Valley man called to LDS >Seventy?
Elder Gary E. Stevenson, right, talks with Elder Allan F. Packer prior to the start of the afternoon session of the 178th annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday in Salt Lake City Utah. (Eli Lucero/Herald Journal)Click here to view the audio slideshow of General Conference

SALT LAKE CITY 8 A Providence businessman was sustained Saturday morning as a General Authority in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson was called to serve as member in the First Quorum of the Seventy, along with several others from around the world sustained during the Saturday morning session of the LDS Church General Conference.

Stevenson, 52, is a co-founder, president and Chief Operating Officer of ICON Health & Fitness, which is headquartered out of Logan. He attended schools in the valley before graduating from Utah State University in 1979, with a degree in business administration.

He also served a two-year mission in the Japan Fukuoka Mission.

In the past several years, Stevenson has served in various other LDS Church capacities, including serving as president of the Japan Nagoya Mission from summer 2004 to 2007.

Stevenson told The Herald Journal last year that three years earlier he?d been confident in leaving his company to serve for his church.

BThe Lord?s work is work,C he said. BIt requires everything, but it is a sweet labor.C

He and his wife, Lesa, who he met at USU, have four sons.

At the time of his call to the Quorum of the Seventy, he was serving as a

Sunday school teacher in his ward.

In LDS Church hierarchy, the Quorum of the Seventy is under the direction of the Quorum of the Twelve, and the Presidency of the Seventy.

Members of both the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy serve full-time in various parts of the world to carry out church affairs.

In the late 1970s, Stevenson and friend Scott Watterson started Weslo, a small import business, to earn money to attend college. Over the next several years, the company grew to include wholesale and retail of items such as clocks, furniture, marble, metals and other materials. By the mid-1980s, the company?s annual sales had reached ,30 million.

According to its company Web site, the company moved in 1990 into its current 300,000-square-foot location in southwest Logan and in 1994 changed its name to ICON Health & Fitness. It is a current leaders in the manufacturing of brands such as ProForm, NordicTrack, HealthRider and Reebok. In 1994, it officially changed its name to ICON Health & Fitness.

The company currently employs 4,000 employees in 11 locations around the world.

Stevenson was part of USU?s Dean Convocation in March, and according to the university is involved with several community organizations. He has served on the Bear River Mental Health Advisory Board and is an executive board member of the Trapper Trails Council for the Boy Scouts of America.

At USU, he was a member of the Utah State University President?s National Advisory Council, and the board of the USU Alumni Association. He has served on advisory boards for the newly named Jon M. Huntsman School of Business and the College of Engineering. He is also a member of the Utah State University Foundation Board.