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Boyer, Ivory named Giants in Our City by Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce

Ellis Ivory, left, founded Ivory Homes. Roger Boyer, right, founded The Boyer Company. Photo courtesy of Busath Studio & Gardens.

Ellis Ivory and Roger Boyer built their careers on the same foundation nearly 45 years ago. Now the Salt Lake Chamber will honor Ivory and Boyer, each with a Giant in Our City award – the most prestigious business award given in Utah.

“It would have seemed inappropriate for either to be honored without the other for any award of this magnitude,” said Marty Carpenter, director of communication and marketing at the Salt Lake Chamber. “These are two individuals who have significantly changed the landscape of the Wasatch Front and a significant portion of the state.”

In 1967, Ivory and Boyer began their combined efforts to develop Utah with the development of Bloomington in St. George. Together they established Ivory and Boyer Company, a real estate brokerage firm specializing in land sales and development.
 
Although this was Ellis’ and Boyer’s first business venture together, this was not the first time the duo had worked together. The men met a few years prior in the Sigma Chi Fraternity at the University of Utah and have been inseparable ever since. They joined the U.S. Army, served missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and married sisters, Katie Stohl Ivory and Sara Stohl Boyer.
 
“The Ivory and Boyer team has been together a long time,” Ivory said. “About 50 years – that’s a long time.”
The team would not share a business for long, however. Boyer left the Ivory and Boyer Company to start his own business: The Boyer Company.
 
“I was particularly interested in developing income-producing properties, office buildings, etcetera, and struck out on my own to try to accomplish the same,” Boyer said. “After a little more than a year, Kem Gardner joined me as a partner, a relationship we have enjoyed for more than 30 years. We have done a lot of projects over this time period and have always had a general philosophy of wanting to build quality projects.”
 
Since the establishment of The Boyer Company 35 years ago, Boyer has been behind the development of more than 23.5 million square feet of commercial projects in the United States. The Company has built office buildings, shopping centers, medical offices, residential developments, hotels, apartments and special use facilities, according to its Web site www.boyercompany.com.
 
Many of those structures were built locally by The Boyer Company, with one of the most well-known being the Gateway in Salt Lake City, Carpenter said. Between the Gateway and other buildings in the area, Ivory suggested that The Boyer Company has created most of the skyline in downtown Salt Lake City.
 
“There is no one in this state that has done as much retail and office construction as The Boyer Company,” Ivory said.
On the other hand, no one in the state has built more residential dwellings than Ivory Homes.
 
Ivory Homes, which was started by Ivory in 1970 and known then as Ivory and Company, has been the leading homebuilder in Utah for 22 years. Before acquiring that status, the company led the state in residential land development, developing roughly 1,500 residential lots every year.  Then in 1983, during an economic downturn, Ivory began building homes on developed lots.
 
“By 1987, we were Utah’s leading homebuilder,” Ivory said.
 
The company has held that position ever since.
 
Ivory credits much of the success of his company to his staff. Most of the employees have been with Ivory Homes for many years, through all of the ups and downs, he said. And the key players at Ivory Homes have been with the company for more than 30 years, Ivory said. Ivory Homes also boasts an in-house sales team that Ivory says is the best in the business.
 
“It turned out better than I would have dared to dream back in those days even though I was a pretty good dreamer,” Ivory said.
 
Boyer found success in a very similar way. He too built his company around great employees, many who have been with The Boyer Company for more than three decades. Boyer said his employees have created much of the success his company has experienced.
 
“I think (The Boyer Company’s) greatest achievement has been a structure that has allowed development project managers to really become their own developer,” Boyer said. “They manage everything as though it is theirs because they get an equity interest in the project, thus creating a structure where their goals are very congruent with the company’s. If they succeed, we all succeed.”
 
Boyer, who is now the company chair, believes the company he founded will continue to succeed and will do so in a more sophisticated manner. The Boyer Company, he said, would continue to grow its portfolio, remaining cautious in its business ventures of the current economic climate.
 
Ivory Homes, www.ivoryhomes.com, is headed in a similar direction. The company, which Ivory sold to his son, Clark, in 2000, continues to show a profit, even during these tough economic times.
 
 “We anticipate 2009 will be a good year,” Ivory wrote in an article for Utah CEO Magazine. “Already, our 120 home sales in January and February are on track with our sales plan and goals. We are confident that 2009 will be Ivory Home’s 23rd consecutive year as Utah’s leading homebuilder.”
 
As their companies move forward under new direction, retirees Ivory and Boyer continue to serve the community, volunteering on various boards.
 
Ivory currently serves as vice chairman of the Newspaper Agency Company and chairman of This is the Place Foundation. In the past, Boyer was president of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors, president of the Great Salt Lake Council, Boy Scouts of America, chairman of the Utah Division of the American Cancer Society and vice president of the Board of Governors. He founded the Utah Real Estate Education Foundation. And served on the Board of Directors of the University’s Alumni Association and the Utah Association of Realtors.
 
Boyer is on the University of Utah Hospital Advisory Board, University of Utah National Advisory Committee, ARUP Laboratories Board and is a trustee at the University of Utah. In previous years, Boyer was a representative for the Utah Arts Council, Pioneer Memorial Theater, The United Way, Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Salt Lake Public Utilities Advisory Board, Utah Division of Business and Economic Development Board, Economic Development Corporation of Utah Board, Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau Board and Federal Reserve Board.
 
As successful entrepreneurs who have contributed to the community through their businesses and their service, Carpenter said it was time to recognize Ivory and Boyer by naming them Giants in Our City, a recognition which has been given to others of the same caliber, including Larry H. Miller (2007), Jon M. Huntsman (2005), Gordon B. Hinckley (2003) and Mitt Romney (2002).
 
“It is not a lighthearted process to figure out who is going to receive the award,” Carpenter said. “Those who are named are the cream of the crop.”
 
Knowing this, Boyer said he was “greatly honored to be named when so many others would be more meritorious.” Boyer said he was also pleased to be named alongside his original business partner.
 
“Piggybacking on Ellis’ shoulders is the only way I could be included,” Boyer said. “Ellis has always had a big picture of what could be. Ellis also has always cared about others enough to share his vision as it applies to those he mentors, helping them see what is possible for themselves.”
 
Ivory said he was also humbled to be on the list. And said he felt it was only right that he and Roger, who have so closely paralleled each other in life, be given the award simultaneously.
 
“Roger, he is a remarkable business man,” Ivory said. “He is a very understated guy who doesn’t blow his own horn.”
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Ivory and Boyer will each be presented with a Giant in Our City Award at 6 p.m. on May 21 in the Grand Ballroom at The Grand America Hotel in Salt lake City. A reception will be followed by dinner and a program. The black tie event is $150 per individual or $1,500 per table. E-mail giant@saltlakechamber.org for more information. Also, read more about the Giant in Our City Award at www.saltlakechamber.org.
 
Story by Kelly Lux. Photo courtesy of Busath Studio & Gardens.

 

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