Division of Archives and Records Service

Meet the State Government Team!

Lauren Katz
January 20, 2022

Here at the Utah State Archives, we’ve assembled a team of specialists to provide records management services to other state agencies. Let’s meet the team!

Kendra Yates is the Chief Records Officer for the State and manager of the Records & Information Management (RIM) section. She started at the Archives as a records management specialist in February 2014, consulting with state agencies and providing training, and quickly moved into a managerial position. Kendra enjoys helping people get the information that they need, teaching and presenting, and supporting a team who does the same. In her role as records officer, she manages her Division’s records, responds to record requests, and administers the Archives’ customer database. Kendra is currently serving as president of the Utah Salt Lake chapter of ARMA International. After a 13-year hiatus to raise a family, Kendra returned to school and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of Utah in 2012, and a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Sciences from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 2013.

Pre-pandemic our RIM staff (Kendra Yates, Avalon Snell, and Renée Wilson) were quite the coordinated group!

Jim Kichas is the Assistant Director of the Utah State Archives and Records Service and sits as an archival subject matter expert on the State Government Team. Jim has nearly twenty years of experience as a processing and reference archivist, having started his career processing the records of Utah Governor Scott Matheson in 2002. During his career he has led projects to manage, preserve, and provide enhanced access to Utah’s court records, records related to the history of the Colorado River, and records pertaining to the federal government’s proposal to base nuclear MX missile stations in Utah and Nevada in the 1980’s. He holds a Masters Degree in the Environmental Humanities from the University of Utah and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Drexel University, and also holds professional certifications as a Certified Archivist from the Academy of Certified Archivists, and as a Digital Archives Specialist from the Society of American Archivists. He has also served as Treasurer and President for the Conference of Intermountain Archivists as well as Chair for the Utah Manuscripts Association.

Jim Kichas met with Governor Herbert’s staff to strategize how to archive gifts and artifacts the Governor had received over the years.

Renée Wilson is the RIM specialist liaison for the Governor’s Office, other elected offices, the Legislature, the Governor’s independent boards and commissions, and several state agencies. Renée started at the Archives in 2013 and became a RIM specialist in 2017, where she acts as the point of contact for any records-related questions or issues from her agencies. Renée received her bachelor’s degree in Music Performance (French horn) from Brigham Young University, and her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Renée is a certified Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) through the Society of American Archivists, and serves as the membership director of ARMA – Utah Salt Lake Chapter.

Renée leads a Records and Information Management (RIM) training at the Division of Emergency Management.

Avalon Snell is a RIM specialist whose agencies include State Board of Education, Dept. of Natural Resources, Dept. of Food and Agriculture, and Dept. of Cultural & Community Engagement. She started at the Utah State Archives in June 2018 and was a volunteer for two years prior to employment. She has also worked for Mountain West Digital Library and the University of Utah Marriott Library in various capacities. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of Utah and a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Avalon enjoys helping her agencies find and preserve their history as well as educating them on the great services the Archives has to offer.

Renée and Avalon visit with the Division of Water Rights staff at the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

Matt Pierce is a RIM specialist whose agencies include the Board of Pardons and Parole, the Departments of Commerce, Corrections, Financial Institutions, Insurance, the Labor Commission, the Public Service Commission, and the Tax Commission. He has been with the Utah State Archives since 2020. He has worked as a video archivist at KUED (now PBS-Utah), a digital collections specialist at the University of Utah Law Library, and a rare books cataloger at Back of Beyond Books in Moab, Utah, among other roles. He received his BA from Brigham Young University in 2005 and his Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2009. 

Matt Pierce (right) working with Department of Corrections staff on a transfer of historical records in December 2021.

Gina Strack has been at the Utah State Archives since 2002. She began in the archival field with oral histories with the State Archives and with the Utah Division of State History, where she also learned manuscript processing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Utah and a Master’s of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington. She is now the Digital Archives Program Manager, but actually started coordinating digitization and online access as part of being a processing archivist starting in 2005. As a Certified Archivist, Gina continues to process traditional formats of historical records, including vital records, publications, and more from state agencies. She also researches agency histories to add context to both historical and current records.

Avalon, Heidi Stringham, and Gina Strack pick up vital records from the Utah Department of Health.

The State Government team offers services such as records management and historic preservation consultations; training on GRAMA, retention schedules, records access and more; liaising between agencies and the Records Center; and assistance with the transfer of permanent records to the Utah State Archives repository in Salt Lake City.