As we celebrate Ultradent’s 40th Anniversary throughout the coming year, we also celebrate the people that work here, and the rich stories they have to tell about the company, how it’s grown, and the role they’ve played in its history. Today we talk to Whitney Jones, Ultradent’s illustrator, and the talent behind the massive mural depicting scenes from throughout the state of Utah that graces Ultradent’s worldwide headquarters’ South Jordan, Utah lobby. Learn more about his fascinating 24-year journey with the company and the many experiences he’s had here:
Whitney Jones
Whitney Jones

What is your official title at Ultradent?
I’m the illustrator here. I do our technical illustrations as well as a few other things in that realm.

When did you first start at Ultradent?
I came to Ultradent in 1994. I got hired on as art director. I had been working at an ad agency before then.

Did you go from the art director to the illustrator position?
Well, I’ve bounced around a little. I was advertising manager for a short time and that was really fun too.

Have you always been an artist?
I’ve loved art since I was a kid. I can remember when I was pretty little, my parents bought me a big coffee table book on Michelangelo and I used to sit up late at night sketching his sketches.

So they saw your talent right away.
Yeah. I don’t think they knew what to do with me but they always encouraged my art.

It’s amazing that you’ve been able to make your passion for art a career. Not many people get to do that.
Yes—well, I had about 100 jobs before coming to Ultradent and one of those was doing technical illustrations and line drawings for a government agency but yes, I feel lucky to have been able to mostly do things in that general field.

You painted our huge, amazing mural of the different parts of Utah that is part of our lobby at Ultradent headquarters. What year was that?
I believe it was around 2004 when I started it but it took me a good couple of years to get it done and installed. 


Whitney Jones touching up his mural of Utah
Whitney Jones touching up his mural of Utah in the Ultradent lobby​

What is your favorite part of the mural?
You know, the portion that depicts Delicate Arch became my favorite section, but it was hard earned. It took a lot of trial and error for me to get it right. Other than that, I love the part that shows the white rock juxtaposed with the red rock behind it. 


Portions of red rock painting ​​​
Top: White and red rocks portion of Whitney Jones' Utah Mural
Bottom: Delicate Arch portion of his Utah mural in the Ultradent Lobby

How do you illustrate for a living and still have the creative energy to paint and draw on your free time when you go home?
Well, I don’t do it as much for fun as I would like to, but I’ve just found that it’s a passion and driving force in my life and always has been. I almost feel guilty when I’m not drawing or painting or working on something on the side. 


Whitney Jones with his Ragnar relay ​​team in 2014
Whitney Jones with his Ragnar relay ​​team in 2014


Besides your art, what else do you enjoy doing outside of work? ​
I love spending time with my family. I love traveling and going on road trips. I also love running in any scenario, whether it’s a half-marathon or a relay. I love music, but I don’t play music, which is one of the great disappointments of my life! 

Whitney Jones and wife Karen
Whitney Jones and his wife, Karen


What are your favorite kinds of music?
Oh gosh, it’s so hard to pin that one down. I love rock-and-roll, folk, classic rock, everything. I think I’ve gone through a lot of stages of loving different music. I started with country way back, then went to folk music, then rock, then psychedelic and now I just love it all.

You really are very cultured.
You know, I don’t know, but I’ve gotten to live through some neat periods that were game-changers for society. 

Whitney Jones
Whitney Jones


Do you have a favorite period or decade?
Well, I think that the time when I was right out of college during the Vietnam era, when there was such upheaval, was an incredible time to live through—in the good and bad sense of the word. That era generated a lot of nonsense but it also brought forth a whole different mindset and society that is still evolving—but that was the turning point.

I’m jealous you got to experience all of that!
Well, my favorite quote is that if you’re one of those guys that sits around and reminisces or fantasizes about how great the sixties were, you either don’t remember it or you probably weren’t there!

Having worked at various places before coming to Ultradent, what is it that has made you want to stay here for as long as you have?
Well, before Ultradent, I bounced from ad agency to ad agency for quite a while. At the time, that was the nature of the business, but when I came to Ultradent, I found that the company was growing and changing so quickly that it kept me interested and excited about my work.

What has been your experience working with Dr. Fischer over the years?
I have loved working for the company that Dr. Fischer created because the culture comes from him. I used to work more one-on-one with him because when I started the company was so small. There were only 125 people here when I started and now there are over 1,500 employees! It’s incredible. We worked directly with each other for a long time and I loved it because he’s high-energy, and I love people like that! I still work with him a lot, but not in such a direct capacity as often because the company has grown so much.

What do you like about Ultradent’s culture?
Well, the culture is amazing because it’s family oriented. Anyone that has ever watched Mad Men can see what the ad agency business and culture was like back then and it’s not far from the truth. It would have been unheard of to walk into an ad agency and talk about what you did with your family on Sunday the day before. It was just taboo. Coming to Ultradent was a breath of fresh air. I have a wife and children and it’s just so fun to work at a place that fits what my life is like when I leave. That’s a huge draw.

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