Governor Gary R. Herbert

Following his years as an elected official at the state and local level, former governor Gary Herbert partnered with Utah Valley University to create Utah’s newest public policy institute. The Gary R. Herbert Institute for Public Policy is located in UVU’s Fugal Gateway Building in what is called “Herbert Hall.” In this space, the Herbert Institute honors the exemplary public service of Governor Herbert and is a hosting center for students, elected officials, and political thought leaders on UVU’s Campus.

the Herbert Institute

DEVELOPS future policy leaders,

GATHERS the community, and

BUILDS TRUST in civic institutions that are the

foundation of our democratic republic.


The mission of the Herbert Institute is to increase positive civic engagement among students, policy leaders, and the community by developing future policy leaders; gathering the community to engage in respectful civic dialogue; and building trust in civic institutions that are the foundation of our democratic republic.

Develop Leaders

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The Herbert Institute teaches and sponsors UVU interns from every major for state, federal, and in-house internships.

The Herbert Institute hosts forums, conferences, debates, and other events to gather the students, leaders, and the community to engage in respectful civic dialogue.

Gather Community

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Build Trust

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The Herbert Institute conducts and publishes research to inform the community of important topics and to recommend evidence-based solutions to policy concerns.

Our Team

Image of Gary R. Herbert
Founder, 17th Governor of Utah
Honorable Gary R. Herbert
Decorative Profile shot of Gary R. Herbert

Honorable Gary R. Herbert
Founder, 17th Governor of Utah

Former Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert is both the Herbert Institute founder and an essential part of the Herbert team. His founding pillars and vision continue to guide the Herbert Institute in our mission. His office can be found in Herbert Hall, where he serves as both an advisor for the Institute and a mentor to the Herbert Interns.

Gary R. Herbert was born and raised in Utah County, and spent most of his life in Orem, Utah. In high school, he was concurrently enrolled at Utah Technical College, now Utah Valley University. After graduating, he served a mission for his Church, attended Brigham Young University, and joined the Army National Guard. After finishing his military service, Herbert opened his own real estate firm, Herbert and Associates, and taught real estate classes in the Woodbury School of Business.

A successful realtor and businessman, the governor saw firsthand how decisions made by public officials can impact private enterprise. From 1990, he decided to make a difference and served as a Utah County Commissioner for over 14-years, where he gained invaluable experience that benefited his later decisions as governor.

In 2004, Herbert left his job as Utah County Commissioner to join newly elected Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. as his lieutenant governor. They were re-elected in 2008, but Herbert’s second term as lieutenant governor came to an unexpected end a year later when Governor Huntsman stepped down to become a U.S. ambassador and Gary R. Herbert suddenly became the 17th Governor of Utah. He was sworn in on August 9, 2009, and was later elected in a 2010 special election.

As governor, Gary R. Herbert led Utah’s recovery from the Great Recession to a position of national economic prominence. His unwavering focus on economic development included attracting businesses and investment to the state while helping homegrown businesses flourish.

Governor Herbert’s focus was on four cornerstones to strengthen Utah’s economy: education, jobs, energy, and self-determination. As a result, Utah has become a premier destination for business, with an unsurpassed quality of life.

As governor, he served as the Chair of the Western Governors Association and the Chair of the National Governors Association (NGA). His focus as the leader of the nation’s governors was to make the relationship between states and the federal government more collaborative, highlight state solutions and share best practices between states. The governor believes real solutions are found in the states, the real innovators, and laboratories of democracy.

Following his service, Herbert helped launch the Herbert Institute. He rejoined the UVU faculty in January of 2021 to be a lecturer and resource to the University.

Governor Herbert and his wife, Jeanette, are the proud parents of six children and 17 grandchildren.

Image of Justin D. Jones
Executive Director
Justin D. Jones
Decorative Profile shot of Justin D. Jones

Justin D. Jones
Executive Director

Justin Jones was appointed Executive Director of the Gary R. Herbert Institute for Public Policy on Aug. 1, 2021. As the director, he is responsible for the operational, financial, programmatic, fundraising and personnel activities of the Gary R. Herbert Institute for Public Policy. He works to achieve several important Institute initiatives, including mission fulfillment and outreach with educational and business partners.

Prior to this appointment, he worked as the Senior Director of Donor Relations and Annual Giving from Nov. 2019 to Jul. 2021. He served as the Chief of Staff to two Presidents of UVU, starting in August 2016. His most recent work included directing the successful leadership transition from outgoing President Matthew S. Holland and welcoming UVU’s seventh President, Astrid S. Tuminez.

Before joining UVU, Jones worked as the Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for the Salt Lake Chamber. His primary role was to advocate for and negotiate business friendly policies focused on education, healthcare, water, and other interests with the Utah Legislature and with Utah’s Congressional delegation.

