“Go, Cougs!” is still Adam Vandermyde’s enthusiastic cheer more than a decade after graduating from BYU Marriott’s MBA program in 2008. Through the years, Vandermyde has continued to support his alma mater by cheering for BYU sports and by hiring more than 150 BYU graduates to work at his companies.
Vandermyde’s newest position is president and CEO of Petro West, a company that installs, maintains, and upgrades fuel and energy systems in 17 states. Vandermyde purchased the company in 2020 and says that his favorite part of the job is putting “the right people in the right positions with the right incentives and focus.”
He believes his previous jobs prepared him to become a CEO. Before purchasing Petro West, Vandermyde gained leadership experience at other companies, including as a manager of strategy and operations at Deloitte, a director at PwC Consulting, and an executive vice president at Ansira.
“In those past positions, I learned how to connect with and motivate all types of people. I also learned how to effectively think through and solve problems. Although I’m still learning in my current role, when I was first presented with immediate, significant problems here at Petro West, I felt comfortable attacking and solving them,” he says.
Despite his previous preparation for this position, Vandermyde still finds his new job challenging. He admits that being a CEO comes with significant pressure. “When the company has a big problem, I often feel the weight on my shoulders,” he says. “I have 70 employees and their families who depend on our company being successful. Although my executive team is extremely supportive, smart, and helpful, many decisions are left for me to make, which can be daunting.”
Vandermyde isn’t one to balk at pressure though. As someone who played sports in high school and college, he is used to competition and striving for improvement. “I am accustomed to using a scoreboard as an indicator of progress and success,” he says. “I feel satisfied when our numbers improve in a specific area or when a new idea is successful.”
An important indicator of success for Vandermyde is whether his employees feel supported, and he prioritizes being attentive to their needs. “Connection to your employees is everything as a leader,” he says. “I tend to put my head down and focus on doing my work quickly and well so I still have time for other important parts of my life, such as my family and hobbies. However, I make an effort to be present with my employees and take time to walk around to compliment them and thank them for their contributions to the company.”
One specific group of employees Vandermyde loves supporting is BYU alumni. “BYU produces so many wonderful students and is a fantastic source of talent that has contributed to the success of every company I’ve worked with, which is one reason I’ve hired so many BYU alumni,” he says. “Also, I just love BYU. I love what the institution stands for, I love BYU sports, I love BYU’s life-changing cookies and cream milk, and I’m grateful for what BYU has done for me. I want to give back by providing other BYU graduates with the same opportunities I received.”
Vandermyde lives in St. George, Utah, with his wife, Michelle, and their four children. In his free time, he enjoys playing the piano, wake surfing, “getting dunked on” by his oldest son, and spending as much time with his family as possible.