Welcome, Mission & Vision – Sandy Spendlove, Utah State CERT Coordinator 

Sandy Spendlove is currently serving as the State of Utah CERT Coordinator.

Sandy grew up in Garland in Box Elder County and at the age of ten moved to Amalga in Cache County. Sandy met and married Alan Spendlove in 1978 and has spent most of her 35 married years living in North Logan in beautiful Cache Valley. Her family includes three wonderful kids, one great son-in-law and three adorable grandchildren. Being a stay at home mom and raising her children has taught her the value and importance of serving and caring for one another.

Her love for her family and her desire to learn to take care of and protect them led her to her first CERT Course over 7 years ago. Two years later she was appointed the Cache County CERT Coordinator where her desire to serve now included her community. Sandy helped to unify the efforts of great Emergency Managers and City CERT Coordinators to develop a successful CERT Program in Cache County. Deployed CERTs were prepared through coordination, education, training and exercises, as they assisted in a supportive role in the rescue efforts in 2009 in a tragedy when a large irrigation canal broke in Logan. In 2011 with severe flooding, Cache County CERTs were deployed again to set up night watches on overflowing rivers and streams as well as coordinate and participate in sandbagging efforts. Through these experiences Sandy has grown to love and appreciate the CERT Program and the support that it provides to her community.  

Eighteen months ago another opportunity for service came and Sandy’s love and concern has expanded even more to serving the citizens of the State of Utah. Sandy’s vision for the State CERT Program is, “If We Are Unified in Service…We Will Be Strong”.  Sandy believes that this takes a team effort with everyone working together, communicating, coordinating, and teaching one another. She believes that as we build strong and successful partnerships of trust, we can work together to ensure that CERT will continue to be a great resource for the citizens of the State of Utah. Sandy hopes to get to know and learn from each of you. 

Feel free to contact her at: or on facebook!

Keynote – Nate Leishman, LDS Disaster Response

Nate Leishman is the Manager of Humanitarian Disaster Response for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Latter-day Saint Charities.  Nate has served in that position since 2005.  Nate has served in many positions during the past 17 years in LDS Welfare Services including “International Logistics Manager” and “Bishop’s Storehouse Manager.”

In Nate’s role as manager of Disaster Response, he has had the opportunity to serve in various positions in the emergency response community including:
  • Utah VOAD – President (2007 – 2008)
  • National VOAD – Conference Chair (2008)
  • National VOAD – Board Member (2008 – 2012)
  • National VOAD – International Committee Chair (2011 – Present)
  • Utah Governor’s Task Force on Disasters and Pandemics (2007 – Present)
Nate received his undergraduate degree in Finance from Westminster College and his Master’s Degree in Public Management from Brigham Young University.  Nate and his wife, Laurie, reside in Bountiful, Utah with their six children.

Liability Q & A – Rex Olsen, Assistant Attorney General

Rex Olsen is a lifelong resident of Utah.  He received Bachelor’s degrees in Urban Planning and Sociology from the University of Utah in 1977 and worked as a planner for Salt Lake County.   He has been practicing law since graduating from S. J. Quinney College of Law in 1986.  For the last 13 years he has been an Assistant Attorney General providing legal support to the Utah Department of Health.  During that time he has assisted with developing rules and advising the agency on interpretation and implementation of statutes relating to emergency preparedness and related public health matters. He and his wife enjoy camping and gardening.

Breakout Sessions

Leadership – Rick B. Williams, Cache County Emergency Manager

A desire to serve, devotion to education and training, and the ability to apply learned principles have contributed to Rick’s success as an emergency services leader. Rick has provided managerial-level expertise and guidance to emergency services organizations throughout his career, ensuring the provision of critical emergency services through effective planning, training, exercises, and program implementation.

As the Cache County Emergency Manager, Rick oversees the development and implementation of plans, training, and exercises to enhance emergency preparedness, response, and recovery programs at the county level. 

Prior to accepting the position as Cache County Emergency Manager, Rick served as the Operations Bureau Chief for the Utah Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security. In addition to overseeing activities of the “Governor’s Emergency Operations Center, Rick was responsible for organizing and directing the Operations Bureau to ensure program effectiveness and efficiency; coordinating bureau functions with federal, state and local jurisdictions and developing, recommending, and implementing emergency management policies and programs. 

Prior to his appointment as the Operations Bureau Chief, Rick served twenty-five years as a career firefighter and emergency medical provider at the municipal government level, working his way through the ranks, ultimately being appointed Fire Chief for the City of Riverdale, Utah and later was appointed Fire Chief for Roy City, Utah.

