taqueria27.com

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Tacos never seemed so swanky as they do at the upscale Mexican-themed Alemexo. After you begin your meal with a serving of guacamole assembled tableside, you’ll be dying to dig into the tacos. Generous servings of chicken, pork, or beef, arrive at your table in hot iron skillets. The construction is your creation, and you however you roll, you surely won’t be disappointed. Don’t miss $1 tacos on “Taco Thursday’s,” served in the Alamexo bar weekly. 268 State, 801-779-4747, www.alamexo.com

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Taste of Red Iguana
Red Iguana, the staple serving up “killer Mexican food,” is more synonymous with Salt Lake City to some outsiders than, say, Temple Square or the Greatest Snow on Earth. Yes, this award-winning restaurant’s grub has people talking, and they’ve became so popular, they opened up several locations, including the cafeteria-style eatery in City Creek Center. Get hot, fresh, and fast tacos like Taste’s cumin-crusted halibut tacos while you’re on the go—less waiting, more tacos. City Creek Center, 28 State, 801-214-6350, www.rediguana.com/taste-of-red-iguana

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Taco Taco
The owners of Taco Taco love tacos so much, they used the word twice to name this downtown taqueria. According to the restaurant, it is “celebrating the tradition of millenary cuisine symbolic to the boldness of the Lucha libre gladiators.” It’s hard to dispute that, honestly. With its simple ingredients of the highest quality that make for epic tacos, you’ll find yourself at Taco Taco ordering double of everything. Vegetarians can nosh on squash blossoms, while carnivores can bite into chicken mole negro, carne asada, and more. 208 E. 500 South, 801-428-2704, www.tacotacoslc.com

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Tacos de Brazil
While the taco is traditionally a Mexican dish, this amazing little street cart gives tacos loads of Brazilian flare. For starters, the turmeric in the rice is a nice touch, and the Brazilian-spiced al pastor is a must-try, especially for the price of $1 per taco. There’s some tasty fish tacos, and with black or pinto beans and kale, even vegetarians can walk away satisfied. 160 E. 300 South, in front of the DWS building.

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Gateway Cart
Whether you work on the West side or you find yourself on a shopping spree at The Gateway during the lunch hour, Taco Hidalgo is your must-stop spot for tacos. Known for its scrumptious asada, this cart also serves up heaping breakfast burritos, if that’s more your thing. Find a shady perch and wash it all down with a Mexican Coca-Cola. Located in front of The Depot at the corner of 400 West and South Temple, 801-903-9868

January 10, 2017

It Takes A Team

Our city is at its best when we come together to solve big problems.

A strong sense of community stewardship and teamwork helps to set downtown apart from other urban centers in the West. As our city has looked for new ways to help homeless individuals and families, a team-based approach is making a difference in programs designed to move people out of homelessness and into mainstream life.

Clean Team
Life on the streets can be dirty for Utah’s homeless population. Limited bathrooms and trash services sometimes create a lack of cleanliness in and around Pioneer Park and the Rio Grande Street. In September 2013, the Downtown Alliance, Salt Lake City and homeless service providers worked with Advantage Services created the Clean Team to help clean up the shelter neighborhood. Members of the Clean Team include 20 homeless residents and those living in supportive housing who have been hired to work part-time cleaning up trash and performing small property maintenance around the Rio Grande area and in Pioneer Park at 350 South 300 West.

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Camille Winnie, director of community services for the Downtown Alliance, helped to launch the program and has watched it make a difference in the lives of the workers and in the larger community.
“The goals of this program are to help team members get a resume, acquire some work experience and a positive reference and to introduce them to new things that they might not have done on their own,” Winnie says.

Advantage Services employs and services the Clean Team. Members earn minimum-wage and work four-hour shifts during the weekdays, picking up trash, shoveling snow, pulling weeds and power-washing sidewalks and buildings. There is even room for job growth within this program. Work on the Clean Team can lead to other employment opportunities with Advantage Services.
“This has been a productive program allowing people to take the next steps to get out of homelessness,” Winnie adds. “People have the opportunity and resources to better themselves and the community where they reside.”

“As a downtown resident, I have seen a real improvement in my neighborhood from the Clean Team,” said Christian Harrison, chair of the Downtown Community Council. “This program is literally cleaning up the neighborhood and giving people a chance to improve their own lives.”

Green Team
Last year, the Downtown Alliance, Wasatch Community Gardens (WCG) and Advantage Services joined forces to build on the success of the Clean Team with a new garden-based job training program for homeless women called the Green Team. Funded by Salt Lake City and on land donated by the city’s Redevelopment Agency, this new 10-month program empowers homeless women through urban farm education, job skills training and employment. “This is a transitional job program that is being used for women to gain skills to transition into a full-time job,” states Winnie. “The Green Team facilitates employment opportunities for homeless women and creates vibrant community spaces and community involvement.”

The plot, located behind The Gateway outdoor mall at 100 South 625 West, is in the process of being built. It is an ideal location for a job training garden since it is within walking distance of the majority of homeless services in Salt Lake City. This garden will enhance neighborhood appeal for current and future residents of the new housing developments in the neighborhood as well as for other downtown residents. Eight women are hired to work during the growing season, February through November. Green Team members learn to grow herbs and produce and receive life skills training on topics like personal resource management, health and wellness and interpersonal skills. They are in class one day a week and spend the other four days in the garden. Additionally, participants have a field trip each month to visit potential employers in food-related businesses in Salt Lake City. Crops grown in the Green Team garden will be sold at a subsidized rate to the Salt Lake Head Start program and will be used as a resource for the meals served at area shelters. Head Start currently produces over 4,000 hot, healthy meals each day for the children in their program.

It takes a village to make this garden grow. WCG manages the gardening operations and Advantage Services provides the hiring and HR functions, future job placement and job training and education components of the program. Downtown Alliance assists Advantage Services with their functions and helps establish collaborative partnerships with local businesses, residents and organizations.

Creating jobs is an obvious way for the less fortunate to earn money, but so is panhandling. Panhandling is an epidemic across the nation and Salt Lake City is not immune. Usually donating spare change to an individual only enhances their problem. This is where the Homeless Outreach Service Team (HOST) program is introduced to help “turn spare change into real change.”

HOST is a proactive and collaborative effort to move the community in Salt Lake City into a partnership with the police and homeless service providers to connect homeless individuals with social services and resources. Bright red donation meters are located throughout downtown and allow people to give spare change to the homeless rather than to those who ask for it on the streets. All money collected in the meters goes to the Pamela J. Atkinson foundation and are dispersed to local homeless services providers that provide help for those that need it most.

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“This project was started based on the reality that no one ever panhandled their way out of homelessness,” Winnie says. “It’s teaching our community a better way to help.”
In 2010, the first 10 meters were installed. Six years later, 40 meters pepper the downtown scene. Zions Bank was the first to partner with Salt Lake City and the Downtown Alliance on the donation meters. Meters, street signs and stickers direct donors to a website (http://www.slchost.org/) if you don’t have change to spare. The campaign #HandupNotHandout has been created to get resources to the right people in our community who can make the biggest impact.

Jobs, volunteers and donations are ways to help those who face homelessness. But what is the best way to end homelessness? “Give them housing,” says Celeste Eggert, director of development for the Road Home. “Shelter is often the first step on the road home.”

The Road Home

The Road Home is a lead homeless service provider for the Salt Lake region. As a private non-profit social service agency, the Road Home offers emergency shelter and low-income housing options to single men, women and families experiencing homelessness. Staff provide personalized case management to help their clients identify and overcome the obstacles that have led them to becoming homeless. The shelter is open every day of the year and doesn’t turn people away if they are in need of a place to stay.

Logging 18 years at the largest homeless shelter in Utah has given Eggert a pretty good grasp on the topic. “For 90% of the clients we serve, they experience a short, one time period of homelessness and just need a little assistance to get back on their feet and then we never see them again,” says Eggert. “We find that the other 10% have something deeper causing them to become homeless and stay homeless for an extended period of time.” Case managers work closely with these clients to help connect them with services that will help them overcome the barriers causing them to be homeless.

That connection, with services and resources, can only happen in an environment that is built on teams. No individual or organization can solve homelessness singlehandedly. It takes a strategic and thoughtful approach that leverages the strengths of multiple entities to help people who lose their homes.

