Rapid Fire Talks: Cache County Trails Update - Carly Lansche



David Zook was elected last year as Cache County Executive. In that role, David is the CEO of Cache County, serving in a role analogous to that of County Mayor. David’s background includes 25 years of experience at the county and city levels, including 9 years as a City Manager and 16 years in county government.  David has served in multiple roles in our community, including as Chairman of the Cache Chamber of Commerce, as the founding Chairman of the Cache Valley Economic Development Alliance, as Chairman of the Cache County Republican Party, and on the Hyde Park Planning Commission. David earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration from SUU, where he has also served as a professor of public administration. David holds graduate and undergraduate certificates in economic development and earned the ICMA Credentialed Manager designation from the International City & County Management Association.  


VP of Development at Nixon and Nixon. Real estate developer and Licensed Realtor. Currently involved with 650+ acres in residential/commercial development. I'm passionate about building communities for future generations. 


Mr. Jeff Jackson, Owner & CEO of Visionary Homes, boasts a history of achievement in business management, community planning, land development, construction management, and other entrepreneurial ventures. Jeff is a native of Cache Valley and grew up in Lewiston, Utah. Through great academic achievement during high school, Mr. Jackson earned a full-ride scholarship and attended BYU after graduation. In 1996, while attending college, he founded Jeff Jackson Construction, Inc. (JJC) and began with home remodels and custom home building. Jeff received his bachelor’s degree in Construction Management and a minor in Business Management from Brigham Young University in 2000. After moving back to Cache Valley, Jeff continued his company (JJC), building homes full-time and gaining a reputation as a leading builder in the Cache Valley area. In 2004, Jeff founded Visionary Homes, which has grown to become one of the largest and most respected homebuilding companies not only in Cache Valley but throughout Utah.  This year, Jeff and Visionary Homes had the unique opportunity to become the official homebuilder of the Utah Jazz – further proving the reputation, craftsmanship, and vision for the future that Jeff holds. Jeff continues to live in Cache Valley with his remarkable wife, Audrey, and their four children. 


Wendy has worked with the Utah Open Lands since its inception in 1990.  Utah Open Lands is Utah’s statewide land trust and has protected over 64,000 acres throughout the state.  Utah Open Lands and Wendy have been recognized as a leader in conservation efforts in Utah.  Wendy has served on various legislative task forces looking at agricultural, trail and open space preservation.  She also served as one of the founding board members of Envision Utah.  Wendy was the Vice Chair of the North Fork Preservation Alliance which became the Sundance Preserve at the Redford Center when it began in 1997 and has also served as an advisory board member for Vital Ground. In 2017, Wendy was awarded the American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award, shortly after receiving the 2016 Park City Rotary’s Professional Citizen of the Year. In 2014, Wendy gave the opening remarks at the Columbia Law School, State Attorney Generals Program, Conservation Easement Conference. In 2011, Wendy received the Park City Board of Realtors’ Community Service Award, and in 2010, Wendy and Utah Open Lands received the Utah State University Botanical Center’s Environmental Stewardship Award.  Wendy currently serves on the Boards of High Country News, the Sundance Nature Alliance as well as local open space boards in an ex officio capacity.  Wendy's essay Accommodating, Managing and Sustaining the Wild can be found in the book Reimagining a place for the Wild.


Mike DeSimone, AICP, is the Director of Community Development with Logan City where he is responsible for overseeing the city’s planning, building, neighborhood improvement, business licensing, code enforcement, and Community Development Block Grant programs. Mike is currently working on updating the city’s Moderate Income Housing Plan and doing the preparatory work for the city’s upcoming General Plan update. Prior to joining Logan City in 2011, Mike spent approximately 17 years as the Director of Community Development for Pacific County in Washington State where he was responsible for overseeing the County’s Growth Management, Coastal Zone Management and Critical Land’s programs, as well as overseeing the planning, building, and environmental health divisions. Mike has over 34 years of local government experience in a variety of land use planning and administrative roles. Mike holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno and a bachelor’s degree in Land Use Planning from Brigham Young University.


Justin is the Director of Government Relations for the Utah League of Cities and Towns. Prior to joining the League, Justin spent 11 years working for three different lieutenant governors (Bell, Cox, and Henderson), serving for 4 years as Director of Elections for the State of Utah. During that time Justin once accidentally tackled the Governor during a game of flag football and still kept his job. Justin has a BA in Political Science from the University of Utah, and a MA in Political Science from Utah State University.


As the Planning Manager for Cache County, Tim Watkins supports the County Planning and Zoning Division staff with current planning reviews, countywide planning, regional collaboration, and trails coordination. He works to provide visualizations, growth cost analysis, and fiscal and economic impact studies to elevate awareness and promote productive public dialog. Tim earned a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning from Utah State University in 2001. His planning career started at the Utah Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, followed by several years with Envision Utah. From 2010 to 2016, Tim worked for the City and County of Denver as a Senior City Planner, focusing on transit oriented development and neighborhood revitalization. As the Layton City Planner from 2016 to 2021, he assisted with the 2019 comprehensive General Plan update and innovative zoning code amendments related to neighborhood design, mixed land use strategies, parking, and water-wise landscaping. In his spare time, Tim enjoys spending time outdoors with family and friends, playing music and visiting great places.


