Billy Sparks, EVP, Government Relations & Co-Founder
Billy Sparks has over forty years of communications experience and is known as an innovator in the public relations field. Sparks also has a wealth of experience in government relations and is known as a consensus-builder. By spear-heading big ideas, he has created broad bipartisan coalitions across the country throughout his career for successful legislative outcomes.
In 1985, Sparks helped plan the first Farm Aid concert working with over 300 agricultural grassroots organizations. The first Farm Aid concert was carried live in 96% of American homes in prime time and raised over 11 million dollars from over 200,000 contributors. In 1993, Sparks served as Director of Research and Rapid Response for the campaign of New York City Mayor David Dinkins. In 1996, he served as Deputy Director for President Clinton’s second nationally broadcast Presidential Inaugural Gala. Sparks was Deputy Chief of Staff to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and was his Director of Communications for his historic 20002 campaign.
From 2006 to 2017 Sparks served as the Executive Director of Communications and Marketing for the UNM Health Sciences Center, an academic medical center with more than 11,000 employees and a 2.2-billion-dollar annual budget. Over the 11 years he oversaw all earned and paid media for the UNM Health Sciences Center, the University rose from the mid-20s favorable to 86% favorable. Under Sparks’ leadership, in 2016 voters passed a Mil Levy by a margin of 14%, which has translated into over 800 million dollars in local, taxpayer support for the University of New Mexico Hospital. In 2013, he was elected by his peers at over 60 major university research centers to serve as the National Chair of the Communications Key Function Committee of the Clinical Translational Science Award Consortium. He was recognized by the National Center for Advancing Translational Science Acting Director Elaine Collier for his service as Chair. Under Sparks’ marketing and communications leadership, the UNM Health Sciences Center saw a 25% increase in clinical revenue and clinical volume increased by 6%, despite severe facility capacity challenges and an economic downturn in New Mexico.
He is a Veteran of the U.S. Army Military Intelligence. His decades of service in federal, state and local government and in healthcare makes him uniquely qualified to lead our government operations.