Josh Holt honored at Festival Awards Gala 09

Jim Evans, president of America's Freedom Festival, speaks during the Freedom Awards Gala held Saturday, June 30, 2018, at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

America’s Freedom Festival at Provo has announced Jim Evans as the organizations new executive director.

Evans will replace Paul Warner, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Evans is the former mayor of Orem and chief operating officer and senior vice president of Xactware, a subsidiary of Verisk Analytics. Evans will retire this spring.

“People are saying, ‘Are you a glutton for punishment?’” Evans said. “It’s a chance for me to be involved with the community I love. I’m really excited to do it.”

Over the past few years, the festival has faced criticism from supporters of the LGBTQ community for not offering opportunities to celebrate as entries in the Grand Parade and other events. Evans has been involved with those discussions and concerns.

“I believe there is a chance for everyone in the community to celebrate freedoms,” Evans said.

Evans said he is looking forward to putting more effort on a daily basis toward the community and the Freedom Festival.

The new executive director is not a stranger to the Freedom Festival. He currently serves as the president of the festival.

“Jim Evans is an outstanding leader who will strengthen the cause of freedom in our community and throughout the world as we celebrate the spirit of the Fourth of July and all that it represents,” said Steve Shallenberger, chairman of the Freedom Festival’s Board of Trustees in a press release. “Jim is an experienced community leader and he blesses all of those that he works with for good.”

Evans served as a regional director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services before joining Xactware. He serves on the Utah State Transportation Commission, Timpanogos Hospital Board of Trustees and as a trustee for the Utah System of Technical Colleges.

“Jim is not only one of the hardest working and wisest people I know, his passion for our community is unbelievable,” said Paul Warner, retiring executive director, said in the press release. “As the Festival grows, Jim will play an invaluable role in continuing its legacy as one of America’s premiere patriotic celebrations.”

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter

@gpugmire

A 32-year veteran of covering news in Utah County, Genelle covers Provo, Orem, Faith/Religion, including the LDS Church and general assignments.

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