Dr. Joanna Endter-Wada is a Professor of Natural Resource Policy and Social Science in the Quinney College of Natural Resources at Utah State University. Her research focuses on water policy, urban landscape water use and conservation, the human dimensions of drought and climate change, and the integration of land and water in planning. Her Extension role includes working with the Center for Water Efficient Landscaping and the WaterMAPS™ applied research team. Dr. Endter-Wada is part of the team implementing Utah Growing Water Smart for the Utah Division of Water Resources, and she is conducting a state-wide survey about Great Salt Lake. She previously served on Governor Herbert’s State Water Strategy Advisory Team that produced the 2017 Recommended State Water Strategy. Dr. Endter-Wada is Co- Chair of the Policy Committee for the American Water Resources Association and is an Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association. Dr. Endter-Wada holds a Ph.D. from the School of Social Sciences at the University of California, Irvine.


Bryan L. Cox is the Mayor of Hyde Park City. He previously served 1 term on the city council and 2 terms as mayor. He spent 38+ years in the Aerospace industry and retired as a Program Manager from the DoD and NASA at Marshall Space Flight Center located in Huntsville, Alabama.

As mayor, Bryan is working to capture the vision of what Hyde Park will be like in 20/50 years – strategically planning for growth and its impacts, all the while trying to preserve the rural hometown atmosphere that many in the community have come to cherish.

Since taking office in January 2022, Bryan has spent 11 months working on a General Plan with the committee. The Planning Commission and City Council are now in the process of approval which will drive changes/new city ordinances.

Bryan attended Ricks College, then received an associate degree in applied science. He also attended Utah State University. Later, he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA), and his Master of Business Administration (MBA).

He's been married to his wonderful wife, Jana (Bingham) Cox for over 39 years. Together, they have 4 children and 8 grandchildren.


Nathan is the general manager of Cache Water District. He is a graduate of Utah State University with B.S. in Animal Science. In 2018 he started as the general manager of the newly formed Cache Water District, where he now spends his days planning for the future water needs of Cache County. He spent the previous 17 years working for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food and the local Soil and Water conservation Districts helping farmers and ranchers implement irrigation improvement projects, streambank rehabilitation projects and grazing improvement projects. Nathan grew up on a small farm in southern Cache County where he now lives with his wife and 4 children. Nathan enjoys spending time outdoors fishing, hunting and traveling with his family.


Brent Crowther, PE, is a Sr. Associate/Vice President at Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., and located in their Salt Lake City office. Brent brings 21 years of experience delivering a diverse range of transportation and infrastructure planning and design projects. He is an experienced champion of integrating multimodal transportation and community goals. Throughout his career, he has assisted agencies and jurisdictions throughout the mountain west from Arizona to Montana. He is the Project Manager for the CVTD/CMPO Transit-Oriented Corridor Study, and on-going Cache COG Transportation Master Plan. He has led regional transportation plans, campus/university transportation plans, transit plans, transit program management, active mode plans and design, corridor studies, safety analyses, and access management plans. Brent enjoys engaging stakeholders in the planning process and garnering their input to lead to a successful project.  Brent received his B.S. Civil Engineering from Brigham Young University and M.S. Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech.  Brent enjoys hiking in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains.


In his role as Executive Director of Neighborhood Nonprofit Housing Corp. (NNHC), Josh is responsible for the creation and oversight of affordable housing programs including the development of single and multifamily properties through LIHTC, HUD, and USDA/RD programs and overseeing housing rehabilitation and housing counseling programs. Prior to his work with NNHC, he worked as the Director of Development Services at Cache County for more than 14 years where he oversaw community development and public works functions in addition to a number of other services. Josh also serves as an adjunct professor at Utah State University where he has taught graduate courses on land use law and planning for more than a dozen years. Josh holds a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning from Utah State University and two master’s degrees in Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois.


Alexander Ståhle is one of the most popular and well-known speakers on urban futures and design in Scandinavia. He holds a PhD in Urban Design and is CEO of the studio Spacescape and Placetoplan in Stockholm, and has been working with world-famous architects such as Bjarke Ingels and Foster and Partners on the most complex urban development projects in Scandinavia. Alexander lives in Stockholm with two children and no car.


Levi Roberts, AICP is the Nibley City Planner, focused on developing and implementing the community’s plans and programs. Levi is engaged in both current and long-range planning activities to in support of the City’s land use, transportation, housing and open space goals. Prior to joining Nibley, Levi was a Strategic Planner for Utah Transit Authority and a Regional Planner for Five County Association of Governments in Southwest Utah. Levi holds a Bachelor’s in Geography from Utah State University and a Master’s of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University. Levi enjoys pushing the limits of his kids’ adventurous spirits around Cache Valley and beyond, snowboarding, biking and enjoying the outdoors.


