Kemp Fairbanks, President
Kemp Fairbanks was born in Walter Reed Army Hospital. He joined the United States Army Military Police Corps at 17 and was stationed in Nuremburg Germany. After his four years of active service, he joined the Los Angeles Police Department. While with the LAPD he worked various assignments including Training Division and Major Crimes Division. During his time with LAPD Kemp became trained as a peer counselor and worked with in the police department as such, which eventually led him to The SPARTA Project.
Kemp immersed himself in our process by working relentlessly in various capacities, shepherding participants and represented our program for years. Today he continues to serve The SPARTA Project as our President. His sincere accountability has kept our program cohesive and focused on nurturing the lifesaving services SPARTA was created to provide.
After thirty-three years of police service, he is now retired and enjoys his time with his family and other volunteer responsibilities. With a still working wife and three adult children Kemp is always occupied with one family event or another. With two children serving in their own capacities on the East Coast some events are even across the country which keeps him very busy. Additionally, he occupies his spare time riding his Road Glide or working in his shop on his various Hot Rod projects.
Richard Verdone, Vice President
Richard began his career with the US Army in 2001 and was selected to serve as an Army Ranger assigned to 3rd Ranger Battalion. Richard fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan in four Combat deployments with the Rangers. He finished his Army career in 2015 with six deployments, five of which supported combat efforts overseas. Thanks to help from the SPARTA providers, Richard is the President of ONYX, a veteran run and operated construction company. Richard is a full-time advocate dedicating his life to assisting communities to better understand their veteran population by providing education and experience to assist organizations to be more active in the veteran transition process.
Tyler Heisey, Director of Programming
Tyler Heisey was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. Tyler graduated high school a year early to join the Marine Corps. During the seven years of his service, Tyler was sent to the Pacific and Afghanistan. After getting out of the service he ended up working in manufacturing as a supervisor for roughly four years until he had his “circuit breaker blow” as he puts it. That extremely turbulent time ended up getting Tyler into an inpatient program out of Chicago. That program allowed him to understand what was occurring within himself. After a long divorce process, Tyler was informed of SPARTA and drove across the country to attend his first cohort. This experience was his icing on the cake regarding his mental health work. Today Tyler is following his academic journey to eventually become a doctor and assist the uniformed communities, while working with multiple veteran organizations. His servitude to others, has again become his purpose in life.
Michelle Seañez, Legal Counsel
Michelle is a Los Angeles native and a California licensed attorney who has been practicing for approximately 10 years. Her primary practice areas include business law, entertainment, intellectual property, and litigation. An ardent advocate for veterans, she also provides pro bono and low cost traffic citation, criminal, and other representation to veterans and members of the military.
An avid animal lover, she is a co-Founder of a 501(c)(3) horse rescue with her sister and volunteers with other rescues as time permits. A long time supporter of warrior wellness, Michelle provides assistance and support during equine assisted learning programs lead by Sparta’s equine specialist.
Michelle received her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University and her Juris Doctor from Whittier College School of Law. She is admitted to practice before the California Supreme Court as well as the Federal District Courts in the Central and Southern Districts of California. She is a Founding Member of the Southern California Women’s Lawyer Guild and a member of the Beverly Hills Bar Association.
Tawny Biggs, Director of Operations
Tawny has spent over a decade in human service organizational management - working in both senior living care, inpatient and outpatient behavioral health units. The past five years, Tawny has been involved in creating and developing intake procedures and best practices for multiple veterans organizations and substance abuse programs operating a crisis intervention helpline.
Tawny is currently working for an association of substance abuse and mental health facilities securing contracting with insurance companies, running call center operations and consulting for facilities.
She holds a certificate in CPI (Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training). Tawny's relationship with her father, Retired Glendale Fire Chief Donald Biggs (US Army, Vietnam veteran, 199th Light Infantry Brigade, and Fire Chief, retired Glendale Fire Department) has been her inspiration to serve our present warrior population. When time permits, Tawny can also be found lending a hand as a ropes course facilitator or out with the horses assisting with the equine assisted learning.
Claudia Seañez, Logistics
Claudia has a logistics specialist for 10 years working in the entertainment production industry. For the past 8 years, she has been a virtual executive assistant/production coordinator based in California for a UK group. She assists with all forms of logistics, from pre-production to Post Production. She Is a liaison between managers, agents, financiers, and media companies alike.
She has been involved with veterans for 4 years, inspired by an equine therapy experience leading her to Cheyanne, now continuing her passion for both equine therapy and veterans.
John Bohlinger, Board Member
John is a U.S. Marine Corps Infantry Veteran and a champion for Veterans advocacy. Currently, he is the Director of Operations for McKesson Corporation's Southern California Pharmaceutical Distribution Center and has served as Chairman of McKesson’s Military Resource Group. John has more than four years of executive experience, leading innovative 501(c)3 organizations focused on warrior wellness. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and has been responsible for multi-billion dollar P&L’s for more than 15 years.
John has been intimately involved with SPARTA since its inception and leads the effort to build the support and collaboration within the business environment that will allow SPARTA to sustain long-term operations, specifically with warrior reintegration and leadership development. His integrity, passion, and commitment to service are an inspiration to the SPARTA team and participants. After serving his country honorably, John continues his service in an effort to help this generation of warriors get access to the healing they deserve.
Buddy Rake, Board Member
Buddy Rake is one of the principals of the firm and is certified as a Specialist in Injury and Wrongful Death cases by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. He practices in the area of product liability, aviation, automobile product failure, electrical generating accidents, medical malpractice and education law. He is the Chairman of both the Boating and Seating Law sections of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He is on the Board of Directors of the Attorneys Information Exchange Group and is a founding member of the Institute of Injury Reduction. He is a founding member of the Master of the Bench, Sandra Day O’Connor Inn of Court, American Inns of Court.
Kiran (Raj) RajBhandary, Board Member
Kiran RajBhandary (Raj) is President of V12 Studios Ltd., a Scottsdale based consultancy providing strategic marketing, branding, and design solutions to businesses in a spectrum of markets worldwide. A Gold Star Family Member, RajBhandary has created companies, memorable brands, and communications for a diverse Fortune 500 clientele, including Apple, Boeing, DirecTV, Disney, Ford, FOX Sports, Gary Sinise Foundation, Harley-Davidson, NASCAR, Time-Warner, and Universal Studios. His work resides in the Library of Congress, the collections of numerous museums, and he has been recognized with awards worldwide.
Michele Deane, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
Inspired by human resiliency, Michele has over 15 years experience in the social services sector where she founded and administered inner-city youth development programs as a nonprofit CEO. She has written and administered Congressional Appropriation and Federal Department of Labor grants, State Department of Parks and Recreation and State Health and Human Services grants, city and county grants, and numerous foundation grants to implement programs to benefit inner-city youth, women’s health initiatives and veterans.
Michele is also experienced in public event production, political campaigns, and the technology landscape where she is the founder of eleveight, a HIPAA compliant, case management, communications platform and app that confidentially networks students, entry-level job seekers, veterans and emergency first responders in a secure community that fits their needs.
Michele is a member of the Lincoln Federation, a technology and policy advocacy organization, and business development accelerators such as the Bixel Exchange and Common. She is also a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, where she studied the arts and film.