Katharine and Robert Garff honored as 42nd Giant in our City
The Utah business community’s highest honor recognizes
Garff family’s contributions and positive impact throughout Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (June 24, 2021) – Utah’s business and community leaders gathered Thursday evening at the Grand America Hotel to recognize Katharine and the late Robert Garff as the 42nd Giant in our City for their ‘exceptional and distinguished public service, as well as extraordinary professional achievement.’ The award is presented by the Salt Lake Chamber, Utah’s largest and longest-standing business association, and is recognized as the most prestigious business award given in Utah.
“Utahns know the Garff name and the family’s success in the business community. However, some may be less familiar with their rich legacy in our state of community service and charitable contributions that have blessed countless lives through the years,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance, in announcing the award. “For decades, Kathi and Bob Garff have been passionately dedicated to educational efforts and programs geared toward helping Utah students succeed, not only academically but in life. Without their influence, our students and community would not be the same, and we are delighted to be given the opportunity to recognize these and so many other contributions”
Attendees of the Giant in our City event were entertained by musical selections from Les Miserables by Hale Centre Theatre performers, as well as reception music provided by Aspen Winds, a woodwind quintet; and video montages of congratulatory salutations from Utahns.
“Bob and I are grateful to be among this wonderful community of generous and talented individuals,” said Katharine Garff. “This recognition is an opportunity to reflect on the good that can be done when many work together to improve our state through education, philanthropy, and business.”
In addition to the Garffs’ recognition, Utah’s heroic essential workers were awarded the Lane Beattie Utah Community Builder Award. Traditionally, the award recognizes an inspirational individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to address critical community needs. Given the unique challenges of the past year, Utah’s essential workers were the clear selection, including the following organizations and individuals who will accept the award on behalf of all:
- Marvella Cuch, bus operator, Utah Transit Authority
- Louis Donovan, store director, Harmons Grocery
- Keri Graybill, teacher, Granite Park Junior High
- Alexis Rose, registered nurse, Intermountain Medical Center
- Tiffany Silver, assistant manager, Sunshine Academy Childcare Center
- Jesse du Toit, respiratory therapist, Intermountain Medical Center
The recipients were selected in coordination with their respective organizations and the Utah Community Builders Advisory Board, co-chaired by Clark Ivory, CEO of Ivory Homes, and Lisa Eccles, president and COO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.
“While there are many people who did truly amazing things over the past year, ” said Ivory. “No group stands out more than Utah’s essential workers. They went to work every day throughout the pandemic, providing essential services that kept our state functioning in virtually every way. This recognition is for ALL of Utah’s essential workers, including any not mentioned tonight. We simply could not have gotten through this pandemic without all of you.”
Premier sponsors of the Giant in the City event included: Deseret Management Corporation, Ken Garff Automotive Group, Children and Grandchildren of Robert H. and Katharine B. Garff, and Friends of Robert H. and Katharine B. Garff. Dominion Energy, Gardner Companies, George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, Intermountain Healthcare, Ivory Homes, Keller Investment Properties, Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, Merit Medical Systems, O.C. Tanner, WCF Insurance and Zions Bank were presenting sponsors. Beesley Family Foundation and the Huntsman Foundation were event sponsors. The Boyer Company, Thomas Arts, Smith’s Food & Drug, Modern Display and Mountain America Credit Union were executive sponsors.
For more information regarding these awards and a full list of sponsors, visit: slchamber.com/giant.
Giant in our City Honoree bios below:
Kathi Garff is the chair of Ken Garff Enterprises and Ken Garff Automotive, filling the positions long held by her late husband, Bob Garff. She has been a board member for many years and is committed to leading the company to further growth and continued community service.
In addition to her position as chair of Garff Enterprises, she is also a director of the Robert H. and Katharine B. Garff Foundation and the Chair of the Success in Education Foundation.
Previously, she served as chair of the Utah State Board of Education and as a board member for the Utah Board of Regents.
