Live recording of WTC Utah and Zions Bank’s Thought Leader Symposium, “Utah’s Economy under a Trump Administration”

HealthEquity and Accelerant Partnership Creates 28 Jobs in Price, with more to follow.

Have you ever encountered the fantastic feeling of “finally”?

This week capped the amazing culmination of a plan that was initiated 4 1/2 years ago.  In July of 2012 I gathered a group of friends together to discuss the possibility of establishing a rural network of Opportunity Hubs in Utah which would accomplish two distinct goals;

  1. Create jobs in Rural communities that had ample talented residents willing and ready to work.
  2. Assist Urban companies struggling to find adequate talent to continue the expansion of their growing business with this Urban workforce.

I’m happy to say that Accelerant Business Solutions Provider is officially open for business!  We went public with our partnership with Health Equity and the Governor’s office of economic development (read more below or here), and we are currently in negotiations with a number of companies with a potential pipeline of hundreds of additional jobs for rural Utah (and some interesting possibilities for rural america) in the works.

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If you or your company is in need of additional work force, now is the time to get engaged with us as we are vetting 6 different Utah communities and our capacity will be taxed if current interest proves to be valid! Skip the red velvet rope and let’s get engaged now!

WE KNOW THAT MANY WASATCH EMPLOYERS STRUGGLE finding tier 1-4 personnel,  let us help! we already have the locations and personnel pre-vetted and we can generally mobilize in 4-6 weeks and our model is optimized to de-risk your expansion with our help.

Call me at 801.999.8342 or better yet let me know your needs and Get Started Here!

accel-and-healthequity-267x300Please enjoy this great article Originally Published on Nov 30, 2016

Robust broadband connections in rural Utah have proven indispensable for 28 Carbon County residents recently hired by HealthEquity.  The nationwide health savings account administrator has partnered with Accelerant to hire and train the new employees to work remotely from Price, Utah, where the unemployment rate is 5.8 percent.  Statewide, Utah has a 3.2 percent unemployment rate.

The vision to connect struggling rural communities to the economic prosperity along the Wasatch Front was created and executed by Accelerant.  The company’s workforce model uses “Opportunity Hubs” to train and connect rural residents with the digital skills needed for employment with urban based companies that desperately need skilled workers.

Once rural residents have received the education needed, the 28 new HealthEquity employees can telecommute from their homes.  Many rural areas across the United States lack the broadband access required to make this arrangement possible.  In Utah, however, some rural residents can get fiber to the home.  The service provider for Accelerant’s Price Opportunity Hub is Emery Telcom.

The idea for Accelerant’s model was generated, in-part, from the direct experience of a Utah Broadband Advisory Council member and former broadband provider.  Dean Lundberg, former CEO and co-founder of Wildfire Broadband, started Accelerant along with Joel McKay Smith.  Lundberg’s knowledge of Utah’s exceptional broadband service in rural areas proved an asset for developing the Opportunity Hub model.

Draper based HealthEquity has added 207 new jobs in the State of Utah in less than a year.  This recent hiring is a prime example of how to tap into new talent pools outside the Wasatch Front.  The City of Price will see an important economic impact with the employment of 28 residents with full-time, benefitted, Wasatch Front-equivalent wages.

As Joel Smith explains, “Utah’s growing companies need skilled employees.  Our experience with HealthEquity in partnering on this initiative has been incredible.  The talent found has exceeded expectations.”

Such innovative workforce solutions are possible with reliable and fast Internet.  By connecting rural residents with urban employers, communities in the Uintah Basin that have been hit by economic setbacks in the oil and gas industries can diversify local economies.  Overtime, such diversification will help stabilize the economies of Utah’s rural counties.

To view a video featuring affected Price residents, click on the image below:







See HealthEquity and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s press release here:


Accelerant Bringin’ It With HealthEquity To Price, Utah – Less of Downtown SLC and more of Main Street Rural Utah…

I have enjoyed the considerable luxury of being able to work in downtown SLC at Access Salt Lake (formerly HoloDeck) for the last couple years as AccelerantBSP has been building towards our eventual goal of having a presence in multiple rural Utah communites.

