Our Staff

Profiles

Lou Marciani - EdD
Director

Email: Lou.Marciani@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.5675

Dr. Lou Marciani is the founder and Director of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. NCS4 is located at The University of Southern Mississippi under the auspices of the Vice President for Research. The mission of NCS4 is to address issues and challenges facing the intersection of sports, entertainment, safety and security.

Furthermore, NCS4 is dedicated to the education of future leaders through research and scholarship, advancing professional competencies, training today’s first responders, and advancing technology to solve current and future safety and security concerns.

Under his leadership, NCS4 has become a highly respected national and international academic leader in the sports and entertainment and school safety and security industry. His vision and keen insight has created a global center that serves academic research and scholarship, education, training, industry best practices, and innovative advancement in technology and professional development.

Prior to establishing the NCS4, Dr. Marciani served in academic roles in sports management, serving as a program director. He taught courses in risk management, marketing, and leadership, and has published textbooks, peer-reviewed research articles, and other academic and industry publications. Since 2005, he has attracted more than $13 million in federal and state competitive grants from homeland security, and helped secure more than $10 million in Department of Defense and industry grants for USM and NCS4.

Dr. Marciani has expanded USM and NCS4’s global reach by establishing a formal relationship with INTERPOL and its Project STADIA program. Established by INTERPOL in 2012, Project Stadia is a 10-year project to build police capacity for managing international sporting events.

INTERPOL Project STADIA selected NCS4 to serve as a research and academic pathfinder to help create police capacity building programs in sports safety and security for INTERPOL’s 194 member nations.

Under Dr. Marciani’s leadership, NCS4 has developed a curriculum to teach police commanders and incident management leaders around the world how to deal with safety and security challenges they face when hosting a major international sporting event. NCS4 has the distinction of creating the first course ever accredited by INTERPOL. NCS4 has taught 131 police commanders from 58 nations since 2017. As of Sept. 2019, NCS4 will complete training the initial cadre of 23 Qatari police commanders for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar. NCS4 will continue its training mission in Qatar in 2020.

Dr. Marciani recruited Fortune 500 global technology corporations to create a Technology Alliance, whose mission is to be the driving force for identifying innovative safety and security solutions. The Technology Alliance members are sponsoring research in safety and security technologies that will transform sports and entertainment venues and schools well beyond 2025.

Prior to his academic role, Dr. Marciani had extensive experience in managing several intercollegiate athletic programs and serving the United States Olympic Committee. His sports management experience provides real insight into addressing the issues posed by potential and actual threats and risks to the security and safety at sports and entertainment events.

Dr. Marciani has lectured at universities and colleges in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and China. He is a co-author of the first academic sports security textbook designed for graduate curriculum.

Dr. Marciani received his doctorate degree in Sports Management at The University of Southern Mississippi, a Master’s degree from the University of Bridgeport, and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Charleston.

Lauren Cranford - MPH, CHES
Senior Associate Director of Operations

Email: Lauren.Cranford@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.5758

Lauren Cranford is the Senior Associate Director of Operations for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. Her role is to manage and coordinate all NCS4 operations including, but not limited to, overseeing all grants, projects, budgets and staff. She assists the director with development and implementation of programs, special events and training sessions.

Cranford received her Master of Public Health Degree from The University of Southern Mississippi with an emphasis in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Community Health Sciences with an emphasis in Health Promotion. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.

James Skrmetta - BA
Manager of Marketing and Communications

Email: James.Skrmetta@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.6183

James Skrmetta is the Manager of Marketing and Communications at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. In this role, he is responsible for the overall communications of NCS4 and the Homeland Security National Training Program (HSNTP). He is tasked with creating a brand strategy that cultivates and enhances relationships with targeted internal and external audiences. His duties also include overseeing and publishing all internal and external communications and positioning NCS4 for both a national and global audience.

