Board and Interfaith Council


UIPL Members and Staff – Climate Justice Summit – October 2014

Board of Directors

Genny Rowley – Board President
Chaplain, University of Utah Hospital

Rev. Dr. Genny Rowley is a staff chaplain at the University of Utah Hospital and endorsed and recognized clergy through the AlGennyRowleyliance of Baptist. A graduate of Brite Divinity School’s Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Counseling program, her research interests include theological motivations for environmental activism, human relationships with the natural spiritual care, and the influence of hope narratives on ecological engagement. She is a GreenFaith Fellow and helped coordinate Utah Interfaith Power and Light’s Community Solar Initiative after providing leadership for Dallas Interfaith Power & Light for several years.

Susan Soleil
Non-profit Specialist

I am a native Utahn with roots going back to the pioneers on my dad’s side and roots that reach to Price and Vernal on my mom’s side.  I grew up in Murray and Sandy, back when Fashion Place Mall was a huge field.  I played outside most Susan Soleilof my childhood and learned to love the outdoors. Later, as an adult, my appreciation for the beauty of Utah and for all living creatures grew and deepened.

Now, I have the opportunity to blend my passion for everything wild and natural with my day job.  I am so blessed to be at Utah IPL!  I bring 20 years of working with nonprofits to this organization and my unwavering commitment to collaborate with faith communities to care for creation and stabilize our climate…for my three children, my four grandchildren, for your children and grandchildren and for all sentient life.

Ryan Pleune
Community Organizer

Ryan Pleune

Ryan is a 34 year old retired science teacher, climber and skier that has recently turned carpenter, bus driver and community organizer. His heart and soul are rooted in the Intermountain West bioregion but like most Americans his relatives are immigrants. He grew up in Denver, Colorado with parents from New York and Wisconsin. Their relatives immigrated to the U.S. from Holland and France. He works on climate change from a social justice perspective and the Buddhist practices of the Bodhisattva.  Two spiritual teachers that set his foundation are Thich Nhat Hahn and Joanna Macy who both work with activists through the principles and practices of Engaged Buddhism. Like most people of faith Ryan has a foundational belief that how we treat ourselves and each other will be reflected in how we treat our planet. He believes that power is not a thing, it is a relationship.


Melsihna Folau
Educator, Pacific Heritage Academy

Melsihna loves traveling and seeing naturally beautiful places. She is an Educator at Pacific Heritage Academy, a K-8 EL MelsihnaF2Education school based in Rose Park where she teaches 3rd grade.  She has a Biological Science degree and a minor in Chemistry from Brigham Young University-Hawaii. One of 3rd grade’s informational text her class is reading is “One Well: The Story of Water on Earth” (Strauss).  This is a book that reminds Melsihna how dangerous and neglectful some attitudes are on water safety and usage.  “One Well…” is a children’s book that teaches how all the water is connected, and we, as people on Earth, share literally one well.  As a child growing up in Pingelap Atoll (made known by Dr. Oliver Sacks’ book “The Island of the Colorblind”), she remembers seeing debris being washed up on the shores of her home atoll. As an adult, she hopes to instill in this younger generation to be guardians of our Mother Earth, to keep it clean, safe and protected for one and all.    

Eli Wire
Environmental Science Student

Eli is a student at the University of Utah majoring in Environmental Science and Sustainability Studies. She has a background iEliWiren biology and a deep interest in all things science. She has worked at ARUP in R&D immunology and  taught in the cadaver lab at Salt Lake Community College. She believes that climate change profoundly affects our health and is passionate about social and environmental equity for all. She enjoys working with the community on her quest for justice. In her spare time she enjoys travel and photography.  Eli lives by the old axiom, “ Never take anything but photographs, never leave anything but footprints” when enjoying the natural world.


Kevin LeecasterKevinLeecaster


Carlee Schmidt, Volunteer – Social Media


Carlee is a Salt Lake City native who cherishes the richness that Utah’s wilderness has brought into her life. She is a Humanities major with an Environmental emphasis and an editing minor at Brigham Young University. To her, spirituality and nature are intricately intertwined, which is what motivates her to improve her earth stewardship.  She cultivates her love for creation by enjoying the mountains and appreciating the beauty in her own neighborhood. She contributes to Utah IPL’s mission by managing the social media (Facebook) functions.


Interfaith Council

Elaine Emmi
Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable

Rev. Tom Goldsmith
First Unitarian Church, Salt Lake City

IMG_7179Tom  has served the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City since 1987. The congregation’s Environmental Ministry program has been a forerunner on environmental issues for more than a decade, hosting huge educational forums as well as organizing acts of civil disobedience. The Utah Interfaith Power and Light board is one of his favorites because he appreciates the tangible progress made by the non-profit in helping the interfaith community actualize its sacred obligation as stewards of the creation.

Dr.George Handley
Professor of Humanities, Brigham Young University, Provo

George has taught as a Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities at BYU since 1998 where he has been involvedGeorgeHandley
in many initiatives related to   environmental education. He writes and frequently speaks on the intersection between faith, environmental stewardship, and the humanities. He serves on the board of LDS Earth Stewardship, on Provo City’s Sustainability and Natural Resources Committee, and on the Board of Directors of Utah Humanities. He served as chair of the Executive Board of Utah Interfaith Power and Light from 2009-2012.

The Rev. Elias Koucos
Holy Trinity Cathedral and Prophet Elias Church, Salt Lake CityFr. Elias Koucos

I was born and raised in Salt Lake City. I am blessed to have a wonderful and beautiful wife, Presvytera Ellen Sargent Koucos, who was also born here as well. We have the blessing of 2 beautiful children, Zachary and Brianna. I am blessed with the responsibility of working with our youth in this great community and enjoy the opportunity and experience. I would like to welcome new parishioners and anyone interested in learning about our youth organizations and our faith. Please feel free to email or call me anytime. May our Lord grant you all His richest blessings always.

Reverend Canon Dr. Pablo RamosRev.Canon Dr. PabloRamos
Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church, West Valley City