SDMI Staff and Faculty


Directors

Image of Brant Mitchell

Brant Mitchell

Director, Research & Operations
Phone: 225-578-5939
Email: bmitch9@lsu.edu

Managers

Lexie Andrews

Lexie Andrews

Project Manager, Center for
Business Preparedness
Phone: 225-578-7034
Email: aandrews1@lsu.edu

Benjamin Bourgoyne

IT Program Manager
Phone: 225-578-3586
Email: bbour68@lsu.edu

Henry Capello

Henry “Paco” Capello

Director of Information Systems
Phone: 225-578-3586
Email: hcapello@lsu.edu

lauren_stevens

Lauren Stevens

Project Manager,Education & Training
Phone: 225-578-0502
Email: lstevens@lsu.edu

Kelly Wolshon

Kelly Wolshon

Business Manager
Phone: 225-578-5138
Email: kellyw@lsu.edu

Disaster Lab

Image of Stuart Nolan

Stuart Nolan

GIS Analyst
Phone: 225-578-6396
Email: snolan7@lsu.edu

Image of Chris Rippetoe

Chris Rippetoe

GIS Analyst
Phone: 225-578-6396
Email: crippe2@lsu.edu

Image of Robbie Iles

Robbie Iles

GIS Analyst
Phone: 225-578-6396
Email: riles2@tigers.lsu.edu

Image of Nick Robles

Nick Robles

GIS Analyst
Phone: 225-578-6396
Email: nrobles@tigers.lsu.edu

Biographies

Brant Mitchell

Brant Mitchell began his career with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) in 2001 as a staff member with the Louisiana National Guard attached full-time to GOHSEP. In this capacity he served as the National Guard’s Counter-Terrorism Program Manager and eventually became the Program Manager for the Homeland Security Grants for Louisiana. In August 2006 he officially joined GOHSEP as the Section Chief for the newly formed Regional Support Section and was later promoted to Deputy Director of Management, Finance and Interoperability. Brant was also responsible for the introduction of Virtual Louisiana, which is a Google Earth Enterprise software product utilized by over 700 local, State and Federal government agencies and currently supports over 4,000 users. He later introduced Louisiana Earth, which is the first publicly released version of the Google Earth Enterprise software and designed to assist citizens in Louisiana to prepare for disasters by providing critical information during disasters and information that is necessary to help citizens prepare their own family disaster plans. Brant also represented GOHSEP on the State’s Geographic Information System Council where he served two years as its Vice-Chair. Since July 2008 Brant has served as Chairman of the Statewide Interoperability Executive Council (SIEC), which is responsible for providing governance of the Louisiana Wireless Information Network (LWIN), one of the nation’s first statewide digital 700 MHz radio systems. Today LWIN is the largest digital radio system providing voice communications to over 67,000 users across the State. In 2010 in response to the BP Oil Spill, Brant let the efforts to coordinate and provide the U.S. Coast Guard mission critical voice communications by establishing GulfWIN, which involved providing hardware and software connections between stand alone radio systems in Louisiana, Mississippi, Orange Beach, Alabama and five separate systems in Texas. GulfWIN allowed first responders responsible for mitigating the impact of the BP Oil Spill to have seamless voice communications from Corpus Christie, Texas to Pensacola, Florida. In 2011, Brant was selected as a member of the Federal Communications Commission’s Public Safety Advisory Committee for the Emergency Response Interoperability Committee in which he assisted in developing technical specifications for the eventual nationwide build out of a broadband network. Brant also serves as a board member for LSU’s Gulf Coast Center for Evacuation and Transportation Resiliency. Brant has been a member of the Louisiana National Guard since 1989 and has recently transferred to the U.S. Army Reserves. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he commanded an Infantry company in Baghdad, Iraq. Brant is currently a Lieutenant Colonel assigned to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Cybersecurity and Communication Integration Center. He is married to the former Maria Schneider and they have three children, Megan, Davis and Claire. The Mitchells reside in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Lexie Andrews

