When Brigham Tomco, 36, was about 12, he embarked on his first entrepreneurial journey as a dog walker. He wanted to play football – his parents objected. In part, due to the $150 registration and uniform fee. So, “I went around the neighborhood and got neighbors to pay me to take care of their animals,” he says. The next year he traded up – “I got an actual job as a dog walker at a dog kennel. I got paid 75 cents a dog.” The effort paid off – Tomco got on the football field, made all-state in high school and played for a year in college.
Tomco grew up in a very tight-knit family of 10 children. “My siblings were my best friends,” he says. His parents, who were “huge influences,” stressed education, hard work and determination.
After earning his juris doctor, MBA and accounting degrees at Brigham Young University, Tomco worked in New York, N. Y., at Ocean Road Advisors and Meyer Ventures, an $800+ million family investment office. But “entrepreneurship is in my blood,” he says.
“I really enjoyed the private equity and investment world but the entrepreneurial itch wouldn’t go away. I decided to leave and start my own business again. I call it my early life crisis because my last day in New York was my 30th birthday.”
Tomco then embarked on his entrepreneurial career in earnest.
Today, he is the chairman and founder of Zylun Global, a private equity-backed investment holding company, and is the CEO of its operating entities: Zylun Staffing, Zylun Insights, and Emmersion Learning. Zylun Global employs nearly 300 people worldwide. Zylun Staffing is an offshore technical outsourcing firm with offices in Utah and the Philippines. Zylun Insights is a market and opinion research firm with offices in Utah and Idaho. Emmersion Learning, headquartered in Idaho, delivers one-on-one English language training to clients around the world.
Tomco says he enjoys starting businesses, growing businesses and buying businesses, and he anticipates a future of growth. “My goal is to have 1,000 employees globally by the end of 2018.”
In addition to his roles at Zylun, Tomco sits on multiple boards including Sunworks, a solar company traded on NASDAQ and Q-Sciences, a health and nutrition supplements company.
When asked how he came up with the company name “Zylun,” Tomco laughs. “The real story is, we wanted a technology-sounding name so we could buy a five-letter URL for it.” After someone on the team suggested Zylun and they went with it, they discovered that the online Wookieepedia has a reference to an asteroid belt called “the tears of Zylun. So, if we go to a client and see Star Wars stuff around, we use our Wookieepedia story,” Tomco says.
Tomco and his wife Jillian have been married for 15 years and have five children, ages 3 to 12. He credits Jillian with allowing him to grow and nurture his companies. “Whenever I start something, I tell her: ‘You have veto power.’ She’s been awesome. She’s never said no.”
Tomco is fluent in Thai after serving in Bangkok, Thailand, on a mission from 1998 to 2000 for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And, what may be surprising to know about him? “I actually did ballet and tap when I was a kid. It was back in the 80s,” Tomco says. “I still remember shuffle-stomp-slide.”
Most memorable airplane trip: “It was on a small, six-seat private jet from the Hamptons in New York to Providence, R. I. We ran into a storm over the Long Island Sound. Because the plane was so small, we had to dodge all of the large storm clouds. It was scary over the open water in a small plane but obviously we survived!”