Keynote Speakers

Monday, May 15 Luncheon

Spencer J. CoxICOET 2017 keynote speaker Spencer Cox
Lieutenant Governor, State of Utah

Spencer J. Cox, Utah’s 8th Lieutenant Governor, serves as the state’s chief election officer and liaison between the governor and legislature. He travels extensively throughout the state supporting economic development and local government solutions. He is committed to strengthening families, transforming education, increasing voter participation, utilizing modern technologies, promoting healthy living and empowering the homeless and impoverished.

Lt. Governor Cox is from Fairview, Utah where he currently resides with his wife, Abby and their four children. He is a graduate of Snow College, Utah State University and Washington and Lee Law School. He formerly practiced law with Fabian & Clendenin and was Vice President and General Counsel of CentraCom. He has served as a councilman and mayor of Fairview, as a Sanpete County Commissioner and in the Utah House of Representatives.

He and his family enjoy spending time in Utah’s amazing backcountry, and are frequent visitors to the state and national parks. He also plays the bass guitar with his brother in a local rock band.

Tuesday, May 16 Luncheon

Joe RiisICOET 2017 keynote speaker Joe Riis
National Geographic Fellow, Wildlife Photojournalist and Filmmaker

Joe Riis is a National Geographic Fellow and Wyoming Migration Initiative (WMI) Photography Fellow. Trained as a wildlife biologist, Joe is known for his pioneering and award-winning photography of animal migrations in the West, often using camera traps to capture up-close portraits of migrating wildlife. He has worked on wildlife assignments for National Geographic Magazine on five continents. His photographs have been exhibited widely and are included in private and public collections worldwide.

In 2008-09, Joe followed the path of the pronghorn from the Green River Basin to Grand Teton National Park, documenting in photographs and video this migration phenomenon for the first time ever. Joe later campaigned for eight wildlife overpasses and underpasses now built by the Wyoming DOT to help maintain the migration corridor. Along with writer Emilene Ostlind, they were awarded the Stanford Knight Riser Award for western environmental journalism. He earned an Emmy award for his pronghorn cinematography on the National Geographic Great Migrations series.

Joe often partners directly with research scientists to tell the science story to the greater public through all media. In 2012-13, Joe worked with researcher Hall Sawyer and the WMI to document the Red Desert to Hoback mule deer migration in Wyoming and produced a short film of the migration that has garnered nearly 5 million views on YouTube. In 2014-15, Joe worked with researcher Arthur Middleton to document the elk migrations of the Greater Yellowstone, work that was awarded the inaugural Camp Monaco Prize from Prince Albert II of Monaco and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Additionally, Arthur and Joe were awarded National Geographic Adventurers of the Year in 2016.

His photography book Yellowstone Migrations to be released in summer 2017, illustrates Joe’s decade long project on the animal migrations of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  When he is not out on an expedition, Joe lives in rural South Dakota near the Missouri River.


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