Before his current role with NCS4, Skrmetta was the Communications Officer with USM’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) in Ocean Springs, Miss. Skrmetta was in this role for 4 years and led communication efforts during their transition to the now-expanded School of Ocean Science and Engineering. Prior to that, he was a reporter at the Pulitzer-Prize winning Sun Herald newspaper in Gulfport, MS. He covered crime and breaking-news stories.

Skrmetta received his Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Daniel Ward - CEM, MBA
Assistant Director of Curriculum

Email: Daniel.L.Ward@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.5999

Daniel is the Assistant Director of Curriculum at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. He provides leadership and oversight for the development and implementation of sport and special event curriculum, training, exercising and assessment. Ward also directs the National Sport Security Laboratory (NSSL) and works with solution providers and industry experts to research, evaluate and validate safety and security systems and technology.

Before joining NCS4, Daniel worked as a Deputy Director of Emergency Management in the United States Air Force. In the past 10 years, he has served as an emergency response team leader, held responsibilities in a multitude of positions within the Incident Command System (ICS), and as an EOC manager in several real-world events and major exercises. He has also developed and managed emergency management plans and programs for multiple disciplines and organizations. Ward is an Anti-terrorism Officer, a Hazardous Material Technician, and was awarded the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM®) designation by the International Association of Emergency Managers in 2013.

Sara Priebe - BFA
Event and Membership Manager

Email: Sara.Priebe@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.6858

Sara Priebe is the Event and Membership Manager at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. In this role, she executes planning and logistics for NCS4 events. Priebe is the contact for vendors interested in securing sponsorships and exhibits at all NCS4 events. She works to develop and implement membership plans, strategies and initiatives for current member retention and new member recruitment. She also provides customer service to vendors and Solution Partners as well as members and event attendees. In addition, she provides graphic design for NCS4's communications pieces.

Priebe comes to NCS4 with more than 20 years of experience working in marketing, communications and graphic design within agency, higher education and healthcare settings. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design from Arkansas State University.

Tymika Rushing - MBA
Manager of Business Affairs

Email: Tymika.Rushing@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.6857

Tymika Rushing is the Manager of Business Affairs for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. She is responsible for overseeing the daily financial operations of NCS4, which includes coordinating processes in budgeting and compliance for grants and externally funded projects, contractual amendments, and various fiscal responsibilities. Her role is to provide comprehensive financial management to include, but not limited to, budget planning, forecasting, compliance, and financial reporting.

Before joining NCS4, Rushing was a Contracting Specialist at the NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) and for the past 6 years, worked as a Grants & Contacts Coordinator within the Office of Research Administration at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Rushing received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The University of Southern Mississippi. She received her Master of Business Administration degree from William Carey University.

Chris Kinnan - MIS, MAAS, MS
Colonel, USAF (ret.) Manager of the National Sport Security Lab (NSSL)

Email: Christopher.Kinnan@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.6186

Chris Kinnan is the Manager of the National Sport Security Laboratory (NSSL) for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. He provides leadership and oversight of NSSL and works to identify and examine emerging sport safety and security risks and threats and develops resources to mitigate those risks and facilitate the transfer of research to practice. The laboratory creates opportunities for applied research and scientific investigations to answer specific clinical questions or solve practice-related problems.

Kinnan served 25 years in the United States Air Force, retiring as a Colonel. His military background includes nuclear weapons, missiles, space systems (i.e., satellites, rockets, radar, detection and warning, and communications), strategic planning, education and training, and national security strategy. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his military career, Kinnan served on the faculty of two Air Force training schools, including the Air Force Weapons School, as an instructional designer, curriculum developer, classroom instructor, and part of the faculty development and certification team. He also served on the faculty of Air University’s Air War College as a national security strategy instructor and as the Director of the Grand Strategy Program, a Master’s degree program for senior military and civilian leaders. A futurist, Chris also served at Air University as the Deputy Director of the Air Force Center for Strategy and Technology (CSAT) where he helped lead national security technology and alternative futures studies. He is a co-author of Failed State 2030: Nigeria – A Case Study, an alternative future technology study that identifies critical capabilities, including security technologies, the United States Air Force should invest in and acquire to respond to a failed state scenario.