With the recent developments with Health Equity (see post below) and multiple other developments which may lead to 100’s of new jobs in our Rural Opportunity Hubs I unfortunately (on one hand) will be spending less time downtown, and more time working on our further development of Rural workforce opportunities (which is good on another hand).

I still plan on keeping office hours downtown (I will be planning of being at Access most Thursdays), and will still meet with our Downtown clients there, and will be there frequently for many of the amazing events the Team is bringing to downtown, but if you need to find me it will likely be best to use my scheduling widgit below, as I will be on the road more to Rural Utah, Working in South SL valley, and with Utah county prospective clients.


Joel McKay Smith – CEO

Accelerant Business Solutions Provider
Schedule My Time!
Access Salt Lake
Future IN Design
Salt Lake Steam
“It is an immutable law in business that words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises- but only performance is reality”

Originally posted at


Earlier this year, Accelerant Business Solutions Provider, presented at the Carbon County Event Center and brought a vision of connecting employment opportunities in rural markets with employers along the Wasatch front.

This vision started with initial discussions in 2010 addressing the talent shortage along the Wasatch front and the need for employment opportunities in rural areas. Personal experience in establishing other businesses in rural areas has strengthened the founding team’s belief in the ability to find talented and hard-working individuals willing to learn and adopt new skills.

Accelerant was formed at the beginning of 2015 to move from discussion into action, and we have since worked hard to cultivate adopters of our vision, both among local government and with potential employers.

In June of this year, with the cooperation and sponsorship of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Carbon, Duchesne, Uintah, and Emery counties, several companies and educational partners joined a bus ride to attend the “Ignite Rural Employment Expo” in Vernal and Price, Utah. During the expo, visitors met with local government and business leaders, and about 300 citizens interested in learning more about opportunities in their area.

One of the companies that joined the bus tour was HealthEquity, a company that has experienced rapid growth and now has over 700 employees at their headquarters in Draper, Utah. The HealthEquity team came away with a tangible impression that working with Accelerant to find and train people in rural markets could be a viable solution to find and train more at-home agents, or “Homies” as they are affectionately referred to internally at HealthEquity.

Since the bus tour, many conversations and meetings have taken place, and we are happy to announce that HealthEquity, in cooperation with Accelerant Business Solutions Provider, is now making its first big move into rural Utah by opening up 20 full-time positions in Price, Utah.

HealthEquity has taken the lead with their pioneering spirit in being the first large employer to embrace the rural vision set forth by Accelerant. We welcome them to the community, and look forward to seeing other employers follow their example.

HealthEquity is a company dedicated to helping Americans thrive in today’s health care system by empowering health savings, while helping employers manage benefit costs. Their true pathway to success lies in their strong “purple” culture. Being “purple” means standing out from the crowd by going above and beyond to help others, including fellow team members, members, business partners, and the community. In other words, employees of HealthEquity like to have fun while at the same time being exceptional at being there for others whenever and however they can.

Accelerant Business Solutions Provider delivers business consulting, sales, and workforce services. Our vision to bring job and educational opportunities to rural areas by establishing local Opportunity Hubs. These hubs function as a remote workspace for urban companies, a co-working space for local companies, and a center for local networking and educational events.

Stop being a workforce cannibal! Choose Rural instead! BUS TOUR TUESDAY JUNE 21

Originally Posted on
| Uncategorized

Companies along the Wasatch Front are looking for innovative ways to improve hiring practices and find great talent in our tight labor market.  Have you considered tapping into rural Utah? You should! Rural Utah has hard-working, educated and skilled people available now.  Accelerant Business Solutions Provider in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development has created an opportunity for you to see for yourself.

