Staff

Matt Pacenza
Executive Director

Credit: SLUGmag.com // M.A.BARATTA

Credit: SLUGmag.com // M.A.BARATTA

Matt joined HEAL in Feb. 2011. He worked for nearly four years as our Policy Director, managing our policy agenda on nuclear waste, energy and clean air issues. In Jan. 2015, Matt began working as HEAL’s Executive Director, managing the organization’s staff, program and budgets.

Matt has a BA from Cornell University in Environmental Policy and an MA from New York University in Journalism. Prior to working at HEAL, he worked in magazine and newspaper journalism and in advocacy and campaigns for health, environmental, theatre and human rights organizations. A native of upstate New York, he has lived and worked in Guatemala, New Orleans, New York City and Albany, N.Y. He now lives in the Sugarhood with his wife and two young sons.

Matt is our contact for media inquiries, general inquiries about policy and lobbying and more. He can be reached at matt@healutah.org or (801) 355-5055.


 Ashley Soltysiak
Policy Director

Photo Credit: Chelsey Allder, Deseret News

(c) Chelsey Allder, Deseret News

As HEAL’s Policy Director, Ashley leads our clean air and nuclear waste campaigns, performs legislative research and analysis and works to build coalitions and encourage our grassroots.

A native of Michigan, Ashley graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Environmental Biology and Zoology. In the following years, she conducted field research in South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Australia, Colorado, and Georgia. After working on a range of international and domestic projects, she earned her MPA from Cornell University, in Environmental Policy. During this time, she was inducted into the Pi Alpha Alpha National Honor Society and worked for the Federal EPA. When she isn’t trying to save the planet she moonlights as a snowboard/ski instructor.

Please direct questions regarding the legislative agenda or our campaigns on nuclear threats, clean air, and renewable energy to ashley@healutah.org or give her a call at (801) 355-5055.


Laura Schmidt
Outreach Coordinator

Laura with "share the love" checkAs the Outreach Coordinator, Laura, organizes the HEAL’s volunteers, manages outreach opportunities, and assists with fundraising events.

Hailing from Michigan, Laura is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a BS in Environmental Studies, Biology, and Religious Studies. After some stints living and playing in North Carolina & Louisiana, she earned her MS in Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah. Laura is also a member of Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

She is the staff contact for information regarding volunteering, outreach opportunities, and materials requests. Reach her via email (laura@healutah.org) or phone (801) 355-5055.


Michael Shea
Policy Associate

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HEAL’s Policy Associate since late 2015, Michael manages HEAL’s policy agenda encouraging a transition away from coal power to clean energy. He also assists with our policy work focusing on clean air and nuclear issues. 

Michael is a native Utahn who was born and raised in Salt Lake City. He has a degree in Economics from Westminster College and Masters in Public Administration from the University of Utah. His past work includes various political campaigns such as, Corroon for Governor and Count My Vote.  In addition, he worked in the mayors’ office for Salt Lake County doing community outreach. 

When he isn’t working, you will find him skiing or mountain biking in the Wasatch with his golden retriever Rocky.  

Reach him via email (michael@healutah.org) or phone (801) 355-5055.


Hannah Whitney
Development Director

Photo by Re Wikstrom

Photo by Re Wikstrom

Hannah grew up in small town Maine, developing her love for nature through adventuring around the abundant forests, ponds, oceans and more. Her appreciation for the outdoors has fostered a life full of outdoor recreation and environmental advocacy. Her passion for these things inspired her to move to the Rockies to study Ecology and Environmental Science at Western State Colorado University.

Skiing at Crested Butte also really developed her love of skiing, and after graduation she spent 4 years competing on the US Freeskiing Tour. During that time she moved to Utah where she aimed to combine her love of the outdoor and environmental fields.

She has had numerous wonderful volunteer and work experiences here in Utah, including working with SheJumpsTreeUtah and other local nonprofits. She found her way to HEAL Utah in 2016 and is thrilled to join the organization’s efforts to protect public health an the environment!

Hannah can be reached via email (hannah@healutah.org) or phone (801) 355-5055.

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