When an individual or family comes to the Road Home, they are provided with basic needs. The emergency services shelter offers assistance to low-income and homeless individuals on a walk-in basis while the family shelter helps meet the needs for families with children. Case managers are assigned to each family and select single clients to help them develop a plan for housing.
Over the next few years, the Road Home will continue to offer services as part of an integrated team approach that also includes other agencies, organizations and government entities. Instead of providing emergency shelter in a single location, additional facilities will be built that will care for distinct populations and additional resources will go towards preventing homelessness and treating the root causes of homelessness instead of just providing emergency services.

The Road Home is already lauded as a national leader for finding solutions for people who have been homeless for a year or more. In the Rapid Rehousing program, families receive a small amount of funding to allow payments for utility debts, deposits and rental assistance as well as a strong case management component. Once in housing, families rarely need to return to emergency shelter again.
For the small number of families and individuals who have a greater need for supportive services, the Road Home manages several Permanent Supportive Housing programs, including Palmer Court. Palmer Court is a 201 unit apartment complex for formerly chronically homeless families and individuals with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

As part of a regional team-based approach, the Road Home will work even more closely with other providers like Catholic Community Services, The Fourth Street Clinic, the Salt Lake Mission, Crossroads Urban Center and local, regional and state governments to identify concrete goals to prevent people from becoming homeless and to get them stabilized and into housing as quickly as possible.
“The services that these teams offer exist by help and generosity of our community,” says Eggert. “The city and volunteers step up to support all of us.”

For six decades, Ballet West’s The Nutcracker has been a centerpiece of Salt Lake’s holiday festivities. Tchaikovsky’s moving score, it’s magical costumes and fairytale sets, are all showcased in the exquisite Capitol Theatre to create one of the most visually stunning productions of The Nutcracker in the world today. While many Utahns consider it a holiday tradition, they may not know how this institution became woven into the fabric of our city, how it helped to save ballet in America, or what extraordinary efforts are being taken to keep The Nutcracker relevant for another six decades.

Even if you have never journeyed to the Capitol Theatre and enjoyed The Nutcracker, almost everyone has been exposed to its music, story, and imagery. The ballet is ubiquitous with Christmas culture, from Fantasia to SpongeBob SquarePants, and Care Bears to Grand Theft Auto; there are literally thousands of references in pop culture to The Nutcracker, making it a timeless piece of art, like da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans.

It was Ballet West’s founder, Willam Christensen (affectionately known as Mr. C.) who first choreographed a full-length Nutcracker in America, making Ballet West’s production the longest-running in the Western Hemisphere and perhaps the world. The New York Time’s principal dance critic, Alistair MaCaulay, went on a nationwide Nutcracker tour in 2010 and called Ballet West’s version, “one of the best productions I’ve ever seen.”

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Earlier this year, Ballet West announced that it has received a grant from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation to enrich and enhance the physical production of The Nutcracker. (Just like the Mona Lisa, sometimes a great piece of art needs some refurbishing!) Work on the project is well underway, with diagrams being submitted and backdrops being painted at the Utah Opera studios. Over the next year and a half, literally hundreds of Utah artisans will be contracted to build sets, sew costumes, and incorporate special effects into the dazzling new production that will premiere in the winter of 2017.

“During his lifetime, Mr. C. frequently updated The Nutcracker to keep it fresh and alive, but he maintained the framework and charm of the story, that kept audiences coming back every year,” said Ballet West CEO & Artistic Director Adam Sklute. “Our intention with this generous gift from the Eccles Foundation is to keep the choreography exactly the same while updating the physical production.” Sklute recently announced some of the more whimsical embellishments will include elements that fly through the air and an enhanced Christmas tree that will grow much wider, giving it a 3-D effect. “Some of these spectacular effects Mr. C. originally imagined, but did not have the technology or funding to accomplish during his lifetime. This gift will help us honor his vision and move it into the future,” said Sklute. While Ballet West looks to the retirement of the current production’s sets and costumes, the story of how Utah carries the banner of owning the longest running Nutcracker in America is also a timeless story.

In 1816, E.T.A. Hoffman wrote The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The story tells of a Christmas party at which little Clara, daughter of the house, receives the gift of a nutcracker from her mysterious uncle, Herr Drosselmeyer. After the party, she falls asleep and dreams of dancing snow, sugarplums, and her nutcracker, which has turned into a handsome prince. The story is filled with magic, wonder, and whimsy. In 1892, the story was used by Russian composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov to create the ballet The Nutcracker, which became one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous compositions, and perhaps the most popular ballet in the world.

Surprisingly, the ballet had never been performed in its entirety in the United States until Mr. C., then at the San Francisco Ballet, was looking for a ballet to fill the company’s coffers. It was 1944, and World War II had made money for arts very scarce. Looking for a ballet which would lighten the hearts of a dreary nation, Mr. C. spoke to the great dancer and choreographer, George Balanchine. Over the course of one night, Balanchine and his friend Alexandra Danilova, both of whom had danced The Nutcracker in Russia, recounted the steps and explained the story to Mr. C. He instantly recognized how this ballet could be marketed to both children and adults, and also how it could likely be financially lucrative.

After Mr. C. staged the production, one critic wrote, “We can’t understand why a vehicle of such fantastic beauty and originality could be produced in Europe in 1892 and never be produced in this country until 1944. Perhaps choreographers will make up for lost time from now on.” Not only had Mr. C. choreographed a smashing success, but he had also unknowingly created an American phenomenon, a fact that is said to have surprised and thrilled even Mr. C. Since then, The Nutcracker thrives across the Americas, and is an iconic holiday tradition and a mainstay of countless ballet companies across the country.
Nowhere is this more evident than at Ballet West. The Nutcracker is an audience favorite and continues to break records. Just last year, The Nutcracker broke its long-held revenue record, and the year before that, it sold out every performance during a tour to The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

While the Ballet West production has been watched and beloved by millions, it also holds a special place for dancers. In its 60-year history, it is estimated that more than 100,000 children have learned Mr. C’s choreography and had the opportunity to dance with Ballet West artists. Last year, Ella Whitney, an 11-year-old was cast as Clara, the most coveted role for the children’s cast. What made this especially serendipitous was that Natalie Whitney, her mother, had also played Clara exactly 20 years before. More incredibly, Natalie’s mother, Connie, also had a role in The Nutcracker, and has vivid memories of Mr. C. teaching his choreography. With more Whitney’s on the way, it’s very possible this chain will continue.

On the other side of the stage, audience members regularly come with two, three, and even four generations in tow. Kelli Wood, a local photographer, has purchased grand tier seats with her mother, every year, for 31 years. Now, Kelli’s daughter also comes along for the Christmas tradition. “When I was young, it wasn’t easy for my mom to purchase those tickets, which made it even more magical entering that beautiful theater,” said Kelli. “I know my daughter is loving it just as much as I did, 31 years ago.”
In 2001, when Mr. C passed away at the age of 99, The San Francisco Chronicle called him the grandfather of American ballet, and he is still credited with rejuvenating dance in America. That renaissance is directly credited to his Nutcracker dream which continues to flourish today.

The Nutcracker remains one of the most beloved and enduring masterpieces in all of ballet. This production comes to the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre from December 2-26. Tickets start at just $20 and are available at www.balletwest.org, at all ArtTix locations, or by calling 801-869-6920.

October 26, 2016

Code Lake City

Mo Reeder knows a lot about coding and technology hubs. The University of Utah graduate had worked for and developed several coding schools in San Francisco and Provo Utah before deciding to launch his own coding school, V School, which will open a Salt Lake campus this fall in the Greektown neighborhood in the western edge of downtown Salt Lake.

Reeder worked as the Regional Campus Director at General Assembly, a co-working and global educational company specializing in the skills training technological economy and is one of the largest coding boot camps in the country. Living in the Bay Area taught Reeder a lot about coding, there are about 15 boot camps in the San Fran area.

It is that experience that makes Reeder confident in downtown Salt Lake’s growing tech scene and the role coding schools play in producing skilled tech employees. “Pound for pound the tech scene in Salt Lake is a well kept secret,” said Reeder.

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V School is one of four coding schools to move downtown including, DevMountain (a school Reeder helped launch) that like V School began in Provo but has recently added a campus on Main Street between 300 and 400 South. “Salt Lake has an important role in the growing Utah tech scene” said Cahlan Sharp, the co-founder and CEO of DevMountain. “It is the center of what is happening in Utah.”

