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Meet the Board of Directors

Chairman (Officer) – Heather Cox

Heather Cox joined Grinnell College in April 2019 in their newly created Emergency Management position. She now serves as the Director of Emergency Management & Risk Mitigation as well as the Data Privacy Officer. Her role at the college oversees the development and implementation of emergency response plans and exercises, the risk management team, and coordination with data privacy professionals to ensure compliance with data protection strategies. Prior to her work at Grinnell College, Heather worked for over 18 years at Integrated DNA Technologies, Inc. in various EHS, emergency response, risk management, and business continuity roles.

Heather holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of Iowa, a M.S. in Business Continuity, Security, and Risk Management from Boston University, and has earned the Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP) and Certified Risk Management Professional (CRMP) designations from DRII. Heather is active in the Iowa Contingency Planners, as well as ASIS and Infragard. She also serves as the Chair of the Poweshiek County LEPC and works closely with local law enforcement and emergency services leaders.

Vice Chairman (Officer) – Jesse Truax

Jesse joined Aureon in 2020 as the Risk & Procurement Analyst but he has worked in the risk and business continuity field since 2008.  Prior to joining Aureon, he was the business continuity analyst for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and program manager at Safeguard Iowa Partnership. While at Safeguard Iowa, he developed a passion for coordination and collaboration with business professionals both in the public and private sectors to turn concepts into actionable outcomes for disaster preparedness, business continuity, exercising, crisis management, incident response and overall recovery.          

Jesse graduated from Iowa State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and Health with an emphasis in Community and Public HealthJesse is a member of the Iowa Contingency Planners and has earned his Certified Business Continuity Professional certification through DRI International.

Treasurer (Officer) – Denny Hodge

Denny is the Senior BCM Consultant with Aegon Global Technology, the IT Infrastructure business unit of the Aegon Group of Companies.  With nearly 40 years of project management experience, half of that in Business Continuity, he has had the opportunity to implement a variety of technologies and applications in multiple industries, ranging from Telecommunications, to Public Transit, to Financial Services, in addition to building multiple Business Continuity programs from the ground up. 

Beyond managing the Business Continuity activities for his business unit, Denny is the "owner" of Aegon's business continuity tools, including maestroRS (ServiceNow) and Everbridge.  He has also been a featured speaker at several industry conferences, including DRJ and has been published in the DRJ magazine, as well.

Secretary (Officer) – Sarah Smith

Sarah joined Bankers Trust in 2011 and has worked in the Financial Intelligence Department since 2016.  Sarah’s roles in the Financial Intelligence Department include assisting the Bank’s Enterprise Risk Officer with risk assessments and the Enterprise Risk Management Committee and overseeing the third party risk management program.  Sarah is a board member of Iowa Contingency Planners, InfraGard Iowa Members Alliance, FBI Citizen’s Academy Alumni Association, and Norwalk Easter Public Library Board of Trustees. 

Sarah graduated from Iowa State University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in History and earned her Associate Business Continuity Professional designation in 2018.  Sarah is currently enrolled at Drake University working on a master’s degree in leadership development and will graduate in May 2021.  She coauthored the first chapter in When Leadership Fails: Individual, Group and Organizational Lessons from the Worst Workplace Experiences, a book available from Emerald Publishing in April 2021.  In her spare time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband Nathan and their dog, Piper, going to her family’s cabin in Okoboji, working on miniatures, and reading non-fiction.

Website Chair (Director) – Russ Saffell

Mr. Saffell has 20 + years of experience in the physical and cyber-security operations and governance, counterterrorism, continuity of operations, continuity of government,  business resilience, disaster recovery and emergency management fields; whereby he has served in multiple leadership and executive positions in the both the private and public sector, at all levels of government (Local, State and Federal). Mr. Saffell also served in the United States Navy as a Senior Fleet Marine Force (FMF) Corpsman from 1999 to 2004 serving in both Reconnaissance (STA Plt. [Scout Sniper Platoon]), and Security Elements, as part of a Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF), attached to a Marine Expeditionary Unit – Special Operations Capable (MEU-SOC). Mr. Saffell is an OEF, OIF I & II Veteran and has received more than 15 awards including the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Expeditionary Medal, and Presidential Unit Citation.

Academically, Mr. Saffell holds a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Security and Safety Leadership (Counterterrorism) from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C, a Bachelor of Science (BS) [Summa Cum Laude] in Emergency and Disaster Management from Upper Iowa University; he also holds numerous certifications and training certificates in the fields of homeland security, emergency management, and cybersecurity.

Mr. Saffell currently sits on several teams, boards and committees related to homeland security, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection and emergency management. He is also a contributing member of several professional organizations related to the same.

Membership & Nominations (Director) – Dennis Connolly

Dennis Connolly is the Business Continuity Analyst for Wellmark, Inc. supporting Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa and Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Dakota. Dennis has been with Wellmark since 1995 holding positions as Computer Operations Team Leader, ITS Special Projects Team Leader and various roles in Business Continuity.  He has also filled the role of the Enterprise Data Security Architect. Dennis currently holds an Associate Business Continuity Planner (ABCP) from DRII.

Training (Director) – Kristin Koop

Miss Koop is a Certified Business Continuity Professional with 19 years of expertise in developing, implementing and maintaining business continuity and incident management programs. 

She began her business continuity career in 2000 at Wells Fargo where she worked in the Corporate Business Continuity department. In 2007 Kristen accepted a position to work as a Lead Business Continuity Analyst at Aviva where she led a team to build a Business Continuity program. In 2014 Miss Koop was tapped to build a new US based Business Continuity program for INTL FCStone; where she started with nothing currently standing to use as a framework - no plans, no documents, no business support and being monitored by regulatory bodies. Within 3 years she had implemented a fully functional and completely business integrated program that not only passed audits, but also had the business fully vested and involved in exercises.  With several offices in hurricane prone locations, relocations are a given every year; Kristen devised a program that allows for this to happen smoothly.  The program that she developed has gained global recognition, and she is now currently performing a full global program rollout to all of international office locations across multiple continents worldwide.

Public Information Officer (PIO) (Director) - Jeff Dow

Jeff has worked at CUNA Mutual Group since 2013 where he started as a team leader in the new business department and moved to the Business Resiliency program in early 2018.  Jeff is a Coast Guard veteran where he held various shore positions as well as serving aboard cutters for nine years including two tours as a commanding officer. 

He graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1991 with a BS in Government and while still in the service attended the University of San Diego and earned an MA in Leadership Studies.  Jeff completed a MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from National University in August of 2020.  He serves on the North Star Community Service board and is a graduate of the Cedar Valley Leadership Institute

Board Member - Dutch Geisinger

Dutch Geisinger joined the ICP Board of Directors in 2020. Dutch is the Deputy Director of Polk County Emergency Management Agency. His prior experience includes six years as the Executive Director of the Safeguard Iowa Partnership, six years as the Protective Security Advisor for the South Dakota district of the United States Department of Homeland Security, six years as the Homeland Security Program Manager and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Planner for the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division, and twelve years with the Cedar Falls Iowa Police Department. He is also a veteran of the United States Army and the Iowa Army National Guard.

Board Member - Nate Olson-Daniel

Bio under construction

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