As one of the largest companies in Utah, FJ Management has a longstanding reputation for excellence and providing opportunities for its people and the community. The private holding company located in downtown Salt Lake City manages a diverse portfolio of petroleum retail related assets. It is also a minority owner of Pilot Flying J (the largest truck stop chain in the United States), and Maverik convenience stores, a convenience store operator in the Western United States.
While much has changed over the last fifty-plus years, management stands by the same principles upon which it was founded: Integrity, Mutual Respect and Excellence. It’s that dedication and desire to lift up our community that drives a focused interest in business development and higher education. The Flying J Scholarship program has awarded over $2.2 million in scholarships to local students.
And now a new division – FJM Health and Senior Services, is focused on increasing access, lowering costs, and improving the quality of healthcare and senior housing. They are building a portfolio of companies and making strategic investments to accomplish a new goal — better healthcare for all with an emphasis on the aging demographic.
Why the shift to healthcare investing?
Now is a smart time to invest in the health sector as the industry is experiencing unprecedented change driven by demographic trends and innovation in both the treatment of diseases and healthcare services.
It’s part of a growing portfolio trend across the U.S. and also with Utah’s business leaders (after selling the Utah Jazz, Larry H Miller Group made its first health care acquisition of Utah based Advanced Healthcare Corp).
FJM Health and Senior Services, recognizes that need and the fact that Utah is leading the way in healthcare innovation. So why not keep the majority of those investments in the Intermountain West? It’s what the FJ legacy is all about.
We had the opportunity to chat with Josh Soffe, Manager of Business Development – Senior Services at FJ Management and he shared the vision:
“We wanted to get into an industry that is sustainable, one that has a brighter future. One that has a community give-back feature. For putting money to work we started investing in private equity funds as well as our own ETF focused on health services, biotech, pharma, and Medicare advantage.”
It’s an entirely new direction and sector for FJ Management. The transformation has involved a lot of learning and investment activity, but until now awareness of the effort has been under the radar.
Why did you decide to invest in these companies? What qualities are you looking for?
“We’re focused mainly on seniors right now. Service is most important, with an eye to lowering costs, improving quality, and increasing access. We call it the iron triangle of healthcare. So if there’s a strategy where we can reduce costs or waste, then improve that quality (or increase access to someone or a demographic that currently does not have good access), that’s really what makes it attractive for us.”
Tell us more about your local network and work with Leavitt Partners and the University of Utah.
“We want to be more than just a financial source but a value added partner to support local industry. We want to help with strategy and connections. We want to help great companies with great leadership. A lot of that comes with having a strong local network. We have worked closely with Leavitt Equity Partners on co-investments and several healthcare roundtable discussions. Which is great because we have a lot of like-minded individuals in the community working toward the same goal. This turns up a lot of investment opportunities. We have also worked closely with the University of Utah’s physician group to bounce ideas around and confirm directional investment strategies.”
Healthcare innovation has been identified as a growing sector in our state, providing quality high paying jobs. How do you think we can improve that pipeline and drive more people to work in this field?
I myself, went through the surgical tech program at Salt Lake Community College while I was still in High School. It was a great avenue because you’re in healthcare immediately, it’s less expensive, and it gets your foot in the door to gain valuable experience.
We need to help lower more barriers. Obviously training costs a lot of money and time. If there is a path that is set up with a vision and secure job at the end, that would make the whole process easier. The University of Utah’s Income Share Agreement is a great example of this.
With the BioHive, we’re excited to see more organized investment in a recession-proof and sustainable sector. It makes sense. In Utah people are generally willing to work together, even if you are competitors. You work together for the common good. We have the right culture, resources, and skill sets. Our Universities are pumping out forward-thinking graduates.”
What are the biggest challenges or opportunities in the next few years?
“The next generation at FJ Management wants to be in healthcare and do things that benefit the community. Our biggest challenge right now is timing and finding the right niche.
We have a very strong affinity for the Intermountain West. Great healthcare innovation companies start here. We love Utah for the quality of life, cost of living, beautiful landscape, and excellent education. The family really wants to emphasize and give back to the area that has blessed them so much.
We’re looking forward to investing in like-minded companies who share our core values.”
Thanks for the interview, Josh!
Salt Lake City is building a world class Healthcare Innovation Hub and Corridor – and it comes with help from local investors who care about our community. For more information, reach out to Technology and Innovation Advisor Clark Cahoon at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit slc.gov/ed.