Chad Olson, co-founder, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Pro Image Inc., the franchise chain of 130 sports fan gift and apparel stores located in regional shopping malls in 40 states and Canada, has been named small-business person of the year in Utah.
Sponsored by the Small Business Administration, the award will be presented during a luncheon May 4 at Salt Lake Community College. On May 7, Olson will go to Washington, D.C., and participate in a White House rose garden ceremony when the small-business person of the year for the United States is named.The activities are part of Small Business Week, according to Josie Valdez, public information officer in the Utah SBA office.
Olson started Pro Image in October 1985 in the front room of his apartment with $1,000 in capital. Sales have grown from $400,000 in 1985 to more than $34 million last year and recently was named the third fastest growing new franchise chain by Venture Magazine.
Also scheduled for honors during the May 4 luncheon will be Steve Baughman, Cytozyme Laboratories, exporter of the year; Brent Jacox, Software Ideas Inc., young entrepreneur; Clay Nielson, Zions First National Bank, financial services advocate; Ned Warner, Professional Lithographers Inc., advisory council award; and Peter Van Alstyne, Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code, district director's award.