You are invited to our first “Ignite Rural Employment Expo” interactive bus tour, Tuesday June 21, 2016 where business owners, executives and HR-managers from companies along the Wasatch front will focus their attention on the opportunities that are present in rural Utah.  It’s time to include all of Utah into our thriving economy.  Why outsource to India or recruit from California when Utah corporations like yourself can greatly benefit from “here-sourcing” Utah-based workforce talent within our own borders and be part of Utah’s #UrbalRemedy.

Mix and mingle with Utah residents in the Uintah Basin eager to find opportunity.  Candidates will assemble to meet you, learn about potential opportunities, and boot-camp-style educational programs geared to upskill  rural candidates to meet the needs of Wasatch Front employers.  The goal of the expo is to find 10 companies willing to hire 10 candidates within the 4 counties hardest hit by the energy downturn.  This pilot program hosted by Accelerant has the potential to transform Utah’s workforce economy in many job verticals including sales, support, IT, programming, content, creative and so much more.  Come and be part of the solution to benefit your company and our local economy!

As the “people” person in your organization, you will be treated to a bus tour to the Uintah Basin that will double as a mobile innovation conference featuring several speakers, networking, and three meals along the way and an opportunity to meet and network with like-minded individuals and potential new employees. Speakers and hosts include Bassam Salem (A prolific blogger and tech innovator with Mindshare Ventures/UTC), Pat Wright (MaritzCX/Utah Geek Events) Jon Dean (Utah Digital Entertainment Network), Garrett Clark (the Iron Yard), Michael Ori (Ori Media) Linda Gillmor (GOED) Dean Lundberg (President Accelerant) Joel Smith (CEO Accelerant) and others.
As the bus is rapidly filling up, please Click Here to RSVP to be part of Utah’s #UrbalRemedy.

PandoLabs and Accelerant join forces to deliver tech education to rural Utah communities.

Originally posted on


Accelerant BSP announced today a partnership with PandoLabs to deliver the new PandoLabs Institute web development bootcamp program to virtual student participants in its various Opportunity Hub locations throughout rural Utah.

PandoLabs Institute is offering its curriculum through an exclusive program called “PCCodeCamp,” running from June 2016 through September 2016. This program is intended for people looking to align their current skills and interest with a career in a technology-centric business.

The twelve-week course will teach the fpandolabs_logo369x100undamentals of web development including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Node and more.  Students will engage in a rigorous curriculum and learn how to build web applications.  PandoLabs adds unique elements to their program including business networking, mentoring from industry professionals and opportunities for participants to “Apprentice” with companies associated with PandoLabs and their partner, the Park City Angels.

According to Ted McAleer, Managing Director at PandoLabs, “the PandoLabs Institute PCCodeCamp is the best value in town for aspiring tech entrepreneurs and people looking to align their skills with the growth industries of today through 2025. It is a 12-week CodeCamp supplemented by business case studies from successful industry leaders, based on our experience in working with over 56 entrepreneurs and their startup enterprises in the past 18 months.”richfield

“Accelerant is thrilled to offer the PandoLabs Institute program to areas of rural Utah.  The entry-level course is exactly what these communities need to begin to build a tech-oriented workforce prepared to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Joel Smith, CEO of Accelerant.  To date, rural communities have largely been left out of tech educational Boot camps that have become so popular.  Boot camps are an opportunity for professionals to learn a marketable skill in weeks, not years and upon completion qualify for immediate placement opportunities utilizing the skills learned in the program.

Accelerant is accepting applications now.  Those interested may apply by visiting

Accelerant Business Solutions Provider is a Utah based company which is connecting the urban core to the rural community for workforce extensibility, job creation, and education. Accelerant facilitates the needs of both Urban and Rural entities in a solution we call “Urbal Remedy” Contact Dean Lundberg (President), 801-358-6941 or Joel Smith (CEO), 801-999-8342

PandoLabs brings start-up business programming, including 3rd party incubators and accelerators, entrepreneurial education and business leadership to the Wasatch Back range along with the most comprehensive mentor network in Utah.  Through PandoLabs, entrepreneurs gain access to the right types of capital, in the right quantities, at the right times from the right partners. Contact Brett Monson (Program Manager),, 509-480-1601



Learning Lunch – Rural Opportunity Hubs, Economic Development

Originally posted April 27 by Joel Smith and Dean Lundberg

Join Dean Lundberg and Joel McKay Smith from #AccelerantBSP for a SLCircle learning lunch,as they discuss the possible applications of with a panel of rural Utah economic development experts.

