OBR Organizational Changes

Feb 5, 2020 | News

Head of Sponsorships and Co-Ventures

As Operation BBQ Relief furthers its mission, we continue to look at new ways to grow and address operational needs of the organization.  One such initiative that took off last year was establishing marketing and revenue campaigns through commercial co-ventures and sponsorships.  Over the past many years, David Marks has taken on these responsibilities in addition to his other full-time marketing and communications duties.  In 2019, he had great success with a co-venture between OBR and Lowe’s and another with Wild Turkey, Butterball and Matthew McConaughey.  OBR sees co-ventures and sponsorships as critical to growth moving forward, however these relationships take considerable time to develop and OBR has not had a dedicated person for this purpose.  For this reason, effective immediately, we are establishing the position Head of Sponsorships and Co-Ventures.  David Marks has agreed to accept this full time job.

Married to his high school sweetheart and father of three, David Marks has long committed to serving as a way of life. He worked in his family restaurant business as a child and received his Bachelors of Business Hospitality Administration from Florida State University.

David has been involved at the highest of levels of Operation BBQ Relief. It all started in 2012 after meeting Stan Hays at The Sam’s Club National Championships.  A few weeks later, David deployed. He helped to serve over 100,000 Meals in NY and NJ to those in need and the first responders following Super Storm Sandy. Since that time, David has served in various leadership roles for the organization.  He played a significant part in the 3,000,000 Hot Meals served after disasters through the years. Some of the positions David has held at OBR include Chief Operating Officer (2015-2016) and Head of Marketing and Communications (2017-2019). David has spearheaded many significant projects for Operation BBQ Relief including Pigapalooza, The Operation BBQ Cookbook, and Operation BBQ Relief Seasonings.

Head of Marketing and Development

As David moves to his new role, this leaves a gap in the marketing department.  OBR is fortunate that during our hunt for a Head of Philanthropy, we had an outstanding candidate with over 15 years of experience in leadership roles in non-profits.  Knowing full well that we could not let someone with her skill set and experience get away, Sharon Green was hired as an independent contractor in December 2019 to focus on year-end giving through social media and email solicitation.  Her efforts resulted in our most successful year-end giving campaign since our inception in 2011. With David moving out of his former position, OBR was offered the opportunity to revamp the marketing position and align it with our developmet and event fundraising needs.

Effective February 1, 2020, Sharon Green will join OBR as Head of Marketing and Development.  Sharon will focus on telling the OBR stories across all media, leading signature fundraisers, including our first fundraising Gala in 2021 that will celebrate our 10 year anniversary.  Please welcome Sharon to OBR in this full-time job.

Sharon Green has dedicated her entire career to helping charitable organizations achieve their missions and maximize the positive impact on the communities in which they serve.  Sharon’s experiences include being Executive Director and Director of Development for a charity providing residential facilities, programs, and grants for individuals with developmental disabilities and Chief Development Officer for a crowdfunding software company focused on helping non-profit organizations increase volunteer engagement and cultivate monetary donations.  She has extensive experience in spearheading non-profit events, including fundraisers, galas, silent auctions, and golf tournaments.

Sharon holds undergraduate degrees in Pre-Medicine and Anthropology as well as master’s degrees in both Education and Non-Profit Administration from the University of Notre Dame.  Sharon resides in Leawood, KS with her husband Kevin and children.

BBQ Basics Program Manager

BBQ Basics Presented by Kingsford’s 2019 launch was extremely successful.  This achievement was due to the hard work and incredible effort by the many volunteers who tirelessly dedicated themselves to its success.  Brian Norfolk was one of those volunteers.  Brian spent most of his 2019 planning, managing, running, executing, and ensuring the success of the BBQ Basics program.  Along with interacting with OBR’s sponsors, both current and those interested in supporting the program, Brian continued to develop his role as a program manager.  With approximately 20 BBQ Basics events scheduled across the USA in 2020, we are happy to announce that Brian Norfolk has accepted a full time position as BBQ Basics Program Manager.  We are thrilled that he will continue to lead the program.

Brian Norfolk is a project manager by trade and a product and program designer at heart. After serving in the US Navy as a Corpsman, Brian honed his project management skills working in the construction industry.  Thereafter, he spent his days running his own business. Brian enjoys designing products; he is the owner of two U.S. patents for his original designs. His real passion is designing and building processes and programs from the ground up. When not on the BBQ Basics trail, Brian, his wife Michelle, and their two children are usually hanging out with neighborhood friends, doing crafts, or experimenting with ways to live more self-sufficiently.

