ECHO Staff members strive everyday to serve the undernourished in their various roles!
Rick Burnette, Director of Agriculture
Rick received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Tennessee in Plant and Soil Science. His involvement in Asia began in the mid-1980s when he worked with an agricultural project in the southern Philippines. Ten years later Rick and his wife, Ellen, co-founded the Upland Holistic Development Project offering agriculture and community development outreach among hilltribe communities along the Thai-Burma border. Between 2009 and 2013, he directed ECHO's Regional Impact Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Rick has served as Director of Agriculture at ECHO in Ft. Myers, Florida, since 2013.
Bianca Basch, Agriculture Administrative Assistant
Bianca holds a degree in Biology from Messiah College. In 2009, she studied abroad in Thailand, where she was introduced to the ECHO Asia Seedbank and met her husband, Ekachai. After graduating in 2012, Bianca worked with a small non-profit in Thailand and began her Master's degree in Linguistics. She is grateful to God for the opportunity to serve with ECHO. Bianca's interests are sustainable agriculture, social justice, and cultural and linguistic diversity.
Agriculture Training Department
Brian Flanagan, Director of Ag Training/Intern Manager
Brian grew up in Haiti . He has a background in biology, international agriculture and rural development with degrees from Oklahoma Panhandle State University and Cornell University. Brian was an ECHO intern from 2002-2003 and worked in Haiti for seven years after completing his internship. Brian has been involved in various community development projects throughout Haiti and in multiple other countries.
Renee Gill, Agriculture Training Specialist
Renee holds a B.A. in Community Development from Covenant College with a specialization in International Micro-Finance. Having worked for organizations such as FINCA International and Lionbridge Technologies, Renee earned many years of experience in training and international development.
Agriculture Operations Department
Tim Watkins, Head of Agricultural Operations
Tim has a background in biology and horticulture with a degree from Bethel University. Tim was an intern from January 2001 to January 2002 and returned to ECHO after time in the Central African Republic. Tim's interests include camping and refinishing antique furniture.
Andy Cotarelo, Farm Manager
Andy Cotarelo has been with ECHO since 2006 when he was an ECHO Intern. Andy has a BS in Biology. His background includes teaching High School science both domestically and abroad for 6 years. His overseas passion is focused in Senegal and his experience is growing as he manages the many aspects of ECHO's Global Farm.
Lydia Hofland, Propagation Manager
Lydia holds a BA in Community Development from Covenant College. During her undergraduate studies she completed a research internship with Growing Nations in Lesotho, Southern Africa, an organization focused on conservation agriculture techniques. She first joined ECHO as a Rainforest Intern and returns after working on several organic farms.
Holly Sobetski, Seedbank Manager
Holly is from Nebraska and received an AS degree in Science from York College and a BS in Agriculture Missions from Lubbock Christian University. She was an ECHO intern (Lowlands/Seedbank) from 2005 – 2006. She also served as the Assistant Seedbank Manager for a month following her internship. From 2006 – 2013 she worked in Cambodia as an Agriculture Development Worker and Consultant.
Elliott Toevs, Appropriate Technology Manager
Elliott was born and raised in Idaho. His passion for agriculture began at an early age as he was actively involved in the family farm and in his parents’ irrigation and implement business. He earned his B.S. in Agriculture Systems Management and M.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Idaho, where he also met his wife Alexa. After interning at ECHO from 2011 to 2012, God called them to the Peruvian Amazon to serve alongside the indigenous church. Elliott rejoined ECHO as Appropriate Technology Manager in February 2017. He enjoys: travelling, outdoor recreation, and spending time with friends and family, especially his wife and children.
Luke Dallmann, Agriculture Operations Assistant
Luke is from Colorado but spent most of his growing up years in Cameroon. He graduated from Columbia International University with a degree in Intercultural Studies in 2012.
Agricultural Tech & Research Department
Dr. Tim Motis, Agriculture Technical and Research Director
Tim Motis grew up in Ethiopia and Liberia, and served as an agriculturalist in Ethiopia for two years before earning his PhD in Horticulture at the University of Florida. He has been on staff with ECHO since 2003. Currently, he oversees ECHO’s Agriculture Technical and Research Division. His team coordinates ECHO research activities, produces informational resources relevant to small-scale farmers, responds to inquiries from ECHO's international network, and maintains a library of resources pertaining to tropical agriculture.