Kathi is passionate about education and has dedicated many years to helping students across the state. Because of this passion, she and Bob founded the Ken Garff Road to Success and Ken Garff Keys to Success programs, which help Utah students succeed academically, continue their education, and achieve their career goals.
Kathi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business education from the University of Utah. She is a member of their National Advisory Council and was the former Chair of the U of U President’s Club. She is a former member of the Crimson Club Board of Directors and received the University of Utah’s highest honor, the distinguished alumni award, at the university’s Founders Day in 2020.
Kathi lives in Bountiful, Utah, and enjoys spending time with her five children, twenty-one grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Bob loved continuing the Garff family legacy of being involved in and giving back to the community in as many ways as possible. He was very committed to education, founding the Keys to Success program to encourage Utah students to focus on education and build their futures. Furthermore, he proudly supported his alma mater, the University of Utah, helping fund a new building for the David Eccles School of Business, and the upcoming Ken Garff Performance Zone at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
He held multiple community positions, including former Chairman of the Board for the Deseret Book Company and board member for organizations such as Intermountain Healthcare, the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Utah Commission on Volunteers. He also served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
Bob held various leadership positions during his career, including Speaker of the House of Representatives for the State of Utah, board member of First Security Bank, and chairman of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. Robert also served in many positions for the American Cancer Society.
Unsurprisingly, Bob received multiple honors for his work, both in business and the community. Notable honors included Dealer of the Year from the American International Automobile Association, the Distinguished Utahn Award from the Salt Lake Chapter of the BYU Management Society, and most recently, the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business inducted Robert into their prestigious Business Hall of Fame.
Robert was a dedicated, lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with numerous callings, including Bishop, President of the England Coventry Mission, Stake President for students at the University of Utah, an area seventy serving the Fifth Quorum, and President of the Bountiful Temple.
Lane Beattie Utah Community Builder Award Bios
Marvella Cuch, bus operator, Utah Transit Authority
Marvella Cuch has served as a Bus Operator with Utah Transit Authority at Timpanogos Division in Orem, Utah since 2019. A member of the Northern Ute Tribe from Fort Duchesne, Utah, and the Ogalala Sioux Tribe from Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
Marvella relocated from Vernal, Utah to attend college at Utah Valley University, then began working for UTA as a full time bus operator, helping the community by providing safe and reliable transportation to customers. Marvella enjoys working with UTA’s wonderful team and making a difference in everyday lives.
Louis Donovan, store director, Harmons Grocery
Louis Donovan is a goal-driven store director with more than 20 years of leadership experience. An action-oriented leader with a proven track record of raising sales and profitability, he oversees operations at the Harmons store in Roy. During the pandemic, his skills as a problem solver and multitasker helped protect the health of both associates and customers while also directing a team of 14 managers and 195 associates to maintain the highest standards of customer service.
Keri Graybill, teacher, Granite Park Junior High
Keri Graybill is an AVID teacher at Granite Park Junior High, one of Utah’s most diverse schools. Inspiring and preparing students for college and beyond is her passion. She believes that effective strategies paired with students’ individual determination is where the magic happens. One of her greatest joys is watching her students overcome obstacles as they realize their dreams through grit and determination. Her other “kids” call her Auntie Keri, a title she treasures most!
Alexis Rose, registered nurse, Intermountain Medical Center
Alexis Rose has worked as a Registered Nurse for the Intermountain Medical Center since January of 2018. In 2016 she graduated from nursing school at Salt Lake Community College.
During her last year of high school, in 2009, she attended Salt lake Community College in a program to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. She knew then that the field of nursing was where she needed and wanted to be. She has worked in an Assisted Living, Alzheimer’s Unit, and with a Home health and Hospice company on her journey to becoming a nurse. When she started at IMC, her floor was Medical Telemetry. An inpatient medical floor and heart monitoring.
She is a charge nurse and part of an amazing leadership team that has learned and transitioned throughout the year of 2020, and continued to adapt to COVID-19.