Utah’s growing tech scene has received an abundance of national press recently. The state is regularly vote the “Best State for Business”, including a July top ranking by CNBC. Forbes Magazine ranked Utah the “Best State for Business and Careers” in 2016 the second consecutive year. The magazine also ranked Utah the second in the country for its list of the “Fastest-Growing States for Tech Jobs in 2015” for Utah’s nearly six percent job growth in the technology sector in 2015.

Companies are drawn to the Wasatch Front, and specifically downtown, for its education workforce and quality of life. With companies like Adobe and Vivint bringing attention to Utah’s Silicon Slopes and Provo becoming an emerging hub for startups, more and more national technology companies will find their way to Utah.

But it is not just the companies relocating here that is attracting national attention. Utah is also building a reputation for quality coding camps. In May, Capella Education Co., a Minneapolis-based company, purchased DevMountain for $20 million. DevMountain started in Provo in 2013 but has expanded to four campuses. Besides its downtown Salt Lake location, the coding camp has locations in Dallas, Texas and Addison, Texas.

Coding camps are different from a standard higher education program. Students learn in small cohorts, with full time coding cohorts usually lasting only 13 weeks. Graduates of coding camps have no trouble finding work. According to Reeder, 100 percent of V School’s graduates found work with the first month after completing the course.

As the technology sector grows, so will the demand for skilled workers. Reeder argued in Salt Lake’s tech sector there is a negative unemployment rate, with an estimated 6,000 unfilled coding jobs in the Salt Lake Valley. The people at coding camp, Iron Yards, saw the potential of Salt Lake’s growing tech economy. The company, which has 22 campuses nationwide, opened up a temporary campus in February in South Jordan. In September the school will begin classes in downtown on Main Street near 300 South.

“Salt Lake has a very strong, robust startup and tech echo system that continues to grow,” said Garrett Clark, the Salt Lake City campus director for Iron Yards. “The business community is doing the right things to attract technology downtown.” Clark cited the growing amount of large companies relocating to downtown Salt Lake as well as the walkability and nightlife as reasons why Iron Yards wanted to be downtown.

The team at Iron Yard estimate that there are 300 jobs open for software engineers every 90 days in the Salt Lake Valley. The challenge for Salt Lake City is to ensure that it is capitalizing on the regional growth economic growth, especially from Utah County. Reeder argues that Salt Lake is the best physically connected city in the region with its public transit access and proximity to the airport. Salt Lake not only has its connectivity to attract companies, but it has the state’s largest and most vibrant downtown.

When Iron Yards and V School start classes this fall, there will be four coding schools operating downtown, along with Neumont University, a for-profit school offering undergraduate degrees in technology.

Neumont moved into the old Tribune building, directly south of the Eccles Theater, bringing hundreds of students downtown. Neumont recently joined forces with Helio Training and will offer coding courses at the university’s downtown campus. Helio joins DevMountain and Iron Yards as coding boot camps operating in the heart of downtown on Main Street."

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“We love being in downtown Salt Lake, it is not only unique and interesting but it is also really safe,” said Sharp. Sharp argued that Salt Lake’s startup and tech community sets itself apart from Provo and the Silicon Slopes because of its diversity in the variety of startups the city produces. Coding camps are not only providing training for locals, but both schools attract students from out of state. About half of the student body at DevMountain and V School come from out of state.

According to Reeder, most out-of-state students have expressed a desire to stay in the region if they find the right job. While many of the graduates seek employment from established companies, many go the entrepreneurial route and start their own companies. “We are unique because we spit out more companies,” said Reeder. “Twenty-five percent go on to open their companies, meaning every time a student enrolls there is a 25-percent chance that a new company will open in the community and improve economic development.”

Reeder hopes the V Schools location in the Rio Grande District will be a catalyst for growth in the challenged neighborhood. The city, through the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake, has created the Station Center project area for the city blocks between the Rio Grande Depot and the Intermodal Transit Hub.

The city plans to turn the area into a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood that takes advantage of the best public transit access than any other neighborhood along the Wasatch Front. V School’s location on 200 South is directly north of the project area. Reeder expects that many of the school’s students will stay in the area after graduation. As some of the students look to start their own companies, Reeder hopes they’ll consider building their companies in Depot area.

“We aren’t leaving; we will stay on and see the neighborhood get better,” said Reeder.

It’s an idyllic downtown Saturday morning in early June. Even before the bustle of City Creek traffic has arrived, there’s a buzz of electricity on Main Street. Next door to the almost completed Eccles Theater, the historic Ezra Thompson Building at 143 South Main Street (more commonly known as The Tribune Building) is filled with hundreds of kids and their parents prepping for a day of programming at Neumont University, a private institution that grants bachelor’s degrees in three years in computer science and related fields.

Sponsored by Neumont University, Utah Geek Events and a host of other tech-savvy organizations, Kids Code Con is just one of many ways the institution is helping to support initiatives to make downtown the state’s new technology center with Neumont poised appropriately at the epicenter.

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Monday through Friday a different set of tech enthusiasts fill the halls and classrooms of Neumont. Around noon, scores of college students flood into the commons area of campus. They stopped noticing the rumble of TRAX long ago. Inside the university, modern minimalist décor with splashes of contemporary and high-tech style showcase the intersection of the school’s technology focus and the building’s rich history: cement floors, exposed beams and steel cables juxtapose the art-deco exterior and the building’s original elevator lobby. Giant two-story windows are less a line of demarcation between where the building ends and the city begins, but more like Alice’s looking glass –a portal to a different kind of wonderland. In this case, it’s a snapshot of Neumont’s larger campus: the urban playground of downtown Salt Lake.

Amidst the sounds of ping pong and billiard in the school’s main gathering place, students are huddled over laptops or noshing on takeout from local purveyors. The unofficial uniform of the school is a hoodie, jeans and Neumont t-shirt with phrases like, “Eat. Sleep. Code.” or “I know your password” across the chest.

You won’t find a fitness complex, a football team or Greek row at Neumont. Instead, shared interests in technology and gaming are manifested through student groups like League of Legends, Magic the Gathering and activities like coding competitions, gaming tournaments and LAN parties (translation: “local area network,” usually formed for the purpose of engaging in multi-player video games). Needless to say, this is not your typical institution of higher education, and Neumont President Shaun McAlmont says that is entirely by design.

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“Our curriculum is built on best practices in the industry,” McAlmont says. “We’ve met with and are continually receiving input from educators and employers from around the country about the needs of the rapidly evolving technology industry and tailor our curriculum to those needs. The result is a computer science education that merges academic rigor, exposure to cutting-edge technologies, and relevant professional knowledge through real-world project-based experience in the workplace before our students have even graduated.”

For students who can handle the pace and demand of the program, it often means not just the start of a career, but landing their dream job right out of college. Enterprise Projects are the key and crown of Neumont’s project-based curriculum. Understandably, Neumont leadership keeps the phrase “internship” out of their vocabulary like, “Voldemort.” But unlike an internship where office lackeys are getting coffee or doing grunt work, Enterprise Projects are contracted work between the university and an employer. For 10 weeks at a time, student teams are given a specific project to use the company’s code and solve real-time issues. It’s a win-win for everyone. The companies get help tackling projects, and Neumont students get actual work experience. Both sides also get a chance to ‘try on one another for size,’ so to speak. Some students are hired to work for an Enterprise Partner before they even graduate.

Willis Towers Watson, an international professional services company with a main office in downtown Salt Lake is a great example of the Enterprise Partner program’s success. The global company has hired more than 30 Neumont graduates in less than 10 years at its Main Street location.

In fact, ninety-seven percent of Neumont graduates are hired in their field within six months of graduation with an average starting salary of $63,000. Yes, that’s the average. Graduates taking positions at big name tech-giants can kick off their careers with compensation packages in the six-figure range.

Class of 2015 alumnus Anthony Corbin of Saginaw, Michigan had lucrative offers from both SONY Santa Monica Studio (i.e. Playstation) and Google before he had even graduated. He accepted Google’s offer before his last day of class and then relocated to California with his wife, Brittany Corbin (neé Waite) a fellow Neumont grad.

