WSU alum inspires others to make business, community connections

OGDEN, Utah — Weber State University alum and businessman Brody Barnes has learned from years of experience that to be part of a business, you have to be part of the community.

Barnes, a WSU National Advisory Committee member and sales professional for medical device company Medtronic, passes on his knowledge and supports underrepresented students through his latest investment, Pickle Court Surfacing. The company, which he opened with his teenage sons Ty and Boston, surfaces indoor and outdoor pickleball, basketball and tennis courts. 

“My personal opinion is if we’re going to let teenagers drive down the road at 16 years old, we should let them create an LLC,” he said about working with his sons.

Two of the three student employees from underrepresented backgrounds were recommended by Cristian Gutierrez, certified social worker with WSU’s Counseling & Psychological Services Center and former advisStudents measure a pickleball court on a sunny dayor for Dreamer Services.

One of those students, Jayden Romero, works in Air Force security forces and studies elementary education at WSU. Along with the others, he’s learning how to track finances, file taxes and communicate with customers. “The customers are spending a lot of money and the team has to communicate well with them,” Barnes said. 

The company finished 25 courts during summer 2023, surpassing $160,000 in revenue, with a goal for employees to eventually start their own businesses. 

Romero, along with another WSU student, did that this year with a mobile detailing business. “We go and restore peoples’ cars to that new car glow you get off the lot,” he said.

Along with fundamental knowledge for day-to-day operations, Romero said Pickle Court Surfacing has taught him to work hard, often painting courts in 100-degree summer weather, and the importance of paying it forward.

The company recently completed a court for Erik Thompson, Ogden High School football coach diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and his family. 

According to a KSL-TV report, the Thompson family spent thousands of dollars for a pickleball court that another company left unfinished before closing its operations. “Erik was worried that the court wasn’t going to get done before he passed away,” Barnes said. “He’s a childhood hero of mine, so that was just an honor to help them out.”

Pickle Court Surfacing completed the work at no cost, and suppliers Dominator and Sealmaster donated materials. Barnes also ran a GoFundMe campaign to cover $2,000 in additional costs, teaching the students about being part of the community. 

“It was just an all-around great experience to be a part of,” Romero said.

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Jaime Winston, Marketing & Communications