Joplin Disaster Recovery Summit Speakers


Allen Dodson

Allen Dodson is the former county judge of Faulkner County, Arkansas, leading Faulkner County’s response to two disasters: a crude oil pipeline rupture in Mayflower, Arkansas, one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. History; and the long track tornado of April 27, 2014, which traversed more than 20 miles across Faulkner County.

Amanda Mitchell

At the time of Joplin’s May 2011 tornado, Amanda worked as an account manager for State Farm Insurance. She assisted numerous clients as they put the pieces of their lives back together after the disaster. She soon felt the call to do more for her hometown’s recovery efforts and joined Rebuild Joplin in January 2012 as volunteer manager.

Barb Sturner

Barb Sturner is an External Affairs Specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region VII office in Kansas City, MO. She has more than 22 years’ experience in emergency management, with special emphasis on public information, crisis communications and external affairs.

Benjamin Alexander

Benjamin Alexander has over 26 years of public and private sector experience in community planning and design, project management, public engagement, visioning, and post-disaster long-term community recovery.

Beth A. Freeman

Beth A. Freeman is the Regional Administrator for FEMA Region VII, she was appointed by President Obama to this position in 2010. She also served FEMA in the past as the Director for Region VII in 2000.

Bob Dixson

Mayor Bob Dixson is a native Kansan and he has been a resident of Greensburg since 1985.  Dixson took office as Mayor of Greensburg in May 2008 and he is leading the way in the process of rebuilding Greensburg following the May 4, 2007 EF5 tornado that destroyed 95% of the community.

Bob Dixon

Bruce Bailey

Bruce Bailey, Executive Director of AmeriCorps St. Louis, has his degree in Public Administration from Webster University. He has worked in government and social services for over 35 years, 15 of which were spent in agencies serving youth.  He began his career as a congressional aide, then as a special assistant to Judge Noah Weinstein at the St. Louis County Juvenile Court.

Carol Stark

Stark has worked as a journalist at the Globe since 1983, covering crime, courts, city and county government. She was named the paper’s metro editor in 2004, and the editor in 2007.

Carole King

Carole King is an award winning writer/photographer who recently published a book with Pitsco Education CEO Harvey R Dean on high-engagement workplace culture. In the aftermath of the Joplin tornado, Carole documented the disaster through photography and recording stories of many survivors.

Charlotte Haden

Charlotte Haden is the Cedar County public administrator. She was that the executive director for the Stockton area Chamber of Commerce during the May 4th 2003 ef-4 tornado. She was instrumental in getting the town up and running.

Dr. C.J Huff

C.J Huff is the founder of Bright Futures USA, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing communities together to focus on the success of children. He currently works for the U.S. Department of Education as a subject matter expert in the area of emergency planning.

Dan Pekarek

Daniel Pekarek is the Director of the Joplin City Health Department.   He has been with the department for 29 years, starting as an Environmental Health Specialist and working in that capacity for approximately 10 years. Since that time he has been the department director providing oversight and direction to department operations.

Darren Fullerton

Mr. Fullerton has been with Missouri Southern since 1999.  He was appointed to Vice President for Student Affairs in 2010.  He previously served MSSU as the Director of Student Life.  Prior to coming to Missouri Southern, Mr. Fullerton held positions at the University of Arkansas and the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

David Hertzberg

David Hertzberg has been with the city of Joplin since 1981. He began as a civil engineer and at the time of the tornado was the Public Works Director. He oversaw the removal of over three million cubicyards of street and private property debris removal in 10 weeks, the issuance of 4,000 building permits in four months.

David Mink

David Mink is the editor at Joplin Regional Business Journal. A career journalist, he started at JRBJ as a reporter in January 2011, just five months before the May 22 tornado.

David Weaver

David Weaver served as the Assistant to the Mayor with the City of Duquesne, Missouri during the May, 2011 tornado. He was active in the recovery efforts of Duquesne which shares their west border with the City of Joplin.   Over 50% of the City of Duquesne was destroyed by the May 22nd event.