Like the Corbins, Neumont graduates are found all over the country in jobs at start-ups to companies like Microsoft, eBay, Amazon, IBM, Nike and Tesla. And even though 82% of Neumont students come from outside of Utah, an impressive portion (more than 50%) stay in Utah to take jobs locally – from previously mentioned Willis Towers Watson to companies like, 1-800 Contacts, IHC, Vivint, Novell and more.

Besides Enterprise Projects, McAlmont says Neumont’s faculty is another key to the school’s blueprint for graduate outcome success.

“Our faculty are specifically chosen for their professional experience and expertise current in the tech industry,” he says. “We’re not asking them to focus on research or publishing. We recruit faculty that are passionate about teaching, about helping students and have real-world experience. Our students are interested in much more than theory. They don’t want to sit and listen to lectures about their field; they want to be creating and solving. They want hands-on participation guided by people who are as passionate as they are, which is why everything at Neumont has a tech slant.”

The methodology works, and has seen so much success that many local companies and individuals have asked when the curriculum will be opened up outside of the traditional student. After years of saying no, a solution came via Helio Training – a sister endeavor, under Neumont University’s parent company - housed just a few buildings down from the school.

Helio’s President Aaron Reed, who has worked with Neumont University for more than 12 years holding positions ranging from teacher and university relations manager to chief operating officer, says Helio’s focus is training primarily in the form of coding “bootcamps” and corporate training – the company has already lead workshops for Willis Towers Watson and eBay.

"We recognize that it isn't possible for everyone to take off three years of work and go to school full time,” Reed said. “We needed to find creative ways to help a different group of people improve their skills. We know what employers are looking for – at Neumont we spent years tailoring our curriculum to fit those needs. So with Helio, non-traditional students get an opportunity to learn software development."

While Helio is one of the latest innovations in Neumont’s arsenal of tech education, there’s even more on the horizon.

"We're an educational institution that prides itself on raising the next generation of the tech elite," McAlmont said. “I’ve seen first hand how education changes lives. It’s the key to success.” And he knows a thing or two about success. In addition to his work and leadership roles at Lincoln Educational Services, Brigham Young University and Stanford University, McAlmont ran track for the Canadian National team and to this day, holds BYU’s sixth-fastest time in the 400-meter hurdles. His résumé includes more than 20 years of experience in the field of education and training.

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“A passion for coding shouldn't start in college,” McAlmont says. “It's why our students volunteered their time to help elementary students participate in the annual Hour of Code last year and why we offer our building and resources to help host events like Kids Code Con. It's a natural fit for Neumont as we support success in STEM education at every level. Plus it's one more way we can be a force for good in the community.”

While McAlmont took the reigns as Neumont’s president just over a year ago, one of his key initiatives is for the school to be a more vibrant and active member of the community. The result has been even greater participation in events like Salt Lake Comic Con and FanX, Salt Lake Gaming Con, Utah Pride Festival and Eve WinterFest. At his encouragement, staff and students have found other ways to volunteer with quarterly events to help organizations throughout the Salt Lake Valley including the Road Home, Utah Humane Society, and Habitat for Humanity. McAlmont also recently met with Mayor Jackie Biskupski to discuss ways the university can be used to support STEM outreach in the community. Neumont also served as the host site for a meeting of the minds with Downtown Alliance and other tech businesses to talk about more ways to make Salt Lake the tech hub of Utah.

Neumont may not be a household name yet, but with McAlmont at the helm and a student body and force of alumni poised to confront whatever tech challenges are on the horizon (from Pokémon Go to a zombie apocalypse), rest assured this institution will be front and center, leading the charge one keystroke at a time.

September 21, 2016

New Face in Town: Cotopaxi

Who is cotopaxi?
Cotopaxi is an outdoor gear brand with a social mission. We create innovative outdoor products and experiences that fund sustainable poverty relief, move people to do good, and inspire adventure.
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What makes cotopaxi's products different and unique?
We have an amazing team of innovators and designers that craft premium outdoor gear and apparel. From unique llama fleece insulation in our Kusa line, to one-of-a-kind color ways chosen by our sewers in our Del Día products, we are always working on new ways to innovate and create gear that consumers will love.
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Talk a little bit about the mission of the company and brand?
Cotopaxi funds solutions that address the most persistent needs of those living in extreme poverty. Giving is core to our model. As a Benefit Corporation and certified B-Corp, Cotopaxi has made a commitment to creating positive social impact. We focus our efforts on global poverty alleviation & give targeted grants to advance health, education, and livelihoods initiatives around the world.
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Why did you decide to move into the heart of downtown?
While we love our space south of Salt Lake City, we knew that our next step would be to open a retail store in an optimal location. Downtown Salt Lake City was and is a perfect location for it. We can't wait to be more involved in downtown events, the Downtown Alliance, and work to benefit the downtown community.
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Why should people come visit the store - what will folks find?
The Cotopaxi store will be as much of an experience as it is a store. Cotopaxi HQ is located upstairs, we'll have an assortment of gear, including our one-of-a-kind Del Día products, and an ongoing calendar of events. We also have a VR experience that will take customers into our Philippines factory showing how our Luzon Del Día backpack is made. We're really anxious to share our stories with Cotopaxi visitors.

Downtown is a system.

Made up of buildings, sidewalks, streets and parking structures—steel and glass, cement, trees and light posts. But downtown’s most important element is people.

When the Downtown Alliance was founded in 1991, Salt Lake City was a starkly different place. Crossroads Mall and ZCMI, two large enclosed shopping malls bustled, but our residential population was decreasing, many parts of downtown were blighted and Main Street was failing. The Utah Jazz still played in the Accord Arena, within the walls of the Salt Palace Convention Center. And where our stunning library now stands there was a courthouse and jail.

The Salt Palace as we know it was just a sparkle in the eye of Rick Davis, president of the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Boyer Company was completing the One Utah Center on the corner of Main Street and 200 South, but there was no Gallivan Center. In fact, there was no TRAX, or Wells Fargo Building, no 222 South Main and old rail lines covered the future home of The Gateway.

People—through their creative energy, sense of community, love of art and entrepreneurial spirit—have built this downtown. As the Downtown Alliance celebrates our silver anniversary, this magazine celebrates the people and partnerships that have helped to change the face of our evolving urban center over the past quarter of a century.

Undoubtedly, this article will miss some important folks who have made major contributions. For that we apologize. It is hard to think of downtown Salt Lake City and not recognize the vision of long-time Salt Lake Tribune publisher Jack Gallivan who started our community down our Olympic quest in 1964 and championed the construction of the Salt Palace. But many of Jack Gallivan’s achievements came before 1991. The same might be said of Maurice Abravanel, Ted Wilson, Palmer DePaulis and thousands of others. An article dedicated to regional movers and shakers might also include such luminaries as Scott Anderson, Mitt Romney and Gov. Jon Huntsman. We recognize their incredible contributions to our community and deep dedication to the state of Utah. There are hundreds of other people we could have included as well.

The 25 people and organizations included here are just some of downtown’s brightest champions from the last quarter century—people who have contributed their passion, talent and fortunes to building a better city. We appreciate and support our partners, colleagues and friends who have worked every day, for decades, to build a better city. As we celebrate our 25th birthday as an organization, we turn our attention outwards to the many people who have made downtown what it is today.

1. Natalie Gochnour
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When asked about her greatest loyalties, Natalie Gochnour might mention her family, her church, Real Salt Lake, and her beloved University of Utah where she serves as associate dean of the David Eccles Business School and director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. But she is first and always a Salt Laker and her loyalty to downtown has shaped the last ten years of her life as certainly as Natalie has shaped our ever rising skyline.

Gochnour’s mind and eloquence were the guiding forces behind Downtown Rising, a business-led initiative that prioritized development for Utah’s capital city. Started in 2006 and launched in 2007 Downtown Rising gave voice to our aspirations as an urban center. She used the momentum of City Creek Center’s construction to inspire a whole new generation of development and emotional connection to Utah’s capital city. The legacy of Downtown Rising includes brick and mortar projects like the new Eccles Theater, regional rail and a corridor of high-density housing connecting downtown with the University of Utah. More importantly, it includes a renewed sense of community spirit that will carry downtown through the next decades.

2. Lane Beattie
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For 13 years, Beattie has led the Downtown Alliance as President and CEO bringing his years of experience as a realtor, developer, president of the Utah Senate, and the state’s chief Olympic officer. Beattie’s tutelage has been critical to projects ranging from City Creek Center to moving the North Temple Viaduct; from TRAX construction to the GREENbike system and from homeless initiatives to building a convention center hotel. His leadership shapes the Downtown Alliance and the broader community.

