Mayor's Staff

Catherine Smith,  Economic Development Administrator 

Catherine Smith PhotoCatherine Smith comes to the City of Idaho Falls after working as the Executive Director of the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation. In that role, Smith oversaw the non-profit organization that manages the Idaho Falls Business Improvement District. The corporation advances the historical downtown and organizes events such as FallBrew, Taste of Downtown, and the Tree Lighting Celebration, to name a few.

Catherine is a fourth-generation Idahoan and is tied to her local and regional community through nonprofit work and volunteerism. She is a member of the Idaho Falls Rotary Club, Chair of the East Regional Council for the Idaho Community Foundation, serves on the Board of Directors of the District 91 Education Foundation and the Greater Idaho Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, is a Commissioner of Idaho Falls Historic Preservation Commission, and is the Executive Secretary of the Eastern Idaho Agriculture Hall of Fame.

In 2019, she was recognized with the 2019 Idaho APAP Leadership Award. She is a graduate of the Leadership Idaho Falls program from the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce and was recognized as a Distinguished Under 40 award winner. She has also worked for the Idaho Community Foundation, Idaho Falls Arts Council, Post Register, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts.

As the Economic Development Administrator, Catherine works with the Public Works and Community Development Services Departments to streamline development processes. She is tasked with meeting the needs of the private sector as she seeks to make Idaho Falls attractive for development. The position also interfaces with economic development influencers throughout the state and region to encourage new businesses to locate within the city.

Eric Grossarth,  Public Information Officer

Eric G for Web

Eric Grossarth is an experienced communications professional who joined the City of Idaho Falls team in 2022. Before joining the city, Eric held a very public role as a reporter in eastern Idaho, where he gained extensive knowledge in communications and the community. 

In his role as the Lead Public Information Officer, Eric oversees public information duties for most of the 11 departments, including the Idaho Falls Regional Airport, Community Development Services, Fire Department, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, Idaho Falls Power and Fiber.. Eric not only acts as the city spokesperson but also develops and promotes city programs and services through strategic communication planning. Eric oversees the city’s website content, social media pages and media relations. 

Prior to joining the city, Eric’s work as a reporter garnered local and national experience covering high-profile stories. Eric's work as a reporter earned countless journalism awards and even a Regional Emmy nomination. He also worked as a Dateline NBC contributor and consultant, making multiple appearances on the show in 2020 and 2021.

Eric graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a bachelor's degree in communication with an emphasis in news and journalism. He also completed coursework in strategic and organizational communication. Eric holds FEMA - Emergency Management Institute basic and advanced public information officer certificates.

When Eric is not actively telling the story of Idaho Falls, he enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors, camping, skiing, fishing, and biking.

Carla Thinnes,  Executive Assistant to the Mayor

Carla B oldCarla joined the City of Idaho Falls in July 2019 as the Executive Assistant to the Mayor. She is responsible for the administrative operations of the Office of the Mayor and works directly with the Mayor, City Council, Chief of Staff, and city leaders to provide support and oversight of the day-to-day operations of the office.

Carla’s professional background includes experience working in non-profit, state, and local government roles affording her a keen understanding of communication practices and an understanding of competing priorities.

Prior to joining the City of Idaho Falls, Carla served as Judicial Clerk in the Seventh Judicial District Courts for Bonneville County. Before coming to Idaho, Carla was a Judicial Assistant for the Utah State Courts where she served as in-court clerk for the Second District Court providing essential support functions and maintaining the operations of the judicial branch.

Carla holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and has a background in social services. Her post-college experience includes working with at-risk youth, and as an outpatient case manager for a non-profit organization providing treatment for women and mothers with substance use disorders. She has also had the privilege of having served as both team member and liaison of specialty courts including Mental Health Court, Domestic Violence Drug Court, and Family Dependency Drug Court in the past. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership and various other boards and committees in Idaho including serving as Board Secretary of the Mayors’ Scholarship Fund.

When she is not engaged in city-related matters, Carla enjoys Idaho Falls’ downtown life, paddleboarding, and spending time with her family.