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Bear Cloud Software was founded in Garden City, UT by the mayor (John Spuhler) and city manager (Bob Peterson), and software developer (Kenny Jacobson) to provide a solution to the problem of short term rental regulation. Garden City transforms from a sleepy town of 700 full time residents in May to over 20,000 by July. There are three small motels in town so short-term residential rentals are an essential part of the housing mix to support the seasonal influx of visitors. Compliance rates with licensing and tax were less than 65% and issues with visitors abusing municipal regulations associated with trash, noise, occupancy and parking were a burden to the city and a concern to full-time residents. The John and Bob looked around and found no software solutions to meet their needs. So they decided to build a system to tackle the problem. The result was STR Helper. With the system in place, compliance rates now approach 95%, gross tax revenues are up 52% and complaint calls to the city are down 85%.
With nearly 20 years of professional programming experience, Kenny actually began programming at age 11 on his elementary school’s brand new TRS-80. Since graduating from Brigham Young University with a Masters degree, Kenny has worked on projects ranging from mom and pop home businesses to various Fortune 500 companies. He’s worked with business in such areas as pharmaceuticals, low to high-tech manufacturing, franchising, and government. In his free time, he is a songwriter/musician and an avid woodturner. Kenny is the technical founder of Bear Cloud Software which makes STR Helper.
Bob has worked in the software industry for over 25 years, starting at WordPerfect/Corel as a support tech making his way up to Vice President of Software Development for Bank of America. Along the way he received a Masters of Public Administration and after retiring from the software industry, decided to dedicate himself to public service as Code Enforcer and later City Manager of Garden City, UT. As he worked to apply his tech experience to local government, he found himself once again entering the software industry as he helped developed what later became STR Helper.
John is the Mayor of Garden City, UT where he helped the city regarding the protection and new acquisition of water rights, future land use, developing new new Garden City Park, a process for land developers including infrastructure standards for water systems, roads and financial standards. He also implemented a system of ordinance enforcement and with Kenny and Bob helped develop the software system to help organize and manage the ordinances which later became STR Helper.
John spent the first half of his career as a software engineer and then later as a product manager and in enterprise sales. He worked for a variety of companies from Fortune 500 (EDS, Compaq) to early stage startups (Vignette).
After Vignette, he took a sharp left turn in his career, heading to Crested Butte, Colorado where he started Brush Creek Flies, a fly tying company in in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He also worked as a professional fishing guide and lodge owner in south Texas for 10 years.
In 2012, he merged those paths into a start up that focused on reservation and product distribution systems for resort communities. As a co-founder of OnceThere, they focused on providing distribution management capabilities to small to medium sized operators that deliver in-destination travel experiences and services. He sold his interest in OnceThere SimpleView in 2017.
Distribution through a host of property managers led him to STR Helper, where he saw the opportunity to empower municipalities to manage short term rental compliance in support of better, more vibrant communities.
Brumby McLeod, Ph. D.
Associate Professor, College of Charleston, School of Business
Dr. McLeod has dedicated sabbatical research to identify and implement solutions for counties, municipalities, and destinations for measuring, monitoring, licensing and increasing compliance surrounding residential short term rentals. Brumby is a Visiting Research Fellow with DestiMetrics, a leader in destination lodging performance metrics. He is working on a series of projects related to residential short-term rentals as part of his sabbatical research. Brumby can be reached via his university email address for those interested in his research studies. He returns to Charleston, SC and the classroom in mid-August for fall semester 2017.
Jeff Moffett, Ph. D.
Triple Point Strategic Consulting LLC
Jeff has over twenty years of experience analyzing data for successful business development and optimal pricing. Data-driven and research-guided strategies are more effective. Jeff has experience maximizing revenues in the areas of resort lodging, air service, forestry, and skiing. In the Pacific Northwest, Jeff modelled the allocation of forest land between wildlife habitat and timber production. After holding various positions in the mountain resort industry, Jeff founded Triple Point Strategic Consulting in 2013 to help companies improve their decision making by taking advantage of data. Jeff earned an M.S. in econometrics and a Ph.D. in applied statistics at the University of Washington, Seattle. Jeff and his family live in Crested Butte, Colorado. www.tpsconsulting.net