Rick has a great love for teaching. He has served as an adjunct instructor at the Emergency Management Institute (EMI), has served as an instructor at the National Fire Academy (NFA), has served as an instructor for the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), provides “All Hazard Incident Management Team” (AHIMT) training at the state and local level, and continues to provide emergency management training and expertise on a variety of topics whenever the opportunity is presented.    

Rick and his wife Beth Ann reside in Wellsville, Utah. They enjoy just about every outdoor activity there is. Their favorite activity is spending time at their cabin in the Uintah Mountains, hunting, fishing, and four wheeling with their children and grandchildren.

Social Media Tips & Tricks – Sharilee Griffiths, Director, Cache Valley Volunteer Center

Sharilee Griffiths is the Director of the Cache Valley Volunteer Center and Program Director for TEAM Mentoring, a mentoring program that helps prepare high school youth for college through ACT prep, finding scholarships, and tutoring.  Mac Sims. Griffiths has worked in the non-profit sector for over 25 years now in paid and volunteer positions. She has worked with people of all ages and experience in a wide variety of areas. However, her heart is in youth leadership development and fostering strong communities through volunteerism and developing sustainability in community organizations that serve youth and families.  She has presented numerous workshops for youth, youth and community leaders, parents, and educators on a variety of topics, including several areas in best practices for developing effective programs.

Managing Your Team with Technology – Mac Sims, Lehi CERT

Mac Sims had his first experience with disasters in 1983 at the age of 13.  His family lived in Farmington at the end of Valley View Circle.  In the afternoon of Memorial Day, resting on the front lawn from cleaning out a flooded basement, Mac and his dad began to hear deep rumbling sounds from far up the hill side that sounded like heavy machinery was moving around large boulders.  The sounds got louder and closer.  When they started to notice treetops dropping out of sight they knew it was time to leave.  Later the family would learn that a large mudslide had pushed their home across the street into the neighbors front yard, as well as damaged and destroyed many other homes in the area.

Mac has been involved in the CERT program for 15 years, being first trained by the Springville CERT program.  He went on to serve in Springville as the Assistant Program Coordinator.  Recently, he has helped Lehi City start and build a CERT program that has grown to nearly 200 trained members, and is currently the webmaster and a Rehab Team Leader.  Mac has also been a Amateur Radio Operator for 14 years and is a member of Utah County ARES and Utah State RACES.

Professionally, Mac is a software developer specializing in web and mobile development and has been programming for over 28 years.  He works for Rain, a digital agency in American Fork, as a Senior Producer and Senior Software Engineer.  He is married to his wonderful wife KayLynn and has 5 great kids.  As hobbies, Mac enjoys being a Fireworks Operator, Disc Jockey, and Videographer.

Gaining Government Support – E. Tall Ehlers, Uintah County Emergency Manager

E. Tal Ehlers, MEP is an Emergency Preparedness Specialist, Public Speaker and Trainer.  Through his consulting firm, Ready2Prepare, Tal speaks across the country to Law Enforcement, Military, Fire and EMS organizations regarding personal emergency preparedness.  He also trains families and individuals how to become prepared for the majority of disasters that they may face.

His message is that becoming prepared doesn’t mean that you’re a survivalist and that you should start digging foxholes in your front yard. Being prepared means that should something out of the ordinary happen in your community, you can make it through with a greater degree of comfort until a sense of normalcy returns.

He is the Uintah County Utah Emergency Manager and a First Responder.  He is a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) and a Firefighter/AEMT for the Jensen Fire Department.  He is also Hazmat Operations and Wildland Fire certified.

He has completed the Master Exercise Practitioner Program (MEP) through the Emergency Management Institute (FEMA).  He is also a contract Trainer/Instructor for the Utah Department of Public Safety; Division of Emergency Management and a Continuing Education adjunct instructor for Brigham Young University and the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy.

Tal resides with his wonderful wife and five children in rugged eastern Utah. His hobbies include camping, hunting, rock crawling and four-wheeling the beautiful back roads of Utah.

CERT Credentialing – Jeff M. Johnson, State Coordinator of Be Ready Schools

Deployment & Activation (Roles and ICS) – Jeff M. Johnson, State Coordinator of Be Ready Schools

Jeff was employed with the Utah Division of Homeland Security as a Trainer for FEMA and NIMS Courses in September of 2007. In August of 2009, Jeff was appointed the Utah State Community Emergency Response Team Coordinator as the program transitioned from the Utah Commission on Volunteers to Homeland Security. In January of 2010 Jeff was appointed the State Coordinator of the Utah State Citizen Corps, to coordinate the National Five Pillar Program. In December of 2013 Jeff was appointed the State Coordinator of a new Be Ready Schools initative and program. Jeff has worked with schools at various levels his entire career, and is married to a 28 year public educator. 