Lexie Andrews is the Project Manager for the Center for Business Preparedness, in which she oversees the direction of the Center. She is responsible for the management of grants to establish a central point of collaboration for research, knowledge sharing, and outreach to address challenges to small businesses while working to enhance and evolve private sector resilience. Prior to joining SDMI, Lexie gained experience in the field of emergency management and preparedness in the private industry as well as at the local government level. As a Hazard Mitigation Specialist for IEM, Inc., Lexie served as a technical writer for the development of numerous hazard mitigation-related proposals. As the Task Lead for the Small Rental Property Program (SRPP) for IEM, Inc., Lexie managed the Long Term Compliance and Monitoring Team (LTC&M). Under the Community Development Block Grant, the SRPP funded small rental property owners whose properties were damaged during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Property owners under the program provided affordable housing to low-to-moderate income tenants, and the LTC&M Team monitored the actions of these property owners. As Chief of Operation and All Hazards Planner for the East Baton Rouge Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (EBR OHSEP), Lexie was responsible for maintaining and revising the Emergency Operations Plan, including Continuity of Operations plans and Standard Operating Guidelines. She applied for, managed, and tracked state and federal grant opportunities and directed the Local Emergency Planning Committee and their meetings. Also, Lexie served as a liaison between representatives for the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and outside agency officials. Lexie’s experience with the EBR OHSEP includes the long-term emergency activation of the EOC for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Lexie is a native of Baton Rouge and holds a Master of Science degree in Geography from the LSU School of Geography and Anthropology, with a concentration in climatology. She conducted her thesis research in climatology, focusing on hurricane and tropical storm return periods in the Caribbean region. Lexie also received her undergraduate degree from LSU, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Geography with a Minor in Spanish.

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Lauren Bourg

Lauren Bourg is the Manager of External Relations of the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute. At SDMI, Lauren is responsible for overseeing all marketing and outreach efforts of the institute. She manages the coordination of public relations, communications, and special events. She also chairs the communications committee for the newly established Food & Agriculture Protection Training Consortium (FAPTC). Prior to joining SDMI, Lauren worked in public affairs for the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training, coordinating its communications and outreach efforts. She also managed all outreach efforts for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC).The NDPC is a partnership of several nationally recognized organizations whose membership is based on the urgent need to address the counter-terrorism preparedness needs of the nation’s emergency first responders within the context of all hazards including chemical, biological, radiological, and explosive Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) hazards. Lauren Bourg earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication in December of 2007, with a minor in Business Administration.

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Benjamin Bourgoyne

Benjamin joined the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute as the Program Manger of Information Technology, Interoperability, and Cyber Security. As such, he designs, develops, and maintains information systems and projects related to the research and education of disaster response management with a focus on interoperability and cyber security. Benjamin also maintains all of SDMI’s IT infrastructure and related telecommunications requirements for internal users, the Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center (LA-BEOC), and SDMI’s Disaster Lab located on LSU’s South Campus. Prior to joining SDMI, Benjamin served as the Communications Section Chief at the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP). In this role, he was responsible for the maintenance, operation, and security of interoperable communications throughout the State, served as the State Emergency Support Function (ESF) 2 – Communications – representative, and maintained the Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan. Benjamin also worked on the Louisiana Wireless Information Network (LWIN) – the 700 MHz statewide communication system supporting first responders. Since May 1989, Benjamin has served in either the Louisiana Army National Guard or the United States Army Reserves. Commissioned as a Military Intelligence officer, he has deployed in support of Operation Noble Eagle (2001), Operation Iraqi Freedom (2004), and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Relief (2005). Benjamin is currently a Lieutenant Colonel assigned to the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) Individual Mobilization Augmentation (IMA) program as a Regional Emergency Operations Officer. Benjamin is a native of Baton Rouge and earned his bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University in 1993. He also earned his master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in the field of Information Systems with a concentration in Information Security

