Board Meetings & Minutes
Greater Idaho Falls Transit (GIFT) Board Members
Michelle Ziel-Dingman | Board Chair & Secretary
Idaho Falls City Council President
Michelle was elected to serve on the Idaho Falls City Council in November 2015 and was appointed to the TRPTA (former name of GIFT) in January 2019 by Mayor Rebecca Casper. Her professional background is in promotional product and e-commerce marketing.
She is a proud University of Idaho Vandal and first generation college graduate. She has served as the Marketing Manager for organizations including Ball Ventures and General Growth Properties. Michelle left the corporate world behind for nearly three years to fundraise for student scholarships at the College of Eastern Idaho (known as Eastern Idaho Technical College at the time) and live her passion for higher education. She later went on to direct her husband's graphic design and marketing firm in Idaho Falls before joining the team at Fin Fun, an Inc. 500 retailer.
After the former transit system TRPTA shut down, Michelle led the sale of assets, bankruptcy restructure, reforming of a new board, transition to a new assumed business name, and most importantly, ensured that former TRPTA employees were fairly and completely paid for their work by utilizing FTA grant dollars and local match Michelle secured.
Michelle has served on numerous boards including serving as the Chair of the Bonneville Metropolitan Planning Organization (BMPO) Policy Board, The Art Museum of Idaho Executive Board, and the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves on the Board of the Civitan Club of Idaho Falls and is President-Elect of the Club. A well-known public speaker, Michelle has spoken on numerous topics including social media, personal motivation, and women in business and has been a keynote speaker at many events including TedXIdahoFalls.
Michelle and her husband share four children between the ages of 9 and 16 and spend their spare time watching basketball, volunteering, and biking.
Lisa Farris | Vice-Chair & Treasurer
Grant Administrator for the City of Idaho Falls
As the Grant Administrator for the City of Idaho Falls, Lisa Farris has administered and managed the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the last 11 years. Lisa has been successful in applying for and receiving over $7 million in CDBG/HUD funds to assist low- and moderate-income individuals with a variety of housing, economic, community, and public service needs. During the COVID 19 Pandemic, Lisa was able to secure $507,657 of CARES Act funds allocated to Entitlement Cities through the CDBG Program.
In addition, Lisa manages a Revolving Loan Program to promote and assist with economic improvement and also serves as the ADA Coordinator for the City of Idaho Falls. Lisa has served on the TRPTA Board since May 2, 2019 and has been extensively involved with the administrative and operational tasks involving the closing of TRPTA and the development of future transit services in Idaho Falls.
Prior to her current position, Lisa was a Transportation Planner and Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator with Bonneville Metropolitan Planning Organization (BMPO) where she helped improve the existing bicycle and pedestrian network.
Prior to working for the City, Lisa worked for Eastern Idaho Community Action Partners (EICAP) in the Aging Division where she had the opportunity to educate herself on the unmet needs of the community and the challenges faced by service providers.
Prior to working at EICAP, Lisa worked for the Idaho National Laboratory as a Benefit Representative, an Environmental Safely and Health Specialist, and an Aviation Safety Specialist.
Lisa’s education includes:
Aviation Safety Certificate (University of Southern California).
BA of Science in Industrial Technology (University of Idaho).
Lisa is also proud to have served in the U.S Navy as a Hospital Corpsman.
Lisa believes her background in HR, environmental health and safety, community action, and local government and community planning brings all the elements to the table when administering and managing a variety of grants or serving on a Board or a Commission.
Michael Walker | Board Director
Dean of Students for College of Eastern Idaho (CEI)
As the first Dean of Students for College of Eastern Idaho (CEI), Michael Walker established a variety of new and restructured student services, setting the agenda for the Student Affairs division over the past three years.
Walker helped lead the charge on a variety of new departments and services, including student mental health counseling services, disability resources, enrollment management, a Title IX office, and student conduct; he also revamped several programs in admissions, academic advising, financial aid, student life, testing services, and assisted in some program development with the Center for New Directions.
Mike’s greatest strength is in leadership mentoring. Walker researched and co-authored several grants for CEI, including the successful “Childcare means Parents in Schools” (CCAMPIS) grant, in which the Department of Education awarded the college $120,000 over four years to pay for student childcare costs, thereby easing the burden for low-income student parents. Walker has engaged in and collaboratively established a variety of programs and activities at CEI with his awesome team. Some of those initiatives included an eSports program and club, a Behavioral Intervention Team, changes in retention initiatives, a weekly Covid-19 updates live broadcast for students (on YouTube and Facebook), and assisting with the new Falcon Family Food Pantry, in partnership with Community Food Basket. This fall Walker even dyed his hair blue to encourage additional donations for the food bank!
As well as an administrator, Walker is an education psychology researcher; he will complete his PhD in Education from Utah State University in 2021. His research explores the psychology of hope in new freshmen. Walker also holds two master’s degrees, one in History from BYU (2011) and another in Higher Education and Student Affairs from USU (2017). Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in History from BYU-Idaho (2005).
Walker serves on several boards in the community including the Executive Boards for the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce (since 2019) and the Museum of Idaho (starting January 2020). Walker recently accepted an appointment on the board for Greater Idaho Falls Transit (GIFT), the forthcoming hopeful relaunch of public transportation services for Idaho Falls. Walker has taught Ethics and History at the collegiate level for the past thirteen years for USU, UVU, SLCC and now CEI.
Walker is a single father to two amazing sons, and enjoys hiking, fishing, biking, snowboarding, running, and loves everything the Tetons, Yellowstone, and the region has to offer in outdoor recreation.
Rick Cloutier | Board Director
Idaho Falls Regional Airport Director
Since 2018, Rick Cloutier has served as the Airport Director of the Idaho Falls Regional Airport. Hired as a leader in airport service development, the Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) has nearly tripled its emplanements under Rick's direction. He is currently overseeing a massive airport expansion utilizing federal grant dollars.
Prior to coming to Idaho Falls, Rick was the Director of the Myrtle Beach International Airport and the Concord Regional Airport where he was responsible for all airport operations, tenant relations, and airport expansions including managing millions of dollars in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Rick also served as the Business Development Manager for a Community Action Program (CAP) that provided public transportation on seven fixed routes and on-demand services that provided over 30,000 trips and over five million miles per year. Contracts included both Federal and State contracts to include SSI, Medicaid, Medicare, and Veteran Services. He was also responsible for the development of private business contracts that included private insurance companies, work services and courier services and managed both employed drivers and over 200 volunteer drivers.
Rick gave 20 years of service to the United States Marine Corps serving numerous roles worldwide in aircraft operations and maintenance.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from the University of Maine and is a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives.
Arnold Cantu | Board Director
Clinic Administrator at Community Council of Idaho
Arnold Cantu has been working for the Community Council of Idaho for 5 years. He is now the Clinic Administrator, and prior to that he worked for the State of Idaho for 23 years as a counselor at the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Arnold attended the University of Alabama for three years and completed his degree in Human Resources and Training Development at Idaho State University. He went on to complete his Masters in Counseling at Western Washington University. He recently completed the Executive Training program in Health Care Administration at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
Little known fact: He collects antique sports books.