Iron Leaders Academy

A professional advantage experience for leaders and changemakers in Iron County

Now more than ever before, we are looking to leaders who can champion progress and cultivate unity within our community. Iron Leaders Academy, presented by Southern Utah University’s Leadership Institute, provides opportunities for personal and professional growth among emerging and established leaders in Iron County through a high-impact, nine-month training schedule. Participants will gain foundational knowledge and experience to contribute to positive change in the region. While experiencing a unique opportunity to connect with many diverse groups and organizations, members will foster high-level introductions and connections.

Academy Timeline


Retreat - Sept 18, 2024

Adventure days
Monthly on Second Wednesday


ILA Adventure Days

Held on one full day each month, ILA Adventure Days are designed to unite elected officials, economic developers and other civic-minded leaders to provide an understanding of current and complex issues critical to leading Iron County into the future. Adventure Days are built around a different theme each month and include retreats, behind-the-scenes tours and meetings, guest lunches and VIP dinners, an excursion to Utah’s Capitol Hill, and university-sponsored training for strengthening the leader within.

Monthly events with the following themes:

  • September: Retreat

  • October:  One Utah Summit 
  • November: Service
  • December: Education
  • January: Health & Wellness
  • February: Government Day at Utah’s State Capitol
  • March: Growth & Development
  • April: Parks, Recreation and Tourism
  • May: Arts, Culture, & Belonging and Graduation

Adventure Days


Membership applications are due July 29, 2024 at midnight and scholarships are available.

Apply for Membership

Membership Includes

Benefit $2,100 Value
Welcome Retreat
Adventure day transportation and lunch
Excursion to Utah’s Capitol Hill
Ticket to fall One Utah Summit
SUU Institutional Certificate
Academy Gear


2020-22 Cohort with Governor Cox Trevor Andersen, Michael Bleak, Brad Buhanan, Tiffiney Christiansen, Spencer Douglas, Debbie Drak, Maile Wilson-Edwards, Kevin Garrett, Mollie Halterman, Dan Jessen, Alecia Jones, Giani Julander, Jessica Kinsey, Paul Monroe, James Mullenaux, Steve Nelson, Jay Orton, Shane Parashonts, Melinda Pfundstein, Danny Stewart, Paul Terry, Michelle Tullis, Dayla Ulrich, John Westwood, and Kevin Wright
2022-23 Cohort Joni Anderson, Justin Barlow, Justin Barnes, Brennon Bauer, Gabrielle Costello, Mari Eddy, Brittany Fisher, Gail Goodman, Mike Green, Tricia Harris, Lisa Jensen, Lauren Lewis, Neal Mason, Jorie Matheson, LaTosha Mayo, Julie Padilla, Megen Ralphs, ReAnne Reimschussel, Katherine Ross, Bobby Rowser, Ryan Talbot, Maria Twitchell, and Jason Vanderhoven

ILA cohort members portraits

Kevin Callister, Rene Cole, Spencer Douglas, Stephen Lisonbee, Steve Nelson, Shane Parashonts, Melinda Pfundstein, Michelle Tullis, David Westwood and Brennan Wood

Meet our Founders

Hosted by Southern Utah University Professional and Workforce Development

For more information contact Iron Leaders Academy program director Susie Knudsen at (435) 586-7759 or