Everything Beattie touches is improved by his insight, negotiation skills and ability to bring people together. He is not just the president of the Downtown Alliance, he is also downtown’s biggest cheerleader and advocate. Beattie can move mountains with a single phone call, handshake or smile. And his love for downtown has translated to tangible results for Utah’s urban center during his leadership over the past thirteen years.

3. Vasilios Priskos
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Nobody knows more about the history of downtown structures and parcels than Vasilios Priskos, the founder of InterNet Properties. As a young Greek immigrant, Priskos grew up in the shadow of skyscrapers working for his family’s restaurant: the Royal Eatery on Main Street and 400 South. As a major landowner and dealmaker, his commitment to the urban fabric of our city is apparent in places like Whiskey Street and Café Molise, both housed in building he owns. One of his greatest downtown contributions is the rehabilitation of the historic Salt Lake Tribune building on Main Street as a leading edge educational campus for Neumont University. This project retains one of downtown's key historic structures and supports revitalization in the core, bringing full-time resident students and jobs into the city.

4. Scott Beck
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As perhaps the greatest salesman our city has ever known, Scott Beck’s enthusiasm for downtown is contagious. As president of Visit Salt Lake, Beck has built on the legacy of previous convention bureau leaders Dianne Binger and Rick Davis to create an unparalleled sales and marketing organization for our community. Visit Salt Lake supports all of Salt Lake County, but promotes downtown as the site of the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center and the vast majority of Salt Lake County’s hotels, restaurants and bars. Beck’s passion and dedication are a critical element to downtown’s success as a top emerging convention market, a point that will be underscored this summer when Salt Lake City hosts the American Society of Association Executives, bringing thousands of associations, their senior leaders and meeting planners, to our urban center.

5. Bob Farrington
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The founder of the Downtown Alliance, Farmers Market, Live Green, Lights On! and Salt Lake City’s First Night, Bob Farrington’s contributions trace their origins to the very start of the our 25 year history. Farrington was recruited to Salt Lake City from San Antonio where he had served as the director of the Downtown Owners Association of San Antonio. His leadership at the Alliance brought people together, creating alliances and a voice for the diverse business interests and constituencies that make up our urban center. His gracious spirit, astute judgment and planning background made the Alliance the authoritative voice for downtown’s evolution and development. His advocacy continued in his role as Salt Lake City’s economic development director, adjunct professor of planning at the University of Utah and private practice at Farrington Community, Planning and Development, a consulting firm he owns with his brother Phil.

6. Tom Guinney
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Gastronomy opened the New Yorker in 1978 in the rehabilitated New York Hotel, setting the standard for fine dining in Salt Lake City for decades to come. Market Street Grill and Oyster Bar followed shortly after as Guinney and his partners John Williams and Thomas Seig acquired dilapidated buildings throughout downtown and renovated them into architectural treasures. The old Salt Lake City High School on Pierpont Ave became Baci Trattoria and Café Pierpont, and the Salt Lake Hardware Building, Ford Building and Axis Building were all renovated into historic office and meeting space. Guinney’s influence on downtown includes a commitment to historic renovation, civic pride and laying the foundation for downtown’s current dining renaissance.

7. President Gordon B. Hinckley
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Perhaps more than any other person, Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has shaped present-day downtown, especially the blocks north of 100 South. In addition to recreating downtown’s urban landscape, his commitment to breaking down religious barriers left a legacy much greater than mere buildings or plazas.

As Church President, Hinckley oversaw the renovation of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, construction of the LDS Conference Center and development of City Creek Center. President Hinckley understood the importance of a vibrant city center and the role of the Church as the community’s founding organization.

When President Hinckley passed away in 2008, the Salt Lake Tribune wrote: “Hinckley never lost sight of the importance of Salt Lake City as the church's headquarters. He built goodwill by opening the Tabernacle on Temple Square to interfaith groups, by creating an Inner City Mission to help people find their way out of poverty, illness and addiction, and by contributing to the restoration of the Catholic Cathedral of the Madeleine and Westminster College of Salt Lake City.”

8. Bishop H. David Burton
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If President Hinckley was the visionary architect for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints downtown plans, H. David Burton, was the general contractor. Bishop Burton served as the Church’s Presiding Bishop for seventeen years, and his influence for good can be felt on project large and small, tangible and intangible across our community.

Bishop Burton oversaw the construction of City Creek Center to create what industry experts have called “an outstanding example of visionary architectural achievement in sustainability and innovative design.” The transformation of these two critical downtown blocks encouraged other developments up and down Main Street, leading to a downtown renaissance over the past several years.

Bishop Burton’s influence on downtown extends far beyond a single development. As the Presiding Bishop, he oversaw the Church’s humanitarian efforts, including care for homeless and commitments to Utah’s cultural and artistic life. Bishop Burton was also one of the original organizing voices that created the Downtown Alliance. As an emeritus General Authority of the LDS Church, his influence for good continues to build a stronger, more inclusive and beautiful city.

9. The Miller Family
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The Miller Family’s impact on downtown Salt Lake City has been significant, not only in magnitude—the Vivint Smart Home Arena takes up a full city block and attracts more than 1 million people to downtown every year—but also in terms of personal commitment.

Larry and Gail Miller opened the Delta Center in 1991, the same year the Downtown Alliance was founded. Miller Sports and Entertainment also opened Megaplex Movies at The Gateway in 2001. But the couple’s life downtown goes back to their days as students at West High when downtown served as a backdrop to their courtship.

After Larry passed away in 2009, Gail Miller renewed her commitment to downtown, buying a condo in the city center, stepping up as the first private contributor to the new Eccles Theater and serving with former Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer DePaulis on the Homeless Services Site Evaluation Committee last year. She remains committed to downtown as the Miller Organization launches their plans to transform the Vivint Smart Home Arena into a cutting-edge arena, suitable for today’s NBA.

The Miller’s remarkable influence extends far beyond downtown Salt Lake City, with businesses across several western states and philanthropic endeavors throughout the region. But home court will always be in downtown.

10. Karl Malone and the Utah Jazz
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As the most prominent Utah Jazz Player of all time, “The Mailman” Karl Malone spent 18 seasons with the Jazz and represents a golden age in Utah basketball for many fans. Karl and his teammate John Stockton led the Jazz to two NBA Finals appearances, electrifying downtown Salt Lake City – thousands camped outside of the arena to cheer them on. Malone scored the second most career points in NBA history and holds the record for most free throws attempted and made. There is a reason Karl Malone is one of the few people to have a downtown street named in his honor.

Today’s Jazz players carry on the Stockton to Malone legacy, with a strong work ethic, commitment to team play and esprit de corp that represents the best of Utah. Downtown is proud to be the home of the Jazz, recognizing the indelible commitment the individual players and the organization make to our city’s core.

11. Dee Dee Coradini
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As mayor, Dee Dee Coradini left a string of accomplishment that forever changed downtown. As a committed Salt Lake champion she helped bring the Olympics to Utah and worked closely with partners to encourage development and change.

As Salt Lake City’s first female mayor, Dee Dee Coradini was a trailblazer in more ways than one. Perhaps more than any other mayor in recent memory, Dee Dee partnered with the private sector to encourage development of Utah’s capital city. Economic development was a key value. She supported removing outdated railroad ties to create The Gateway, built City Creek Park and facilitated the creation of Main Street Plaza by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, fulfilling plans originally laid out in the 1960’s Second Century Plan. She also supported the early creation of the Downtown Alliance, giving voice to business leaders and property owners to help shape the future of Utah’s capital city for years to come.

12. Rocky Anderson
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Mayor Anderson is driven by principle and a deep-seated commitment to live by his moral compass. His values inform everything he does—so it’s no surprise that one of Salt Lake City’s greatest architectural jewels came from his vision and leadership in the Moshe Safdi designed Salt Lake City Public Library that replaced an aging criminal justice center.

Working with his friend and planning director Bob Goldsmith, Mayor Anderson built a community that reflects the progressive nature of Utah’s Capital City. He founded the Salt Lake City Jazz Festival with musician Jerry Floor, and built a close working partnership with SLOC president Mitt Romney to host the successful 2002 Olympic Winter Games, centered on downtown Salt Lake City. Mayor Anderson left a legacy of sustainability and social justice that continues to shape the city he loves.