Dawn Berkelaar, Co-editor of ECHO Development Notes (EDN)
Dawn came to ECHO in the fall of 1999 as an intern with a bachelors degree and masters degree in biology. She and her husband, Edward, lived and worked at ECHO for three years after their marriage. Dawn works out of her home in Canada. Her interests include running, reading, and writing.
Bob Hargrave, Technical Research Coordinator, Agricultural Consulting Services
Bob has a background of agricultural missions in Kenya, Africa, with expertise in drought resistant crops and famine relief distribution. Bob works with ECHO's Technical Response Unit answering requests from missionaries and development workers overseas. His interests include dry land and tropical agriculture.
Stacy Reader, Research & Publication Associate
Stacy is from Pittsburgh and graduated from Boston College in 2013 with a major in Biology and minor in International Studies. In college, she managed the campus greenhouse and was a Teaching Assistant for several ecology courses. During undergraduate studies, she researched Switchgrass as a biofuel and the tri-trophic interactions among Monarch caterpillars, Mycorrhizal Fungi and Milkweed. Stacy has traveled to Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana and Burkina Faso for various short-term endeavors and has spent time as an agricultural consultant in Tanzania.
Patt Voorhis, Librarian
Patt Voorhis visited ECHO on a mission trip shortly after coming to the area and soon became a volunteer. She served as a volunteer in the Development Department for over a year before joining the ECHO staff as Tour Coordinator. Patt became the ECHO Librarian in 2016.
Advancement & Public Relations
Danielle Flood, PR and Communications Manager
Danielle came to ECHO in December 2007 after serving as a missionary in Niger, West Africa for two years. She has a degree in Spanish and enjoys learning languages and cultures, kayaking, picnicking and basically anything outdoors. She and her husband look at ECHO as an opportunity to serve the missionary community and want to be faithful to serve God wherever he plants them.
JoDee Hanssen, Special Gifts Officer
JoDee has a degree in Business Management and over 20 years of management experience with an emphasis on customer service and building long-term relationships with clients. JoDee joins us from St. Matthew’s House, where she first served as the Development Assistant, and later as Donor Relations Manager, and Church Engagement Officer. She has a passion for doing God’s work and serving the “least of these”. She has always found her mission field to be anywhere God places her. JoDee grew up on a farm, and still calls South Dakota home. She enjoys fishing, kayaking, and photography. Married for over 36 years, she has been blessed with 2 adult children and 5 grandchildren.
Alyssa Barrett, Donor Relations Associate
Alyssa has an MS in Agricultural and Extension Education and a BS in Agricultural Science from Mississippi State. After completing her internship time at ECHO FL and then spending time at the East Africa RIC, Alyssa has been hired as the Donor Relations Associate with the Advancement Department.
ECHO Latin America/Caribbean Impact Team
Cecilia Gonzalez, Team Leader
Cecilia was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador. She spent half of her life in other countries, including Honduras, Haiti, and the United States, pursuing her call to relieve hunger in the world. Before moving to Florida, Cecilia served with World Relief for a year in Haiti and later in their office in Baltimore supporting their earthquake rehabilitation programs. She has also served with Catholic Relief Services, Mercy Ships, and the Ithaca Pregnancy Center. After transferring from the Agro-industrial Engineering Program at the Pan-American Agriculture University “Zamorano” in Honduras, Cecilia obtained a BS in Food Science from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. As a graduate student at Cornell University, Cecilia focused on international development and did research on iron nutrition.
Libby Arcia, Program Coordinator
Libby has previously served in the roles of Operations Manager for Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, as a Project Analyst and as a Patient Services Coordinator for Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD. Libby was born and raised in Nicaragua, and is excited for the opportunity to use her talents and experience in service to the people of her native region.
ECHO Asia Impact Center
Abram Bicksler, Director
Abram completed his undergraduate studies at Taylor University, where he was first exposed to environmental science and missions and became excited about how agricultural development can be used in conjunction with the Gospel. Abram finished his M.S. and Ph.D in sustainable agriculture at the University of Illinois, where he also met his wife, Becca. Together in 2009, they moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where Abram worked as an instructor at ISDSI (International Sustainable Development Studies Institute), and began to coordinate research for the ECHO Asia Impact Center.
