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Logan, UT
Logan, UT
Bert Israelsen
Frontier Scientific

I wanted to be an owner of a business -- that was just a goal I've always had. It could be a new business or one that was established and looking to sell. Raised in Logan, I started networking back in 1993 and 1994 throughout northern Utah up to the Idaho border. I came up with a list of about 10 companies.

The company I'm a part-owner of now, Frontier Scientific, began as Porphyrin Products. Porphyrin is something found in humans and in plants, and it's used in the development of medicines, including to treat cancer. The best way to describe it is that we make building blocks for other companies to do drug discovery or material science work. It's a little like Tinker Toys -- you have to put them together.

It was one of those companies where the founder's children didn't want to be a part of it, and he was having health problems. It had gone from 26 employees to just four. Myself and two other people bought it in 1995. Now we have 32 employees and growing.

The Cache Valley has so much technology, a lot of which ties back into the university. The former owner was a professor at the university, though the company wasn't part of a formal incubator. Utah is full of people who have an entrepreneurial spirit. The quality of life is a huge draw. Sure, if you need startup money, San Francisco, Seattle or Boston are all the obvious places, but people like it here. -Kathleen Ryan O'Connor

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