The Point

A Day in the Life: Alan Matheson

Kaitlyn ClarkeArticles, Day In The Life

Alan Matheson is the executive director of the Point of the Mountain State Land Authority. He oversees the planning and development of approximately 600 acres of state-owned land currently occupied by the state prison, known as The Point, Utah’s Innovation Community. 

Widely recognized as one of the most important economic opportunities in state history, The Point will foster innovation and technological advancement, provide parks and open space, support economic growth, and enhance Utahns’ quality of life as a model of sustainable development.

Matheson was previously the executive director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, senior policy advisor to Gov. Herbert, and state planning coordinator.  Before joining state employment, Matheson served as executive director of Envision Utah, founding director of the Utah Water Project, and shareholder in a Phoenix law firm. He holds an A.B. from Stanford University and a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. Matheson has served on dozens of community and state boards and consulted with many U.S. regions seeking to address growth challenges.

A Day in the Life:

6:15 a.m. — I start my day with a morning workout to get my joints limbered up. Canyoneering season is fast approaching, and I plan to do a 25-mile rim-to-rim hike in the Grand Canyon. I need to get into better shape.

7:45 a.m. — My typical breakfast includes oatmeal and orange juice that I eat while watching the morning news.

8:15 a.m. I start my day by responding to the emails in my inbox. There are always more emails to respond to. If there were only more hours in a day.

9:00 a.m. — Meet with an international company that is interested in bringing Maglev, a system of train transportation that uses magnets to propel trains. The Point is committed to exploring all transportation options. I frequently meet with companies to assess new technologies and approaches that may contribute to our vision of creating an innovation community at The Point.

9:30 a.m. — Status update with our smart-mobility consultants. Our board has established a goal of de-emphasizing personal-vehicle use at The Point. The consultants explored leading mobility options, including autonomous circulators, mobility hubs, micro-transit, car-sharing, an app that informs visitors of transit options, and other first/last-mile options. At our request, they developed good, better, and best scenarios for reducing traffic at The Point, and associated costs.  

11:00 a.m. — I do an on-camera interview near the Draper Correctional Facility with a national news outlet preparing a story on our plans to make The Point one of the country’s first intentional “15-Minute Cities.” The weather is not cooperating at all. It’s cold, windy, and I’m staring into the sun. I’m doing my best, but I wonder what viewers will think of my glassy eyes and slurred speech. 

Noon — My two-year-old grandson is visiting, so we “play trains,” go outside for a quick snowball fight, and see who can spread the most peanut butter on the table during lunch.

12:30 p.m. — I check on the status of bills and appropriation requests relevant to the Land Authority and prepare an agenda for our upcoming board meeting.

1:00 p.m. — Biweekly meeting with our advisory committee, composed of the Draper City Manager, director of the Division of Facilities Construction and Management, and individuals who developed some of the leading mixed-use projects around the country. The group provides wise guidance and ensures we balance our exciting vision with practical realities. We discuss our governance model, the latest project pro forma, and key considerations as we select development partners.

3:00 p.m. — I lead a public workshop with our planning firm to refine the conceptual plan for Phase 1 of the project and the design guidelines they are drafting for The Point.

5:00 p.m. — Attend a city council work session where I report on the status of our work at The Point and seek input on how we can improve coordination with the community.

6:15 p.m. — Dinner with my amazing and patient wife, and I watch a few minutes of SportsCenter to see how the Jazz are doing.

7:00 p.m. — I have ecclesiastical responsibilities that occupy most weeknights. Tonight, I help organize an upcoming conference, conduct interviews, and visit people facing challenges.

9:30 p.m. — I wind down the day by reading a chapter of “The Optimist: A Case for the Fly Fishing Life,” an insightful and wry chronicle of the author’s fly-fishing adventures around the world. I make a note to myself: plan a fly-fishing trip to Patagonia.

10:15 p.m. — I end my day by sharing stories of the day with my wife, checking on our adult children, watching the monologues on late-night TV shows, and I get to bed by 11:15, curious what surprises the next day will bring.