Kinnan is currently a doctoral student in the Human Capital Development program at The University of Southern Mississippi. He received his Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the Air War College, his Master of Airpower Arts and Sciences from the School of Advanced Airpower Studies, and his Master of Management of Information Systems from Lesley College. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Russian/East European Area Studies from Auburn University. He is a strategist, strategic planner, and instructional systems designer.

Joslyn Zale - PhD
Technical Writer and Compliance Coordinator

Email: Joslyn.Zale@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.6867

Dr. Joslyn Zale is the Technical Writer and Compliance Coordinator at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. She provides research, data analysis, and technical writing support for NCS4, and also manages all accreditation compliance and audits.

Prior to her current position at NCS4, Dr. Zale served as a research assistant on grants examining the vulnerability and resilience of the Mississippi Gulf Coast to major natural and anthropogenic hazard events (e.g., Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill) funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). She also worked as the 911 Mapping and Addressing Coordinator for the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, was a Geospatial Analyst at NCS4 shortly after its inception, taught American Red Cross Health and Safety courses, managed university natatorium facilities, and has more than 10 years of experience working in higher education administration.

Dr. Zale received a Ph.D. in Geography from USM. Her dissertation examined the effects of audience-specific physical and psychological characteristics (e.g., physical fitness, alcohol consumption, and prior experience with hazard events and the venue) on football stadium evacuation time. She holds MS in Geography and MS in Sport Management, both from USM, and a BS in Kinesiology from Penn State University. Dr. Zale received scholarships and assistantships to fully fund her graduate education, including collaborating on research grants from the DHS, NSF, U.S. Department of Education, and the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security in excess of $14 million.

Kelley Gonzales - PhD
Manager of Education

Email: Kelley.Gonzales@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.4615

Dr. Kelley Gonzales is the Manager of Education for the National Center for Spectator Sports and Security. She is primarily responsible for the development, coordination and management of NCS4’s education and certification programs. She serves as the project manager for developing a culture of continuous education and learning for the sports and entertainment security management industry. Dr. Gonzales oversees the compliance and audit of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) associated with the Certified Sport Security Professional (CSSP) program, and implements adult learning and competency-based assessment programs. She has developed a career path to assist safety and security individuals in reaching short and long-term career goals; develop an education model for continuing education, performance improvement, and succession; and created and deployed online training, micro-learning, and digital credentialing. Dr. Gonzales is also responsible for the development, design, and creation of the online high school course entitled Risk Management for After School Activities and Interscholastic Athletics funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security and in collaboration with Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). Through interactive online learning modules, participants develop an increased understanding of risk assessment and management, communications, mitigation and planning, professional development, and best practices related to school activities and interscholastic athletic events occurring outside traditional school hours.

Dr. Gonzales comes to NCS4 with more than 20 years of experience in education that includes teaching and administration on the secondary, post-secondary and higher education levels. On the administrative level, she has served as an Office Director for the Mississippi Department of Education in the Office of School Improvement and Director of Instructional Technology for the School of Nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Her focus as an administrator was to provide technical assistance and professional development to administrators, faculty and staff in the areas of curriculum and instruction, leadership, and community engagement in an effort to improve student achievement. Her instructional forte is business and computer technology with heavy emphasis in instructional technology and curriculum design. Dr. Gonzales acquired a Bachelor’s degree from Mississippi College in Business Administration, a Master’s degree from Mississippi State University in Instructional Technology, and a Doctorate in Instructional Technology and Design from the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education at The University of Southern Mississippi.

William Adams - MS
Training Manager

Email: William.B.Adams@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.4857

William Adams is a Training Manager at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. He provides oversight for the training courses offered through NCS4. These duties include course and instructor scheduling, ensuring all targets are met, and maintaining the quality of each delivery.

