2018 Kansas Conference

Instructor Bios

BalthazorTRAVIS BALTHAZOR – KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY, UAS FLIGHT OPERATIONS

Travis Balthazor oversees flight instructors and pilots for UAS research, outreach, and flight training. He has extensive knowledge of current 14 CFR Part 107 regulations, Public and Section 333 Exemptions through Certificate of Authorizations. As Flight Operations Manager, he ensures that all flight operations are conducted in accordance with applicable regulations and routinely works with the FAA to gain operational approval for flights that are outside the regulatory constraints. Balthazor received a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Technology – professional pilot as well as a minor in aviation safety and an unmanned aircraft systems certificate from Kansas State University. Balthazor is currently pursuing a master’s degree with a focus on human factors in UAS. Balthazor has several manned flight ratings including commercial instrument multi-engine airplane and certified flight instructor instrument airplane. As a flight instructor, Balthazor trains and endorses students on check rides.


MATT BELL – TULSA FIRE DEPARTMENT

Captain Matt Bell has served in the fire service for 23 years and is currently assigned to Ladder 29/ Boat 29 for the Tulsa Fire Department.  He has helped develop the water rescue program for TFD and low head dam boat response for the Arkansas River. He is a Search Team Manager for OK-TF1 and a lead Instructor for the Mid America Rescue Company.  


gregg bollella pictureGREGG BOLLELLA – JOHNSON COUNTY MED-ACT

Gregg Bollella is a Battalion Chief for Johnson County EMS: MED-ACT in metropolitan Kansas City.  He has been involved in emergency services for over twenty-five years as a volunteer and career EMT/FF, HazMat technician, disaster medical specialist, paramedic, educator and administrator.  His education and career have exposed him to EMS systems in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kansas and China.  Gregg holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management and Human Relations from Mid-America Nazarene University and an Executive MBA from Benedictine College in Atchison, KS.  Gregg serves as the Medical Team Manager for KS-TF3 and has presented at conferences across the country and in China.


BRIAN BOX – TOPEKA FIRE DEPARTMENTBrian Box picture

Brian Box has been with the Topeka Fire Department for 16 years, currently at the rank of Lieutenant.  He is a member of Topeka's Technical Rescue Team/KS-TF2 and is involved in training team members in rope rescue.  For the past 11 years, Brian has been a member of the Confined Space/High-Angle Rescue Team at Jeffrey Energy Center, training extensively for industrial rescue.


CarrawayCOLONEL KURT J. CARRAWAY – KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY, UAS FLIGHT OPERATIONS

After serving 25 years with the United States Air Force, retired Colonel Kurt J. Carraway is the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Executive Director of the Applied Aviation Research Center (AARC) at Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus. In this capacity Carraway provides strategic leadership in advancing Kansas State University’s UAS program goals. He directs the execution of research activities involving UAS through the AARC. Carraway also directs flight operations development and maturation of the UAS training program through direct supervision of the Flight Operations staff. He manages highly skilled UAS professionals that perform hundreds of UAS flights per year in civil airspace. He sets policies and procedures for unmanned flight operations. He serves as Principal Investigator (PI) on UAS activities through the AARC and is the University PI representative to ASSURE, the FAA’s UAS Center of Excellence. In that role, he also serves as the UAS training focal point lead.


Hawbaker pictureRILEY HAWBAKER – SALINA FIRE DEPARTMENT

Riley Hawbaker is a 12-year fire service veteran with the Salina Fire Department. He currently holds the rank of Fire Engineer and is assigned to Rescue 1. He has been an active member on KS-TF8 since 2008 and has assisted with the rescue conference since its inception.  Riley holds technician certifications in Structural Collapse Rescue, Hazardous Materials, and is qualified as a Technical Search Specialist on KS-TF8.  Riley also holds an Associate’s degree in fire science. 





