A Profile of James LeVoy Sorenson

A Profile of James LeVoy Sorenson

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Bruce Lindsay ReportingA Utah billionaire says the next great gold mine is in information, a specific sort of database he believes can bring the world together.

James Sorenson: "A good database of your DNA--of the world--is going to be the gold mine of the future.”

James LeVoy Sorenson recently founded three companies focused on DNA testing. He thinks the use of genetic records will be the next great wave in medical research, with application to a list of diseases. He thinks the gold mine of a genetic database can not only add wealth to his billions, but also improve human lives, and be a tool for world peace.

James Sorenson: "Using DNA to identify who we are, where we come from, and who we belong to, and we're going to find a brotherhood."

The family tree of Sorenson companies, more than 30 in all, extends from medical devices to video software, to cosmetics, to land development and more.

James Lee Sorenson, Sorenson Companies: "Well, we're entrepreneurs and we're looking at opportunities all the time."

Son, James Lee Sorenson, "Jim," directs much of the family's portfolio of diverse business interests--some traditional, some cutting edge.

In Sorenson's 22-hundred acre Rosecrest Development in southwest Salt Lake Valley hundreds of new homes are going up each year. It’s a master-planned community with parks, trails, and open space with sites for businesses, churches and schools.

Various Sorenson family entities own more than 68 thousand acres of land in Utah and elsewhere, including Jordanelle Ridge, overlooking Heber Valley, conceived as a residential and recreational project with 2,000 homes.

For diversity try Sorenson Media, which the younger Jim Sorenson brought into the family portfolio. Live and taped images from the battlefields of Iraq this year, reached to you through Sorenson Media's new video compression tools. The same technologies power Internet video phones and video teleconferences, and make it possible for the deaf to use the phone using sign language interpreters on a Video Relay Service.

Jim Sorenson refuses to be labeled the heir apparent to the reins of the family's business empire. The two James L. Sorensons who lead the family companies concede they share a sometimes challenging relationship.

Jim Sorenson: “Dad's a very overpowering and somewhat intimidating guy. And that can be difficult at times."

James Sorenson: “I make it very hard for my son, Jim. He says, ‘Dad, too many ideas.’"

Three generations of Sorensons now work in Sorenson companies. How far into the future those holdings will remain a family business is something the founder, at age 82, cannot foresee. But he repeats the same mantra that has helped him amass his business empire. James Sorenson: “All you have is today. The power of now is all you have."

Sorenson says he has no plans to retire. He spends 40 or 50 hours in the office each week, and says he has two more medical inventions in mind he wants to introduce.

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