Before his current role, Adams assisted with Athletic Facilities and Event Management with USM. In this role, he oversaw daily maintenance and management of multiple venues, as well as being the primary game manager for multiple sports. Prior to that, he was an Event Management Intern at the University of Missouri. During his time in athletics, he has taken part in several conference and regional tournaments. William received his Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management with an emphasis in Sport Venues from the University of Missouri. He then completed a Master of Science degree in Sports Management with a Safety and Security emphasis from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Brooke Graves - MSCJ, NREMT
Training Manager

Email: B.Graves@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.4696

Brooke Graves is a Training Manager at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. She provides oversight for the training courses offered through NCS4. These duties include course and instructor scheduling, ensuring all targets are met, and maintaining the quality of each delivery. Before her current role, Brooke held a number of first responder roles in both the criminal justice and emergency medical systems. She was a Special Investigator for the state of Mississippi where she was deemed a subject matter expert in sexual abuse cases in the state court system. Most recently, Brooke served as the Law Enforcement and Public Safety Instructor for the Hattiesburg Public School District. She was the mentor instructor for the state of Mississippi and was involved in developing curriculum and assessment material for the Law Enforcement and Public Safety curriculum. Brooke received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and Behavioral Science from Tennessee Wesleyan University and her Masters of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati. She is a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician and a trained forensic interviewer. She is a certified trainer for Community Emergency Response Teams.

Jacob Neal - MBA
Training Manager

Email: Jacob.T.Neal@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.4474

Jacob Neal is a Training Manager at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. He provides oversight for the training courses offered through NCS4. These duties include course and instructor scheduling, ensuring all targets are met, and maintaining the quality of each delivery.

Jacob joined NCS4 after spending a year as a Graduate Assistant with NCS4. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Management from the University of Mississippi and a MBA from Southern Miss. He has spent time working with the Mississippi Braves in Pearl, MS in ticket sales and stadium operations. While at the University of Mississippi, Jacob worked in sports marketing handling in-game promotions and assisting with University sponsored events and athletics.

Justin Kurland - PHD
Manager of Interscholastic Sports Safety and Security

Email: Justin.Kurland@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.5022

Dr. Justin Kurland is the Manager for Interscholastic Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi’s National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. He currently manages NCS4’s initiative to improve the safety and security of High School Interscholastic Athletics across the nation, which includes providing leadership and oversight in the development of best practices and related educational trainings. Dr. Kurland also oversees NCS4’s research fellows who provide expertise and generate peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers on various aspects of sport safety and security from across the world.

Prior to his current position at NCS4, Dr. Kurland was a Senior Lecturer (US equivalent of Associate Professor) for the Institute of Security and Crime Science at the University of Waikato (New Zealand). There he taught several foundational graduate level courses on security, crime science, and prevention, in addition to serving as a principal investigator on numerous security related grants. Before taking his position as a Senior Lecturer, Dr. Kurland was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Rutgers University’s School of Criminal Justice, where he conducted research with Stockholm Prize Winner (Criminology’s Nobel Prize) and the Associate Director of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, Professor Ronald V. Clarke, focusing primarily on aspects of spatiotemporal crime pattern analysis and situational prevention and a range of topics including the effectiveness of barriers in preventing suicide bombings in Israel.

Dr. Kurland has a Ph.D. in Security and Crime Science from University College London. His dissertation entitled “The Ecology of Football-Related Crime and Disorder” explored how variation in the environment of the area around stadia when they were used for soccer games as opposed to days in which these facilities were not used facilitated different criminal opportunities and risk. This was achieved through the analysis of various datasets, including, but not limited to police-recorded crime data, attendance figures from games, and numerous aspects of the physical and social landscape around these stadia such as the street network and constellation of facilities such as pubs that are routinely visited during game days. Dr. Kurland received a studentship (US equivalent to a full scholarship plus a living stipend) from related research he conducted for the Government Office for London (GoL), the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU), and the Scottish Government to fully fund his doctoral studies. He also holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rutgers University.