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Henry “Paco” Capello

Henry Capello joined the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute in August 2012, and currently serves as the Director of Information Services. As such, he oversees the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and manages teams in the development of Enterprise-Geographic Information Systems (E-GIS) and responsive web/mobile applications for use in field mapping, data collection, and disaster management. In addition, Henry provides program support to SDMI’s cyber security initiative and other disaster management programs. Prior to joining SDMI, Henry served as IT Coordinator and Geographical Systems Manager for the LSU Agriculture Center Information Technology. In this role, he lead a team of software developers, served as project manager for web and applications development, and was responsible for developing the LSU Agriculture Center’s first ever Enterprise-GIS System. Henry worked closely with faculty and staff to integrate information technologies into their grants and research, and served as Co-Principle Investigator on numerous disaster mitigation grants. Henry was also responsible for the creation of the Louisiana FloodMap Portal, which is a responsive website using ESRI ArcGIS Server. The portal is used by Louisiana’s floodplain administrators and citizens to easily find their flood hazard using the web, and receives more than 300,000 visits per year. Henry has been a member of the Louisiana Army National Guard since January 1994. Commissioned as an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers, he has deployed oversees in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III (2004-2005), Operation Iraqi Freedom X (2010), Operation New Dawn (2010), and deployed stateside in support of Hurricane Isaac (2012), Operation River Guardian (2011), Hurricanes Gustav and Ike (2008), as well as many other state emergency activations. Henry has served in myriad leadership positions from Platoon Leader to Battalion Commander of the 256th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, and currently serves as the commander of the Louisiana Army National Guard (LAANG) Cyber Network Defense Team (CND-T), a newly formed unit responsible for defensive cyber operations in support of civil authorities. Henry earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with a concentration in Information Systems Decision Sciences from LSU in 1999, a Master’s of Science degree in Information System Decision Sciences from LSU in 2009, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Human Resource and Leadership Development at LSU.

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Lauren Stevens

Lauren Stevens is a native of Florida and a graduate of The Florida State University. In 2002 she was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the United States Army as a Transportation Officer stationed at Fort Eustis, VA and Fort Benning, GA. Following her military service, Lauren began her career in Louisiana with the Southern Anti-Terrorist Regional Training Academy (SARTA) as Operations & Finance Officer. While with SARTA, Lauren coordinated and provided oversight to the academy curriculum, instructor staff, budgeting, and day to day operations which resulted in counter-terrorism training for thousands of law enforcement/first responder personnel nation-wide. During Hurricane Katrina, Lauren was moved over to work at the Louisiana Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in the State Emergency Operations Center. After working for over 8 months with LOHSEP still assigned to SARTA, she accepted a position as Exercise Officer with the agency in mid – 2006. LOHSEP, now GOHSEP – Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Lauren has worked in both the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Exercise and Training Programs at the officer level. She then moved to manage the Training and Exercise Programs including the Radiological Group as Branch Manager. While under her supervision, Louisiana’s All Hazards exercise program became one of the largest, most robust and well respected programs in the nation at the state level. Under her direction, Louisiana conducted the nation’s first Naval Post Graduate School Executive Education Seminar for Business Emergency Operations Center (BEOC)/Private & Public Partnerships, as well as the nation’s first BEOC Functional Exercise. She has served on national working groups for Department of Homeland Security’s National Exercise Division and National Training and Education Division. Most recently, Lauren served as Assistant Chief and Chief of the GOHSEP Preparedness Section, overseeing the Training, Exercise, Radiological, Planning and Critical Infrastructure programs for the State. She has also worked operations for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike, Gulf Oil Spill, 2011 Mississippi river flooding, as well as many other state declared disasters. Lauren was certified a Master Exercise Practitioner (MEP) in 2008 through FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute.

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Kelly Wolson

Kelly Wolshon is the Business Manager of the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute. At SDMI, Walker is responsible for reconciling all accounts, preparing regular monthly financial reports in coordination with the associate director, and ensuring that all accounting transactions are processed and submitted to the appropriate administrations office. Wolshon is responsible for planning and scheduling events, conferences, and meetings for SDMI and TTCRC.

