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Commission Members and Staff

SCOTT M. MATHESON, JR., Commission ChairmanScott M. Matheson, Jr.
Scott M. Matheson, Jr., is Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.  He was born in Salt Lake City and attended public schools there.  He graduated from Stanford in economics, Oxford in modern history as a Rhodes Scholar, and Yale Law School.  He has served as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., Dean of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, United States Attorney for the District of Utah, Associate Dean at the University of Utah College of Law, Visiting Associate Professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, Deputy County Attorney for Salt Lake County, associate at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Williams & Connolly, manager of two successful gubernatorial campaigns, and legislative assistant in a congressional office.
Mr. Litvin became President of the Utah Mining Association in May of 2004. The Association includes as members, the major coal, hardrock, and minerals producers throughout the State of Utah, and companies that provide goods and services to the Utah mining industry.  Prior to joining the UMA, Mr. Litvin was employed with Kennecott from 1979 to 2003 where he held numerous positions over 24 years: Vice President for Health, Safety and Environment; Director of Federal Government Affairs; Director of Precious Metal and Sulfuric Acid Sales; and Director of State Government and Public Affairs.  Before coming to the private sector, Mr. Litvin spent 15 years in Federal Government Service where he worked for the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, and a law degree from George Washington University Law School, in Washington, D.C.
E.J. "JAKE" GARNJake Garn
Jake Garn was born in Richfield., Utah. He attended Utah public schools and is a graduate of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Banking and Finance. In 1957 he married the late Hazel Thompson and they had four children: Jake, Jr., Susan, Ellen and Jeffrey. In 1977 he married Kathleen Brewerton who had a son, Brook, from a previous marriage. They have a son, Matthew, and a daughter, Jennifer, and seventeen grandchildren. He served in the U.S. Navy as a pilot. He is a retired Brigadier General in the Utah Air National Guard and has logged more than 12,000 hours of pilot time. He is a former insurance executive and served as Mayor of Salt Lake City prior to his election to the United States Senate in 1974. He served six years as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. He was a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and served as Chairman for six years of the VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Subcommittee. He also served on the subcommittees on Energy and Water Development, Defense, Military Construction and Interior. He was a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and served on three subcommittees: Public Lands, National Parks and Forests; Research and Development; and Water and Power. He also was a member of the Senate Rules Committee and served three terms as Secretary of the Republican Conference. As Senator, he was re-elected to a second term in 1980 and a third term in 1986 with 74% of the vote in each election. In November of 1984, Senator Garn was invited by NASA to fly as a payload specialist on flight 51-D of the space shuttle Discovery. During the seven-day mission, he performed various medical tests. Discovery Flight 51-D landed at Cape Canaveral on April 19, 1985 after orbiting the earth 109 times. In December of 1992, Senator Garn received the very prestigious aviation award, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy. Mr. Garn retired on January 3, 1993, from the United States Senate after three terms (eighteen years) to return to Utah and is currently a self-employed consultant. He serves on the boards of the National Air & Space Museum (Washington, DC), and United Space Alliance (Houston). He is also involved with numerous local private/public sector endeavors that include Escrow Bank USA, BMW Bank of North America, Headwaters Incorporated, Franklin Covey and NuSkin Enterprises, Inc. and Primary Children's Medical Center Foundation.
Senator Mike Dmitrich was raised in the mining town of Consumers, Utah. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the coal mining industry, below ground and above ground, as a miner, a government affairs specialist, and now as a natural resources consultant.  Senator Mike Dmitrich was elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 1968, appointed to the Utah State Senate in 1991, and elected to the Senate in 1992. He is currently the Senate Minority Leader (2001-present) and also was House Minority Leader (1983-1990) while serving in the Utah House of Representatives. He has served continuously in the Utah Legislature for the past 39 years and is the longest serving legislator on Capitol Hill. He proudly represents Senate District 27 comprised of Carbon, Emery, Grand, San Juan and Utah counties.  Senator Dmitrich is a passionate voice on Capitol Hill for public and higher education and for the health and economic stability of Utah’s families. Throughout his political career in Utah, he has focused on natural resources and education. He has served on many state and national task forces and committees which address these important issues.  At the Utah State Senate, Senator Dmitrich is a member of the Public Utilities and Technology Standing Committee, the Revenue and Taxation Standing Committee, the Capital Facilities and Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, the Executive Appropriations Committee, and numerous other committees and task forces.  Senator Dmitrich and his wife Georgia reside in Price, Utah, and are parents of three and grandparents of three.