New Volunteer Leadership Roles

As part of our focus on growth and expansion, we continue to further develop existing volunteer leadership roles and establish new ones.  OBR’s volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization and we love it when volunteers, both new to the organization and those with many years of service, step forward to take on more responsibility and newly expanded roles.

Formerly called the State Lead program, OBR has been developing this concept for many years under the supervision of Dewayne Daniels and Joey Rusek.  As Joey and Dewayne have both transitioned into different areas, we began looking for the right individual to step in and be the new Director of Area Coordinators and Regional Directors.  A truly natural fit for it, Jon Hansel has graciously accepted this new role, taking it over from Joey Rusek who can now concentrate on field operations.  Jon will be responsible for continuing to grow the Area Coordinator Program across the country while developing the criteria and programmatic expectations for these roles.  Please welcome Jon to his new role.

In examining the needs of OBR disaster and non-disaster programs, we also identified the need to appoint a Director of Operational SafetyCurtis Barnes has accepted this new role to ensure safety and compliance throughout all non-disaster programs and deployments.  Curtis will be responsible with implementing and ensuring safety practices, gaining certifications, and auditing safety procedures throughout OBR.  Curtis will have a vital role as we continue to serve throughout the country and internationally.

Over the past few years, OBR has gotten busier and busier hosting and participating in various events all over the nation.  With respect to OBR’s programmatic needs, and the need to have one person oversee these many different events, Judy Walker will take on the volunteer role of Special Events Program Manager.  In this role, she will be coordinating all special events that are neither disaster or defined Always Serving Project events to ensure positive outcomes. Her primary focus will be event preparation and ensuring that all needs of the event are met.  This piece of the puzzle has been missing over the last few years. Judy will help us greatly moving forward.

The Always Serving Project has many programs, but up until now lacked program level leadership with respect to The Breaking Bread Tour and the Fight on Hunger.  Peggy Grimes has answered the call and is stepping up to the challenge.  Peggy will take on the volunteer role of the Fight on Hunger and Breaking Bread Tour Program Manager.  She will focus on the Breaking Bread Tour logistics while helping build the curriculum and future of the Fight on Hunger Program.

In addition to the program department, other OBR departments also continue to grow.  As head of government affairs and NVOAD, Dana Reed has been working behind the scenes to both position OBR for success and grow his department. To that end, we continue to work on building relationships with VOADs and local governments.  OBR needs to have someone who understands Emergency Management from the highest level down to the local level. We are lucky to have someone that has that experience and passion for working with local and federal emergency management already on our team.  Amy Hays, who has been serving in the volunteer role of regional director has accepted this newly created role as Director EMA Coordination.  There is no doubt that Amy will bring the same professionalism and creativity to this new role as she has displayed in her many past OBR leadership roles.  We are thrilled to have Amy continue on as a member of the Leadership Team in the ever changing arena of Emergency Management. Her contributions as Director EMA Coordination will positively impact all OBR programs, but especially disaster response where Amy has always shown an aptitude for gaining information, connecting networks, sharing ideas, and most importantly, furthering the OBR mission.

Jon Hansel – Director of Area Coordinators and Regional Directors

Jon Hansel has been a steadfast volunteer with Operation BBQ Relief since the 2015 flooding in Summerville, South Carolina. He has a unique ability to fill just about any operational void to accomplish the mission of Operation BBQ Relief. At events and deployments, Jon has worked in sanitation, proteins, sides, and as Camp Chef. He has been instrumental at North Carolina events at Lowe’s, Sunbelt Rentals, Fort Bragg, Butterball, and Blue Rhino.

Jon recently retired from a 22-year Dental Sales career, where he was a Senior Medical Device Sales Manager. He is a United States Air Force Veteran, who served as a Military Police Officer in Germany. He and Beth Hansel live in Holly Springs, NC, and have two children – daughter Rachel (Nursing Student at East Carolina University) and son T.J. (17 years old), who is a BBQ beast and enjoys volunteering for Operation BBQ Relief.

Curtis Barnes – Director of Operational Safety

Curtis Barnes has been a dedicated OBR volunteer in the New York and New Jersey areas since 2016.  Curtis was the NYC Lead for Operation BBQ Relief where he developed contacts with emergency services, restaurants, and the Salvation Army in Manhattan. In 2018, Curtis volunteered at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. After witnessing the impact OBR had on the veterans and active military, he was inspired to continue his work with OBR.