Michael Finley - BS
Manager of Curriculum

Email: Michael.Finley@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.5593

Michael Finley is Manager of Curriculum for the National Center for Spectator Sports, Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. He provides leadership and oversight for the development, implementation and strategies for the sport safety and security in domestic and international curriculums. In the international program, he is responsible for the development and implementation of the trainer’s certification program. In addition, he is responsible for executing the process of consultation and drafting of all security best practices, policies, and standards as well as compliance procedures and oversees the implementation of e-learning training for security personnel.

Prior to joining NCS4, Finley was a member of the Dallas Police Department where, for the majority of his career, he served in the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit. During his time there, he developed various specializations becoming a certified instructor in disciplines including less lethal, sub-machine gun, hostage rescue, high-risk warrants and barricaded persons. Finley helped create the Dallas Police Department’s Use of Force policy on less-lethal munitions, served as a Team Leader and received numerous commendations and awards. He also served as President of the Texas Tactical Police Officers Association (TTPOA), one of the largest SWAT associations in the United States, which is committed to the training and safety of SWAT officers. He also helped author the State of Texas certification standards for SWAT.

After leaving Dallas, Michael put his training experience to work serving as Director of Training for a major manufacturer of police/military goods, as a Program Director for a preparedness exercise known as “Urban Shield,” and as a Director of Corporate Training for a large provider of online services for businesses. He is recognized as a top instructor and has conducted training events and exercises at a local, state, national and international level.

Finley received his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Michelle Stringfellow - MS
Instructional Design Specialist

Email: Michelle.Stringfellow@usm.edu
Phone: 601.266.5837

Michelle Stringfellow is an Instructional Design Specialist for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. She works with the Assistant Director of Curriculum to coordinate the training development process to meet course needs and objectives for the NCS4 training program. Her role is to work with subject matter experts and design team members to establish training needs, prepare learning objectives, and define course content.

Stringfellow comes to NCS4 with a background in education and instructional design. Her experience includes teaching K-12 locally and internationally, serving as a K-12 Coordinator of Education Services, and assisting in course development for graduate level courses. She graduated from the University of South Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Education (2014) and a Master of Science in Instructional Design and Development (2018).

Tyler Jacobs - BA
Graduate Assistant

Email: Tyler.Jacobs@usm.edu

Tyler Jacobs is a current Graduate Assistant for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security where he assists in gathering data to be used on future research projects as well as assisting in the planning and execution of conferences and events. Jacobs is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Sport Management with a concentration on event security for The University of Southern Mississippi.

Prior to joining NCS4, Jacobs Received his Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management from Slippery Rock University where he worked with their Athletic Department. He also has experience with the University of Portland, where he was an Operations intern, The Portland Pickles, a collegiate wood bat summer league team, where he managed concessions, and with Texas Christian University where he worked with Facility and Game Day Operations. During his time with TCU, he was able to assist in hosting Men and Women’s NIT Basketball games as well as assisting in hosting the first and second round of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament.

Catherine Repsher - BA
Graduate Assistant

Email: Catherine.Repsher@usm.edu

Catherine Repsher is a Graduate Assistant for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security where she assists the Senior Associate Director of Operations in the planning and execution of conferences and events. Repsher is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Sport Management at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Repsher joined the NCS4 staff after she received her Bachelor’s degree in General Business from The University of Southern Mississippi. She received her degree while also being a student-athlete competing on the indoor volleyball team for the last three years. She averaged 20 hours per week with workouts, practice, class, and study hall hours. In the summers, she worked for the non-profit organization, Joplin Sports Authority in Joplin, Mo. She assisted the Housing Service Specialist and Director of Hospitality and Logistics to prepare for the many sporting events conducted in June and July around the Four State area.