NIHS Board of Directors

Mr. J. C. Egnew
Mr. Egnew, a former NASA engineer, is the Chairman/President/CEO of Outdoor Venture Corporation. He is a co-founder of the company which is a major supplier of military tents to the U. S. Department of Defense. Mr. Egnew is a former chairman of the Industrial Fabrics Association International, a current director of the Industrial Fabrics Foundation and is responsible for the startup of four manufacturing facilities and the creation of more than 1,000 jobs in McCreary County, KY and the surrounding area. He earned an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Evansville and a graduate degree in industrial management from the University of Tennessee. Mr. Egnew is a director of the Bank of McCreary County and president of the McCreary County Education Foundation.

Mr. Ewell H. Balltrip
Mr. Balltrip is the President / CEO of The National Institute For Hometown Security (NIHS). He is also the founding executive of the organization. Mr. Balltrip has extensive executive management and leadership experience in the public and private sectors. Prior to joining NIHS, he was the Executive Director of the Kentucky Appalachian Commission and served as Governor Paul E. Patton’s representative to the federal Appalachian Regional Commission. During his tenure in this position, the Kentucky Appalachian Commission was twice cited as a “Best Practice” by the federal ARC. Mr. Balltrip has also held positions as the publisher and chief operating officer of community daily newspapers of The New York Times Company in Kentucky and Tennessee. He is a member of the board of directors of the Tennessee Valley Corridor and serves as treasurer of that organization. Balltrip is a graduate of Baylor University.

Dr. Miriam E. John
Dr. Miriam E. John is an independent consultant with extensive experience in the homeland security field. Dr. John retired from Sandia National Laboratories where she was vice president of the SNL California Division and vice president of the Homeland Security and Defense Strategic Management Unit. Her career with Sandia National Laboratories began in 1978. Her memberships include the Department of Defense’s Defense Science Board, the Department of Defense Threat Reduction Advisory Committee and the Naval Studies Board of the National Research Council. Dr. John is a National Associate of the National Academies of Science and Engineering. Dr. John earned her undergraduate degree at Rice University, her masters’ degree from Tulane and her doctorate at Princeton University.

Mr. Bennie Garland
Bennie Garland is a consultant with the South Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation (SKRECC) in Somerset, KY. He works with all local units of government in the 10 county SKRECC service area on socio-economic projects through the provision of technical assistance, grant writing, and the development of overall economic strategies for communities to consider for implementation. He has been responsible for infrastructure, industrial development, and social program projects in excess of 500 million dollars.

Prior to his work with SKRECC, Mr. Garland was Executive Director of the Clinton County Empowerment Zone Community where he was responsible implementing economic development projects for the area and serving as director of the Clinton County Empowerment Zone, Inc. His duties included oversight of procurement, design, and construction for major public projects in Clinton County which totaled over $110,000,000. Mr. Garland also served in several Director of Policy and Planning positions with the Lake Cumberland Area Development District.

Mr. Garland holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Cumberland College and is a member of the Kentucky Industrial Development Corporation and the I-66 Planning Committee. He is a former school teacher and past member of numerous public commissions and boards including the Kentucky County Judge’s Association, the Kentucky County Judge’s Coal Coalition, the Kentucky State Inter-governmental Personnel Act Advisory Committee, and the Kentucky Planning Association. He is a member of the Russell Springs United Methodist Church and a former Junior High School basketball coach.

Ms. Sara Beth Gregory
Sara Beth Gregory works as an attorney with law firm Carroll & Turner, P.S.C. in Monticello, Kentucky. Her law practice primarily involves civil litigation and appeals, including personal injury, domestic relations, and business litigation cases. Before joining the law form, she served as a law clerk for Senator Judge Eugene Siler, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and the University Of Kentucky College Of Law. Ms. Gregory was elected in 2010 to the office of State Representative for the 52nd District. She served one term in the State House and won re-election in 2012. She then won a special election in December 2012, to the office of State Senator for the 16th District. She served in the State Senate through 2014. She continues to be active both in politics and her community. She is a member of the Republican Party of Kentucky Executive Committee, McConnell Center Board of Advisors, Lake Cumberland Area Development District Board, Wayne County Fair Board, Monticello Kiwanis Club, and President of the Wayne County Republican Women’s club.