Debi Meeds

Debi became the President/CEO of the United Way of the Ozarks in late September 2014. However, she has spent her life in service to others. She began her volunteer career in 7th grade as a Candy-Striper with the Red Cross.

Debi Meeds

Dennis Manley

Dennis Manley is a Registered Nurse with over 40 years of healthcare experience. He is currently the Chief Nursing Officer at Mercy Hospitals Joplin and Carthage.

Gary Bandy

Gary Bandy began his broadcasting career in 1973 at KLKC radio while still in high school in Parsons, Kansas. He worked at KLKC and in the Parsons Sun’s Circulation Department off and on throughout the 1970’s. Gary graduated from Labette Community College in Parsons in 1975, then attended broadcasting classes at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas.

Gary Duncan

Mr. Duncan, a native of Van Wert, OH, joined Freeman Health System (FHS) in 1975 as its first human resources director. He became vice president in 1979 and executive vice president in 1986. He was appointed president and CEO in 1996 and retired December 2011.

Gary Duncan

Harold Kirbey

Harold has served as the Director for the Division of Community and Public Health since January 2011.  Prior to this position, he was the Deputy Director for the Division of Community and Public Health since December of 2006.  Since 2006 to present, Harold has served as the department’s Co-commander and Commander during emergency events.

Jane Cage

Jane Cage is widely regarded as a community organizer and activist. She served as chairman of the Joplin Citizens Advisory Recovery Team after the 2011 tornado, managing over 150 volunteers and serving as liaison with federal, state and local government representatives.

Jono Anzalone

Jono is the North Central Division Disaster Executive at the American Red Cross, serving the states of ID, MT, ND, SD, MN, WI, IL, NE, IA, KS and MO where he leads and manages the team responsible for the implementation of disaster services programs throughout the division ensuring disaster services (Prepare, Respond and Recover) are delivered in a rapid and accessible manner, meeting the urgent needs of clients.

Kathleen Fitzgerald

Kathleen Fitzgerald is a partner at InsightFive22, which provides customized solutions and expertise for community recovery and resilience. She is a community planner and program manager with more than 20 years of experience in both private and public sectors.

Keith Stammer

A former fire fighter, medical first responder, and 9-1-1 Dispatch Director, he currently serves as Director of the Joplin/Jasper County Emergency Management Agency.

Kimberly Neiman

Kimberly Neiman was appointed village clerk/treasurer for the Village of Pilger in March of 1998.  She was awarded the 2007 Outstanding Village Clerk by Nebraska Municipal Clerks Association, the Outstanding Public Administrator in April of 2015, and the 2015 NE Lieutenant Governor’s Be Prepared Award.

Kirstie Smith

Joplin Area Chamber of CommerceKirstie has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and communications. Prior to joining the Chamber in 2005 she held marketing positions with both Joplin-area health systems.

Kristi Spencer

Kristi Spencer grew up in southwest Kansas and later moved with her family to Tokyo where she graduated from High School.  Kristi attended the University of Kansas and graduated in 1995 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

Lane Roberts

Lane Roberts was named Director of the Department of Public Safety by Gov. Jay Nixon on March 19, 2015 and confirmed by the Missouri Senate on April 16, 2015. Roberts, a 42-year veteran of law enforcement, served as Joplin Police Chief from 2007 to 2014. Roberts was instrumental in the coordinated local, state and federal effort to respond to the EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin on May 22, 2011.

Linda Langston

Linda Langston was first elected to the Linn County Board of Supervisors in 2002. She serves on a variety of boards, commissions and community organizations, including the East Central Iowa Council of Governments, the Linn County Public Health Board, Downtown Rotary, and her local workforce development board.

Libby Turner

Libby Turner is a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) Cadre.  In this capacity, she serves as the representative of the President, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and the Administrator of FEMA for Presidential Disaster Declarations.  Her responsibilities include the executive coordination of Federal activities and resources in support of state, tribal, territorial, and local governments.

