Four Utah companies have received awards for "demonstrating resiliency and exhibiting remarkable resourcefulness in facing overwhelming odds" in a new Blue Chip Enterprise Initiative program sponsored by Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Co.

They are CompHealth and Pride Transport Inc., Salt Lake City; Lifetime Products, Clearfield; and System Connection Inc., Orem. Representatives of each company received the awards from Jim Woodward, Connecticut's general agent for Utah, Montana, Idaho, Nevada and western Wyoming, during a ceremony in Little America.Also receiving awards were representatives of Idaho companies Scientech Inc. and Melaleuca Inc., both of Idaho Falls; and Electronic Controls Co. Inc. and Norco, both of Boise. Montana companies honored were Culligan Water Conditioning of Havre; Big Sky Carvers, Bozeman; Lynch Flying Service Inc., Billings; and Sharples Jewelry, Chinook.

Timothy Maurer, director of the program for the insurance company, said the Blue Chip Enterprise Initiative program is a comprehensive, nationwide networking and information-sharing effort designed to help America's small businesses succeed in an increasingly competitive environment.

Endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Nation's Business magazine and started in September 1990, the program involves 700 chambers of commerce across the country, said Dick Sands, manager of the Pacific Northwest Region for the U.S. Chamber. Nine national and 200 state judges selected the winners. A case history on CompHealth, Culligan Water and Scientech will be available at the U.S. Chamber for sharing with members.

Woodward said CompHealth, a company that provides temporary medical staffing for hospitals and other medical care facilities, was purchased by its employees in 1985, and they inherited $800,000 of debt. To turn the company around, the new owners acquired a new data base information system and introduced a new billing plan that enables the company to collect partial payment in advance of services rendered.

As a result, CompHealth's annual revenues went from $7 million to $54.5 million in six years.

Lifetime Products manufactures adjustable-height basketball hoops, and its problems ranged from managing and financing its growth and lengthening the life of its products to protecting the product from imitations. The company installed automated equipment, lowered production costs and established strict budgets.

Woodward said Price Transport overcame rising fuel costs, crop failures and a lack of qualified drivers to achieve $120 million in sales in 1990. The company monitored fuel prices, diversified its cargo from refrigerated items to dry goods and instituted a comprehensive driver program with higher wages and more benefits.

System Connection Inc. manufactures and distributes cables, switchboxes, surge suppressors and related accessories for Apply and IBM computers. The company had cash flow problems when it was founded in 1986, so officials expanded its lines, tightened the fiscal belt, lowered management salaries, and managers drove to trade shows rather than flew and even picked up deliveries in rented trucks.