Flying J Exec Dies in Motorcycle Accident

Utley was SVP refining

Published in CSP Daily News

OGDEN, Utah -- Jeffrey Keith Utley, senior vice president of refining operations for Flying J Inc. and Big West Oil LLC died Friday, Aug. 5, 2005, from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident on U.S. Highway 31 about seven miles southwest of Victor, Idaho. He was 48 years old.

Utley was traveling on the mountain road with a group of colleagues enroute to Teton Village, Wyo. (with a final destination scheduled the next day in Livingston, Mont.), when a mule deer came out of nowhere about 5:30 pm and collided with the Utley vehicle. His wife, Kathleen, [image-nocss] was a passenger on the bike and received minor injuries. She was treated and released from the Eastern Region Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho, about 3:00 am Saturday morning.

He is also survived by his three children.

In announcing Utley's death, Flying J's president, J. Phillip Adams, said: Jeff exemplified everything we all wanted Flying J to stand for: highest qualities of integrity, work ethic and unselfishness. He was admired by all for his total consideration, respect and appreciation for others both inside and outside of the company. Jeff had a strong impact on the lives of everyone with whom he came in contact, always leaving a positive and lasting impression. Many were anxious to do business with Flying J because of Jeff Utley. For those of us who had the opportunity to work directly with him, we were privileged to experience an unshakable confidence no matter what the circumstances. In fact, I think the only thing holding Jeff back was our ability to build the support around him fast enough to keep up with him.

I know Jeff wants Flying J to keep moving forward and we will move as quickly as we can, getting those things in order that will allow us to do that. Individuals and talents like Jeff Utley come along once in a lifetime and we all need to understand that we will never be able to replace Jeff and all of his unique qualities. However, I know everyone will step up to the plate as we move forward.

Utley was the key figure in Flying J's overall refining business and instrumental in its recent acquisition of Shell Oil Co.'s refinery in Bakersfield, Calif. His 19-year career with Flying J began with the 1986 acquisition of the U.S. downstream assets of Husky Canada, which included a refinery in North Salt Lake City, Utah, where Utley was employed as chief process engineer. He was promoted to refinery manager in 1987.

The company is no stranger to tragedy. In March 2003, a plane crash took the lives of two Flying J executives, founder and chairman O. Jay Call, board member Richard E. Buzz Germer, along with Germer's wife, Ilene.

CSP Daily News sends condolences to Utley's family, his friends and his colleagues.