JOSEPH FRANK – OKLAHOMA CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT

Joseph Frank has been a Sergeant with the Oklahoma City Police Department for 10 years.  He is a firearms and less- lethal instructor and member of the Emergency Response Team.  Sergeant Joseph is also a member of OK-TF1.  Prior to being a police officer Joe was a member of the Sea Shepard Conservation Society. 


larry hemphill pictureLARRY HEMPHILL – SALINA FIRE DEPARTMENT (RETIRED)

Larry Hemphill spent over 36 years in the fire service and is currently retired from the Salina Fire Department, where he served as a Division Chief of Training. Larry holds an Associate’s degree in Fire Science and has been a certified instructor for over 22 years, logging more than 12,000 hours of instruction in various rescue disciplines. Larry currently holds Technician Level certifications in Structural Collapse Rescue, Rope Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, Trench Rescue, and Swift Water Rescue, along with Instructor qualifications in many of the same disciplines. Larry previously served as the Program Manager and a Task Force Leader for Kansas TF-8 and has deployed to several disasters, including the 2008 Chapman Tornado, the 2013 Moore, Oklahoma Tornado, and the 2016 Dickinson County Tornado.


JASON HUDSON – MANHATTAN FIRE DEPARTMENTjason hudson picture

Jason Hudson has been a member of the Manhattan Fire Department for 17 years, and currently holds the rank of Battalion Chief.  He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Kansas State University.  He has been active in high angle rescue, shift coordinator for RIT, a member of the Manhattan Fire Department SCT team and has deployed with the Kansas Army National Guard to Louisiana for Hurricane Gustav.  Jason is currently one of the department's instructors for technical and wide area search.


dru kellerby pictureDRU KELLERBY – SEDGWICK COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT #1

Dru Kellerby is currently a Lieutenant with Sedgwick County Fire District #1.  He has spent 14 of the last 15 years at Station 37 as a member of the technical rescue team.  Dru is a certified technician in Rope Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, Trench Rescue, Swift Water, a Dive Master, Structure Collapse, and Vehicle Extrication.  He spent time deployed at Hurricane Katrina as a member of the body recovery team, as well as the Greensburg tornado response.  In addition, Dru has been involved in teaching or assisting in all the above and enjoys every aspect of Technical Rescue, and looks forward to working with a group of “like minded” individuals from around the state.    


KEITH LINDEMANN – SALINA FIRE DEPARTMENTkeith lindemann picture

Keith Lindemann is a 30-year veteran with the Salina Fire Department, currently assigned as a Captain on RESCUE-1.  R1 responds to working fires, all injury accidents, and technical rescue incidents in Salina and Saline County, which encompasses about 90 square miles.  Captain Lindemann has held many positions on both volunteer and paid departments during his career. He is also a member of Kansas TF-8 and serves as a Task Force Leader. Keith is an EMT, Certified Fire Investigator, and is IFSAC certified as Fire Officer I and II, and Fire Instructor I, and II.  Captain Lindemann instructs on several topics to including: Basic and Advanced Extrication Techniques, Truck and Bus Extrication, Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Safety, Occupant Safety Systems, New Vehicle Technologies, and Roadway and Incident Scene Safety for Responders.  Besides serving as an instructor for the Salina FD, Keith also teaches for Midwest Search & Rescue, and KFRTI.


KEVIN MCDONALD – SALINA FIRE DEPARTMENTkevin mcdonald picture

Kevin McDonald is 15 veteran with the Salina Fire Department and holds the rank of Fire Engineer on Rescue 1.  Kevin is also a member of KS-TF8.  Kevin has instructed the Technical Rope Rescue track at the conference in the past years.  He is also an instructor for rope training with the Salina Fire Department.  He holds technician certifications in Structural Collapse Rescue, Wide Area Search, and Rope Rescue.  


GREG MERRELL – OKLAHOMA CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT

Major Greg Merrell has served with the Oklahoma City Fire Department for 17 years and is currently a Task Force Leader with OK-TF 1.  He has been assigned with OKC FD as the Company Officer at the Technical Rescue & HazMat Technician Response Stations.  He is a co-founder of the Mid America Rescue Company and served in the U.S. Army as a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot.


