For many years emergency management agencies, hospitals, health departments, and other entities in Southern Illinois have planned and prepared separately for disasters. This planning involved multiple meetings and collaborative efforts with many different community partners. As time went on, these groups and others continued to meet and enhance collaboration through networking, training, and exercising together. In 2012, the different regional meetings happening within various disciplines in Southern Illinois combined in an effort to become more efficient and help eliminate duplication of effort.
The first official SPARC meeting was held at the Marion Pavilion on April 9, 2013 and in addition to hospitals, health departments, and emergency management agencies in the region, representatives from local, state, and federal response agencies, state associations, volunteer organizations, and other community partners have attended subsequent SPARC meetings. The coalition is governed by a multi-disciplinary Executive Committee and is guided by the coalition By-Laws and Strategic Plan to ensure the needs of the membership and communities in the SPARC region are met.
Allan C. Ninness – SPARC Executive Board Member
Allan C. Ninness was appointed in January of 1992 to the Coordinator position of the then, Saline County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency. He is now the Director of the Saline County Emergency Management Agency. Allan serves as an Executive Board Member to SPARC in which he is a charter member. Along with that he serves as a member of the Emergency Management Assistance Team, as well of being a committee member. He is active in the Illinois Emergency Management Services Association. Within his career time his agency has responded to many disasters over the 26 years of services that he has put in, including 7 federally declared disasters in 15 years and 3 other events that where declared by the Governor of Illinois.
Bart Hagston – SPARC Executive Board Member
Bart Hagston serves as the Director of Environmental Health and Emergency Preparedness for the Jackson County Health Department. Bart has oversight of the Public Health Emergency Preparedness program which works to plan for and respond to the public health impacts of disasters and disease outbreaks. He also serves as the Director of the Jackson County Medical Reserve Corps and coordinates the Jackson County Preparedness Coalition. Bart also volunteers with the American Red Cross and is a certified Illinois Professional Emergency Manager.
Bill Thouvenin – SPARC Vice President
Bill Thouvenin from Centralia, IL is currently with the Marion County Health Department serving as the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator along with chairing the Training, Exercise, and Education Committee with SPARC. Bill graduated from Kaskaskia College (Administration of Justice) and from Greenville University (Organizational Leadership). He spent many dedicated years to the Centralia Fire Department where he then retired.
Brad Graul, RN – SPARC Executive Board Member
Brad is an employee of Southern Illinois Healthcare. He started working in the Emergency Department at Herrin Hospital in 1992. Brad is currently the EMS Coordinator for Herrin Hospital and served many years as the Safety Officer and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the facility. Brad worked for the City of Herrin Ambulance Service for several years prior to going back to school for his nursing degree. Brad is an elected Village of Energy Trustee. He has served the Village of Energy since being elected in 1998. Brad currently serves on several regional, county and local advisory committees. Brad serves on the Shawnee Preparedness and Response Coalition (SPARC) Executive Committee and is the Co-Chair of the Williamson County Local Emergency Planning Committee(LEPC).
Gisele Reece, RN – SPARC Executive Board Member
Gisele M. Reece is currently the Director of Nursing at the Southern Illinois Orthopedic Center. In her role, Gisele leads a team of professionals who provide outpatient ambulatory orthopedic surgery. Prior to her appointment as Director of Nursing, she served as the Nurse Manager of the Southern Illinois Orthopedic Center. Gisele has 24 years of nursing experience working in various medical fields including the Intensive Care Unit and the Cardiac Step-Down Unit. Gisele has vast experience in Employee Health, Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement, Infection Control, Risk Management, HIPPA, and Corporate Compliance. She is an active member of ASPAN, APIC, AORN, AND AOHP. Gisele is currently serving as a SPARC Executive Board Member and represents the non-hospital healthcare members.
Kevin Gillespie – SPARC Executive Board Member
Kevin Gillespie was hired by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in 2012 and works at the Regional Office in Marion. He is the Emergency Response Coordinator for the 23 counties in the Marion Public Health and Medical Services Response Region and assists local health departments with their emergency preparedness programs. Prior to working at IDPH, Gillespie was the Director of Environmental Health at Jackson County Health Department where he worked for over 15 years. He has also been a Licensed Environmental Health Practitioner in Illinois since 1998, and in 2012 completed a career in the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve after serving nearly 32 years and having many assignments involving emergency response at the federal level.
Larry Busch – SPARC Treasurer
Larry Busch is a founding member of the SPARC Executive Committee and currently serves as Treasurer. He also actively supports the Southern Illinois Community Foundation as a member of their board, including three terms as president. Larry has been involved in many of Southern Illinois’s region responses following several disasters. He also frequently presents programs about best practices for personal disaster preparedness. Busch proposes that, if residents in Southern Illinois can take measures to care for themselves following a disaster, our professional respondents of SPARC can be freed to serve with even greater effectiveness. Larry was a career faculty member at SIUC and makes his home in Carbondale.
Linda Angarola – SPARC Executive Board Member
Linda Angarola is from Marion, IL. She is currently the EMS Region 5 Coordinator for the Illinois Department of Public Health. She graduated from McKendree College with her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and Registered Professional Nurse from John A. Logan College. Linda is the chair of the State of Illinois Pediatric Committee, is an Illinois Poison Center Outreach Educator, regional representative to the State of Illinois Trauma Advisory Council, and much more.
Calvin Stearns – SPARC Executive Board Member
Bio to come.
Robert Hyman – SPARC Executive Board Member
Robert Hyman is from Eldorado, IL. He is currently the Emergency Medical Services System Coordinator for SSMHealth Good Samaritan Hospital, the Mt. Vernon Campus along with being the Emergency Medical Services – Program Director/Paramedic Instructor for Rend Lake College. Robert earned his Master of Science Degree in Biosecurity and Disaster Management from Saint Louis University and his Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Services from the University of Southern Indiana. His current job duties entail being responsible for conducting emergency medical services and paramedic education and being responsible for coordinating the provision of Emergency Medical Services for the Good Samaritan Regional EMS System.
