Brad Rich, executive vice president and chief financial officer of SkyWest, may be the only Professional Achievement Award recipeint who had no idea he was about to be honored until Dean Douglas D. Anderson started to introduce him.
Even then it was far from clear. His wife, Pam, wanted the honor to be a surprise. Her role was to get him to the luncheon.
Dean Anderson asked everyone to stand and then explained that they would all learn who had been selected for the award through a process of elimination. First, everyone who was not a USU graduate was asked to sit down. Then, everyone who wasn’t a grandfather was asked to sit down. It didn’t take long to narrow things, especially after everyone who had not been named a finalist for CFO of the year in 2008 by Utah Business Magazine was asked to sit down.
“This is a surprise,” he said, “a big surprise. For the first time in my life I think I’m speechless.”
Rich graduated in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He joined SkyWest in 1987 and after serving four years as corporate controller, he became chief financial officer. He’s been active in the community and has served on the Water and Power Board for St. George and as a member of SelectHealth’s Board of Trustees. He was one of three finalists for CFO of the year in the category of large, publicly held companies.
He said his greatest success was that his wife agreed to marry him. He also said he was thankful to work with talented people “of good character.”
Rich, who had been invited to speak at the Partners In Business Customer Service Seminar, said he planned to talk about the importance of gratitude. He said some graduates enter the workforce with a grateful attitude about the opportunities they’ve been given and others come with a feeling of entitlement. He said he hopes students will understand the benefits of being grateful for their upbringing, their parents, the quality of their education, their professors and for their employers.