Stuart Nolan

Stuart Nolan is a Geospatial Analyst at the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute working on the Hazard Mitigation Geospatial Project. Under the direction of the Associate Director, he is responsible for the daily administration of mapping applications that includes the collection of geospatial data to support the creation of a statewide critical infrastructure database. Stuart’s professional career began in Cultural Resources Management (CRM) as an archaeologist. Beginning In 2001, he briefly worked as a contract archaeologist for Centennial Archaeology, Inc., Greystone Environmental Consultants, and Metcalf Archaeology Consultants; working on a variety of CRM projects on the High Plains of Colorado, Wyoming, and Kansas. In April of 2002, Stuart was hired by Earth Search, Inc. (ESI) of New Orleans. During his tenure at ESI, he worked on all phases of archaeological projects throughout the Gulf Coast region in both terrestrial and maritime contexts. He has assisted in project planning and has been an author or co-author of several technical reports. Stuart has extensive experience conducting cultural resources surveys, and has participated in numerous data recoveries on both historic and prehistoric archaeological sites. In addition to the intensive work in the field, Stuart also began training as a Geospatial/Remote Sensing Specialist while at ESI. His responsibilities from this included creating digitized maps for field crews, maintaining GIS project databases, operating/maintaining GPS equipment, producing horizontal and vertical datasets for site analysis using a Total Station, and performing marine remote sensing surveys. After Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region in the fall of 2005, Stuart responded by assisting ESI’s Architectural History Division in the recordation of structures adversely affected by the disaster, as well as evaluating NRHD zones for redistricting. These responsibilities included collecting structural attribute data within a GIS database, architectural photography, and assessing buildings, structures and objects using NRHP criteria (36CFR 60.4 [a-d]). Stuart became a member of the ESI Marine Archaeology Division in 2006. Tasks within the division included archaeological diving, utilizing both SCUBA and surface air supply diving systems, and analyzing GIS data acquired from remote sensing surveys using magnetometer, sub-bottom profiler, and side-scan sonar. Maritime projects Stuart has participated in include a remote sensing survey for the South Pecan Island Freshwater Diversion Project, a remote sensing survey of portions of the Vermillion River, remote sensing surveys and Phase II diver evaluations of anomaly targets in Chandeleur Sound and Lake Pontchartrain, and a remote sensing survey and Phase II diver evaluation for the possible remains of the steamboat New Camelia (1920) in the Tchefuncte River. During the summer of 2010, Stuart briefly worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as a GIS Analyst for the disaster response to the BP Oil Spill. His major responsibilities during this event were to maintain and update the NOAA database, and to assist in designing overflight maps for the NOAA Corps and Icelandic Coast Guard. Stuart is a native of Louisiana and was awarded a B.A. in Anthropology with a focus in Archaeology from Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD) in December of 2000. He is currently working on an M.S. in Geographic Information Science from Northwest Missouri State University.

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Chris Rippetoe

Chris Rippetoe is a Geographic Information System Analyst with the Stevenson Disaster Management Institute. At SDMI, Chris is responsible for the collection of commercial and industrial data throughout all parishes within the state of Louisiana. He is also responsible for the compilation and integration of the collected data into the Virtual Louisiana software. Chris has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Business Administration from Louisiana State University.

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Robbie Iles

Robbie Iles is a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst for the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute (SDMI). At SDMI, Robbie’s primary focus is on the Louisiana Statewide 9-1-1 Point Addressing Project. His duties associated with the 9-1-1 Addressing Project include extraction, collection, and analysis of various geospatial data coupled with field research throughout various Louisiana parishes. Prior to transitioning to a full-time role at SDMI, Robbie worked for a year as a graduate assistant for SDMI on the 9-1-1 Addressing Project as well as working with the LSU Department of Geography & Anthropology in the creation and management of a database to house much of Louisiana’s geospatial data. Before transferring to SDMI, Mr. Iles served as a student worker and, later, a graduate assistant for the Louisiana Geographic Information Center (LAGIC). At LAGIC, Robbie’s duties included assisting with the 9-1-1 Addressing Project as well as geospatial analysis of data from the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office (LOSCO) and other sources. Mr. Iles earned a Bachelor of Science in geography from Louisiana State University (LSU) in 2012 and is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in oceanography at LSU.

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Nick Robles

Nick Robles is a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst for the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute (SDMI). At SDMI, Nick’s duties include the creation and manipulation of flood depth maps, spatial database maintenance, and geoprocessing automation. Occasionally, Nick participates in archaeological field work in the Pacific and is a registered professional archaeologist with the RPA.
Nick earned a Bachelor of Science in Archaeology from California Polytechnic University in Pomona in 2010 and a Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems at Louisiana State University (LSU) in 2015.

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