13. Ralph Becker
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Mayor Becker’s planning background and commitment to environmental sustainability influenced everything from the construction of the nation’s first ever net zero Public Safety Building to enhanced bike infrastructure throughout the city and the launch of GREENbike, Salt Lake City’s nonprofit bike sharing system.

One of Mayor Becker’s signature achievements is the new George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Theater, scheduled to open in October of this year. Built without any new taxes, the Theater will host first run Broadway plays and serve as a venue for local and regional arts organizations. Strategically positioned in the heart of downtown’s cultural core, the new facility builds synergy with performers, audiences and downtown businesses. This legacy project builds on existing venues and creating a unique sense of place that will set Salt Lake City apart for decades to come. Mayor Becker’s love for the people of Salt Lake City contributed to the renaissance downtown experienced during his time in office.

14. Geralyn Dreyfous
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As Utah’s First Lady of Film, Geralyn Dreyfous has nurtured filmmakers across the globe but her touch on downtown Salt Lake City was cemented when she founded the Utah Film Center. The Center’s mission is realized every time they screen free curated independent movies and documentaries to audiences throughout our state. In addition to regular screenings at The Salt Lake City Public Library, Rose Wagner Center, Dreyfous lead in the creation of Tumbleweeds and Damn These Heels, two film festivals produced by the Utah Film Center every year.

Dreyfous is the recipient of numerous honors and recognitions including an Academy Award for the documentary Born into Brothels. But her greatest contribution may be the lives she has helped to shape through the narrative of films that she has created or brought to audiences in downtown Salt Lake City. Her contributions to downtown will only continue in future years as we move forward in helping to fulfill the vision of a Film and Media Center, a project she has championed for years.

15. Ririe Woodbury
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For more than 50 years, Ririe Woodbury Dance Company has boldly engaged Salt Lake City audiences, fulfilling their mission to make dance a visible part of everyone’s lives. Joan Woodbury and Shirley Ririe created the company in 1964, focusing on performance and education. Over the past five decades Ririe Woodbury has become an internationally renowned contemporary dance company with roots deep in downtown Salt Lake City. Today, Jena Woodbury, serves as Executive Director and continues to build on the company’s long legacy.

Ririe Woodbury is one of the resident companies at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center on Broadway. Together with the other resident companies: SB Dance, Pygmalion Productions, Plan B Theater Company and Repertory Dance, downtown audiences are challenged, entertained and transformed through music, dance and theater.

16. Pat Richards
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As the region’s cultural center, downtown is home to symphony, opera, theater and ballet. The success of our cultural arts can be attributed to performers, patrons and hundreds of other supporters. But in terms of longevity of service and personal commitment, Pat Richards deserves special recognition.

Since 1994, Richards has helped to guide two of Utah’s legacy cultural organizations, first as member of the Utah Opera Board and then, as a member of the Symphony and Opera Board when the two organizations merged in 2002. She took over as board chair in 2005 and led USUO through the lean years of the great recession, helping to create a long-term plan for financial stability. Today she is the interim president. Richards’ love of music extends beyond volunteer leadership as she has literally leant her voice to the music she loves. She has been a longtime member of the Utah Symphony Chorus. Richards served as a senior Vice President of Wells Fargo Bank and was the first female chair of the Salt Lake Chamber. Her business acumen, passion for music and commitment to community have sustained downtown’s cultural legacy for future generations.

17. Roger Boyer
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Built in 1991, the One Utah Center on the corner of 200 South and Main shares a 25th birthday with the Downtown Alliance. And it is only fitting that we honor Roger Boyer, who built the iconic skyscraper together with his long-time business partner Kem Gardner. In 2001, the Boyer Company opened the largest private development in downtown’s history at The Gateway in reclaimed rail yards pioneering new development on downtown’s west side. The Gateway ushered in a new concept for Utah, focusing on entertainment, urban living, retail and office development. Now owned by Vestar Corporation, the future of the center remains bright.

Roger Boyer develops much more than just commercial property; he crafts a sense of community. Tall in stature, quiet and gentle in demeanor, Roger has continued to build downtown, re-imagining the former Quest headquarters on the corner of 200 East and 100 South and building the 101 Office Tower across the street. Together with Cowboy Partners, the Boyer Company is continuing to boldly reshape urban neighborhoods, developing the Station Center project west of the Rio Grande Depot, and building the 151 Tower on State Street as a continuation of the downtown rising vision for a skyline district on State and Main.

18. Dell Loy Hansen
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Dell Loy makes things happen. As a developer, investor and creator he has the rare ability to bring disparate people, projects and ideas together. Dell Loy’s vision repurposed the Wells Fargo Building, bringing KUTV’s studios to Main Street. He kept Questar’s corporate headquarters downtown building a LEED certified building on a former surface parking lot in 18 months. He retrofitted the international style building on Main Street and his team has attracted tech companies large and small who now make us the majority of office users in the WorkDay Building on 200 East and 400 South. Most recently, he purchased the Simmons Media Group and brought a number of popular radio stations to the heart of the urban center rechristening the group as the Broadway Media Group.

Dell Loy’s work in building downtown continues through Wasatch Commercial, Wasatch Residential and Wasatch Constructors who have built more than 2000 new units in and around downtown in last few years.

19. Matt Minkevitch
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Matt Minkevitch has spent a lifetime improving the lives of others. Working in close concert with Michelle Flynn at the Road Home, he and his team at The Road Home, have helped thousands of men, women and children along the journey from homelessness to housing. His compassion is evident in every action, conversation and decision he makes as the Road Home’s Executive Director. The Road Home is more than an emergency shelter, it is a lifeline for people who come to the urban center at difficult times in their lives in search of security, safety and opportunity.

Flynn and Minkevitch do the hard work of helping vulnerable people during some of the most difficult parts of their lives. Many of the people they care for struggle with addiction and mental health woes in addition to financial challenges. Joined by advocates like Pamela Atkinson and working with other homeless service providers like Catholic Community Service, the 4th Street Clinic, Volunteers of America and Crossroads Urban Center, they are committed to strategic interventions that move people into housing, self-sufficiency and recovery.

20. Squatters
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Although much has changed since Jeff Polychronis and Peter Cole opened Squatters Pub on 300 South in September of 1989 the partners still remain firmly dedicated to their goal of providing world-class handcrafted beer and food in a warm, friendly environment. When Squatters opened, Broadway was a very different place. Anything west of West Temple Street was considered the “wrong side of town.”

Jeff and Peter have been avid supporters of downtown Salt Lake City. With the full support and encouragement of Cole and Polychronis, Squatters has become a GREENbike sponsor, annually hosted the Farmers Market kick-off party, installed bike corrals, and has enthusiastically participated in numerous downtown events including Tastemakers, Tour de Brewtah, the annual Pride and St Patrick’s parades, Paint the Town Red, and Downtown Dine O’Round. Jeff and Peter’s commitment and talent have made a huge contribution to a healthy downtown community for more than a quarter of a century. It’s only fitting we raise a glass to their contributions.

21. Tony Caputo
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Downtown has been built on more than steel, glass and bricks. It’s also been constructed with artisan cheese, hand created salamis, sandwiches, olives, chocolate, balsamic and oil. When Tony Caputo opened for business in the Pioneer Park neighborhood, he was pioneering more than just a new take on specialty Italian and Southern European imports, he was also pioneering a neighborhood that many had written off. Tony Caputo puts his money where his mouth is and much of the renaissance in and around Pioneer Park is a direct result of his willingness to take a risk and invest in the neighborhood.

As his son Matt takes over responsibilities for the management of Caputo’s thriving retail and catering business, Tony Caputo has secured his legacy as a successful small business owner, food entrepreneur and pioneering city builder.

22. John Saltas
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When John Saltas founded City Weekly as the Private Eye Weekly in the mid 1980s, Utah laws prohibited clubs from advertising alcohol. The Private Eye promoted live music and reminded patrons about local bar scene at watering holes like Port O’ Call and Green Street.

Saltas moved the offices for the weekly newspaper downtown in 1991, the same year that the Downtown Alliance was founded, and his commitment to downtown has never wavered. The City Weekly has evolved from a news sheet that promotes nightlife to a critical part of Utah’s media landscape and alternative voice to mainstream media. In the past 25 years, Saltas has stepped forward to support downtown programs and events like the Farmers Market, EVE and Dine O’ Round, while reporting on the unique assets that set downtown apart.

