Commissioners


Councilor Christopher F. Robinson

Summit County

Commission Chair

chris@cwc.utah.gov

Christopher F. Robinson is the CEO and co-owner of The Ensign Group, L.C., which through its affiliates owns, operates, leases, and/or manages large tracts of private and public land located in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming, and used for production agriculture, mineral and resource development, wildlife values, water resources, environmental values, real estate investment, and/or real estate development.

Chris is an elected Member, Summit County Council (2009 through present); a member of the Executive Committee and Vice-Chair, Mountain Accord (2014 to 2016); a member of the Board of Directors, a member of the Utah Local Governments Trust (2015 to present); a member of the Bureau of Land Management Utah Resource Advisory Council (January 2016 to present); a member of the Utah Advisory Board for the Sundance Institute (2017 to present); a trustee (1999 to 2002) of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games and Vice-Chairman of Audit Committee; a trustee and currently Vice-Chair of the Utah Board, The Nature Conservancy (1996 to present);.

Chris is married to Rochelle Allen Robinson, and they are the parents of four children. He received an Honors B.A. in Accountancy from the University of Utah (1986), and resides in Park City, Utah.

Mayor Jenny Wilson

Salt Lake County

Commission Co-Chair

Jenny Wilson is pleased to serve as the Mayor of Salt Lake County, having previously served as a County Council Member for ten years. She took the oath of office as Mayor early in 2019 where I serve more than a million constituents. Jenny is a 5th Generation Utahn, born and raised in Salt Lake City, and graduated from East High School, attended the University of Utah and went on to get my master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. Jenny has two wonderful teenaged sons, an amazingly supportive husband and a very energetic dog.

In 2005, Jenny was the first woman elected to the Salt Lake County Council. As a council member, she championed numerous policy initiatives, including ethics reform, criminal justice reform, open space preservation and government efficiency. Jenny helped establish the Jordan River Commission, designed to improve and preserve the river and co-established the Salt Lake County opioid task-force. The task force helps coordinate and innovate efforts to fight the opioid epidemic.

Jenny has broad experience working in government and the private and non-profit sectors, including positions in administration, fundraising, government relations, and project management for organizations including the Sundance organization, Voices for Utah Children, the University of Utah’s Moran Eye Center, and the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games. Jenny is proud to have served as the chief of staff to Congressman Bill Orton in Washington DC in the 1990s.

Mayor Mike Peterson

Cottonwood Heights

Commission Secretary

Mike Peterson is the current mayor for the City of Cottonwood Heights. Cottonwood Heights is a city of 35,000 located at the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains and is beautifully situated between Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. Hence Cottonwood Heights is often referred to as the City between the Canyons.

Prior to becoming mayor of Cottonwood Heights, Mr. Peterson also served for over six years as a city councilman. Professionally, Mr. Peterson has spent the majority of his 45 year career as a parks and recreation practitioner.  During this career he has held such positions as President of the Utah Recreation and Parks Association; served on the Council for University Accreditation with the National Recreation and Parks Association; served as Executive Director, Cottonwood Heights Parks and Recreation Service Area; Past Chair for the Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and former Associate Director for Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation.

Mike has a passion for parks, trails, and open space and has lived adjacent to the Central Wasatch Mountains nearly all his life. Together Mike and his wife raised five children in Cottonwood Heights while enjoying most every aspect of the beautiful Central Wasatch canyons.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall

Salt Lake City

Commission Treasurer

Erin came to Salt Lake with her family when she was 7 years old, and after losing her father to cancer at age 13, Erin graduated from Alta High School and enrolled at the University of Utah. It was there that her interest in the intersection of science and public policy took shape, leading to a career focused on improving Utah’s air quality and protecting our environment.

Just weeks after the birth of her first son, Erin learned the air quality in Salt Lake City had become so bad that it could take two years off his life. She decided to stay and fight rather than walk away, becoming an activist and joining Utah Moms for Clean Air in 2008. Determined to bring scientific understanding to air-quality discussions in the state legislature, our schools, and our community, Erin co-founded a new non-profit organization, Breathe Utah, in 2010, and was appointed to Utah’s Air Quality Board in 2014. She has since twice been elected as its chair.

Wanting to advance air-quality policy inside the city government and serve Salt Lake City on a wider range of issues, Erin was elected to represent District 5 on the City Council in 2013. During her six years on the Council, including one year as its chair, Erin worked for equitable progress across the city, driving road repairs and infrastructure maintenance, expanding access to transit and affordable housing, and making the city more equitable for women and girls. She is the first mayor in Salt Lake City history to have been publicly elected from the city council. As mayor, Erin is working hard to make Salt Lake City more environmentally and economically resilient, and to take advantage of the region’s historic period of economic opportunity. She is determined to ensure every Salt Laker — no matter their neighborhood, economic or housing status, faith, race, or sexual or gender identity — can access all the city has to offer.

