Utah Sierra Club's Executive Committee (ExCom) is an elected, all-volunteer body responsible for the chapter's day-to-day governance. The Executive Committee, or board, is responsible for seeing the chapter's mission by overseeing various duties such as: managing staff, ensuring that the organization is financially sound, and carrying out policymaking duties as needed.
Jim joined the Sierra Club in 1977 to help work on off-road issues in our nearby National Forests. He helped the Club work on our campaign to protect candidate BLM wilderness areas in Utah. Over the decades, he served on several state, regional, and national Sierra Club committees. Jim was on the National Sierra Club board of directors 2002-2008 and is currently serving on two national Sierra Club grassroots teams, Recreational Issues, and Grazing Teams. He was the past executive director of the Wild Utah Project, a nonprofit group bringing scientific support to promote landscape network planning.
Mayren is a passionate advocate for the environment and social justice. Growing up in Utah with the Wasatch Mountains in her backyard instilled a deep love and appreciation for nature, which she carries with her in her work as a communications professional. As a former military spouse, Mayren has had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the United States, where she has witnessed the vast diversity of our country's landscapes. This experience has only strengthened her commitment to protecting our environment and ensuring that everyone has access to clean air and water. A graduate of Weber State University, she has focused her professional career on political campaigns, working to elect pro-climate candidates and advance policies that will safeguard our planet for future generations. Mayren is also a DACA recipient and Dreamer who immigrated to the United States from Mexico as a child. She is fluent in Spanish and uses her native language to advocate for the Latino community and share important causes and messages.
Patty Becnel, originally from Southern California, married her husband 43 years ago while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho, Southern Africa. The mother of three children and one granddaughter, she became an active Sierra Club volunteer after retiring from teaching. As a volunteer, she works on the Communications Committee, the Ex Com, and heads the monthly writing workshops she hopes you all will attend.
She’s been involved with the Utah chapter of the Sierra Club since 2017. Jess initially interned after meeting a Sierra Club outdoors group she met on a six-day river trip she was guiding. After ten years of working on public lands, she'd been looking for something new, and that trip changed the trajectory of her life. She fell in love with advocacy work, DEI in the outdoors, and environmental education. Before joining the Executive Committee, Jess volunteered with the volunteer engagement task force, working to create a more inclusive environment within the Utah chapter. Professionally Jess is currently the lead naturalist at the Swaner Preserve, where she strives to educate people on the import of wetland ecosystems and watersheds. She enjoys skiing and hiking with her family and dog.
Paula has a PhD in Geography and is an Instructor with the School of Geography, Development and Environment at the University of Arizona, where she teaches courses in Physical Geography, Environment and Society, and Biodiversity through the UA Online program. She has research experience in wildlife conservation policy and politics. Upon moving with her husband and teenage son to Ogden in 2021, she determined to start taking action on climate change and found a home in the Sierra Club with the Utah Needs Clean Energy group. She enjoys learning and growing with the Sierra Club’s members and staff while exploring the mountains and canyons that drew her and her family to Utah from the also beautiful, but hot, desert of Tucson, Arizona.
Eric Albers is a policy analyst specializing in demographics and with interests in public lands, air quality, and water policy. He is a member of the Great Salt Lake Strike Team - an interdisciplinary group of researchers from the state’s research universities and agencies. Eric graduated from the University of Utah’s Public Policy master's program, where he specialized in Public Lands Policy. His master's thesis assessed the feasibility of achieving the Thirty by Thirty land conservation goal at a national and state level. Outside of work, Eric is involved with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. He is a member of the Grassroots leader team and has lobbied for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. In his free time, you can find Eric climbing, trail running, biking, kayaking, birding, or skiing as he seeks solitude in wild places. Whether in the Central Wasatch, red-rock desert, High Uintas, or the West desert, he seeks to dedicate his life to exploring and defending the wild places this state has to offer.