Mr. John Knox Mills
John Knox Mills is Department Chair and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of the Cumberland’s (Williamsburg, KY) where he teaches courses in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Prior to coming to the University in 2012, he served as Circuit Judge for 27th Judicial Circuit (Knox and Laurel Counties, Kentucky). Judge Mills also served as District Judge from 1992-2008. As District Judge, he served as the Chief Regional Judge of the 23 county Cumberland Region. Judge Mills is also a Colonel in the Kentucky National Guard where he serves as the State Judge Advocate. Judge Mills also serves on numerous boards, including the board of KCEOC Community Action Partnership. He is also an Assistant Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 529.

Mr. Bob Wilson
Bob Wilson’s experience includes over 35 years of technology-based business opportunities ranging from Fortune 500 management positions, taking a startup to IPO, and creating entrepreneur development incubators and support networks throughout the SE United States. He held senior level sales, marketing and general manager positions with CSI, a software and instrumentation company, guiding 500+ employee company through IPO process and subsequent sale to Emerson Electric. He also held senior level management positions with other Fortune 500 companies in technology based industries. After leaving CSI, he developed and ran a high tech business incubator program that worked with over 250 startup companies. Through the Center for Entrepreneurial Growth (CEG) he personally handled 4 entrepreneurs and held interim management and advisory roles for new startups to guide them from idea to funded and sustainable operations. He built Accelerator programs in 3 different states for non-profit organizations, has held board positions for numerous entrepreneurial ventures, and supported two separate government funded programs that improves technology transfer and commercialization efforts for research projects coming from government labs and universities. Mr. Wilson ran his own consulting company, Entrepreneurial Transitions LLC which is a technology based Start-up company that develops and deploys a non-contact optical technology focused on condition of machinery, infrastructure, and humans.

Ms. Donna Gregg
Donna Gregg is the executive officer of the Asymmetric Operations Sector at the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. As sector head, Ms. Gregg oversees the work of three mission areas focused on ensuring that asymmetric operations will be a decisive advantage for national security: Cyber Operations, Homelands Protection and Special Operations. Prior to her current position, Ms. Gregg was the mission area executive for Cyber Operations, overseeing projects that included creation of the LIVE Lab, which provides new levels of cyber situational awareness and research capabilities for APL sponsors. She also helped accelerate the introduction of cyber technologies into APL’s own network infrastructure, and as a member of a Naval Studies Board committee has been a key contributor in developing a Navy strategy for cyber defense. Ms. Gregg joined APL in 1984 as a mathematician in the Fleet System Department. She later transitioned to the Power Projection Systems Department, where she served in a number of technical and leadership roles, and significantly increased the Laboratory’s competency and expertise in information security-related disciplines, including systems protection. From 2005-2011, she served first as the Information Systems Branch supervisor and then managing executive for the Applied Information Sciences Department. In these roles, she led the rapid expansion of technical capabilities for the special operations and cyber communities in tagging, tracking and locating; intelligence systems engineering; and advanced network operations. Ms. Gregg earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from the University of Maryland and John Hopkins University, respectively.

The Challenge

The task of assuring the security of our homeland involves protecting the citizens of the United States, the nation's critical infrastructure and key assets. This is necessary to sustain the nation's vitality against terrorism and other threats. This protection must originate at the community level. It requires discovering, developing and deploying new technology that will support first responders and key decision makers in local communities.

The Mission

NIHS' mission is to discover, develop and deploy solutions that protect and preserve the critical infrastructure of the nation's communities.

The Institute

NIHS aligns projects and research objectives with the needs and requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The strategy is to manage a distributed research enterprise that effectively transitions research and development into solutions. NIHS works with DHS to determine technology needs at the community level. Then, teams are quickly assembled from multiple universities to develop solutions to the needs.

The Strategy

Through management of the Kentucky Critical Infrastructure Protections Program (KCI), the National Institute for Hometown Security (NIHS) provides an ongoing, integrated program dedicated to developing new technologies and devices. NIHS works through qualified academic institutions to accomplish the technological objectives.