Erin’s love for the extraordinary people of Salt Lake City drives an unrelenting commitment to bringing people from different walks of life together in pursuit of results for the entire city. Erin was elected the 36th mayor of Salt Lake City on November 5, 2019 and took the oath of office on the steps of City Hall on January 6, 2020.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in gender studies and a master’s degree in science and technology, both from the University of Utah. Erin and her husband, Kyle LaMalfa, are the proud parents of three children, Cash, Everett, and Milå.

Councilor Jim Bradley

Salt Lake County

Commissioner

Jim Bradley serves on the Salt Lake County Council as an at-large member covering all of Salt Lake County. He serves on the boards of the Unified Police Department, the Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District and the Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Service Area. He is a member of the Central Wasatch Commission and was recently appointed by the Governor to the Quality Growth Commission.

Jim is a life long resident of Salt Lake County and graduated from the University of Utah. He served as the Director of the Utah Energy Office during the Matheson administration and has worked as a consultant to energy and waste management companies. His wife, Glenda, owns the 15th Street Gallery in Salt Lake City.

Mayor Andy Beerman

Park City

Commissioner

Andy is a native of Ohio, but spent his summers in the mountains developing an early appreciation for grand landscapes. In 1991, he graduated from Miami (of Ohio) University and headed to Alaska to instruct for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Soon after, he set up a permanent basecamp in Utah: making Park City home; meeting his wife Thea; and investing in a struggling hotel called the Treasure Mountain Inn. After a decade of renovations, they successfully transformed the hotel into a modern, eco-friendly property and one of the first net-zero hotels in the US. In 2010 they were recipients of the Park City Environmental Hero award, which inspired further involvement/activism.

Andy next served as President of the Downtown Business Alliance and was elected to Park City Council. He served six years on Park City Council before being elected as Mayor in November 2017. As Mayor he plans to continue advocating for land preservation, renewable energy, public transportation and ‘localism’ (resident-centric decision-making) as well as setting a tone of Optimism, Inclusion, and Gratitude.

When not at City Hall, it’s almost certain Andy is out skiing, biking, climbing, or exploring the surrounding mountains.

Mayor Dan Knopp

Town of Brighton

Commissioner

Dan Knopp is the Mayor of the Town of Brighton and has lived in Big Cottonwood Canyon for 26 years. He is the owner of Silver Fork Lodge and Restaurant, Big Cottonwood Rotary Plow, and Bear Trap Lodge. For almost 20 years, Knopp was president of the Silver Fork Pipeline Corporation where he supervised the rebuilding of most of Silver Fork’s water pipeline system. Before moving to the Canyon, he lived in Holladay, Utah, and ran Miller Pavings General Contracting Division and held a general engineering license.

Knopp is a lifelong skier, former ski racer, and competed six times at the US Masters Nationals. For eight years, he was chairman of the USSA Intermountain Masters. For over a decade, Knopp lived above the Silver Fork Lodge kitchen with his daughter, Kassie. He built a house in Beartrap Fork where he currently lives with his wife, Tara, and children Keaton, Kelsey, and Kate.

Mayor Jeff Silvestrini

Millcreek City

Commissioner

Jeff Silvestrini is the mayor of Millcreek, Utah’s newest city, formed in December, 2016. In Millcreek’s first two years, Jeff led the effort to form a lean, transparent and collaborative city government.

Millcreek is the namesake of the mountain stream which flows through the town. The Millcreek boundary extends from the alluvial fan of Mt. Olympus in the Wasatch Range on the east to the Jordan River bisecting the Valley of the Great Salt Lake on the west. Home to some 62,000 water drinkers and canyon recreationalists, Millcreek has a great stake in preserving the watershed as well as the natural beauty of the Wasatch Range. As the only city bordering Mill Creek Canyon, it has a special interest in preserving it as a refuge and working to solve the transportation issues affecting it, so it does not get “loved to death.”

Jeff has been a practicing lawyer for 39 years until he was elected to serve the people of Millcreek. Jeff pledges to continue using the advocacy skills he learned in his career to zealously guard and protect the values we all enjoy in the mountains in our backyard, to insure they remain a resource for water, recreation, solitude and natural beauty for us and generations to come.

Mayor Harris Sondak

Alta Town

Commissioner

Harris Sondak served six years as a Town Councilman and has been mayor of Alta, Utah, since January, 2018. For his day job, Harris is David Eccles Professor and Chair of the Management Department of the David Eccles School of Business, University of Utah, in Salt Lake City.