Her team became the COVID unit without knowing what was to come. She took this opportunity to support her floor and team members by staying positive and doing anything to help get the team through the rough days and short staffed days. She helped with ideas and protocols developed in being safe with controlling the infection and spread of COVID-19. She continues to be positive each day at work, knowing she’s a part of this amazing unit that has been through so much. She loves her team and her job as a Registered Nurse.
Tiffany Silver, assistant manager, Sunshine Academy Childcare Center
Tiffany Silver has worked at Sunshine Academy for 10 years, and childcare for 17 years. Working with children and the community has always been a huge part of her life and something that she cherishes. Tiffany truly enjoys watching the children learn and grow. She loves spending her free time with family and friends, as well as enjoying the outdoors, traveling and crafting. Tiffany is a wife and mother of two
Jesse du Toit, respiratory therapist, Intermountain Medical Center
Jesse du Toit, BS, RRT, is a registered respiratory therapist at Intermountain Medical Center and is privileged to be a member of Intermountain Life Flight. He works with an extremely dedicated team that constantly fights for patients’ lives. Jesse’s role as a respiratory therapist is taking care of patients’ lungs whether it be helping them breathe a little better or managing very critical patients in the back of a helicopter.
ABOUT THE SALT LAKE CHAMBER
The Salt Lake Chamber is Utah’s largest and longest-standing business association. A statewide chamber of commerce with members in all 29 Utah counties, the Chamber represents the broad interests of the state’s 63,000-plus employers, which employ more than 1.4 million Utahns. The Chamber stands as the voice of business, supporting its members’ success and champion’s community prosperity.
ABOUT THE GIANT IN OUR CITY
The Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors established the Giant in our City award in 1969. The award was created to honor exceptional and distinguished public service and extraordinary professional achievement. It is considered the Chamber’s most prestigious award and is given periodically by the Chamber Board of Governors.
PAST GIANT IN OUR CITY RECIPIENTS
1970: Eric C. Aaberg
1972: Clarence Bamberger
1974: E.M. Naughton
1977: John M. and Glenn Wallace
1978: N. Eldon Tanner
1981: John W. Gallivan
1982: George S. Eccles
1984: Richard A. Van Winkle
1985: Wendell J. Ashton
1986: Arch L. Madsen
1987: B.Z. Kastler
1990: S. Chris Johnson
1992: Gov. Calvin R. Rampton
1994: G. Frank Joklik
1995: Fred S. Ball
1998: Kenneth Y. Knight
1999: Scott S. Parker
2000: Verl Topham
2001: Spencer Eccles
2002: W. Mitt Romney
2003: Don Cash
2003: Nick Rose
2003: President Gordon B. Hinckley
2005: Jon M. Huntsman
2006: James LeVoy Sorenson
2007: Larry H. Miller
2008: William H. (Bill) Nelson
2009: Roger Boyer
2009: Ellis Ivory
2010: Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish
2011: Bishop H. David Burton
2012: Kem Gardner
2013: Harris H. Simmons
2013: A. Scott Anderson
2014: Michael O. Leavitt
2015: Gail Miller
2016: Ron Jibson
2017: Lane Beattie
2018: Senator Orrin G. Hatch
2019: Fred Lampropoulos
2020: Governor Gary Herbert
ABOUT THE UTAH COMMUNITY BUILDER AWARD
The Lane Beattie Utah Community Builder Award recognizes an inspirational individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to address a crucial community issue. Pamela Atkinson was the inaugural recipient in 2019.
ABOUT THE UTAH COMMUNITY BUILDERS
Utah Community Builders addresses our state’s most pressing challenges by providing a platform for the business community to engage on social issues. This strengthens partnerships between business leaders, service providers, academic experts and government agencies on social issues affecting Utah’s business community. The Utah Community Builders Advisory Board is co-chaired by Clark Ivory, CEO of Ivory Homes, and Lisa Eccles, president and COO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.