Dean Lundberg and Joel McKay Smith from #AccelerantBSP host a SLCircle learning lunch,as they discuss the possible applications of with a panel of rural Utah economic development experts.

SLCircle is hosting a special lunch-hour forum on how Utah’s rural communities can be an answer to the growing crisis of workforce talent shortage. The public is invited to join the discussion on this important topic April 28, 2016 at the Holodeck co-working space in downtown Salt Lake City.

Corporate executives are encouraged to come and participate in the discussion which starts at noon as Accelerant and the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) is seeking corporate participants for a pilot collaboration.

Dean Lundberg (President – Accelerant) will introduce the Urban/Rural Opportunity Hub model followed by a panel comprised of members of industry/government experts which will include:

Ted Mcaleer
(Pando labsPark City Angels)

Linda Clark Gillmor
(GOED-Director, Office of Rural Development Associate Managing Director, Urban & Rural Business Services)

Vatsala Kaul
(GOED-Director, Information Technology & Software Cluster)

A Virtual panel of Rural County Economic Development Officers who will discuss how technology and emerging pathway education programs can be used to narrow the skills gap companies are facing:

Scott BarneyMillard County
Annie SmithUintah County
Tami UrsenbachCarbon County

Joel McKay Smith – Moderator
(CEO – Accelerant)

The Holodeck is located at 175 W. 200. S. (Garden level) in Salt Lake.

SLCircle member Accelerant is introducing its business model to provide jobs in rural Utah by building Opportunity Hubs in towns where residents can remotely train for and work in technology and professional service oriented jobs for larger companies.

Businesses in Utah are struggling to find technical job talent while rural workers need more opportunity. “Creating the bridge between the urban workforce talent crisis and the rural job loss crisis is long overdue. It’s time to break down the walls of traditional employment thinking and use technology to solve these problems” says Dean Lundberg, President of Accelerant.

Communities in rural Utah have a great interest in job creation as traditional rural occupations in energy, agriculture and mining are disappearing. The loss of both businesses and residents is a double whammy to local economies. “Accelerants solution addresses the needs of companies, communities and the citizens of rural Utah” says Joel McKay Smith, CEO of Accelerant

SLCircle provides a number of educational meetings and networking opportunities each month including their Marquee Event on the third Tuesday of the month. The Rural Forum on Economic Development is part of their Thursday “Lunch & Learn” program which features a different speaker each week. Learn more about the circle at or visit their YouTube channel .

Accelerant is not a dating service for business; we are just really good matchmakers.

A light finger food lunch will be served.

The Real Cost Of An Employee

originally posted  at by Dean Lundberg

How often have you heard or even said to yourself, “I can hire someone for $12.00 per hour to do that job.”  As an executive and even an MBA graduate, I’ve made similar “back of the napkin” calculations myself when considering a business concept or business expansion only to find my estimates to be well off the mark.

It wasn’t until I started building and managing far more sophisticated financial models over the past eight years requiring a high level of forecast accuracy that I came to understand the real cost of an employee.  Now everytime I hear someone say, “I can hire someone for…”, my reaction is to immediately blurt out, “Not so fast!”

It’s not that we as business leaders are stupid.  Taxes, benefits, insurances are all real costs of which we are painfully aware.  However, it seems we often experience what I call Accounting Allocation Blindness (AAB).  AAB is a condition which occurs when all the costs associated with employing people are allocated into so many financial buckets; some fixed and others variable, that it becomes too complex a puzzle to reassemble in our minds.

The Real Cost Of EmployeesBeyond base wage, there are 7 expense categories to consider.