Harris’ vision for Alta is to be a model of a mountain resort community that maintains its integrity and a sustainable economic and environmental vitality.  Harris knows that accomplishing these goals is a continuing challenge because Alta faces pressure from growth in the Salt Lake Valley and complicated decision making because of overlapping jurisdictions. Harris believes it is important that Alta work creatively and effectively with other government agencies, nonprofits, and private businesses, so he is pleased to be a member of the Central Wasatch Commission.

Harris’ scholarly work has investigated two-party and multi-party negotiations, group process and decisions, procedural justice, and organizational aesthetics and ethics. His award-winning teaching has included courses on negotiations and managing conflict, groups and teams, creating and maintaining business relationships, diversity, organizational behavior, consulting, nonprofit organizations, and business ethics and leadership. 

Harris studied philosophy at St. John’s College and the University of Colorado and organizational behavior at Northwestern University. He was on the faculty of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and has been a visiting faculty member at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland; the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India; the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University; the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University; and the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University.  

In his spare time, Harris is often outdoors skiing, biking, fly fishing, or hiking.  He enjoys good food, cooking, art, and travel.  

Councilor Marci Houseman

Sandy City

Commissioner

Marci Houseman is serving in her first term on the Central Wasatch Commission. She serves as a member of the Sandy City Council.

Marci has over 20 years of experience in education. She has taught at the elementary and secondary levels and has served as the Principal of a Title I Elementary School. Marci has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in School Administration. Additionally, as a graduate of Sandhills Leadership Academy, she received extensive training as a turnaround leader and has applied that lens ever since. While serving as a turnaround Principal, Marci worked with multiple stakeholders to improve outcomes for students.

As a turnaround specialist in education, Marci is a watchdog for the under-served. Applying her experience as a Principal, Marci has helped numerous school and district leadership teams transform teaching and learning by leveraging three important words: Communication, Collaboration and Innovation. She has a history of successfully bringing people together to solve complex challenges and looks forward to continuing those efforts in service on the Central Wasatch Commission.

Marci and her husband Bill have four children. Their youngest is a sophomore at Alta High School. She and her family enjoy a healthy balance of engaging in the arts and athletics while also developing other interests. Marci never knows how to respond when people ask her where she is from because she has lived in a variety of communities as a result of her father’s career in the Army. She believes this perspective is helpful to her service on the Central Wasatch Commission.

Though Marci was first introduced to snow and mountains while living in Germany as a young child, her true love for the mountains came when she moved to Utah to attend college. Marci enjoys spending time with her family and appreciates the diverse opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. At her core, she seeks to be a protector in the community and is keenly interested in protecting our canyons. As a member of the Central Wasatch Commission, Marci looks forward to engaging in efforts to unite the community around innovative solutions to the challenges we face.

Marci models her leadership practices on those exemplified by Abraham Lincoln and is committed to “circulating among the troops.” She invites members of the community to engage with her to celebrate what is working and improve what is not.

Ex-Officio Members


Carlton Christensen

Utah Transit Authority

Ex-Officio member

Carlton Christensen serves as Chair of the UTA Board of Trustees, and previously served five years as the Director of Regional Transportation, Housing and Economic Development for Salt Lake County. Prior to joining the County, Mr. Christensen worked as a Community Development Representative for Zions Bank. Previously he worked for 18 years in finance and accounting for both the bank and for a property management development company. He has an extensive track record of public service including sixteen years spent on the Salt Lake City Council. Mr. Christensen has also been the Chair of the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency and Salt Lake City Council, President of the Utah League of Cities & Towns, the President of the Associates Board for the Museum of Natural History of Utah, an ex officio member of the Salt Lake City Airport Board and Chair of the Wasatch Front Economic Development District. Mr. Christensen previously served on the Board of Shelter the Homeless and as a member of the Great Salt Lake Advisory Council. Mr. Christensen joined the Utah Transit Authority Board of Trustees on November 1, 2018.

Staff


Ralph Becker

Executive Director

ralph@cwc.utah.gov

801-550-2812

Ralph Becker is a 44-year resident of Salt Lake City where he served two terms as mayor (2008-2015). He served in the Utah State Legislature as a member of the House of Representatives for 11 years (1996-2007), including five years as House Minority Leader. In 2015, Ralph served as President of the National League of Cities.

In June, 2018, Ralph Becker was selected as the first Executive Director of the Central Wasatch Commission, an interlocal governmental entity consisting of elected leaders of jurisdictions with responsibilities for the Wasatch Mountains. Their mission is to coordinate and take actions to protect and administer this heavily used and prized region while respecting the many jurisdictions’ responsibilities. It is tasked with implementing Mountain Accord.

