About

How Did I Get Here?

Ever find yourself wondering ‘how did I get here?’ Twenty-three years ago I moved here in an old VW van with barely enough cash for rent. I spent my first morning, a soggy April one, mingling with locals at the Morning Ray. It felt like I had found my home.

Midwestern Roots

I was born in 1969–the summer of Woodstock–and raised in a quiet suburb of Columbus, Ohio. My heritage is German/Swiss/English with a Mennonite influence. My father managed a computer center and my mother was a prolific community volunteer. Rapid growth-spurts put me a head taller than the other kids, which likely defined me as an early leader among peers. 

Guide

I attended college at Miami University in Oxford Ohio and spent my summers in Alaska working for the

National Outdoor Leadership School. Upon graduation I moved West to became one of the youngest instructors for NOLS—guiding, teaching leadership and minimal impact living skills.

Park City

In 1991 I arrived in Utah looking for work that didn’t require carrying all my possessions on my back. I was drawn to small business management, which was a lot like guiding: both require organizational skills, a can-do attitude, and the ability to lead and inspire. Before long, I was recruited to help run White Pine Touring. A few years later I took another job on Main Street, managing a struggling hotel called Treasure Mountain Inn. This role did come with a complication: I had a crush on the boss’s daughter, Thea Leonard. A few years later, Thea and I were married, and formed a new partnership in life and in the hotel business.

Entrepreneur
Re-imagining Treasure Mountain Inn took collaboration and innovation. The first challenge was resolving
decades of in-fighting among the condo owners. As the HOA chairman, I focused on building consensus,
which eventually led to peace. It was my first taste of politics as an endurance sport. Innovation at the hotel was also critical because we had no capital. We were early adopters of Internet marketing, niche clientele, and eco-friendly business practices—all advantages that created a thriving business.   During our tenure, Treasure Mountain Inn had a series of notable firsts: first to recycle, first hotel website, first eco-hotel in Utah, and one of the first US hotels to use 100% renewable energy (2008).  We sold our hotel business in 2017 so I could focus on serving as Mayor.

Community Activism

Once I realized the health of our business is tied to the health of our community, it was a natural progression to serve as the President of the downtown business alliance (HPCA).  I advocated for local business and again focused on consensus building and setting a firm course. For several years I was a regular at City meetings, and as the saying goes, “we are led by those that show up.” My participation led to recruitment, and eventual election to City Council in 2011.

Councilmember
I served one and a half terms (6yrs) on the Park City Council before being elected as Mayor in 2017.   On Council, I was a strong advocate for purchasing open space, renewable energy, protecting our small and local businesses, addressing traffic/congestion, building an inclusive and complete community, and affordable housing.  During that time I served on multiple boards and committees both locally and regionally including two statewide committees (Utah League of Cities and Towns Board, Central Wasatch Commission) and one Federal Board (EPA Local Government Advisory Board).

Mayor
Serving as Park City’s Mayor has been an honor, it’s been fun and productive. Right out of the gate, we found a solution to Treasure Hill that ended 30+ years of bickering and thwarted a huge development and protected cherished open space. We followed that with a series of internal changes that made City Hall more user-friendly, efficient, and accessible. We expanded public engagement—in English and Spanish—especially during COVID. Despite an aggressive agenda, the City has stayed on budget and weathered a massive economic shock—the total shut down of tourism—with a recession plan that was so effective it didn’t touch the reserves. Meanwhile the City has added 157 new affordable units (82 City driven and 75 from development obligations), is implementing an ambitious transit plan for 248 that includes new remote parking and express bus service, and a lot of thorny equity work as we strive to be a more complete community. On top of that, we’ve established ourselves a global leader on climate change and are on track to be net zero by 2030.

Next Steps

Should I be re-elected as Mayor, I plan to focus on implementing the Vision 2020 and building a community that better matches our ideals. A few specifics:

  • To resolve the Hideout situation and permanently protect Richardson Flat. 
  • To continue our climate work.
  • To restore balance by embracing sustainable tourism and better protecting our neighborhoods.
  • Exploring more creative transit solutions, including aerial, micro transit, and a renewed focus on walkability.
  • More housing and greater equity for all of Park City’s residents.
  • Pursue and plan for a second Olympic Games that would bolster Park City’s infrastructure, inspire our residents, forge regionalism, and strongly align with our community values.

Your Vote of Confidence

In 51 years, my life has taken many wonderful twists from playground leader to guide, manager, entrepreneur, peace-maker, advocate, Councilman, and now Mayor of Park City. I may ask myself, “how did I get here?”, but it really doesn’t matter: I’m exactly where I want to be. Park City is an amazing place where one can still enjoy a small town sheltered from an ever-sprawling world. I ask for your support so I can use my skills and experience to help guide us into the future while preserving the essence of this wonderful place we call home.