Prior to the Chamber, he directed all strategic public relations, social media, internal communications, and marketing efforts for Rio Tinto Kennecott. He lead the crisis communications efforts during the catastrophic collapse of the Bingham Canyon Mine wall.

His previous work includes working as the senior advisor to the president, government relations director, and spokesperson for the Utah Transit Authority. He worked as the communications advisor for the Utah County Health department, and a grants specialist during the administrations of Governor Michael O. Leavitt and Governor Olene Walker.


  • M.S., Intermodal Transportation Management – University of Denver
  • B.S., Business Administration – Utah Valley University
  • A.S., Communications – BYU Idaho


Justin is married with four children, two of whom are Wolverines. They live in American Fork, UT where he enjoys working in the garden, hiking in the mountains, and spending time with family. Born in Rapid City, South Dakota, he, and his family make annual pilgrimages to enjoy family while boating and other out-door activities in the beautiful Black Hills.

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Government Internships
Erik Nystul
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Erik Nystul
Program Director - Government Internships

Bio coming soon.



Headshot of Ashleigh Wilson
Communications Coordinator
Ashleigh Wilson
Decorative photo of Ashleigh Wilson

Ashleigh Wilson
Communications Coordinator

Ashleigh Wilson joined the Herbert Institute team as Communications Coordinator in January 2024. In this position, she manages communications about the events, publications, and efforts of the Herbert Institute. The Herbert Institute is a perfect fit for Ashleigh as she is passionate about the intersection of the law and public service. Ashleigh is also the communications coordinator for the External Relations team at BYU Law. There, she works directly with the alumni organization, writing and publishing features on notable alumni, circulating monthly newsletters, and maintaining an alumni database and directory. 

Before her communications work, Ashleigh was a research assistant in the Political Science department at BYU. She worked with Dr. Jessica Preece on a project about gender and bill sponsorship. She also worked with Dr. Darren Hawkins on a project called Impact Evidence, where she read and analyzed articles about social development and had the opportunity to meet, interview, and learn from Latin American bureaucrats while discussing democracy.


  • B.A., Brigham Young University, Political Science and Spanish


Ashleigh plans to attend law school in Fall 2024 and pursue a career in public service. She and her husband Noah, a former Herbert Intern, live in Provo, UT. They love to try new foods and travel, especially to Seattle, where Ashleigh grew up. 


Headshot of Karen Gill
Events Coordinator
Karen Gill
Decorative photo of Karen Gill

Karen Gill
Events Coordinator

Karen Gill happily joined the Herbert Institute team as an Events Coordinator in January of 2024. Karen’s passion for Event Planning dates back to 2015 at her first position working for Bawden Capitol as an assistant/events coordinator in Manhattan, NYC, planning events for socialite clients.  After 2 years she moved to Utah and found her home for the next 4 years at the University of Utah in their Continuing Education Department as a Program Coordinator. Transitioning into the tech/business world in 2021 she started out at a Startup called Sponsr and worked her way from Events Coordinator to VP of Communications in just under a year.  Enthralled with the world of entrepreneurship Karen broke ground on her very own company, combining her two passions: business, and event planning, in 2023, and is the Founder and CEO of Forte Events Co.


Karen is from Powhatan, Virgina and currently resides in Orem, Utah with her husband, Ty, who is pursuing a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree. Karen comes from a Deaf household and speaks American Sign Language. Karen spends her free time traveling, attending concerts, salsa dancing, singing in choirs and reading

Headshot of Tara Bishop
Herbert Faculty Fellow
Tara Bishop, Ph.D.
Decorative photo of Tara Bishop

Tara Bishop
Herbert Faculty Fellow

Bio Coming Soon.

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Herbert Faculty Fellow
Kal Munis, Ph.D.
Decorative Profile shot of Kal Munis

Kal Munis
herbert Fellow

Since Fall 2021, Dr. Kal Munis has been an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Utah Valley University. In Spring 2024, Dr. Munis became a Faculty Fellow at the Herbert Institute. As a Fellow, Dr. Munis contributes to the institute by spearheading research, helping manage projects, facilitating events, among other responsibilities. Dr. Munis is a leading researcher of America's urban-rural divide and his work has been published in leading political science journals, national think tanks, and featured by national news agencies. Prior to joining UVU, Dr. Munis completed a postdoc at Johns Hopkins University, his doctoral studies at the University of Virginia, and his undergraduate work at the University of Montana. A native of rural Philipsburg, Montana, Dr. Munis enjoys spending time outdoors hunting, fishing, and other recreational pursuits. 

Image of Alan Parry
Herbert Faculty Fellow
Alan Parry, Ph.D.
Decorative Profile shot of Alan Parry

Alan Parry
Herbert Fellow

Bio coming soon.