Leonard J. Marcus

Dr. Marcus is founding Co-Director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, a joint program of Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, developed in collaboration with leadership of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House Homeland Security Council, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense.

Leslie Haase

Leslie earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Major in Accounting from Missouri Southern State University. Leslie is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).

Leslie Haase

Louise Knauer

Louise is responsible for the overall direction of communications and marketing for the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, including news releases, print newsletters, brochures, e-newsletters, the annual report, CFO websites, social media, affiliate marketing assistance, radio and video projects and special events.

Louise Knauer

Lynn Onstot

Lynn Iliff Onstot has nearly 30 years’ experience in the communications field. She had been with the City eight years as the Public Information Officer prior to the disaster in May 2011.

Lysa Boston

Lysa Boston is the Shelter Manager at the Joplin Humane Society. She has worked in animal welfare for more than 25 years as a shelter professional, animal control officer, animal cruelty investigator and veterinary technician.

Miranda Schuler

Miranda Schuler is a North Dakota native.  She has served her community as an elected Alderman for the City of Minot since June 2014.  Her desire to be of service to others is a product of the selfless service she and her family received during and after the 2011 flood event in Minot.  An insurance agent by trade, Miranda spends much of her time advocating for long term flood control for the Souris River basin.

Marty Knight

Marty Knight is the Principal and Owner of Knight Business Solutions, LLC – a project management and leadership consultancy established in November 2013. Marty previously led the recovery planning efforts in Vilonia, Arkansas following the EF-4 tornado in April 2014.

Matt Deighton

Matt Deighton is an entrepreneur whose ventures have included a wildly popular Texas restaurant, and a boutique condiment called Duck Salt. After his home was destroyed in the Greensburg, Kansas EF5 tornado in May of 2007, he worked as the Volunteer Coordinator during the clean up and rebuilding efforts.

Meg Bourne Hulsey

At age 19 in 2009, Meg Bourne Hulsey created Art Feeds, to feed creative development and facilitate emotional expression in children. On May 22, 2011 Meg’s life changed forever, when at 5:41 pm one of the largest tornadoes in America’s history ripped through Meg’s hometown of Joplin, Missouri. Art Feeds programs were needed in Joplin more than ever before and scaled rapidly in response to the need of traumatized children.

Meg Bourne Hulsey

Miranda Lewis

Miranda has worked at Mercy Hospital since 2007.  She worked as the media coordinator for four years, and served as the spokesperson for the hospital at the time of the tornado, dealing with local, national and international media.

Mitch Randles

Chief Mitch Randles has been the Fire chief of the Temple Texas Fire department for the past 2 years following his retirement from the Joplin Fire Department in 2014. Chief Randles has been in the emergency response field for over 28 years in both paid and volunteer departments.

Nancy Beers

Nancy Beers oversees the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s Midwest Early Recovery Fund, focusing on strategic grantmaking to support the recovery and resiliency of vulnerable populations impacted by low attention, natural disasters in the Midwest.

Paul Barr

Paul Barr is the Chief Financial Officer for the Joplin Schools where he has worked for over 20 years.  After the 2011 Joplin Tornado, Paul coordinated all the insurance policy coverage and claims for the school district. 

Rebecca Williams

Rebecca Williams is the managing administrator of Joplin Tornado Info an interactive grassroots disaster recovery Facebook community created the hour of the May 22, 2011 EF-5 Joplin Tornado.  She is co – author of the white paper “The Use of Social Media for Disaster Recovery”.

Rebecca Williams

Dr. Renee White

Renee has been a professional social worker for over 30 years, working in various fields of social work including: child welfare, medical, death & dying, substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental health.

Rob O’Brian

Rob O’Brian, President of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications, and minors in journalism and political science.

Robin Edgeworth

Robin Edgeworth currently serves as the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Tuscaloosa. Edgeworth served as the Incident Commander during the April 27, 2011 tornado. She managed the City’s immediate response and served as Director of Recovery operations from 2011-2015.

