By Christine Arrington
The Jon M. Huntsman School trains leaders to be ethical, effective, and entrepreneurial. People in top leadership positions face many challenges, a number of which can be considered under the rubric of “balance.” How much to invest, for example, balanced against how much to harvest. Aggressively seeking short-term growth, balanced against the long-term needs of customers and employees. We spoke to six outstanding leaders, who all have degrees from Utah State—five in business and one in engineering—to find out how they have balanced their leadership challenges and pressures, while creating value.
1978 B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering from Utah State, MBA from Westminster, CEO of Questar Corporation since 2010, prior to that President and CEO of Questar Gas, the distribution business within Questar, from 2008 to 2010.
Ron has been with Questar for more than 30 years. Its three business units are Questar Gas natural gas utility, Questar Pipeline, and Wexpro, a unique natural gas development subsidiary. 2010 revenue was $1.1 billion. The company has 1,705 employees and serves about 900,000 customers in Utah.
In April of 2010, the company announced the spinoff of its high-growth exploration and production subsidiary, Questar Market Resources, which was renamed QEP Resources. Ron wrote in the Letter to Shareholders that the decision created “almost $1 billion in shareholder value between the announcement and spinoff date. QEP began trading separately on July 1  and was immediately included in the S&P 500 stock index, while Questar joined the S&P Mid-cap 400 Index.” He continued, “With the spinoff, we have rebalanced and refocused on our roots as a Rockies-based integrated natural gas company.”
In his position as CEO, Ron said, “I have realized the importance
of balance and the need to always stay focused on employees,
customers, and shareholders. I believe that in my position, it is
critical to do all I can to establish and cultivate a culture of trust.”
“My most challenging and difficult leadership experience involved an unfortunate accident that resulted in the death of an employee and one of our customers,” Ron said. “We hadn’t had a business-related fatality for over 50 years, and literally in one night, my career and leadership perspectives changed forever. “
He continued, “I needed to provide the leadership to help our employees and customers through that most difficult time. I made commitments to our people and our customers that have driven my decision making ever since. Although you can never do anything to make up for the loss of a life, we have created an environment that potentially could save lives in the future, as a result of this experience.”