From Uinta Basin, Taylor feels at home in Park City |

From Uinta Basin, Taylor feels at home in Park City

She enjoys an outdoorsy lifestyle

By Steve Phillips
Record contributing writer
Jessica Taylor moved to the Park City area in 2013. She manages a criminal defense law firm in Salt Lake City and is a partner in a commercial construction company.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record
VITAL STATISTICS: Favorite things: camping, hiking, mountain biking, running, river rafting Favorite foods: butternut squash ravioli, pumpkin pie, exotic cheeses Favorite music/performers: pop, jazz, country/Sarah McLachlan, John Mayer, Jewel, Blondie Favorite reading: biographies, history, business, finance, science, classics Bucket list: raft the Snake River, international travel, backpack the Pacific Crest Trail, learn to fish, run a marathon, write a book, see Bigfoot

Jessica Taylor never knew she was a poor child. Now a Pinebrook resident, she was born and reared in Vernal.

Taylor was one of six children and a revolving door of foster kids, and she never noticed she was different from other kids until junior high school.

“That’s when I realized that a lot of my friends took vacations with their families,” Taylor said. “Our idea of a vacation was a camping trip, which was just fine with me.”

Though her father was a respected dentist, he was one of seven in a small town and, according to Taylor, a pretty bad business man. The family made ends meet with “homemade everything” and by bartering services for milk from the neighborhood dairy and other goods.

“We had a half-acre garden, where we grew corn, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes and, mostly, raspberries,” she said. “To this day, all us grown kids have a hard time with raspberries, we ate so many growing up.”

Her favorite childhood memories: cliff diving at Flaming Gorge and Red Fleet reservoirs; river rafting on the Green River; tent camping in the Uinta Mountains; and one “crazy” summer trip to Montana (she didn’t elaborate). Always outside, she says she was a real whiz on the backyard trampoline.

An admitted braniac, Taylor was a straight-A student at Uintah High School. Among other accomplishments, her quirky popularity propelled her to a lofty, though odd post as president of the school’s fishing club, even though she didn’t fish. In fact, 25 years later, “learn to fish” remains near the top of her bucket list.

Her academic acumen, with the notable exception of anything to do with math, earned her a scholarship to Utah State University in Logan. There, she studied English, writing and editing, with the goal of a career in editing and publishing.

After two years in Logan, Taylor married her high school sweetheart and the couple moved to Provo to accept scholarships at Brigham Young University. For her, it wasn’t a good fit.

“I hated being at BYU,” she said. “I dropped my two minors just to get out as quickly as possible and graduated in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in English.”

Taylor immediately landed her dream as an editor of scholarly publications.

“It was fun for a while, but then the internet was born and forever altered my career’s course,” she said. “I love little companies, building them up and seeing them grow strong and vibrant. I soon found myself immersed in desktop publishing, website design, e-commerce and other online and computer-related endeavors.”

Two daughters came along as well: Mieren, 20, and Alys,18. Taylor and her husband started a software development company which did well until plunging after 9/11. Ultimately, Taylor took a job managing a criminal defense law firm in Salt Lake City, where she remains today. She also co-owns a small court reporting and transcription company that brings in “a little extra Christmas cash each year.”

The busy working mother also somehow found time to earn her black belt in Kenpo Karate.

“As a woman, it seemed to make sense for me to be able to defend myself,” she said. “Plus, I liked the idea of being a bad ass.”

Taylor’s marriage to her high school boyfriend ended several years ago.

“It was all very civil and we will always remain great friends,” she said. “My daughters live with their dad in Monterrey, California, a mile from the beach. They’re not snow fans and rarely come back to Utah, so I visit them as often as I can.”

Taylor met Mark in 2012.

“He changed my life from the first handshake, literally,” she said. “We were so alike it was uncanny, even down to our wacky senses of humor, our get-things-done attitudes, our love of the outdoors and adventure, our open viewpoints and our attractions to fascinating people.

“He introduced me to great food, art, music, fashion and travel. I guess I ‘m the companion on his adventures for which his heart had been searching.”

Together, they’ve started a commercial construction company, which is really taking off.

“I’m a bondafide workaholic,” Taylor said. “We only had 12 days off in 2016. Between it and my other jobs, there’s never a dull moment. I enjoy problem solving; routine bores me rapidly. I’ve always had a knack for troubleshooting challenges and overcoming obstacles creatively. It’s scary and exhilarating and exhausting and magical, all at the same time. We’re so excited about our future together.”

Aside from a brief stint in Sun Valley, Idaho, Taylor has lived in Utah all her life. She says Pinebrook and Summit County suit her just fine.

“My heart is at peace here,” Taylor said. “I love being so close to Salt Lake City where I work, but also being able to leave the crowds, the traffic and the noise behind at the end of the day. The locals are open-minded, progressive, outdoorsy, artsy and passionate doers and leaders. One of my favorite daily games is spotting deer, elk, birds, coyotes and especially moose in Parley’s Canyon.”

Next summer Taylor and Mark will begin building their dream home on a picturesque, two-acre site near Brown’s Canyon, with astounding views in every direction.

“We’ll both be busy, but with the construction company moving into its fourth profitable year, we hope to do some traveling, camping, mountain biking, hiking, rafting and all the other outdoor activities we love. My soul misses it too much,” she says.

Steve Phillips is a Park City-based writer and actor. Send your profile comments and suggestions to him at

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