Mike Sparks was born in Talladega, Alabama and attended Lineville High School where he played football for Coach Gerald Dial.

Mike retired after serving Alabama for almost 40 years with the Department of Forensic Sciences. During his tenure, he spearheaded numerous advancements in forensic technology and made significant improvements in the quality and timeliness of forensic services provided by the Department; all while leading the department in a fiscally responsible way and by being a good steward of taxpayer money.

Mike attended Auburn University and received a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. He married Sheila Giddens in March 1978 and began his forensic science career in August 1978 as a laboratory technician in the Birmingham Regional Laboratory.

Over the next 39+ years, he advanced the quality of forensic science testing throughout Alabama. Early in his career, he served as a drug chemist where he personally worked over 25,000 drug chemistry cases. He is qualified as an expert witness in both the state and federal courts.  Mike also helped pass new felony arrestee DNA legislation which enabled Alabama to achieve recognition as the national leader in identifications of unknown perpetrators of crime. This makes all Alabamians safer everyday.

In 1985, Mike became the second scientist in the history of the Birmingham Laboratory to successfully complete the Alabama Peace Officers Police Academy. He was recognized for his outstanding work in drug chemistry and became Section Chief in the Department’s Birmingham Laboratory in 1988.

In 2005, Mike was appointed Assistant Director for Laboratory Sciences, at which time he transferred to the Department’s headquarters in Auburn, Alabama.

Mike completed his graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Mike Sparks was appointed Director of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences by the Alabama Attorney General in 2007, and led the agency until his retirement in 2017.