Leadership Committee

ELC Membership Criteria and Appointment Process

ELC members must be currently enrolled LDS church members and should preferably be members in good standing.  To qualify to serve on the ELC, a candidate must first attend 3 consecutive ELC meetings and then be nominated by a current member of the ELC and elected by simple majority vote of all ELC members, in a regular membership meeting.

ELC Size and Quorum Requirement

The ELC consists of not more than nine members;  3 ELC members present in person or by teleconference or video conference shall constitute a quorum.  Current composition:  Ty Markham, Soren Simonsen, Kent Udell, Marc Coles-Ritchie, Stephen Glines, Alicia Connell, James Singer, and Ben Abbott.

Current officers of the Executive Leadership Committee are the following:   

TyMarkhamHeadshot_20130907_001_200ppi_2inW Ty Markham, PsyD.,  has served as Co-Chair of MESA since April 2013 , and now serves as Chair.  Ty retired her clinical psychology position at the Univ. of Utah (1994-2008) to move to Torrey where she has developed an off-grid retreat.  In Torrey, she runs a seasonal business at  the “gateway” to Capitol Reef National Park, served on the Torrey town council, and ran twice for the Utah House of Representative in her district.  Ty still spends much of her time in the Salt Lake area near several of her grandchildren, and near the state capitol where she is active as an unpaid “citizen-lobbyist”.

Soren Simonsen photo

Søren Simonsen has been on the executive board of MESA since its inception, and serves as Co-chair  and acting Secretary/Treasurer of MESA.  Soren is an urban designer, architect and community organizer who over the past 28 years—including 14 years as an appointed and elected official—has helped create livable cities, sustainable buildings and vibrant public places throughout Utah and the western U.S. Søren earned a Master of Arts in Community Leadership from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. He is an accomplished professional, currently the Executive Director of Community Studio, an urban design and architecture consulting company based in Salt Lake City, and co-founder and president of Impact Hub Salt Lake, part of an international network of co-working spaces for social entrepreneurs. He is a member of the Parleys Sixth Ward in Salt Lake City, and a founding member of MESA.


Kent Stewart Udell, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah and Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley. His expertise includes petroleum engineering, environmental engineering, sustainable energy, and engineering ethics. In addition to being a member of the MESA Executive Leadership Committee, he also is a member of the Board of Directors for Utah Moms for Clean Air. 

Marc Coles-Ritchie has a PhD in ecology from Utah State University and is passionate about environmental protection. Marc’s faith contributes to his appreciation for the earth and a sense of responsibility to conserve and restore ecosystems. He works for Grand Canyon Trust seeking to protect the amazing landscapes and biodiversity of Utah and the Colorado Plateau. He has worked for the US Forest Service, conservation groups and consulting firms, monitoring and advocating for nature. Marc enjoys hiking and exploring the spectacular canyons, red-rock country and mountains of Utah with family and friends. College, work and adventure have taken him to Massachusetts, Ecuador, Arizona and Alaska, but Utah drew him back. One of his areas of expertise is wetlands, springs and riparian areas.

Executive Leadership Committee Duties and Responsibilities

The primary responsibilities of the ELC are administrative and managerial and include administration of:  finances,  administrative record keeping, preparation of budgets, fundraising, bookkeeping and tax accounting,  recruiting and managing staff, maintenance of membership database and meeting records (etc.), scheduling and preparation for leadership and membership meetings, including preparation of meeting agendas, storage and distribution of meeting agendas and minutes;  announcements,  notifications, membership record-keeping;  drafting and amendment of bylaws; legal issues, communications to members; maintenance of MESA Facebook and web pages and all other MESA communications;  identification of media spokespersons for various issues and maintenance of a list of identified media spokespersons;  schedule and facilitate both leadership and membership meetings, and any other administrative/management duties and responsibilities.

Term Limits

Service on the ELC is for a term of 3 years, renewable for one term by vote of the full MESA membership in a regular membership meeting.