Mr. John Baza is currently the Director of the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, having been appointed to that position on May 6, 2005.  He is a petroleum engineer by education and work experience, holding both Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in petroleum engineering from Stanford University.  Mr. Baza’s career spans nearly 30 years in the energy industry and his experience includes engineering positions with several major and independent petroleum companies including Phillips Petroleum Co., Amoco Production Co., and Flying J Oil and Gas Inc.  He has been involved in petroleum exploration and development in Wyoming, North Dakota and Utah, and he has also worked on geothermal power projects in Utah, Nevada, and California.  Mr. Baza has over 15 years of direct experience with the Oil and Gas Conservation Program of the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining - first as the state’s Petroleum Engineer, and then as the Associate Director of the Oil and Gas Program.  During that time, he was responsible for regulation of the upstream oil and gas industry in Utah in order to achieve appropriate development and conservation of Utah’s valuable petroleum resources.  Now as the Director of DOGM, he leads the Division’s efforts in the areas of petroleum, coal mining, and mineral mining, along with abandoned mine reclamation.  Mr. Baza is a registered professional engineer in Utah.  He is also a 30+ year member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers having held various officers positions including section chairman, program chairman, and scholarship committee chairman.  He is married and has four children ranging in age from 19 to 26.  John is a long time resident of Utah, and he appreciates the diversity of cultural and recreational experience that he and his family enjoy in the state.
Dennis O'Dell is Administrator for Occupational Health and Safety for the United Mine Workers of America, headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, a position he has held since 2005. He is responsible for overseeing all UMWA health and safety operations for coal and non-coal members in the United States and Canada. Most recently Mr. O'Dell has worked with members of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate to create the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006, also known as the MINER Act. This legislation, the most significant mine safety legislation in 30 years, amends the Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. Prior to his current position Mr. O'Dell served as the UMWA's International Health and Safety Representative, responsible for representing coal and non-coal members primarily in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York on various health and safety issues. He has helped coordinate and/or conduct 16 coalmine accident investigations, including the Sago Mine Disaster. He works continuously with the states of West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, and Alabama on writing and adopting new safety regulations to improve safety. He has also served as a United States representative to an International Labour Organization expert panel on Safety and Health in Underground Coal Mines. That group, made up of government, worker and employer representatives from Australia, China, Germany, India, Poland, Russian Federation, South Africa, and the United States, revised the existing code of practice on safety and health in underground coalmines, enhancing and improving coalmine health and safety internationally. Mr. O'Dell's many years of experience as an underground coalminer and as a classroom instructor for the training of miners at the National Mine Academy of Beckly and as an instructor for Joint Industry Training classes, provides the Utah Mine Safety Commission with important and relevant knowledge and experience.
Joe L. Piccolo was born and raised in Carbon County, Utah, and has made Price City his home. Mr. Piccolo Graduated from Carbon High School and attended the College of Eastern Utah in Price. Joe is married to his best friend, Barbara Ann, and together they have three children and two grandchildren. He has been a successfully self-employed Price area businessman in the automotive repair and maintenance industry for over 39 years. Mr. Piccolo has dedicated his life to service of his community for long-term benefits, quality of life issues and prosperous economic conditions for all residents and businesses, not just in Price but the surrounding area as well. Among his numerous community posts and achievements, Mr. Piccolo served as a Price City Councilman for six years, as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, as chairman and member of the Utah Water Quality Board of Directors, and has served as President of the Utah League of Cities and Towns
Hilary Gordon, a native of London, England, became Mayor of Huntington, Utah, less than three weeks before the tragedy at Crandall Canyon. Mayor Jackie Wilson was forced to resign the post due to ill health and the Huntington City Council asked Ms. Gordon to take the post. Prior to becoming Mayor, Ms. Gordon served six years on the City Council where she was responsible for the city cemetery, a street lighting project and overseeing Huntington's "Heritage Days" celebration and rodeo. Ms. Gordon came to the United States in 1964, originally settling in Salt Lake City, before moving to Huntington with her husband, who became a coal miner. During the disaster at Crandall Canyon she was prominent in organizing support for the families of trapped miners and remains involved in the distribution of donations for the families of the miners killed in the accident.
Representative Kay McIff has had a long and illustrious career professionally and in public service. Before his election to the Utah House of Representatives, he served as the Presiding Judge in Utah's Sixth District Court which covers Sanpete, Sevier, Wayne, Piute, Garfield and Kane counties. Prior to that, he had a broad-based general law practice in Federal and State Courts throughout Utah and served multiple terms as County Attorney in both Sevier and Piute.  A native of Sanpete County, Mr. McIff graduated from Manti High School, Utah State University, and the University of Utah where he obtained a Juris Doctorate Decree.  At the time of his appointment to the bench, he was serving as a member of the State Board of Regents governing Utah's system of higher education. He previously served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Southern Utah University. A long-time friend of education, he was instrumental in the effort which led to the establishment of Snow College Richfield. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Snow College in 1996.  Mr. McIff has also served as Chair of the Sevier County Republican party, a member of the Sevier Valley Hospital Governing Board and in the presidency of the Richfield Utah Stake of the LDS Church.  During his eleven years with the Utah Judiciary, he became Chair of the Board of Utah's District Court Judges, and at the time of leaving the bench was a member of the Judicial Council, the Governing Body for Utah's Judicial Branch.  After returning to private life, Mr. McIff joined with his son Mark in establishing the McIff Firm located in Richfield. He is currently engaged in the general practice of law as well as representing the Counties of Sanpete, Sevier and Emery in the Utah Legislature.
Last Revised - 10/24/2007


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