Jeff was an Emergency Medical Technician for 8 years and rode ambulance for 2 years prior to becoming a Law Enforcement Officer. Jeff retired in 2007 from 25 years of law enforcement. He served 2 years with Ogden City and 23 years with the Brigham City Police Department. Jeff worked in numerous fields during his law enforcement career, and was the Neighbor Watch Coordinator for 9 years, and also assisted in establishing a VIPS program with the Brigham City Police Department. Jeff has been involved in numerous emergency management incidents during his 25 year law enforcement career.

Jeff has been involved in Emergency Management on a local and state level since 1982. Besides his EMS and Law Enforcement experiences, Jeff became CERT Trained in 1995. Jeff became a CERT Instructor in 1997 and managed the Pleasant View City CERT Program from 1997 until 2003. Jeff was also instrumental in initiating and establishing a CERT program in more than a dozen northern Utah communities. Jeff has served as an Emergency Management and CERT instructor for many northern Utah cities and counties during the past 18 years. 

During an LDS Mission in Japan, Jeff experienced four significant earthquakes and one typhoon. The last earthquake (1978) was 7.7 in magnitude and centered 16 kilometers from the city of Ishinomaki (the same area as the March 2011 9.0 Earthquake & Tsunami). Jeff saw much destruction, death and suffering during this incident, along with his personal experience of being inadequately prepared (i.e. weeks of being thirsty, hungry and dirty beyond description). This experience still deeply inspires him to try to motivate others to step up and prepare for these types of emergencies and disasters. Jeff has a passion for Emergency Management and Emergency Preparedness.

Jeff is a lifelong Scouter. Jeff is currently a member of the Trapper Trails Council Risk Management Committee, and also currently serves as the Health & Safety Chairman in the Weber View District. Jeff has earned the Woodbadge Beads and the Silver Wolf Tracks, and attended Philmont Scout Ranch in 2012.

Jeff was raised in Eden, Utah and now resides in Pleasant View with his wife, Lisa (“best friend”). Lisa has taught at the elementary and Junior High levels in the Box Elder and Weber School Districts, as well as having a District math instruction position. They have 5 children ages 25 to 9. (Two are married, one is attending BYU Law School and another attending USU). Jeff has a love of photography and the outdoors. He spends all of his free time out-of-doors with his family – fly fishing, camping, hiking, biking and golfing, with the occasional waterfowl and upland game hunt. No matter what the weather - if it is outdoors - that is where Jeff wants to be. 

New CERT Modules – James Ray, Utah Citizen Corps Coordinator

James Ray was recently promoted as the Citizen Corps Coordinator for the State of Utah.  He is thrilled to work with volunteers throughout Utah and support each of the Citizen Corps Pillar Program efforts to promote preparedness to the citizens of this great state. James Ray previously spent 3 years as an Intern for the Utah Division of Emergency Management promoting the Be Ready Utah campaign and State Citizen Corps initiatives.  James Ray recently graduated from Utah Valley University in Emergency Management Administration.  Additional past experience includes 1 year as an intern for the Utah Navajo Health System's Emergency Management Department updating Emergency Operation Plans, training clinical staff in emergency  preparedness and response initiatives, and working with Navajo Tribal Officials in the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation promoting preparedness on tribal lands.  James also spent 1 year as an EMT while on the Navajo Reservation.

James is a member of the Utah Emergency Managers Association and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT), and is also a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Member.  James Ray grew up in Lehi, Utah, and recently moved to Murray, Utah after getting married to his lovely wife Shaylee Ray.  They just celebrated their 6 month anniversary.   One of James’s hobbies includes making his own music on the piano.  He is also an enthusiast of the great outdoors and has an abiding passion for the Boy Scout program.  James is an Eagle Scout and a Vigil Honor recipient from the National Honors Society of Scouters called the Order of the Arrow.  James was involved with a Native American Dance Team and loves performing the Native American Fire Hoop Dance.

How to Recruit, Retain and Self-fund your CERT Program – Janet E. Lindquist, Millard County Sheriff’s Office

Janet has worked for the Millard County Sheriff’s Office since 1998, CERT Instructor since 1999, and the counties CERT Coordinator since 2000. 

