Carry On: The Journey of Mike Winder

By Jeffrey Fulton

Many life lessons often come by experience .Through the eyes of local politician Mike Winder, he explained how  his experiences have shaped his life. Winder was born in West Valley City  Utah, and grew up in a family business, Winder Dairy. It started in 1880 in the Salt Lake Valley, and it now extends to St, George and Logan; even as far out as Nevada and California. He said that during the expansion was when the dairy changed from being “an old fashioned milkman to an online grocer.” Whether it was a job at the milk plant in high school, or later becoming the vice president in marketing, it was all part of Winder’s personal growth. After graduating from college with an MBA from the University of Utah, he wanted to prove himself outside of the family business. “I wanted to carve my own niche beyond just the dairy,” Winder said.

Right after graduation, he found his niche. Winder was hired by West Valley City as their business development manager.  He enjoyed being involved with the city but after a sudden death in the family, he briefly left to help with the family business, and later returned. His love for city government continued to grow and he then decided to run for city council. He won and served for four years. After that term of service, he decided to run for mayor and won as well. His desire to carve a niche for himself was coming true. Winder loved his years serving the people in West Valley City.

This year, Winder has taken on a new challenge by running for the Utah House of Representatives. Through the course of his campaign, Mike Winder has had many opportunities to meet people in the West Valley community. In his interactions with them, many have expressed their frustrations with politicians at the federal level. “They want reasonable, and collaborative problem solvers,” he said. Winder’s desire to make a difference in the community is a huge motivator for his efforts on the political scene. He finds it very rewarding to be a part of making a difference.

It can be hard to make that difference for a lot of people, especially with many life commitments to balance. For Winder, he shared words of advice to aid those looking for balance. He explained that everyone has multi-faceted lives: work, school, family time, church, whatever it may be. By focusing on only one area of your life, the other things that are also important may not receive the attention that they need. Don’t be too consumed in one project. Be methodical, and chip away at the things on your lists of things to do. “It’s too easy to procrastinate and say, ‘Well, I’ll deal with that another day because I’m dealing with this today.’ The days click by fast. Each day you have to push each ball up the hill a little bit.” Even with Winder’s busy schedule supporting a family of six, being a member of the LDS church, and running for political office, this life-balance mentality has sustained him and kept his life on track.

When Winder does have his free time, he enjoys writing and has even written twelve published books. One thing he really enjoys is going on road trips and vacations with his family. “I like to play travel agent”, he said. He enjoys living those trips three times. First by planning the trip, again while experiencing it with his family, and then scrapbooking all of the memories at the end.

To the future politicians out there, Winder said to pursue public office for the right reasons. He noted that there are two types of people in the political business; those who want to be somebody, and those who want to do something. “If you’re running because you want to be somebody…you want the title, or the fancy office, that is the wrong reason to do it,” he said. “ I don’t say, ‘I want to be a state representative,’ I say, ‘I want to be a champion for education. I want to make a difference for our kids.’” Winder explained that by going in for the right reason, it helps you stay more motivated as an individual, and deal with the ups and downs of life better.

Winder has had his share of ups and downs of life, and he’s been able to deal with them by knowing two important lessons he’s learned: love people and enjoy the journey. Whether it’s preparing food or convenience for people, or even running for public office, Winder said, “If you don’t love the people, what are you doing it for?” Even experiencing his mother and brother pass away, he said he comes out okay  knowing that life is all a journey. This man is nothing short of hard work and dedication, and Mike Winder is a man defined by how he continues to roll with the punches.