Daniela Riley, Office Manager
Daniela (DJ) graduated from Texas Christian University in 2000 with a degree in Advertising. DJ first came to Asia in 2004 to serve among the people of Central Asia. Now living in Chiang Mai with her family of 4 since 2012, she hopes to complete her MBA this year focusing on Corporate Social Responsibility among foreign-owned companies in China and Southeast Asia. DJ is passionate about holistic ministry among the people of Southeast Asia.
Boonsong Thansrithong (Toh), Agricultural Program Manager
Toh holds a B.S. in Agriculture from Mae Jo University and a M.S. in Agriculture Extension from Chiang Mai University. Before coming to ECHO, Toh worked with Partners Relief and Development and has done work with aid relief and development across the Thai-Burma border, including natural farming training. Toh joined ECHO in 2012. He and his wife live in Chiang Mai.
Wenika Oimoon (Tak), Legal and Office Assistant
Tak is from Phayao, Northern Thailand. She has a degree in accounting from Payap University. Tak joined the ECHO Asia staff part-time in April of 2014 and also works for the Prosperous Youth Foundation. She has a passion for serving with Christian organizations in Thailand. Tak lives in Chiang Mai with her five dogs.
Rattakarn Arttawuttikun (Wah), Seed Bank Manager
Originally from Jamnoi village in Chiang Mai province, Wah holds a degree in management from Chiang Rai Rajaphat University. Before coming to ECHO in 2010, she worked at the Upland Holistic Development Project (UHDP) in Mai Ai, Chiang Mai province. Outside of working in ECHO's seed production plots and managing the seed bank's daily operations, Wah also likes to prepare (delicious!) food from forest ingredients.
Kitichai Sampunsinkor (Chai), Seed Production Manager
Chai is from Maejam in Chiang Mai province, Thailand. He studied plant science and holds a degree in Science / Agriculture Technology from Chiang Mai Rajaphat University. Before coming to work for ECHO Asia, Chai worked at the Upland Holistic Development Project and prior to that worked for Thailand's Royal Development Project. In his free time, Chai enjoys gardening, raising animals, and playing footbal.
Yuwadee Danmalidoi (Paw), Information and Quality Control Technician
Paw joined ECHO Asia staff in 2013 as the Information and Quality Control Technician. She is from Baan San Muang (A. Kanlayaniwatana, in Northern Thailand). Paw studied English Business as Rajaphat Univeristy in Chiang Mai. In the past, she worked at Compassion Thailand, where she did data management and reporting for their Children's Programs. In her free time, Paw enjoys playing guitar and listening to music. She can also often be seen driving her motorcycle through the countryside in Northern Thailand.
Asang Siemrai (Sang), Seed Bank Technician
Sang is from Huay Sai Khao village, Chiang Mai Province. Before coming to ECHO in 2010, he worked at an orphanage in Chiang Mai. He now lives in Mai Ai with his wife, Soi, and their three year old son.
Chaiporn Siriraksook (Earth), Seed Bank Technician
Originally from Mae Om Soon village in Chiang Mai province, Earth has a degree in Livestock from San Paa Tong College. He joined ECHO Asia's seed bank staff in 2012.
Patrick Trail, Research & Technical Associate
Patrick is originally from Louisiana, but spent most of his growing-up years overseas. He lived in Rwanda, Mauritius, and Botswana before returning to the U.S. to begin university. After completing his undergraduate degree, Patrick returned to Virginia Tech where he completed a Master’s degree in Crop & Soil Environmental Sciences. Patrick worked as a research assistant on a Feed the Future project in Senegal – Education and Research in Agriculture (ERA) – where he looked into the benefits of growing various legume crops in association with pearl millet. Patrick returns as a former Monsoon intern, and is excited about living and working on a new continent!