frank rezac pictureFRANK REZAC – METROPOLITAN TOPEKA AIRPORT AUTHORITY

Frank Rezac has been involved with High Angle and Confined Space Rescue for nearly 25 years as well as Technical Rescue in the Industrial Setting for well over 17 years.  Frank started his journey into the world of High Angle and Confined Space Rescue in training through his local, volunteer fire district in 1993.  Frank’s first application of this training in an industrial setting came after being invited to train with the Jeffrey Energy Center CS/HA Rescue Team as a responder within the fire district.  Frank was hired as an Emergency Response Team Temp based at Jeffrey Energy Center in 2001.  His involvement with the team has grown from technician to instructor.  Frank’s overall background as an emergency responder is well rounded through his participation with a rural, volunteer department and through his full-time employment.  Frank has been employed with the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority (MTAA) Safety Department at Forbes Field in Topeka, KS since 1993.  MTAA Safety Department provides general fire coverage and law enforcement for the Forbes Field Industrial Park along with aircraft fire / rescue for the civilian side of the airport.  He is currently the B Shift Lieutenant and Supervisor.  In addition to the basic duties of the position, Frank participates as an EMS responder and Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician.


josh rogers pictureJOSH ROGERS – SALINA FIRE DEPARTMENT/OKIE EXTRICATION

Josh Rogers is a Paramedic/Firefighter with the Salina Fire Department.  Josh has extensive training and experience in technical rescue and vehicle extrication. Josh teaches vehicle extrication for KFRTI, KSSFFA, and Okie Extrication. Josh combines patient care and safe handling with effective extrication to better improve long term survivability of traumatic injuries.




PETE ROWLEY – WINFIELD FIRE/EMS pete rowley picture

Pete Rowley has been with the Winfield Fire/EMS Department since 2008 and currently holds the rank of Lieutenant.   He holds technician certifications in Structural Collapse Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, Advanced High Angle Rescue, and Ice Rescue.  Pete instructs Rope Rescue and Confined Space Rescue at Hutchinson Community College and serves as a Structural Collapse Rescue instructor for the OSFM.



KENT SATURDAY – RESCUE 360 LLCkent saturday picture

Kent Saturday served in the US Army as an Atomic Demolition Munitions Specialist/Instructor of landmine Warfare - Alpine Ski Patroller/Instructor - 21 yr. Career Firefighter, and owner/lead instructor for Rescue 360 LLC. Kent’s rescue instructions and specialties include but not limited to, HazMat Technician, Swift Water, Boat Operations, Structural Collapse, Trench, Tunnel, Confined Space, Animal Rescue, and High Angle Rescue to include; climbing, structures/buildings, cell towers, water towers, cranes, wind turbines, ski lift evacuations, and stack rescues.

Kent has served as a fire department technical rescue coordinator and instructor and as an adjunct instructor for universities to include technical rescue standards committee member. He continues to provide professional consultation for Military, Industrial, Fire and Police Departments in organizational fall protection programs - rescue response team building – equipment needs – and as a safety consultant.   Recreationally Kent enjoys guiding/instructing kids and young adults in numerous adventurous outdoor activities.                                                  


bill schneider pictureBILL SCHNEIDER – OLATHE FIRE DEPARTMENT

Bill Schneider is a Fire Captain with the Olathe Fire Department, joining the department in 1987. He has been teaching technical rescue operations since 1995 and holds technician certifications in Structural Collapse Rescue, Trench Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, Rope Rescue, Swift-water/Boat Rescue, and Hazardous Materials. Besides teaching locally, Captain Schneider is also a certified adjunct instructor for the KFRTI. Bill deployed to Biloxi, Miss., as part of the Katrina/Rita Hurricane Incident Management Team in 2005, and to Greensburg, Kansas as part of a technical rescue team in 2007. In May 2014 Captain Schneider was one of three Americans selected to attend a rescue conference and 24-hour exercise in Badolato, Italy.


ScraderSPENCER SCHRADER—KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY, UAS FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR

Spencer Schrader is responsible for the development and delivery of UAS outreach courses to the public. Through these courses, he has instructed over 300 people on both 14 CFR Part 107 regulations as well as hands-on flight training. In addition to flight instruction, he has extensive experience leading UAS research missions, including FAA initiatives. These missions are conducted under a variety of regulations and Certificate of Authorizations including 14 CFR Part 107, Section 333 Exemption, Public COA, FAA Test Site COA, and FAA Certificate of Waivers.