Today, City Weekly is a critical voice for downtown’s diverse voices and continues to offer some of the state’s best investigative journalism. Saltas has made a real and lasting imprint on downtown through decades of influence and advocacy.

23. Lisa Sewell
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Lisa Sewell’s career has been spent building the Utah Arts Festival into one of the largest and most successful arts festivals in the United States. She became the Executive Director and her leadership has helped the Festival grow in programming, budget and attendance.

Every year the Utah Arts Festival attracts more than 80,000 people to downtown, celebrating performance and visual art in the heart of the capital city. Beyond just creating a venue for the sale of art and artistic expression, Sewell has helped to build community as art loving attendees build memories and relationships in the shared space of their urban center.

24. Casey Jarman
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The Salt Lake City Arts Council started the Twilight Concerts Series on the sloping lawn outside of the Salt Lake Art Center in 1989. For more than 25 years, Casey Jarman was the guiding force as the founder and director. He helped the series grow from humble beginnings to a new home at Gallivan Center where the Series was based for several years. In 2010, Casey brought the series to Pioneer Park, creating a huge uptick in attendance.

The Twilight Concerts have helped to define downtown Salt Lake City’s music scene, exposing local audiences to a diverse national and local music. With an attendance of up to 35,000 per concert, tens of thousands of music lovers have experience live music under the stars on Thursday nights through July and August. Casey’s role as founder and director set the foundation for the Festival’s continued success under Jesse Schaefer who took over management of the Festival in 2014.

25. Kim Angeli-Selin
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Kim Angeli’s passion for the Downtown Farmers Market helped the Downtown Alliance program grow from a small gathering of farmers and artists in Pioneer Park to one of the largest and most successful farmers markets in the country. Under Angeli-Selin’s leadership the Market expanded to a Tuesday night Harvest Market, August through October and a Winter Market in the Rio Grande Depot November through April and from 2005 to 2015.

The Market has been one of the driving elements of success in the Pioneer Park neighborhood leading to investment of restaurants and food-based businesses, and new residential offerings. It has also helped to incubate dozens of successful brick and mortar businesses throughout our city. Through all the growth, Angeli-Selin carefully guarded the core values of the market, ensuring that all the elements of a signature downtown event that attracts more than 200,000 people annually remain true to a local, thoughtful and food driven mission.

August 08, 2016

A Better Way to Give

“I commit to helping homeless people in our community. I will work to support service providers, religious organizations and private charities to offer housing, food, substance abuse counseling, mental health support, childcare, job training skills and social work. I support a strategic and comprehensive approach to ending homelessness.”

Above is the charter for the HOST program, signed by hundreds of community leaders. This collaborative effort between the SLC Police Department and homeless service providers, HOST aims to connect homeless individuals with social services and resources.

Chiefly recognizable from the bright red painted meters in the downtown core, the HOST program does collect donations, which are dispersed to local homeless services providers that provide help for those that need it most. But, the program encompasses much more than collecting funds. The goal of these meters, as well as the HOST program, is an educational resource to communicate the best way to give to the most vulnerable members of our community.

The HOST Charter also identified five key missions: share (financial resources, time & talents), give (to charities, instead of panhandlers), lead (in circles of influence), teach (others the best way to give) and create (dignity and meaningful change in the lives of others). These initiatives can easily be summed up with the mission to direct donations to service providers, rather than individual panhandlers, as a better way to give.

Simply put, giving money to panhandlers is an ineffective way to give, and usually hurts more than it helps. While it feels as though you’re doing the right thing in helping another who is asking for assistance, there is a better way to give. How do you know that money will be used for its intended purpose? How do you know that person is actually homeless? Or supporting a drug habits? Fact is, it is impossible to know. This is where the HOST program steps in, and ensures donations are going to the proper people, places and purposes.

Salt Lake City is one of the most generous cities in the US, perhaps even the world. Utahns genuinely want to help others; however, the most effective way to donate is directly to service providers, who in turn helps those who need it most. As an example, a small donation of five dollars barely provides a single meal for one person via panhandling. That same five dollars can feed up to four people when donated to a shelter or mission. Service providers are simply more effective than single donations, and ensure help is given in positive forms.

Homeless Service Providers

Consider donating time, money or other resources directly to these organizations, or your local church group:

Catholic Community Services
Crossroads Urban Center
Dinner at Vinny's
Fourth Street Clinic
Homeless Youth Resource Center
Homeless Outreach Program
Rescue Mission
The Road Home
Utah Food Bank
Utahns Against Hunger
Veterans Affairs
VOA Outreach
211 INFO

July 18, 2016

Farmer's Favorites

America is a national melting pot that celebrates a diverse landscape of cultures and histories. In Utah, we are lucky to share in a rich tapestry of immigrant diversity for all manner of reasons—from the pursuit of education or prosperity to family and safety concerns. This tapestry comes to life every Saturday at the Downtown Farmers Market.

When the Downtown Farmers Market kicks off its summer season on June 11, 2016, shoppers can experience, first hand, the traditions and history of so many “transplanted” Utahns simply by walking through Pioneer Park and sharing in the offerings of these vendors who bring their culture to market each Saturday. We invite you to meet three of the Downtown Salt Lake City Farmers Market regular favorites—Argentina’s Best Empanadas, Tuscan Accent and Bona Parte.

Ana Valdemoros
Argentina’s Best Empanadas
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Argentina’s Best Empanadas founder Ana Valdemoros arrived in Utah from Cordoba, Argentina 16 years ago to get an education in city planning at the University of Utah. She got involved with city government and the non-profit world as well but she never forgot her roots.

“I love my profession and also love making empanadas,” she explains. “I always try to marry the two, and as a city planner with some culinary traits, I am always trying to find ways to build community. Food is always a great connector.”

Her fondest childhood memories involve empanadas so the decision to make empanadas and begin Argentina’s Best Empanadas several years ago was natural. “Empanadas are just part of our life. Grandma, mom, uncle, our friend’s mom, the pizza guy, the store at the corner—everyone makes empanadas. Especially during the weekends, empanadas are always present.”

That’s why every Saturday in the summer, you’ll find Argentina’s Best Empanadas at the Downtown Farmers Market—their main outlet for sales. “I wanted to share a little bit of my culture with our community here on Saturdays,” Valdemoros continues. “For those new to them, to provide a quality product, handmade with locally sourced ingredients. For those that were familiar with Argentine empanadas, to bring them back to some of those happy memories they may have collected when in Argentina or with Argentine people.”

While Argentina’s Best Empanada began offering traditional beef empanadas, their flavors have since grown to meet consumer demands. “We incorporated vegetarian ones, ham and cheese (popular with children) and spicy lamb (popular with lamb lovers and followers of Morgan Valley Lamb).” But by far their most successful product is breakfast empanadas which sell throughout the day. “I realized how important it is to listen to our customers and think outside of the box,” she says. “Now they are my second favorite kind.” Shoppers can also purchase sweet empanadas including Nutella/banana, pumpkin cheesecake and banana dulce de leche.

Valdermoros feels particularly welcomed at the Downtown Farmers Market because of the move to eat clean and fresh foods, locally made and sourced. “The market is a venue where we can showcase our handmade products and provide diversity to the food scene in our community. I love working with the meat and vegetable vendors to get our ingredients that I know are grown in Utah.”

And what does Valdemoros have in store this year? The new Square Kitchen, which she helped found, will provide accessible and affordable commercial kitchen space to budding food entrepreneurs and plans to open this summer. She also hopes to keep expanding Argentina’s Best Empanadas too. “We keep contemplating the idea of opening a storefront and we’ll be really aggressive in looking for one.”

Loriano Tolaini
Tuscan Accent

Hailing from Pisa, Italy, Loriano Tolaini is an old world craftsman. His business, Tuscan Accent, is located in Bountiful but every Saturday you’ll find his custom-crafted Italian leather purses, messenger bags and even motorcycle saddlebags in the craft section of the Downtown Farmers Market.

According to Loriano’s daughter-in-law, Mariangela Tolaini, the family business has enjoyed nearly a decade of new and repeat customers from the market throughout the summer months. “A lady from Wales comes and visits her daughter here every summer and she comes to the market the first or second Saturday of the market to look for us and she buys a bag,” Mariangela says. “It’s become a tradition.”