ECHO East Africa Impact Center
Erwin Kinsey, Director
Erwin Kinsey was born and raised on a Vermont dairy and maple farm. He volunteered with the American Friends Service Committee in Mexico for two years before finishing his Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of Vermont. He has worked for 35 years promoting food security of small, low-income farmers and pastoralists, first with Heifer International in Tanzania and across Africa from 1977-2007, and for Global Service Corps in Tanzania from 2007-2012. He obtained a Masters in Rural Development from the University of London SOAS in 2008 and has written numerous farmer manuals and publications.
Adivekson Harold, Demonstration Plot Assistant
Adive's family comes from Kilimanjaro, and he now lives in Ngaramtoni with his wife and young son. He has worked at the Impact Center since September 2012, and brings a light-hearted spirit to his daily tasks. Adive maintains the demonstration plots, collects and cleans seed for storage, keeps the office clean, and sells produce and seedlings to Impact Center visitors and neighbors. He has worked as a gardener for years, and definitely has a green thumb!
Moses Phineas, Accountant
Moses was born in Arusha, and completed his Bachelor's of Business Administration and Accounting in 2012. He is a freelance accountant, currently pursuing a Master's degree, and is active in the ELCT (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania). Moses joined ECHO East Africa team in March of 2013, and works with to keep finances and official paperwork in order.
Charles Bonaventure, Technical Advisor
Charles Bonaventure (called "Bonny”), is a long-term Technical Advisor for ECHO East Africa. Bonny worked with the Tanzanian government since 1986 before joining World Vision Tanzania in 2004 as Agriculture Trainer. For eight years, he served with World Vision Tanzania in various capacities. Prior to joining ECHO, he worked with Global Service Corps. Bonny comes from the Kilimanjaro region and is blessed with three children. He holds two bachelor degrees in Horticulture (Tanzania) and Rural Development (The Netherlands). Bonny joins ECHO with a passion for agricultural development and practices that will reduce hunger, improve livelihoods, and increase community resilience.
Sophia Kasubi, Executive Assistant
Sophia received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with specialization in social policy, planning and administration from the University of Dar es Salaam. Prior to working with ECHO, she worked with Global Service Corps as Personal/Administrative Assistant and Africa Agribusiness Academy as Project Assistant. She has also attended courses on First Aid, MBTI, Microsoft Access and Capacity Building training. She is married with two children.
Harold Msanya, Innovation Coordinator
Harold has six years experience managing programs with Catholic Relief Services and ten years managing community-based programs with World Vision –Tanzania. He holds a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering and is married with two children. He attended several courses like project management cycles, monitoring and evaluation, integrated water resources management, sand dam technologies, and appreciative inquiry
Happy Martin, Appropriate Technology Trainer
Happy joined ECHO as Appropriate Technology trainer under IDIN project. She has appropriate technology skills and experience, acquired while working with Global Service Corps, World Vision, Farm Concern, and Mwedo. She has attended courses like capacity building training, agriculture, and carpentry. She hopes to continue with further Appropriate Technology training.
Rose Dusabeyezu, Seed Bank Manager
Rose graduated fromthe University of Agriculture Rwanda in the Crop Protection department for her bachelor degree. Also, she holds a Master degree of Arts in Community development from the Mount Meru University of Arusha, Tanzania. Before joining ECHO East Africa Rose worked at Rwanda Agricultural Development Authority as the in charge of seed quality control and AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center as Research Assistant.
Venance Mollel, Appropriate Technology Trainer
Venance has vast skills and experience in carpentry, farming, photography and masonry. He is an appropriate technology trainer under IDIN project. Prior to working with ECHO, he worked with Global Service Corps, Kilimo Markets and Mennonite Central Committee. He attended creative capacity building and entrepreneurship courses. He is married with three children.
West Africa Impact Center
Robert Sanou, Director
For over 15 years Robert has directed the work of ACCEDES, a multi-sectoral development organization in Burkina Faso. Mr. Sanou holds a Master’s degree in Project Management and a Juris Doctor degree in Law. He is a French and English-speaking Burkinabé who has served on Boards of regional organizations, consulted for European and U.S. entities, and traveled widely throughout the region and the world.
Alain Gouba, Agricultural Specialist
Alain Gouba has (the equivalent of) an Associate’s degree as an Animal Husbandry Technician, a Bachelor’s degree in Adult Development & Education, a Master’s degree in Social Change & Development Pedagogy, and a Master’s in Sustainable Agriculture. He worked 24 years for the government before becoming an independent consultant with an international NGO. Since 2013, he has been working as the Agricultural Specialist for ECHO’s Regional Impact Center in West Africa. Alain is married and the father of three children.
