People in Business

Gayle and Dick Powell



Powells receive Granite Pillar Award

Dick and Gayle Powell were presented Friday with the 2017 Granite Pillar Award from the Greater Teton Chapter of the Brigham Young University Management Society.

The award recognizes community members who have “demonstrated moral and ethical leadership throughout their life and in the community,” a Management Society news release said.

Dick, a St. Anthony native and South Fremont High School graduate, is a 1967 BYU graduate. He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in both Hong Kong and Tokyo, before serving a stint in the Army.

Gayle, Rigby native and a Rigby High School graduate, attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. She served a church mission in the Great Lakes Mission.

The Powells were married in 1970.

In 1980, Gayle, who had an “incredible talent for baking and creating delicious recipes,” wanted to help supplement the family’s income, as well as share her hobby of baking, so she opened a booth at the Eastern Idaho State Fair.

Fast forward four years and the couple opened Mrs. Powell’s in the then-new Grand Teton Mall. By 1989, they had 52 franchised Mrs. Powell’s stores across the country.

They ran these stores until 2001 when they were sold.

The couple later brought together a group of investors to launch Kyani, a national nutritional products company. They also created a charitable arm within Kyani called Caring Hands, shipping products and food to thousands of underprivileged children around the world.

Kyani now operates in more than 60 countries.

The Powells left the Kyani ownership group in 2012 when they were called to serve a mission together in Tokyo.

Past Granite Pillar Award recipients include Doug Andrus, Jr., Brent Tueller, Gerald Taylor, Roland T. Romrell, Jack Parry, Glenn Dalling and Ida Hardcastle.

The Management Society also awarded scholarships to two high school students in the name of the 2016 Granite Pillar Award recipient Ida Hardcastle. The scholarship award winners were Jacob Pickett of Hillcrest High School and Lacey George of Skyline High School.

NWPPA honors Fall River’s Peterson

The Northwest Public Power Association presented Fall River Electric Cooperative’s Dave Peterson with its award for excellence in engineering or operations at the association’s 2017 Engineering and Operations Conference last month in Reno, Nev.

The award is given to an engineer and/or operations person who has made contributions to the utility industry in the engineering or operations area, a Fall River news release said.

Also known as the Milton Hunt McGuire Award, named after the longtime manager of the electrical department of the city of McMinnville, Ore., it was first presented in 1947 and is considered the Association’s most prestigious award for a utility employee working in the areas of engineering or operations, the release said.

Because of the high caliber of requirements to receive the award, it is not presented every year; the last presentation of the Milton Hunt McGuire award was in 2014, the release said.

Peterson, who started with the utility in 1985, has been an integral member of key projects and improvements at Fall River, the release said.

Among other projects, he led the building of the Chester Hydroelectric Project; assumed the management and responsibility for all of Fall River’s hydro operations in 2014; and oversaw the installation of the utility’s fiber optics backbone system that connected all of Fall River’s offices and 15 of its substations.

In addition to his work at Fall River, Peterson has worked closely with the Northwest Public Power Association over the years.

The Northwest Public Power Association is an international association representing and serving 153 customer-owned, locally controlled utilities in the Western U.S. and Canada.

ISU honors 2017 Distinguished Teacher

Catherine Black, a senior lecturer in the department of Biological Sciences at Idaho State University, was one of three faculty members honored May 6 as Distinguished Faculty.

Black was named Distinguished Teacher. Thomas Kloss, an assistant professor, music education coordinator and associate director of bands in the department of Music, was honored for Distinguished Service. And Erin Rasmussen, professor, department of Psychology, was named Distinguished Researcher.

Black started teaching in biological sciences as a graduate teaching assistant in 1993.

She has been involved with undergraduate instruction in Idaho Falls since the construction of the Center for Higher Education building in 1994, an ISU news release said.

She became a full-time faculty member in 1998.

Black has been instrumental in growing the Idaho Falls program and creating a bachelor of science in biology program on the Idaho Falls campus.

Black has a reputation for setting high expectations for her students, but providing them with the tools to meet those expectations, the release said. She creates hands-on activities to assist beginning students and meaningful student-centered labs at all levels.

She is well known for her off-campus field trips in general ecology, making connections that cannot be achieved in the classroom.

Black also advises students extensively by creating course planning for graduation, by providing feedback on applications for scholarships and professional or graduate programs, and by conducting practice interviews for these programs.

In addition, she provides many service learning opportunities for her students by bringing science to K-12 students in the community.