Leadership Profiles

MHPC Staff

Hannah Gompers, MA, EMT-B
Healthcare Preparedness Coordinator



Hannah began as a volunteer in 2013, but became increasingly active in the group following graduation from her Master’s program. Her interest in emergency management stemmed from her time spent as an EMT-B with Medic in Mecklenburg County, which led to pursuing her graduate degree. Within that time, she studied and wrote her thesis on disaster planning within the elderly population. She hopes to be able to use that experience and knowledge to further the mission of MHPC. She holds a BA from the College of Charleston in English and a MA in Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness from American Military University.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Finance/Grant Management
  • Continuing Care Project
  • Digital Media Engagement
  • Student Intern Management


Kariena (KC) Bernesser BS, EMT-P
Assistant Healthcare Preparedness Coordinator – Exercise / Education


Kariena started in Emergency Medical Services as a volunteer with Matthews Fire and Rescue department in 2000. This spurred Kariena’s interest in the EMS field and began her career at Mecklenburg EMS Agency in 2001. During the 15 years at MEDIC she worked in a high paced and rapidly growing community and EMS system. Over the course of the years she worked as a 911 dispatcher, EMT basic and spent the past 9 years as a Paramedic as well as assist with training at MEDIC. She has had opportunities to work in a variety of different venues and high profile events. She has worked as a Special Operation Paramedic attached to the local law enforcement for special missions and was the training officer for the team. She has also trained and handled her SAR/USAR K9 until recently when the K9 was retired. She has an AAS in Electronic Engineering Technology and a BS in Emergency Disaster Management from Western Carolina University.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Exercise / Evaluation Coordination
  •  Education Coordination
  •  Deputy of Logistics/Operations Coordination
Scott Hess, MPA, EMT-P
Assistant Healthcare Preparedness Coordinator - Logistics/Operations



Scott’s exposure to disaster management began as a paramedic and member of a SMAT-III team. He functioned with hazardous materials, confined space/structural collapse, and special events teams. He holds a BS in biology and a BA in English from Appalachian State University, as well as an MPA with a concentration in Emergency Management from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Hospital First Receiver Project Management
  • Operations/Logistics Coordination
  • Capability Assessment Project (pending)
  • SMAT III Liason
  • Volunteer Management
Michael Tessari, EMT-P, AEM
Assistant Regional Coordinator

Mike graduated Magna Cum Laude from Western Carolina University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Emergency and Disaster Management. He also hold an Associate Degree in Fire Protection Technology from Central Piedmont Community College. Prior to assuming his current position, Mike was the Logistics Specialist for seven months with MHPC. He also spent four years at North Mecklenburg Volunteer Rescue Squad, two of which he was appointed Assistant Chief. Additionally, Mike has worked as a firefighter, EMT with Mecklenburg EMS Agency, and taught EMT courses at Central Piedmont Community College. He acquired his AEM (Associate Emergency Manager) credential in 2017 and has a three year old daughter named Chloe.

MHPC Steering Committee

Mark Lamphiear

Mark Lamphiear first became interested in what would later be called EMS watching the TV show “Rescue 8” as a child.  In high school, he was active in a Search and Rescue Explorer Post, and attained the rank of Eagle Scout.  Prior to working in Gaston County, Mark served over 15 years working his way up the ranks in an EMS system in Oregon.  Mark was the top student in the first paramedic class in Oregon, held at the Oregon Health Sciences University in 1977-78.  As part of that training, he completed an internship with the Los Angeles City Fire Department. Mark later obtained a BS degree in Management and a Certificate in Human Resources Management from Linfield College in Oregon. Mark was hired as the Gaston County EMS Director in May of 1992.  He subsequently obtained an MBA from the McColl School of Business at Queens University in Charlotte.  He maintains numerous emergency medical and technical rescue certifications.  Mark and his wife Becky, a Social Services Administrator, have four grown children . . . two boys and two girls; a police officer, a Navy pilot, a nurse, and a detention officer . . . and five grandsons.

Jill Demuth – Steering Committee Chair
Long Term Care

In 1989, Jill began working with and training emergency responders at the University of Findlay’s Emergency Response Training Center. While attending college, she also joined her first volunteer fire department. Jill has not only volunteered as a firefighter, but also as an EMT-Basic and Hazardous Materials Technician. Her professional career began at a radioactive materials clean-up site, where she did safety, environmental sampling, and data work. After six years, Jill decided to focus her work solely on safety and began working at universities. For almost 12 years, she worked in all branches of safety and emergency management at three different universities. Currently, Jill is the Continuing Care Safety Officer for Carolinas Healthcare System and provides safety and emergency management support to our skilled nursing, hospice and home care facilities. She is looking forward to working with and learning from the MHPC!

Elaney Katsafanas
Emergency Management

Elaney serves as an Emergency Management Planner for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office, and is tasked with all-hazards planning, response, recovery and mitigation efforts. Elaney serves as the health, medical and human services liaison for the department, coordinating efforts specific to mass care, emergency assistance, housing and human services, public health and medical services, long term community recovery, external affairs and volunteer and donations management. Additionally, Elaney serves as the functional lead for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg All-Hazards Advisory Committee (AHAC), the Joint Health Operations Committee (JHOC), health care facility review plans, the department’s information technology programs, Charlotte’s emergency notification system and situational awareness tools and the overall readiness of the Mecklenburg County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Ms. Katsafanas maintains a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from Central Michigan University and is a graduate of the Leading Educating and Developing (LEAD) program at the University of Virginia. Elaney maintains membership in the North Carolina Emergency Management Association (NCEM) and the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). Elaney joined the department as a Grants Administrator in 2015, after previously serving in the public, private and non-profit sectors as a public relations, risk mitigation and crisis management professional.

Mike Helton
Ad Hoc 1

Mike Helton, RN, BSN, MS EM, is the Emergency Management Coordinator for Catawba Valley Medical Center. He is the chairperson of the Emergency Management Committee, HazMat Subcommittee and has oversight for hospital OSHA compliance. He works to coordinate all EM activities with key stakeholders within the county, region and state. Active in the Metrolina Healthcare Preparedness Coalition, and one of two original SMAT members still active. Prior to taking the Emergency Management Coordinator role he worked in the Emergency Department setting for 12 years as a RN.