Todd Carr – SPARC Secretary
Todd Carr has been the Quality Director for 15 years at Hardin County General Hospital, a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital in Rosiclare, IL where he also serves as the facilities and safety director. Prior to joining the hospital, he worked in home health for 10 years as a physical therapist assistant and various management positions. Todd received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Southern Illinois University of Carbondale. In 2000 he created a nonprofit corporation to promote tourism in Southeastern Illinois. He has volunteered for many governing boards and held local elected offices. He has written 2 historical books on Southern Illinois. Todd is a native of Elizabethtown where he continues to live with his wife and 3 daughters.
Kelly Norris – SPARC President
Kelly Norris is currently serving as the Director of the William County Emergency Management Agency appointed on February 7, 2012 along with being the SPARC secretary, chair of the Planning Committee, president of the Court appointed Special Advocates of Williamson County, and the Region 11 Vice President of the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association. Her duties entail overseeing the jurisdictions efforts to provide emergency preparedness, prevention, mitigation, and response and recovery programs. She is also responsible for the administrative and management functions for the Office of Emergency Management. She holds accreditations from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association. Kelly has obtained her Bachelor's of Science in Business Management and is currently working on her Master's in Business. She serves on several committees and enjoys spending time with her 4 children and her husband, Jason.
Chris Pulley – SPARC Executive Board Member
Chris has been with IEMA for 15+ years. He started as a planner for IEMA Region 11 on April 1, 2003. He transitioned into training and provided emergency response training to various emergency response groups until 2013. In July 2013 he accepted the job of Regional Coordinator of Region 11, in which he is currently still serving. Chris has provided expertise in emergency planning in Region 11, provided emergency response training to multiple disciplines throughout the state, and responded to multiple disasters throughout the state in his 15+ years employed with IEMA.
Arien Herrmann – SPARC Executive Board Member
Arien currently serves the people of Southernmost Illinois as the Regional Hospital Coordinating Center Manager. Born in Buffalo, NY; he has maintained a small apartment in Cobden since the year 2000, after separating from the military. Prior to joining the RHCC Team, Arien spent sixteen years traveling the world providing medical care and health/safety services in several of the most remote and arduous locations on the planet. Some of his career highlights include: providing emergency medical services in the Darfur region of The Sudan at the height of the genocide; participating in the 2010 earthquake response in Port au Price Haiti, first as the medic for ABC News and then as a volunteer with a children’s charity; spending 95 days at sea during the Deepwater Horizon Disaster Response; and accompanying a science expedition to Antarctica. Arien has had the opportunity to visit 55 countries and work on all seven continents. He holds multiple college degrees, his most cherished being an Associate’s in Environmental Resources & Geography from John A. Logan College (JALC), and a Master’s in Healthcare Management from Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO). His professional credentials include being a Registered Environmental Health Specialist, an Occupational Safety Specialist, and a Paramedic. When not working, he is passionate about cooking and his bicycles.
Hospital Preparedness Program Staff
Jessica Hall – HPP Office Coordinator/Stop the Bleed Coordinator
Jessica Hall has been employed with Southern Illinois Healthcare since 2015 and is currently serving as the HPP Office Coordinator, HPP Stop the Bleed Coordinator, and the Safety Officer for the Marion Region 5 RHCC. Jessica is a full time student at Saint Louis University obtaining her Bachelor’s of Science in Emergency Management and is also in school to become an EMT with several Professional Development Series certifications from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well with being a licensed first responder. She resides in Zeigler, IL with her daughter. Jessica helps maintain the organization for the 13 subcommittees of SPARC and handles the training resources as well, with her favorite being the Stop the Bleed program.
Marty Hagan – HPP Resource Specialist
Bio to come.
Tamara Caffey-Bey – HPP Regional Emergency Planning Coordinator
Tamara Broadnax is a native of southern Illinois. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Geography from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Prior to joining SIH Office of Emergency Preparedness, Tamara was Project Manager for the Natural Hazard Research & Mitigation Group housed in the Geology Department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She has experience in mitigation planning, hazard identification, risk assessment, and plan development. Tamara has worked in collaboration with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to assist several counties across the southern Illinois region in the development of a FEMA-approved plan in order to obtain funding to implement jurisdiction pre-disaster hazard mitigation projects, as a mitigation planning requirement of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. Her current job duties entail supporting the development of local, state, and regional healthcare emergency response and recovery plans, as well as overseeing strategic planning efforts for Shawnee Preparedness and Response Coalition. Tamara has a vested interest in helping communities prepare for all hazards, natural or manmade.
Brent Orth – HPP Homeland Security Exercise & Evaluation Program (HSEEP) Coordinator
Jonathan “Brent” Orth Joined the SPARC team in December 2019 as the Regional Exercise Coordinator. He comes to SPARC from FEMA Region 3 where he was an Exercise and Training Specialist. While at FEMA he coordinated multiple exercises and also taught ICS courses throughout the US and Virgin Islands. Before FEMA Brent work with Department of Defense (DoD) in Washington DC as an Emergency Management Officer and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta as a Planning Specialist. He coordinated and planned many events and incidents including Presidential Inaugurations, State of the Unions, U.S. Ebola response, Flint River Response, Indiana Aids Epidemic, and the Polio Response. Before he went to work for the Federal Government Brent was a Career Fire Fighter in Atlanta Georgia for 12 years where he also obtained his Master’s Degree in Disaster Management. He now lives with his family in Effingham Illinois, where he enjoys spending time with his wife and playing sports with his kids.