“Always a helping hand first”: Ray Pickup was called “Giant in our City” by Salt Lake Chamber

Ray Pickup, former CEO of WCF Insurance, speaks as he is honored with the 43rd Giant in Our City Award during the Salt Lake Chamber’s annual awards banquet in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday. The award is given to an individual who demonstrates exceptional and outstanding achievements and has made exceptional professional achievements. (Mengshin Lin, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY –– Smart suits and elegant dresses filled the Grand America Hotel ballroom on Thursday as crowds gathered for the presentation of the 43rd Giant in Our City Award at the Salt Lake Chamber.

The annual award, presented to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional and outstanding achievement and exceptional professional achievement, is widely considered the most prestigious business award presented in the Beehive State.

This year, that honor went to the recently retired Director and CEO of WCF Insurance, Ray Pickup.

“Ray is instrumental in making Utah a great place to live,” said Natalie Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, in a video congratulating Pickup. “It’s been wonderful getting to know you better, watching your career (and) seeing you make our community a better place.”

Despite his retirement from WCF insurance, Pickup remains deeply involved in the Salt Lake City community, serving on a number of boards including the Salt Lake Chamber Board of Trustees, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah Board of Trustees as Audit Committee Chair, and the Junior Achievement of Utah Advisory Board; and the University of Utah Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute Advisory Board.

“There are many individuals in our community who continue to step up to support the larger community, and within that select group, Ray Pickup is first among equals,” said Derek Miller, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance. when announcing the award. “Whether it’s giving time at the local food bank or raising funds to save local businesses during the pandemic, Ray is always one of the first to help and say, ‘What can I do to help?’ This is at the heart of Ray’s essence, recognized by all who know him. We are happy to recognize him as a ‘giant in our city’.”

During his acceptance speech, Pickup paid tribute to those who supported him on his journey to receiving the Giant in our City Award, particularly his wife, Janet Pickup.

“She has dedicated her life to creating a wonderful, faith-centered home for our family,” said Pickup. “She has been so supportive and I am grateful to her, our five extraordinary children and their husbands and wives, and our extraordinary grandchildren.”

Janet Pickup, wife of Ray Pickup, former CEO of WCF Insurance, wipes away tears as Ray speaks during the Salt Lake Chamber's annual awards banquet in Salt Lake City on Thursday.
Janet Pickup, wife of Ray Pickup, former CEO of WCF Insurance, wipes away tears as Ray speaks during the Salt Lake Chamber’s annual awards banquet in Salt Lake City on Thursday. (Photo: Mengshin Lin, Deseret News)

Giving credit to others is not uncommon for Pickup, as many speakers have spoken of his extreme generosity and caring nature, which is reflected in his leadership style.

“He has the ability to drive the agenda and get everyone involved in that agenda,” said Janet Pickup.

During the ceremony, Pickup – a lover of BBQs and fly fishing – received a premium fly rod for an upcoming trip to Alaska, as well as a brand new Traeger grill.

“I am overwhelmed and honored to receive this recognition,” Pickup said in a statement. “I’m grateful to live in the great state of Utah and to work with all the great people who make Utah a great place to live and do business. I especially appreciate the Salt Lake Chamber for the outstanding job they are doing in representing Utah on business.”

Past honorees include former Senator Orrin Hatch; Gail Miller, chairman of the Larry H. Miller group of companies; former Utah Governor Michael O. Leavitt; businessman Kem Gardner; and Gordon B. Hinckley, past President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, among others.

During Thursday’s ceremony, the Salt Lake Chamber Social Impact Foundation, Utah Community Builders honored Aden Batar, director of migration and refugee services for Utah Catholic Community Services, with the fourth annual Lane Beattie Utah Community Builder Award.


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Logan Stefanich is a reporter for KSL.com covering the communities, education, economy and military of southern Utah.

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