Noemi Kara, Administrative Assistant
Noemi has a high school specialization in bookkeeping and a university level degree in Organizational Management from the Université Saint Thomas d’Acqin in Burkina Faso. Noemi also received a Master’s in Project Management from Coventry University/United Kingdom represented by Ghana Technology University College in Accra/Ghana. She has worked for a number of companies including BICIA-B bank and media and broadcasting companies. She also had a brief stint with Compassion International in Ghana.
Bernard Sié Kansié (Promesse), Community Garden and Appropriate Technology Specialist
Bernard, also known as Promesse, has a Law Degree from the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. Working with various associations since 2011, he has a particular passion for agriculture, especially for gardening. Promesse joined the ECHO West Africa team in 2014 as the Garden Manager, and with his skills and experience, he has become a trainer in appropriate technologies and home/community garden techniques.
David Erickson, President/CEO
David is originally from Rochester, Minnesota. From 2005-2010 David served as COO of World Hope International, a relief and development organization working with the poor in 23 countries. Prior to this, David served for 20 years as President & Co-Founder of Samaritan Inns, Inc., an award-winning community and faith-based organization providing alternative treatment, housing, and support services to formerly homeless men and women in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. In 2001, David was named an Ashoka Fellow for social innovation and entrepreneurship. In 1999 he was recognized by The Meyer Foundation as “one of the region’s most visionary nonprofit leaders for the 21st century.” Previously he launched the economic and demographic forecasting firm Woods & Poole Economics and served as Economic & Policy Analyst at the U.S. EPA. David holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Morris.
Tim Albright, Chief Operations Officer
Tim joined the ECHO staff in August of 2009. He graduated from Nyack College with a BS in Missions and also met his wife, Ruth, there. He earned a Master's degree from Columbia International University. Tim, a missionary kid from Mali, worked for 23 years in community development. Based in Burkina Faso, he served as a regional consultant for CAMA Services in health, education, micro enterprise and food security.
Bruce Wilson, Director of Strategic Initiatives
Bruce is an internationally experienced leader who has served as a pastor, team leader, educational adviser, and consultant. Bruce worked in Indonesia for eleven years before returning to the US in 2002 to serve as the missions pastor at College Church in Wheaton for fourteen years. Bruce graduated from Wheaton College and has done further study at the Wheaton Graduate School and Universitas Padjadjaran. Bruce has spoken at colleges and seminaries around the world. His travels have taken him to 60 countries. Bruce and his wife, Becky, have been in pastoral and cross-cultural ministry for 28 years. They have two sons.
Kristen Musko, Executive Administrative Assistant
Kristen is from Ohio and received her BA in Psychology and Sociology from Bowling Green State University. She has a background in social work, business administration, small group leadership, and worship ministry. In Ohio, Kristen operated a property management business, homeschooled her two boys and served as a vocalist/ worship leader at her local church. Kristen, her husband Garrett, and her two boys moved to Florida in 2015 and have watched God rebuild their lives in a new community. Prior to joining ECHO, Kristen filled the dual role of Executive Assistant and HR Project Manager at Living Waters Church.
Tina Ugland, Director of Finance
Tina joined the ECHO staff in 2008. She graduated from Edison State College with an AS Degree in Accounting and has experience working in profit and non-profit industries. She met her husband, Roy, in 1988 and they have been blessed with Bjorn, who is their only child. Her interests outside of accounting include animal rights and nature conservancy.
Bob Rainey, Accounting Clerk
Bob and wife, Kathy, moved to Cape Coral, FL in 2013. Bob has a degree in Computer Information Systems and was a technical manager in the banking industry until deciding to move to SW Florida. Bob and Kathy have 3 children and 4 grandkids. Bob served as church treasurer at his church in Wilmington, Delaware. Bob believes working at ECHO in the Finance Department is a perfect fit in his faith journey.