Janet has nearly a tenth of Millard Co trained in CERT as of today. Each town and county area have a team consisting of a commander and co-commander, they have regular team meetings and refresher trainings. All of those commanders and co-commanders meet monthly, where a county commander and county co-commander help advice the members with current information and activities. These county positions are voted in by their peers every three years. Janet offers a yearly CERT conference for all CERT volunteers to help them stay current and introduce new ideas to the teams. The MCSO CERT program is written into the county emergency plan. The Team became an association in 2012; they acquired a bank account at that time and earn money by holding annual garage sales, food booths and by selling disaster supplies to the community to prepare them at home and in the workplace.  They use this money to purchase needed supplies for all the county CERT trailers. She has been instrumental in holding  mock disasters which included not only CERT but EMS, fire departments, the posse, the sheriff deputies and the local hospital; she moulages victims for many disasters in the county.

Janet has taught CERT outside of Millard Co. 15 times, to help neighboring rural and northern urban as well as suburban counties bring this important program to their areas. This training has taken her as far as Reno Nevada, teaching CERT to all of the Emergency Managers of the Piute Indian tribes. Though Janet specializes in “rural” CERT, she is willing to help start CERT where ever she can be of service. She has attended EMI several times and was invited twice by Rachel Jacky, to help with the collaboration and update of our current basic CERT manual and train the trailer instructor class.

Janet served as Chair of the “Utah CERT Advisory Board” until it was dissolved in 2009, when a new state CERT Director was chosen; then she served as the State CERT Coordinator for two and a half years. She took CERT to the tri-county area, teaching in Uintah County and Duchesne County during that time, and helped get CERT to Juab County as well. 

She has been on the board of the “Utah Critical Incident Stress Management Team” (CISM) for several years and served at Chair of that group as well. This team specializes in debriefing, defusing and education following any horrific event for first responders. The education is to understand and work through emotional trauma which can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Janet ran on the Millard Co. Ambulance as an EMT in Millard Co. for 11 years, ten of those years as an EMT-I, from 1999 to 2010. She was training officer for six years. Janet teaches over 30 programs to the public and is head of “Public Relations and Program Design” for the Millard Co. Sheriff Office.  Janet works with Lieutenant Forrest Roper and Deputy Garth White, as part of the Sheriff’s Emergency Management team. She is Hazmat Certified and worked as a 911 dispatcher during the winter of 2001-2002.

CERT Exercise Building – Will Lusk, Logan City Emergency Manager

Will Lusk is the Emergency Manager for the City of Logan.  He has worked for Logan city for 30 years and currently serves as an Assistant Fire Chief with the Logan City Fire Department.  He graduated in the late 1900’s from Utah State University with Bachelor’s degrees, in Public Health, and Bio-Veterinary Science with a minor in Chemistry.  

His involvement in Emergency Management began in 1996 where he worked in the Logan City Safety Department as the Assistant City Emergency Manager.  In 2005 with the retirement of his good mentor, he received the opportunity to take over the reins as Logan City Emergency Manager.  He is a graduate of both the Professional Development Series and the Advanced Professional Series in Emergency Management from the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  He received the Emergency Management Peer Recognition award in 2007 from the Utah Division of Emergency Management.  He is an active member of the Utah Emergency Management Association where he has served on the Association Board as a Member-at-large and currently serves as Treasurer.  He also currently serves as a member on the Utah State Lt. Governor’s Emergency Management Advisory Council.

In his spare time he likes to respond with the fire department to Hazardous Materials calls.  He currently serves as the Cache County Hazmat Task Force Leader, and Co-chairs the Northern Region Hazmat Response group.

Will is a native of Utah and currently resides in the town of Wellsville with his wife, and 5 children.  He credits much of his happiness and success in life to 3 things, 1) his wife Brenda, 2) great working relationships with many good people, and 3) the good clean drinking water of Wellsville.

He entered the emergency management field in the late 1900’s following college at Utah State University.  He graduated with 2 bachelor degrees, one in Public Health and the other in Bio-Veterinary Science.  While attending college he worked as a Zoo Keeper and finds many similarities between zoological work and emergency management.  He is a graduate of the Advanced Professional Series from the Emergency Management Institute in Emmetsburg Maryland.  He serves as the Task Force Leader for the Cache County Hazardous Materials Task Force.  Will is a native of Utah and currently resides in the small town of Wellsville with his wife, 5 children, and assorted family pets.