That tradition and long-time support from customers are what inspire the Tolaini family to pack up their entire inventory (somewhere between 100-120 bags) each Saturday and share Loriano’s art with the city. “Loriano’s creativity and quality have been appreciated and it’s opened us up to be known in the valley by customers in Salt Lake and everywhere,” Mariangela explains. The value of the market is in bringing so many people who “appreciate the handcrafted items that are sold there.”

Mariangela and her husband Massimo are pleased that their teenage son is learning the leatherworking trade from his grandfather and may eventually pick up where Loriano leaves off. “That’s our direction,” she says. “We’ve been playing with color and one-of-a-kind and it’s become more of an art than just the leather trade. Loriano’s bags are like a piece of art.”

But even in today’s mass-produced consumer industry, the Tolaini family sees plenty of opportunity to continue to grow. “We make quality bags and the practicality of it makes them a viable product,” Mariangela continues. “Everyone needs a bag but people who buy from us want something that will be treasured and cherished. It has character and it will be a piece to keep for many years to come.”

The fact that Loriano’s work is found and appreciated all over the world is testament enough but Mariangela confirms that the exposure Tuscan Accent receives at the Downtown Farmers Market is critical to their business. “This involvement with the market has made such a difference to us,” she concludes. “The market has been the steady focus point and people believe in our little company. It’s becoming, for us, a tradition.”

Miro Bako
Bona Parte
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You could say that Miro Bako was ahead of his time when he arrived in Utah.

Having worked in the hospitality business in Italy, Switzerland and, for a decade under Germany’s best chef, the late 1990s found Bako contemplating a return to Croatia to open his own restaurant. But in an instant he says, he found himself and his wife moving to America and making a home in Salt Lake City where their son was born a short time later.

After arriving here, they opened Atlantic Café & Mediterranean Market on Main Street in 1998. It was a difficult time because Salt Lake diners were perhaps not ready for the kind of experience the downtown restaurant offered. “Today it is a different place with great restaurants and bars, but in 1998, trying to sell real prosciutto and mozzarella sandwiches with a glass of wine and imported beer instead of selling processed meats and cheese and diet soda on the first sidewalk patio dining in town was a hard business,” he recalls.

Times changed and after selling Atlantic Café in 2010, Bako devoted his energies to his family, other sandwich shops and a catering business called Bona Parte (meaning better part), focusing on simple preparations and fresh foods. “We are trying to simplify and make food the way it was made a long time ago using natural farm meats, garden produce, sea salt, olive oil and spices with fresh baked bread.”

The venture has been met with positive response and you’ll find Bona Parte at the Downtown Farmers Market each Saturday sharing their love of ethnic ingredients sourced from local stores, high-quality olive oils, local lamb from Morgan Valley Lamb, homemade sausage, bread and sauces along with summer soups and yogurt drinks.

“The Downtown Farmers Market is a great platform to present our catering business and to reach more people and community,” continues Bako. “Our customer base is growing and asking for a permanent place. We are hoping for the right opportunity.” His plans this year include utilizing the farmers market as an “incubator for our next restaurant, The Farmers Grill, which will offer fresh, healthy and simple cooking year-round with good wine and crafted beers, music and happy people.”

June 27, 2016


What do a ski maven, jetsetter, active couple, energetic widow and television reporter have in common (and no, this isn’t a joke)? This unique group of individuals are downtown residents. Here’s a story that shows how a variety of people with diverse passions, in different stages of life, call downtown home.

Gaylis Linville: The Ski Maven
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Achieving a work-life balance these days is difficult, but Gaylis Linville shows that it can be done. In 2006, Seattle-resident Gaylis moved to Utah to live, ski and work at Solitude Mountain Resort. Six years later, she finds herself at SMG in the Salt Palace Convention Center managing communications and public relations. Commuting daily from Solitude to downtown grew tiring, and as a result, she purchased a condo at The Belvedere.

“I was tired of driving 60 miles every day,” Gaylis says. “Now I am able to reduce my carbon footprint by walking everywhere and only having to commute two blocks to work.”
Weekdays are spent downtown working and experiencing the culture of the city. The 62-year-old likes swimming at The Gym at City Creek, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company performances, outdoor concerts and discovering new restaurants and bars. Cooking and entertaining are also favorite hobbies and Harmon’s Grocery keeps her stocked and never disappoints. Gaylis retreats to her primary residence in the mountains for skiing, hiking and relaxing on the weekends.

Rosalinde Foster: Energetic Socialite
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When Rosalinde Foster moved to downtown Salt Lake City in March 2013, she arrived with two suitcases and the clothes on her back. German-born Rosalinde moved to Columbus, Georgia in 1966 with her US military policeman husband. After he passed away, Rosalinde visited family in Utah and decided that she needed a change in her life. Within two weeks, she put an offer on a condo at The Regent at City Creek, sold her house, car and belongings in Georgia and never looked back.

“Until now, I’ve never lived in a place where I could walk out the door and be in the middle of everything,” says the 77-years-young downtown socialite. “The energy of the city makes me feel alive!”

A true connoisseur of public transportation, Rosalinde regularly rides UTA buses and TRAX (and once a GREENbike) around town and takes FrontRunner to Layton where she visits her daughter and family. Mostly, she loves that she can walk to so many places including Harmon’s Grocery, Abravanel Hall, Market Street Grill and her tri-weekly water aerobics classes at The Gym at City Creek. Rosalinde rounds-out her downtown lifestyle spending time at a senior center where she takes beginner Spanish, French and creative writing classes.

Ben Winslow: News Professional
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You may find that Ben Winslow looks familiar – and rightly so. This downtown resident is also a well-known face for FOX 13 news, covering politics and courts and “downtown is where the decisions are made.”
“When I first started working in Salt Lake, I thought I would stay long enough to cover the 2002 Olympics and then move on to another city,” Ben states. “But I'm still here and I love it. It's hard to picture myself living anywhere else.”

Before moving downtown, Ben, 38, lived in the suburbs of Salt Lake. He found himself downtown so often that he figured that he might as well live there. Ben loves being able to walk, ride a GREENbike or take TRAX around the city because there is always something going on any time of the year. When he isn’t covering stories for FOX 13, Ben likes shopping at the Farmer’s Market, sipping java at The Peoples Coffee and discovering new things happening in his town.

Chase Johnson: Jetsetter
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28-year-old Chase Johnson has been a downtown resident since the fall of 2012. After graduating from Westminster College, the Salt Lake City native found downtown lofts going to auction, made a bid and ended up with a 400-square-foot loft. “I love that this city is growing up at the rate that I am,” Chase says. “It has been cool to watch Salt Lake grow and change the same way that I have.”

When he is not working as a digital marketer for CHG Healthcare, this jetsetter and his girlfriend love to travel around the country in search of unique experiences and beer breweries. Taking TRAX to the airport is a no-brainer, making it so easy to catch the plane. As a self-proclaimed minimalist, Chase doesn’t do much shopping. He spends his money on experiences rather than things – and downtown’s food and entertainment scene fits that bill. Pallet, Canella's and La Fountain are some favorite eateries while Red Rock, Beer Bar and Beerhive are preferred watering holes for this beer lover. The Twilight Concert Series and shows at The Depot are some of Chase’s top picks for places to catch live bands. To him, Salt Lake is the best kept secret.

Dana Hernandez and Will Tuddenham: Recently Engaged
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Recently engaged couple, Dana Hernandez and Will Tuddenham, enjoy the buzz of downtown life together as they get ready to tie the knot. After graduating college and working in San Diego, Dana moved to Salt Lake in 2009 to ditch the traffic and landed a gig doing public relations and communications for the Utah Film Center. Will, 30, a Salt Lake City native and former-professional snowboarder, studies graphic design at the University of Utah.

"Living downtown gives us easy access to everything we need," says Dana, 32. “I walk to work, Will rides TRAX to the University and we love riding our bikes around town too.” The couple enjoys urban life filled with food, arts and culture. They love dining at Takashi and Copper Onion, frequent the Repertory Dance Theatre, take in Utah Jazz home games at Vivant Arena and attend free movie screenings at The City Library. Downtown shopping for their wedding is also a pastime for them. Dana’s engagement ring and their wedding bands were designed with the jewelers at O.C. Tanner Jewelers. Will designed the suit he'll wear at the wedding at Beckett & Robb. “What a fun experience that was!”