Woldine Gallini, Human Resources Manager
Woldine moved from Haiti to the United States in 1995 as a teenager with her family. She holds a B.S. in Finance from Liberty University. Before joining ECHO, she spent the last 10 years working in administration in the Wealth Management, Mortgage and Retail Banking industry. She’s passionate about mission, serving in the church and her community. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Jason Gallini, and family, including a son and stepson.
Ellen Burnette, Retail Manager/Administrative Department Associate
Ellen and her husband, Rick, lived in Thailand for 19 years. They co-founded a development project with outreach among hilltribe communities along the Thai-Burma border. In 2009, Rick and Ellen were asked to start the ECHO Asia Impact Center in Chiang Mai Thailand. Ellen served as the Office Manager until their return to the U.S. in 2013.
Russ Luther, Tour Coordinator
After college and seminary, Russ and his family served as missionaries in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. After their time in Africa, they were called to church ministry back in America. It was during that time Russ heard about ECHO. Aware of the needs of small scale farmers in difficult climates, when he read ECHO's Vision: Honoring God Through Sustainable Hunger Solutions, Russ gladly accepted to move to Florida and join our staff.
Nate Flood, Digital Media Specialist
Nate Flood is from suburban Detroit and is a graduate of Cedarville University. With a background in broadcast management and production, he came to ECHO after 10 years with WAY MEDIA, where he first served as Director of Marketing, and later as the Director of Operations for the Southwest Florida market. Nate specializes in software development with an emphasis on real-time systems integration, but is truly passionate about the outdoors.
Steve Snyder, Digital Media Associate
Steve grew up on small farms owned by his parents and grandparents in NW Pennsylvania with little exposure to a worldview of agriculture or missions. While attending Penn State (where he met his wife, Marcy), Steve was exposed to a broader view of agriculture through his studies in Ag Economics and to Ag missions by his Mennonite fraternity brothers who took him to meetings at the local Alliance church. Steve and Marcy have been married 43 years; have 2 children, and 2 grandsons. Steve was employed 40 years by the PA Farm Bureau, and served in his church. Looking back, Steve sees God’s fingerprints across the decades, preparing him for this new season of contributing with his AG and IT background to the work of ECHO as a Digital Media Associate.
Pete Singer, Physical Plant Supervisor
Pete joined ECHO in 2010 after spending 35 years in a construction and property management career. He attended Northwestern Bible College in Roseville, MN. Pete enjoys spending time with his wife, Sandy, and family, including his seven grandchildren. He loves reading and working with exotic woods, creating furniture pieces for family and friends. He enjoys leading small-group Bible studies and serves on the Vision Team for his church.
Jhon Ayazo, Assistant Physical Plant Supervisor
Jhon joined Echo in 2012 after spending 20 years in construction and landscape maintenance. Jhon came from Columbia in 1998 and enjoys spending time with his wife, Sandra and family. Jhon has recently become a grandfather and he and Sandra enjoy helping with their new granddaughter. Jhon is the leader of the Hispanic Ministry at his church and serves on the church board.
Heidi Veres, Hospitality and Volunteer Coordinator
Heidi has a passion for Christ, gardening, natural health, nutrition, innovative technologies, design, and medicinal plants. She studied at The School of Natural Medicine in Boulder, Colorado and received a Master Gardener's Certificate through the University of Wisconsin extension program. She spent several years traveling, learning and living on farms in Belize, Jamaica, Haiti, and Wisconsin. She moved from Wisconsin to Cape Coral in 2004, was saved in Christ in 2007 and married her husband Keith in 2008. She has been very active in her church and community - showing love to her neighbors. She has organized teams to build resource books for Lee County, large food collections for the hungry, and has been in full-time ministry work for the past year.
Carolyn Gullett, Retail Associate
Carolyn and her husband are native Floridians. She has spent many years in the Banking Industry. They both serve as Care Pastors of Life Church and are establishing a safe house for minor female girls who have been victims of sex trafficking. She is enjoying every minute at ECHO and appreciates what ECHO stands for.
Aaron Lynch, Retail Nursery Associate
Aaron Lynch, a true Floridian, has a passion for vegetable gardening, fruit trees, and sustainability. Married to his high school sweetheart, Aaron serves as an active member in the community, having organized several local initiatives such as Neighborhood Watch Group and an Adopt-A-Road.