1. Taxes and insurance
2. Health benefits
3. Hiring, training, and attrition
4. Office space and equipment
5. Supervision and administration
6. Retirement programs
7. Wellness programs and perks

To calculate the real cost of an employee, only the first five are considered in this article.  Let’s also assume that we are talking about an entry level position of $12.00 per hour.  All of the taxes such as Social Security tax, Medicare, unemployment and workers compensation insurance will add up to about 11.9% of wages.  The costs will vary by state, but not by much.

Now add the cost of hiring, recruiting, training and attrition.  If turnover rate is 18 months on average, then add 14% of wage rate to the cost.  Hiring and firing have a real cost and it’s getting increasingly more challenging to attract and keep the interest of employees.  For workers age 20 to 24 average tenure is less than 16 months and just over 5 years for employees 24 and older.  The fact is Baby Boomers are not much different than millennials in workplace attitudes.  They just happen to be in a different phase of life.

Benefits. Oh, benefits.  Certainly the largest of the cost categories.  Healthcare and other benefits expense vary widely based on offering and contribution levels.  For our example, let’s assume an average monthly contribution of $600 per month per employee with some good vacation and sick days thrown in will add up to 34% of the base wage rate.  The impact of benefits theoretically declines in proportion to wages earned, or does it?  Think about other benefits typically offered to management and executive staff including additional coverage benefits, bonuses or perks.

One frequently overlooked cost category is supervision and administration.  A good rule of thumb for modeling is to have one supervisor for every 6-8 employees, but make sure to include some HR, IT and accounting support for each new person on the payroll.  When it’s all said and done and time is allocated, add about 23% of wages.

The most ignored cost category is office space, workstations, and supplies.  Sure, these are largely fixed costs but worth considering when starting a business or expanding one.  A good rule of thumb used by builders is 1000 square feet for every 5 employees.  You must calculate in space for lobbies, hallways and please include adequate restrooms.  A corporate office where I worked recently had very inadequate facilities.  It was a pain and a waste of time to search three floors to find an open stall.  As wages go up, so does the floor space, cost of furniture and so on.

Average lease rates in New York, for example, are $75 per square foot or $15,000 per year per employee.  San Francisco $65, Seattle $32, Dallas $23.  In my home market of Salt Lake City, the cost per square foot is a modest $21 or about $5,250 per employee per year.  Now add some annual cost amortization for workstations, computers, supplies, and together it equates to about 30% of wage rate.

Other cost factors not calculated in this analysis might include software and other tools required to get the job done.  Using industry standard IVR/call routing software may cost in the range of $75-$150 per seat plus minutes used. Other customer relationship management (CRM) software tools may add $50-$120 per employee.  Add broadband connectivity, internal management tools, and so on… You can certainly rack up $2-5 per hour in additional costs.

Finally, after calculating all of the basic cost categories, a $12.00 per hour employee in my hometown market of Salt Lake City is $25.55 per hour.  A $50,000 annual salary produces a cost of approximately $82,000.  Not all cost categories rise proportionately to wages.  Take a look at the chart to better understand the relationship between wage rates and the real employee cost curve.

Real Cost Chart

In the context of the great debate over minimum wage rates, it’s interesting to think about the real cost of minimum wages at $8.00 per hour versus $15.00 per hour with a relative cost of $19.50 and $30.08 per hour respectively.

What we know today is that the basics don’t cut it.  Wellness programs, on-site perks and retirement programs are additional dimensions employers must consider to be competitive.  Attitudes and expectations are shifting. Hiring and retaining talent is critical.  It’s complicated and challenging, but by better understanding the real costs, or the real needs, of the workforce, business leaders can and must be better prepared to plan and budget for success.

At Accelerant, we are taking a close look at how telecommuting and workforce virtualization can improve performance, inclusion and cost efficiencies.  Workforce and workforce management is an interesting field of discovery.Technology and connectivity are opening alternative relationships between employers and employees.  Solving issues of population growth, air pollution, access to employment, rural and urban economic growth will require breaking down the walls of traditional workforce management.