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Who Is Ryan Smith? Besides The New Owner Of The Utah Jazz

Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith walks through the office in Orem on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Ryan Smith rose to financial and local fame as the founder and CEO of Qualtrics – now he has moved his financial interest to the NBA as the owner of the Utah Jazz.

The Miller family announced the sale of the team along with Vivint Arena, the Jazz G League affiliate the Salt Lake City Stars, and management of the Triple-A baseball affiliate Salt Lake Bees on Wednesday morning.

Smith has been working closely with the organization over the past few years, most notably on the “Five For The Fight” jersey patch. The patch was the first philanthropic jersey patch in North American sports history and has raised $25 million in just three years, according to the organization.

While 42-year-old Smith and his wife Ashley’s futures look bright with the organization, here is a look at his past and the journey that led him to owning the Utah Jazz.

Tech Guru & C0-Founder Of Qualtrics

Utah’s tech industry is booming and has been nicknamed “Silicon Slopes” after the well-known Silicon Valley, home of companies like Apple and Google. The Silicon Slopes are home to companies like Adobe and Domo.

One of the biggest companies in the Silicon Slopes is Qualtrics, which was founded by Smith in 2002. He sold the company in 2019 to a German company for $8 billion – cash. The Utah Jazz deal was reportedly priced at $1.6 billion.

Qualtrics is described on its website as an “experience management” company. They work with many national brands including Adidas, Jet Blue, Microsoft and many more household brands. The company helps clients with surveys and data collection.

Ryan Smith’s Education

Smith is a Brigham Young University Alumni. He graduated from the Marriot School of business with a bachelor of science.

His father spent many years teaching marketing at BYU.

His time at BYU turned Smith into a proud fan of all Cougar sports – just follow him on Twitter and you’ll see his passion for athletics.

The Smith Family Life

Smith and his wife Ashley were both present at the press conference when Gail Miller, former owner of the Jazz, announced the deal.

The impression given at the conference is that Ashley will be heavily involved in the family’s new business venture.

“We love basketball. We love the Jazz. And we really love Utah. So this is an awesome event for us. We are blown away and honored that we get to share this experience with Utah and Jazz nation,” Ashley said during the conference.

Ashley Smith runs one of the largest dance studios in Utah – Smash Dance Academy. The couple has five kids.

The Smith’s, who met at a party in college, have been outspoken about their marriage being front and center of their lives. During an interview on KSL’s Studio 5 the couple talked about how making time for each other is a priority – even though they are both extremely busy business owners.

Keeping The Utah Jazz In Utah

One point was made very clear when the news of the Smith family buying the Utah Jazz came out – the passion for staying in Utah.

The couple made it clear that they love Utah and have no plans of moving the team. A welcome commitment to Utah Jazz fans across the state.

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