Curtis has been on several deployments for OBR following the Carr Fires and Hurricanes Michael and Dorian. Curtis has also volunteered at the Super Bowl event in Atlanta and The Always Serving Project event with Wild Turkey in Chicago. Curtis is a career firefighter with the City of Englewood Fire Department in New Jersey for the last 26 years. He will retire April 1, 2020. He and his wife Kelly live in Teaneck, NJ with their 2 daughters – Kyla (Nursing Student at Fairleigh Dickinson University) and Camile (15 years old). Kelly and Kyla are both OBR registered Level 2 Volunteers.

Judy Walker – Special Events Program Manager

Judy Walker is the perfect fit for this new role given her passion for both events management and OBR.  Owning her own full-service events company in Northern California, Judy has coordinated, managed and created a wide range of events such as festivals, fundraisers, parades, company picnics, grand openings, product launches, non-profit events, auctions, barbecue competitions, wine consumer and industry events.

Judy started the Wine Country Big Q barbecue competition in 2011 and in October 2017, she joined OBR as a volunteer when the California Wildfires impacted her community. Over the past couple of years, OBR has become more involved with wildfire relief efforts in California, and as the formerly titled State Lead program grew, she happily took on the role as Northern California State Lead in 2018.

Judy resides in Windsor, California, and has two grown children, Gunnar, 22 years old and a recent college graduate and Lauren, 20 years old, who plays college basketball for the University of Portland in Oregon.

Peggy Grimes –The Fight on Hunger & Breaking Bread Tour Program Manager

Peggy has worked in emergency management for 19 years, starting on the county level as a 911 communications specialist before moving on to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  At the CDCP, Peggy currently works in the Office of Security and Asset Management’s internal emergency management team where she has been directly involved in numerous outbreak and disaster responses.

Peggy has also been involved in food-sport for several years.  She is a certified judge for KCBS, GBA, and SCA. She has qualified for the SCA World Championship three times, competing (in Fort Worth) twice.  A long-time supporter of OBR, Peggy has deployed to Wilmington and Tallahassee. She also volunteered at the El Paso stop of the BBT and was honored to tag along with Jay and his team on the road to Houston.  Additionally, Peggy has volunteered as part of the OBR social media and marketing team.

Outside of OBR, Peggy is heavily involved in volunteering at her church.  Her favorite opportunities have been serving as a key leader at the Tim Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine (prom for special needs children) and Hope for Christmas (event providing hope to families in need during the Holiday season).  Peggy is a native Atlantan now residing in Dallas, GA. She is married to her firefighter/paramedic husband Matt, and they have three furkids.

Amy Hays – Director EMA Coordination

Amy Hays has been an active volunteer with OBR since day one and has been the Missouri State Lead for 7 years.  She has participated in multiple deployments, wearing both the NGO and EM hat to ensure the success of deployments.  Her leadership experiences include leading OBR in participating in the 2016 NMCE (National Mass Care Exercise) for the New Madrid Fault earthquake exercise led by SEMA (State Emergency Management Agency) and representing OBR with former Governor Jay Nixon and current Governor Mike Parson multiple times with the Missouri Governor’s Partnership.   She is currently the Territory Director for Region VII which covers Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.

Amy has an extensive emergency management background as a member of the Metropolitan Emergency Managers Committee, National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and IAEM (International Association of Emergency Managers).  Amy has served as an Emergency Management Volunteer and Intern for Wyandotte County in Kansas City, KS in which she developed an IAP (Incident Action Plan) for the August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse. She also collaborated with the Emergency Management Director to rewrite and develop new content in 2017 for the 2018 CEOP (County Emergency Operation Plan) and presented the ESF 1-15 (Emergency Support Function) workshops monthly in 2018.

Amy lives in the beautiful countryside outside of Kansas City, MO and has been married to Stan for 18 years.  Amy and Stan have two children Nathan (16 years old) and Anna (14 years old). Both Nathan and Anna are volunteers with OBR.  In her free time, she enjoys movies, popcorn, sushi, reading, and spending quality time with good friends.


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Operation BBQ Relief relies solely on volunteers like you. Whether you are a competition BBQ team, caterer, restaurateur or simply an individual or group wanting to help when disaster strikes, we want you to be a part of this rewarding experience in helping people.