Utah county commissioner’s interests influenced his unexpected career

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Utah County Commissioner Larry Ellertson is living proof that life does not always take the route one planned for.

Utah County Commissioner Larry Ellertson raises horses in his spare time while he manages much of Utah County. Photo by Haley Bissegger

Ellertson never intended to be involved in politics, but through a series of events he was elected mayor of Lindon twice. He recently was reelected for a third term.

“I wasn’t looking to get involved in politics at all, that was the furthest thing from my mind,” Ellertson said. “I had never wanted to be involved, and I still try not to be a politician.”

Following his graduation from SUU in accounting, Ellertson moved to Phoenix, Ariz. and worked as a certified public accountant. He and his wife wanted to return to Utah, where Ellertson worked for Utah Power and Light. As part of that job, Ellertson was required to attend city council meetings on issues relating to the company.

When time came for Lindon city to fill an unexpired mayoral term, Ellertson’s involvement in those city council meetings made him a candidate. After initially refusing the position, Ellertson became the mayor of Lindon.

Ellertson studied accounting and business administration in college. He never imagined those studies would lead to his current position, but what he learned helped him in his current position.

“You still use those principles, but I don’t do the daily routine,” Ellertson said.

Ellertson’s experience in business administration has found its place in his government when negotiations take place.

Richard Nielson, director of public works in Utah County, works closely with Ellertson.

“He brings different parties involved in discussions together when it appears like there is no way for them to agree,” Nielson said.

In his free time, Ellertson likes to be outdoors.

“I enjoy being out. I enjoy four wheeling, and I’m talking Jeep. But I also enjoy the ATV stuff as well. Being out. I enjoy the Moab area particularly,” Ellertson said.

Growing up on a farm in Mona, Ellertson had horses in his childhood and still raises them.

“Its kind of an escape in the fact that you’re able to get out there and become one with the land,” Ellertson said. “It’s fun to work with the animals to teach them and calm them down and train them.”

Ellertson’s love for the outdoors has found its way into his agenda as Utah County tries to improve and expand the trail system throughout the county.

Currently construction is underway to extend the Provo River Trail from Provo to the point of the mountain. The 100-foot-wide trail will be half paved and half open. The trail construction is expected to finish in early spring. The county is looking into connecting the trail with Draper and Jordan River.

Plans are currently in the works for the Lake Shore Trail that will surround Utah Lake and should come to fruition in the next few years.

Ellertson said there are plans for an off-road/ATV/motocross track and trail system as well as a shooting range west of Payson.

“Right now when you get onto the public lands there’s just a lot of open shooting. So we’re attempting to develop in this particular area ATV use, and it’s not healthy to have people shooting in that same area. We’re trying to provide an alternate place for them to go shoot,” Ellertson said.

“I’ve enjoyed it, and I think we’re contributing to the welfare here in the county. I’m not alone; all the citizens are involved in what I do,” Ellertson said.

Ott Dameron, Lindon city administrator, worked with Ellertson while he was mayor of Lindon and can attest to Ellertson’s desire to help the community.

“With his tenacity and follow-through, he accomplishes all the hard tasks. He’s just a good guy,” Dameron said.

His career has taken a drastic turn from where he thought he would be, but through these changes Ellertson has been able to combine his passions and his desire to improve the county.

“My initial reaction was, ‘No, that’s nothing I’m even interested in doing.’ But it was a good decision to change my mind. So first impressions may not always be the best,” Ellertson said.

 

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