Charles Thibodeau, Retail Nursery Coordinator
A native Floridian and hobbyist gardener, Charlie and his family recently moved over from the Fort Lauderdale area. With a background in education and health science, he was attracted to ECHO for their commitment in developing sustainable agricultural practices in poverty stricken areas of the world. He is a firm believer that optimal health begins with what you eat thus the importance of having a reliable and nutritious food source.
Stephanie Peterson, Retail Associate
Stephanie has a background in humanitarian relief and development work. While studying Health Science, she lived and worked in Ecuador and El Salvador. She is currently earning her M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova University.
Patricia Fernandez, Retail Associate
Patricia is a native Floridian who loves to garden and learn all about plants. She volunteered as a facilitator in Turning The Tides on Poverty through Community Circles; and taught adults in the Salud Immokalee program which assist families struggling with obesity and proper nutrition. She earned a BS from Trinity International University in Communications and a MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University. She has been married to her husband for over 30 years, and together have three grown children. She was formerly a homeschooler, 4-H group leader, CCD teacher and currently is involved with a Woman’s bible study group.
David Kusserow, Semi-Arid/Nursery
David graduated from Dordt College with a BS in Agriculture and a specialization in Plant Science. David, was raised in Niger. He spent a gap year working at an SIM hospital in Niger, improving landscaping, developing a small nursery and researching methods for the hospital to better manage their water supply. In college he has involved in Navigators, spending two summers in Jacksonville, Florida.
Kelly Wilson, Community Garden
Kelly graduated from Wheaton College with a B.S. in Environmental Science, a minor in Spanish and a certificate in Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR). Kelly is from Overland Park, Kansas. During college she spent time throughout Latin America spending time in Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, and Panama supporting various agriculture and community development work. She currently has been working as the interim Communications Specialist for HNGR.
Evan Neubacher, Urban Garden/Seed Bank
Evan graduated with a Master of Arts in International and Economic Development from the University of San Francisco. He has done research in Rwanda for his master’s degree studying microfinance programs and has worked as an intern in Uganda for an organization that supports grandmothers who care for orphans.
Gretchen Rops, Lowland/Propagation
Gretchen graduated from Dordt College with a BA in Agriculture Missions and minor in Spanish. She has spent time in both Mexico and Nicaragua as a student. She grew up on a small farm in South Dakota.
Luke Little, Mountain/Nursery
Luke graduated from Union University with a B.S. in Conservation Biology. He grew up in Guinea where his parents were missionaries. Luke has worked on a dairy farm in Michigan, at University of Tennessee research station, and studied in Turkey while in college.
Jack Olsen, Monsoon/Seed Bank
Jack graduated from Berry College with a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy. He spent his childhood in Australia and Fort Myers, FL where his parents worked in missions and ministry. Jack, his wife Abigail, and son Jarrah have been living in Rome, Georgia, where Jack has been working with college students as an employee of Berry College’s farm.
Imanuel Feodor, Rainforest/Propagation
Imanuel graduated from Dordt College with a B.S. in Agriculture. He is from Jakarta, Indonesia. At Dordt he spent time learning about agriculture working on both the school farm and local farms in Iowa. Imanuel plans to return to Indonesia after completing the internship.
Savannah Froese, Appropriate Technology/Seed Bank
Savannah graduated from Liberty University with a B.S. in Biology. She grew up in Indiana just outside of Indianapolis. During college Savannah worked on the university farm. She also spent summers in Zimbabwe and in Peru.
Elena Brooks, Semi-arid / Propagation
Elena graduated from Florida State University (FSU) with a BS and Masters in Environmental Studies and minor in Urban and Regional Planning. She interned with New Missions Systems International, where Elena spent 8 weeks in Kenya working on agriculture projects at a NMSI supported program. During her studies at FSU Elena was active in both Christian student ministries and local agriculture organizations that link the community to their local agriculture.
Sarah Hinson, Community Garden / Seed Bank
Sarah graduated from Winthrop University with a BA in Environmental Studies. She has been working the last two years in Bolivia, where she was teaching high school at an international school which is managed by South America Mission. Sarah has also spent time in Costa Rica and Colomba on study abroad and mission trips.