CURT SEARCY – SHAWNEE FIRE DEPARTMENTcurt searcy picture

Curt Searcy has been a member of the Shawnee Fire Department since 1995. He currently holds the rank of Captain.  Curt has been for training on the Technical Rescue Team for the last five years and is now the chair of the TRT committee.  He holds numerous certificates including Advanced Extrication, Rope Rescue, Structural Collapse Recue, Technical Search Specialist, and Confined Space Rescue. Curt is a member of KS-TF3 and deployed to Gulfport MS. in 2005 for Hurricane Katrina, where he worked with Gulfport Fire and the Mississippi Coroner's office on a body recovery team.


BLAKE SINGLETON – TOPEKA FIRE DEPARTMENTblake singleton picture

Blake Singleton started his fire service career in 2008 with the Shawnee Heights Fire Department, just outside of Topeka. Blake is currently full time on Topeka Fire where he is a member of KS-TF2. Along with that, Blake works part-time for Westar at Jeffery Energy Center as a member of the Emergency Response Team. Blake also has an Associate degree in Fire Science and has taken many classes focusing on Rope Rescue and Structural Collapse Rescue. 


CHAD SMALL – CHANUTE FIRE DEPARTMENTchad small picture

Chad Small has been with the Chanute Fire Department since 1999 and currently holds the rank of Captain. He has been a member of Chanute’s Technical Rescue Team since 2001 and a member of Kansas TF-4 since its inception in 2007. Captain Small holds technician certifications in swiftwater rescue, structural collapse rescue, rope rescue, trench rescue, and confined space rescue.  Captain Small has responded to several major disasters including Hurricane Harvey, the Joplin tornado, Southeast Kansas floods, and many other technical rescue responses.


chris stansberry pictureCHRIS STANSBERRY – SALINA FIRE DEPARTMENT

Chris Stansberry is a 12-year veteran with the Salina Fire Department, holding the rank of Fire Lieutenant and is currently assigned to Rescue 1. Chris is a member of the SFD Technical Rescue Team, as well as a Technical Search / Plans Team Member on Kansas TF-8. Chris operated as the Plans Team Manager for KS-TF1 during the Hurricane Harvey Response in 2017, and holds certifications in Technical Search, Plans Team Manager, Wide Area Search, Trench Rescue, Rope Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, Structural Collapse Rescue, Haz-mat Technician and Ice Rescue Technician Instructor.


TONY TRACY – SEDGWICK COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT #1tony tracy picture

Tony Tracy is a Captain and paramedic with Sedgwick County Fire Dist#1 where he has served for 25 years. He is a founding member of SCFD’s technical rescue team and served 20 years on the team in various ranks from FF thru Captain. Tony holds numerous certifications such as SCT, Technical Search Specialist, Task Force Safety Officer and has taught technical rescue classes for Hutchinson Community College, KFRTI, Midwest Search and Rescue and The Kansas Office of the State Fire Marshal. Tony holds an AAS degree from Butler County Community College, A BS degree in Operations Management from Southwestern College, and is Currently pursuing a MPA from Columbia Southern University.



BRIAN WEATHERFORD – MID AMERICA RESCUE COMPANY/NORMAN FIRE DEPARTMENT

Major Brian Weatherford has been in the fire service for 15 years and currently serves as the EMS and Rescue Coordinator for the Norman Fire Department.  He developed the water rescue program for the NFD and now responds regionally to floods.  He is a squad leader with OK-TF1 and a SUSAR training committee member.  Brian is a co-founder of the Mid America Rescue Company.


chad winton pictureCHAD WINTON – WICHITA FIRE DEPARTMENT

Chad Winton is a Captain with the Wichita Fire Department. He has his Associates degree in Fire Science and is pursuing his Bachelors of Science degree in Occupational Health and Safety. Chad is the Rescue Coordinator, instructor, and lecturer with the Hutchinson Community College Fire Science program, an instructor with Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institute, Industrial Safety Operations Company, and adjuncts with the Wichita Fire Department Training Division. Chad is a member of the WFD Technical Rescue Team and served as the K9 Team Chief and handler for Sedgwick County Emergency Management. Chad also instructs on fire tactics and rescue company disciplines at the local, state, and national levels, drawing from 20 years of experience working in some of the busiest companies in the state.