Robin Edgeworth

Robin Outland Eddy

Robin Outland Eddy recently completed her role as a program director/grants manager for the American Red Cross-Oklahoma Long Term Recovery and Resiliency in response to the 2013 storms. On June 30 2015, she completed her position as the program director for the Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project, which is a collaboration of agencies providing long-term disaster case management throughout Oklahoma in response to the 2013 storms.

Sam Anselm

Sam serves as the city manager for Joplin, and has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Prior to his current role, Sam served as Joplin’s assistant city manager during the May, 2011 tornado, and has also worked for the communities of Ferguson and St. Peters, Missouri, gaining experience in volunteer management, municipal purchasing, and human resources.

Sandi Fowler

Sandi Fowler serves the City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as the Assistant City Manager. Sandi has held several positions in her more than 25 years in Cedar Rapids city government. She served as the Assistant to the Public Safety Commissioner for ten years under the commission form of government, and another eight years as the liaison to neighborhood associations and community groups on behalf of the Cedar Rapids City Council.

Sallie Hemenway

Sallie is the Director of the Division of Business and Community Services (BCS) in the Missouri Department of Economic Development.  She graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 1981and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Stephanie M. Brady

Stephanie Brady is the Assistant Executive Director with The Independent Living Center in Joplin where she has been employed since 2002.  She served on the Missouri Statewide Independent Living Council (and was the Chairperson on the Council from 2005-2007) for ten years.

Stephen O. Eddy

Steve Eddy was appointed City Manager of Moore in December 1999, shortly after the May 3, 1999 EF5 tornado that ravaged Moore. He has been employed by the City of Moore since 1989, having served as Community Development Director and then Assistant City Manager prior to his appointment as City Manager.

Stephen O. Eddy

Steve Castaner

Steve Castaner currently serves as the Economic Development Administration (EDA) representative for Iowa and East/Central Missouri. From 2003-2013, Castaner served a key role in FEMA Region VII (Kansas City), providing leadership and expert-level assistance to recovery operations throughout the country.

Thad Beeler

Thad Beeler is a native of Joplin, Missouri.  He attended Joplin High School and MSSU where he studied vocal and instrumental music education. He is a professional musician and currently is the Director of Music and Director of the National Disaster Photo Rescue at First Baptist Church in Carthage, Missouri.

Theresa Wachter

Professional career includes eight years as a classroom educator and 35 years as a healthcare executive at Mercy Hospitals in Pennsylvania and Joplin. Her commitment has been in the development of faith and value based healthcare cultures and in community collaboration for the sake of building healthy communities.

Tony Robyn

Tony holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Webster University – Kansas City and an Associates in Natural Science from Minnesota West and has over 20 years of professional experience in full life cycle project planning and coordination, operational management, and raising and administering public and private funds for municipalities, non-profit organizations, and collaborative public/private partnerships.

Troy Bolander

Troy Bolander is currently the Director of Planning, Development & Neighborhood Services for the City of Joplin, MO. Troy has over 20 years of experience in project development and administration for the city.

Troy Bolander

Vicky Mieseler

Vicky Mieseler has been a licensed psychologist in Missouri since 1993.  She serves as Vice President of Clinical Services and has been employed at Ozark Center for 32 years.  Mrs. Mieseler is clinically responsible for nearly 200 clinicians providing community and crisis response services; children’s psychiatric services, including a 72 bed residential facility and a transitional apartment program for pre-adults; and, the Bill and Virginia Leffen Center for Autism formerly known as Ozark Center for Autism.

Walt Maddox

On November 4, 2013, Walter Maddox was sworn in for his third term as Tuscaloosa’s 36th Mayor. Since his first inauguration, Mayor Maddox has led initiatives to increase economic development, improve customer service with the implementation of Tuscaloosa 311 and provide quality pre-k education for academically at-risk four-year old children.

Register Here
View Agenda