In 2017, Ralph served as a Leadership in Government Fellowship with the Open Society Foundation.

He speaks regularly around the world on governance and sustainability and has authored numerous publications.

Prior to his legislative service, Ralph was Utah State Planning Coordinator under Governor Scott Matheson, and co-launched a consulting firm (Bear West) for 22 years specializing in community and resource management planning, environmental assessment, public lands, and public involvement.

Ralph was an adjunct professor in the University of Utah College of Architecture and Planning. Ralph holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and from the University of Utah he has JD and a MS degrees. He is a FAICP planner.

Ralph Becker is married to Kate Kopischke, the father of two, and grandfather. He enjoys spending his free time participating in a wide range of outdoor recreational activities.

Blake Perez

Deputy Director

blake@cwc.utah.gov

801-702-2522

Blake is a proud Salt Lake City resident and calls the Rose Park neighborhood home. He graduated from the University of Utah with an undergraduate degree in International Studies and Political Science. In July of 2019, Blake completed the Master’s in Public Administration program from the U. 

Blake also served as chair of the Rose Park Community Council. During this time Blake led multiple neighborhood improvement projects. More recently, Blake worked as a Transportation Planner for Salt Lake City’s Transportation Division. During his time with Salt Lake City, Blake supported in the development and adoption of Salt Lake City’s Transit Master Plan and the creation and implementation of Salt Lake City’s microtransit program.

In Blake’s spare time you will usually find him with his lovely wife, Trina, and son, Bodhi. Together they enjoy going for bike rides, playing in the garden, trips to their family cabin by Bear Lake, and experiencing the amazing landscapes and ecosystems of Utah.

Lindsey Nielsen

Associate Director

lindsey@cwc.utah.gov

801-706-1004

Lindsey Nielsen grew up in Sandy, Utah, and graduated from Wheaton College in Massachusetts with a degree in Political Science. She then earned a Master’s of Science in Environmental Protection and Management from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She’s interned for the Scottish Parliament, Wild Utah Project, SLC Green, and conducted field research in South Africa, France, Scotland, Finland, and across the wilds of Utah.

Lindsey joined the Central Wasatch Commission as Communications Director in August 2018, and became the Associate Director for the Commission in September 2020. She directs the Commission’s public involvement and community engagement, digital and social media strategy, special projects, internship program, and liaises with the press. Before joining the CWC, Lindsey ran a human-rights-centered film festival in Fort Collins, Colorado, directed communications for an environmental non-profit in Park City, and worked in the Salt Lake City political arena.

Outside of the CWC, you will find Lindsey gardening, with her rescue-pups, Harper and Charlie, or climbing, biking, skiing, paddling, and hiking in and around the Central Wasatch.

Kaye Mickelson 

Administrator

kaye@cwc.utah.gov

801-230-2506

Kaye Mickelson calls Salt Lake City and the Wasatch mountains home even though she has lived in many places around the world map. Born in Abilene, Texas her dad’s time in the military and her own professional/personal life has given her broad experiences of different environments, cultures, missions and tasks.

Kaye has a background in higher education, health care, and public service. She completed a multi-discipinary undergraduate degree at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington as well as graduate work in organizational development and cultural anthropology, focusing on “how things work or don’t work” and problem solving. Curious about life stories, backgrounds,  present events and the future. She is an avid reader, researcher and lifelong learner.

She can be found enjoying many venues from opera to country – is a devoted movie and movie industry groupie, hanging out wherever there is a film festival – taking classes or in a book club somewhere – or in some natural environment  just soaking up the beauty and the stillness.

Kaye has four children, twelve grandchildren and one great grandchild – all which she will tell you are terrific individuals and accomplished in their own lives.

Quinn Graves

Community Engagement Intern

quinn@cwc.utah.gov

Quinn Graves is from Park City, Utah and recently graduated from the University of Utah in May of 2019 with degrees in Environmental & Sustainability Studies and Geography. She has previously worked as a volunteer leader and garden steward for the Edible Campus Gardens at the University of Utah and as an environmental educator at the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter. As a community engagement intern for the Central Wasatch Commission, she aspires to provide accessible, engaging information for community members about the future of these mountains we call home.

Quinn has lived among the Wasatch Mountains her entire life and feels a deep responsibility to be a caring inhabitant of this range because the mountains are where she finds refuge. She believes that all living beings have inherent rights to thrive among the mountains and canyons of the Central Wasatch Range and beyond. In her free time, you can find Quinn gardening with friends, biking, skiing, trail running, practicing yoga, cooking for the people she loves, and traveling to places on her never-ending travel list.