Utah’s new Republican vice chairman has a resume of growing up in a mountain valley of Utah’s Wasatch Range where, in his words, “there are more cattle than people”. And even after recently returning with his family from three years in Tokyo, Japan for his employer Franklin Covey, — where there are far more people than cattle, or even residents of Utah — gravitated back to Huntsville , (The place with the cows.) with his wife and two children.
Aaron Starks, is a lover of sushi and sashimi – “the Japanese version”, where as he puts it, “everything is clean and not drown in soy sauce. Where there is no Dragon Roll or Caterpillar Roll”. In Utah’s May GOP organizing convention, Starks was part of a clean sweep of new leadership in the Red State’s Republican leadership; and who literally with a clean shave might be mistaken as a high schooler, but who recently spent interview time with Candidates.vote’s Clark H. Caras and whom I can attest after our visit can see has a vision for education far reaching and defines him as an educated man who long ago bid any teen years goodbye.
(This interview includes snippets of information coming from vice chairman Starks social media postings during his recent campaign. That information will be identified.)
Candidates.vote– So vice chairman Starks are you a cheeseburger or hamburger kind of person?
Vice chairman Starks– Definitely cheeseburger.
Candidates.vote– And the reason for cheeseburger?
Vice chairman Starks– Feel like the more the merrier and taste.
Candidates.vote– Pickles or no pickles.
Vice chairman Starks– Like I said, the more taste I can get between the burger’s bun the happier I’m going to be when I eat it.
Candidates.vote – With your professional work title it’s obvious you are bilingual. What language, or languages do you speak?
Vice chairman Starks– Fluent Japanese. I served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for two years in Kobe, Japan. I was hired by Franklin Covey to leverage my international marketing experience in opening and growing in Tokyo first, a new division with the company solely focused on education and families as consumers. I just returned from there with my wife and two children.
Candidates.vote –With a title describing your position with Franklin Covey of Regional Sales &
Vice chairman Starks –Operations Director for Asia you must have some experience with other languages and countries? I’ve been blessed to have worked overseas and in doing that to have visited almost every country in Asia. I definitely have Japanese down and I’m getting better and better with Chinese with the more times I visit Hong Kong.
Note – Vice chairman Starks in his campaign indicated his work in the Far East for Franklin Covey has taken him to 17 countries where he organized and now monitors sales and marketing teams. Some of those countries visited and part of his territory include Pakistan, Hong Kong, Myanmar, and Thailand.
Candidates.vote – Is there something about your travels into all of those countries that stands out?
Vice chairman Starks– You can go to any of those countries – to Vietnam, Malaysia, Vietnam and the only other flag besides the home country’s you will see flying is the American flag. We give the world hope! It’s not China. We lead the world in so many ways. I would tell anyone to get out and see the world.
Candidates.vote– You’re a busy man obviously, but what book might we find Aaron Starks reading?
Vice chairman Starks– Carly Fiorina’s new book, “Fine Your Way – Unleash Your Power and Highest Potential”.
Candidates.vote– Why her book?
Vice chairman Starks– I just got a copy of it in February at Utah’s Governor’s Economic Summit, but I have always admired her and it was great to hear her speak and then get the book on top of it. She has the vision to be bold. She when to work at HP with the assignment to reorganize the culture and that’s what she did.
My Master’s Degree is from Duke University and when I was there we did a case study on her. She is no nonsense but very kind in what she accomplishes.
Candidates.vote– In short what is your assignment in the Far East for Franklin Covey when it comes to education?
Vice chairman Starks– As an example I spoke on national television in Hanoi about our vision for thing because they are really worried about their education system right now; like all countries.
Franklin Covey believes there needs to be strong social and emotional development in students. We can’t ignore planning, time management, and goal setting in the schools.
Note– Vice chairman Starks stated in his recent campaign, “We must educate youth in areas of government, personal finance and citizenship”.
Candidates.vote– Who, or who are, the heroes in your life.
After a long pause – Vice chairman Starks – There are many heroes in my life. Who is it really? My mom. She was a single mom who was raising my older brother. She dropped out of high school and started to run with some people who just weren’t good. There was a time when she was even part of one of the biggest gangs in the United States. It was during that time she developed grit.
She met my dad at a traffic accident and together they came to Utah and raised five boys. We all love our moms don’t we?
Note– Vice chairman Starks worked in Washington, D.C., for Congressman Rob Bishop of Utah for one year. He graduated from the University of Utah and Duke University.