Academy Awards, make way for Zions First National Bank's first-ever "Up 'n Comers" gala.

Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone and Roy W. Simmons, chairman of the board of Zions First National Bank, announced Tuesday a new awards program intended to recognize the professional and civic accomplishments of Utah men and women under 40.The inaugural gala will be held Feb. 19 in the ballroom of Little America during which 12 future leaders will be honored.

"There are many dinners and galas honoring respected leaders who have dedicated years of service to making our state a better place to live. Never before has anyone attempted to recognize the under-40 professionals whose ideas and energy will shape the future of our state," Simmons said.

Three finalists will be selected in each of 12 categories and Simmons and Malone will announce the winners at the black-tie function. The finalists will be announced Jan. 21.

Professionals will be honored in architecture and engineering; arts and leisure; business; communications; construction and manufacturing; education; finance; government; high technology; law; medicine, dentistry and health services; and non-profit organizations.

Proceeds from the gala will benefit the Salt Lake homeless shelters and Salt Lake Neighborhood Housing Services. Zions Bank will underwrite the cost of the dinner.

Malone, who also is a rancher, investor and owner of a construction company, said he is pleased the event will benefit the homeless shelters and Neighborhood Housing Services because he is familiar with the organizations through his work with the Jazz players' organization.

Nominating forms will be available at all Zions Bank branches. Businesses, government agencies, corporations and organizations are invited to submit nominations. The deadline for nominations is Jan. 7.

Ronald S. Hanson, vice chairman of Zions Bank, said the bank plans to contact Chamber of Commerce organizations in rural Utah to foster participation outside the Salt Lake metropolitan area.

Simmons and Malone are co-chairmen of the charitable project, assisted by advisory board members Jack Adamson of KSL-TV; Don Cash, Questar Corp.; Deedee Corradini, Bonneville Associates; Annette Cumming, Leucadia Corp.; Debbie and Randy Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies; Jon Huntsman, Huntsman Chemical; Larry H. Miller, Larry H. Miller Group; Wm. James Mortimer, Deseret News; Jerry O'Brien, The Salt Lake Tribune; Joseph Rosenblatt, Rosenblatt Investment Fund; Verl R. Topham, Utah Power & Light; and James F. Welch, American Express.