The Jordan River Commission is excited to welcome Søren Simonsen as the new Executive Director of the Jordan River Commission.
Søren is an urban planner, architect, educator, community-builder and social entrepreneur. Over the past three decades, including 17 years of public service as an appointed and elected official, he has worked to create sustainable places and livable communities in Utah and the West.
Søren earned a Master of Arts in Community Leadership at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, with an emphasis on organizational leadership, public policy and community organizing. His research and thesis focused on sustainable cities and natural resource issues. He previously received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin, with an emphasis in environmental design, urban design, and community and regional planning.
Søren is an accomplished professional and has received broad recognition for his planning, public policy, urban design and advocacy work. He was recently elevated as a Fellow by the American Institute of Architects. Other honors include the AIA Utah Bronze Medal and four Best of State Gold Medals in Community Development. He has received numerous citations from the American Planning Association American Institute of Architects, American Society of Landscape Architects, and U.S. Green Building Council. He directed or contributed to 28 projects, plans and initiatives that have received an Envision Utah Governor’s Quality Growth Award, including Parleys Trail and the Swaner EcoCenter.
Søren was elected to the Salt Lake City Council in 2005, serving two four-year terms. He was Salt Lake City’s representative in the formation of the Jordan River Commission in 2010. Following his city council service, he was appointed as Salt Lake County’s “At-Large” member of the Commission from 2014 through 2016. He has served on numerous local and national boards and committees for professional and community organizations, where he has been a champion for social enterprise, urban design, active transportation, public health, ecology, environmental stewardship and resource conservation, arts and culture, and human rights.
In his free time, Søren loves to hike, bike and paddle in Utah’s great outdoors. You can find him regularly riding and floating the Jordan River Parkway.
Photography: Genoveva Vanegas Wayment