The Sparks Agency TEXperts

By immense luck, Swift Stuart “Sparky” Sparks, Jr. was born in Texas.  His brother wasn’t, because his Dad kept getting promotions and the family moved to Little Rock AR and then Richmond VA.  The family always came “home” to Texas at Christmas and every summer until they finally moved back to the Lone Star State in time for him to start high school in Lubbock.   His great, great, great Grandfather rode with Col. Jack Hayes and the Texas Rangers in the Mexican-American War, and that historic sense of romaSparky Sparksnce of the Rangers always made him proud to say, “I am a Texan.”  Maybe that’s why over the last 40 plus years his business has transformed from one revolving around music to one that is now so Texas-centric.
Sparky started booking talent in college, and when he graduated, he knew that’s what he wanted to do with his life.  He relished being around creatives and collaborating with them to give the audience a fun, memorable experience. He lives to laugh, and maybe that’s why he has always found unusual things relatable and easy to sell.    His quirky personal tastes led him to build the business around unique offerings and a willingness to take on an event and solve the problems of the gig with a sense of humor, whim and a reputation for looking at all sides. Sparky is a founding member of the Society of Talent and Entertainment Professionals (STEP) and is a Certified Talent and Entertainment Professional (CTEP).
Sparky and his wife Jan feed the birds, enjoy their deck, visits from their three kids and spouses and doting on their granddaughter. With his home on about 30 acres in the country, and his office is about 300 feet away Sparky said, “I take this grueling commute by golf cart every day.  I love my big oaks, two ponds, 12 armadillos, my dog Willie and the 18 Hole Disc Golf course where I hold the oldest, continual disc golf invitational in the world.”  He enjoys reading Texas History, sipping new Texas spirits, craft beers and wine and his work.  Sparky loves the roads of Texas and his many friends and coworkers who choose to travel them with him.

As an early teen, MaryEllen Miller had a t-shirt that said, “If you lead a good life, say your prayers and go to church, when you die you’ll go to TEXAS.” She knew early on that Texas is heaven on earth.
MaryEllen is a fifth generation Texan who grew up in Dallas (the Big City). She spentMaryEllen Miller some time in the thriving metropolis of Wills Point (the Bluebird Capital of Texas) and finally settled just outside beautiful Canton, Texas (the Walking Capital of Texas), where she lives with her husband, Ryan. They love spending time with their grown-up kiddos and young grandchildren, and hosting guests from all over the country who come to hang out in their backyard oasis and visit world-famous First Monday Trade Days.
Her love for Texas and all that comes with this great state is evident in the pride she takes in her family, her home and her work. M.E. (as we like to call her around here) joined The Sparks Agency in 2007, after spending her career in corporate customer service. It became apparent quickly that she was going to be more than merely a secretary. She jumped into the entertainment booking business like she had been planning parties for four kids for the past eighteen years or something. She became fast friends with Speed Bump, our lead racing dillo, and promptly honed her skills as an Armadillo Wrangler. MaryEllen is active throughout the industry, serving on the Board of Directors for the Society of Talent and Entertainment Professionals (STEP) and the Texas Alliance of Convention, Meeting and Event Operation Managers (TxACOM).  She worked hard to earn the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) and Certified Talent & Entertainment Professional (CTEP) designations. She’s the Paper Queen and can get a proposal or contract out with lightning speed. She knows that every day is a holiday, and celebrates accordingly. She’s a writer and sometimes a poet. She is an integral part of the creative team, and she is the Chief Operations TEXpert.
“My favorite thing about my job is being able to share Texas with visitors from all over the world. Seeing the amazement when people realize just how big a longhorn really is. Watching their faces light up when they see fields of bluebonnets. Noticing the awe in their voices when they learn that indeed, the stars at night ARE big and bright. Hearing time after time that Texans are so friendly. That’s what I love about being at The Sparks Agency.” ~ ME

Swift Sparks grew up on thirty acres of country woods and pastures in East Texas in the little town of Wills Point. He spent his youth helping his father, Sparky, at events across the state at venues big and small. In 2005 Swift enrolled at the University of Swift SparksTexas at Austin. While earning his bachelor’s degree in sociology, Swift continued to work in the events industry around the Austin area.
Swift is now heading the Austin office full time as he continues to perform as a trick roper, quick draw artist and armadillo wrangler. He has continued to develop and grow his education and involvement in the industry, remaining active on committees and boards for industry organizations like the Society of Talent and Entertainment Professionals (STEP) and the International Live Events Association (ILEA). Swift has earned his certification as a special event professional (CSEP) bringing a second CSEP to The Sparks Agency.
A true TEXpert, Swift has had a passion for all things Texas since his youth. Following his father from historical marker to historical marker he enjoys the wealth of culture, knowledge and inspiration that Texas history provides. Swift said, “When I’m not working an event you can find me exploring one of Texas’ state parks, hiking one of Austin’s many trails or enjoying a Texas beer on a hot summer night.”

Glenn Hillin is a 5th generation Texan. Born in Dallas to parents that were born in Dallas (a Dallas rarity), Glenn followed in his professional photographer father’s footsteps. He started his career as an advertising photographer before forming his own creative agency in Dallas in the late 70’s. While enjoying the trials and tribulations of owning a small business, Glenn was offered a full-time position Glenn Hillin with one of his major clients. This started a journey within the aerospace industry that took him around the world.  As a much sought-after marketing communication expert working for several Fortune 500 companies, this TEXpert knows what an organization is looking for in a successful event. Glenn developed multi-faceted marketing programs in pursuit of billion-dollar contracts, developed and managed large-scale events such as international airshows and aircraft carrier christenings, and developed branding programs at the product and company levels. When Glenn finally returned to Texas, he decided to leave the corporate hub-bub behind and found that country living was the life for him. “There was nothing more unsettling to me than to drive my car in Texas with out-of-state plates. I just felt like I lost my heritage and identity. Once I got back here, you couldn’t pry me out with a crowbar!” That decision just happened to put him within a tractor ride of one of his oldest friends, Sparky Sparks. One day Sparky called Glenn up and said, “Hey man, could you help me with an armadillo race tonight?” That was a bit more than ten years ago and as they say, the rest is TEXpert history. Glenn has been the president of the Society of Talent and Entertainment Professionals (STEP) for the past two years after serving on its board for the past six years.