Steve Daniels is one of the informal leaders of the citizens’ group advocating for an open space program in Cache County. He moved to Cache County in 1986, and has lived north of Smithfield, Logan, and Hyde Park. He serves as the vice chair of the board of the Bear River Land Conservancy, and retired from a faculty position at Utah State University in 1999. Much of his career focused on natural resource policy and dispute resolution. He is a court rostered mediator with the Utah Bar/Utah Courts system.


Ari Bruening has extensive experience in visioning and implementation efforts for regions, large areas, and critical growth-related topics. At Envision Utah, he helped lead the Your Utah, Your Future statewide vision that engaged 52,845 Utahns to tackle eleven different topics, as well as the recommended State Water Strategy, the Point of the Mountain vision, the Vision for Teacher Excellence, and numerous other critical efforts. Prior to joining Envision Utah, he managed visioning and entitlement projects for the San Diego region; Laie, Hawaii; Daybreak and the 93,000-acre Kennecott Land Company project in Salt Lake County; the 175,000-acre Superstition Vistas Arizona state trust land parcel; and the 300,000-acre Deseret Ranches of Florida landholding near the Orlando International Airport. A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and the graduation speaker at Brigham Young University, Ari is the author of several articles relating to urban planning, law, and religion. He is also a children’s book author, having co-authored Sweet Feet: Samantha Gordon’s Winning Season (2013).


Cody Lutz joined Envision Utah in 2018 and has worked on research, analysis, stakeholder and public engagement, and land-use modeling for several Envision Utah Projects. He acted as the lead modeler for the Valley Visioning county-wide planning process and managed the visioning and public engagement for the Blueprint Jordan River. Living through nearly 10 years of winter inversions in Utah, he’s also been involved with several efforts to improve air quality.

Cody’s background working in collaborative regional planning and interest-based negotiation informs his work at Envision Utah. His education includes a B.S. in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from Utah State University, a Graduate Certificate in Sustainability, and a Master’s in City and Metropolitan Planning, both from the University of Utah. His graduate work with gateway communities in the Mountain West was recognized with the Swaner Medal for Excellence in Ecological Planning.


Annette Francis grew up in southern Idaho and fell in love with Cache Valley the day she arrived 26 years ago.  She originally received a nursing degree from Southern Utah University, and enjoyed a short nursing career working in nursing homes and home health care until the first of her 8 children was born.  After years of house shopping as a hobby she finally went and got a real estate license so she could get paid to practice her passion.  She currently works for Remax Excel and resides in Hyrum.  Besides helping single mothers get into a place they can call home, her desire is to bring more senior housing to Cache Valley .  She loves lunches with friends and date nights with her husband Carl. 


Shawn Milne was born in Salt Lake City and has since lived many places, from northern Utah and southern California. His first memories formed while growing up at his family’s original adobe-built single-bed homestead in Fort Union, before the State acquired it to construct I-215. He recalls miles of agricultural fields and rivers that still ran free before steady growth brought changes to the south end of the Salt Lake Valley. During middle school, he lived in an area growing so rapidly that the entire campus was composed of portable classrooms. The school district couldn’t bond quickly enough to stay ahead of the demand. Fifteen years later, only an auditorium and administration office had been built of traditional permanent construction. 


Jake has over 16 years of professional experience in community and regional planning, land development, and landscape architecture. Jake was an original founder of the Cache Summit and directed the first two years of the event. Jake believes the quality of life is directly impacted by thoughtful local planning and good design.

Jake’s expertise includes general plans, town center/downtown planning, ordinances, recreation (trail and park) planning, master-planned communities, and site design.

Jake’s focus in planning is bringing organizations together for collaboration and consensus-building. Jake has a history of providing leadership on difficult projects. Current work includes master-planned communities, contract city planning, downtown plans, housing development projects, housing ordinances, recreation-oriented communities, and landscape architecture design. Jake is a Certified Urban Planner with APA and Professional Landscape Architect, licensed in multiple states. 


Jack Draxler has lived in Cache Valley for 36 years. Prior to that he graduated from Utah State University and moved with his wife Marilyn to Wyoming where he taught high school social studies and coached basketball for 7 years and then entered the real estate appraisal profession for 8 years. He and his wife worked together in their appraisal practice for many years, in Cache, Box Elder, and Rich Counties in Utah and Franklin, Bear Lake, and Oneida Counties in Idaho. Jack has served as Mayor of North Logan City, served on the Cache County Planning Commission, and served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives. He continues to be active in his profession and is involved with public issues.


Laura joined the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget (GOPB) in 2021 with over 20 years of experience as a professional planner in both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining GOPB, Laura served as the Planning Director for the Utah Transit Authority. Laura also served as the first Executive Director of the Jordan River Commission (JRC). She holds bachelor degrees in urban planning and environmental studies, and a master degree in urban planning from the University of Utah. Laura enjoys spending her free time at her family’s ranch in Woodland, Utah, camping in southern Utah, enjoying live music, and skiing with her husband Derrek and children, Anna and Leo.