Paul has spent over 30 years working in the embedded computing industry. Over those years, he has moved from engineering, engineering management, sales and business development, founder and executive in various high tech firms. Paul has helped build and sell technology companies and is excited about using his business experience as he has now transitioned to being a full time volunteer as Empower Dreams CEO and looking forward to seeing God do great things.
Paul has been married to his wife, Karen for over 30 years and has three married children with four grandchildren and more on the way.
Mark and Robyn Shriver
Mark founded and runs a variety of his own marketing and advertising companies and Robyn is retired from a high tech firm where she managed very large scale IT Services operations. Their home and business are located in Puerto Rico, although their hearts are also in Texas with their family. Robyn is on the board of Empower Dreams and serves in the role of secretary. Mark performs volunteer work for Empower Dreams. They have a heart for missions, love to travel and look forward to many years of service. Mark and Robyn have been married for 19 years and have 6 children combined into a blended family. They currently have 9 grandchildren and are hoping for many more.
He is so excited about the outstanding team of Christian business folks at Empower Dreams that have come together motivated by the love of Jesus to help make a difference in the lives of folks who desperately need both physical and spiritual help.
Brent has spent the last 8 years working in the Oil and Gas Industry. During that time he has founded and operated multiple firms that engage in areas ranging from Exploration and Production to Oil and Gas Asset Brokerage. He is excited to be part of the Empower Dreams board where he hopes to literally Empower the Dreams of people across the world that are in need and share God's great redeeming love.
Brent is married to his wonderful wife, Leah and has a one-year-old beautiful baby boy named Knox.
Lana served as the Founder of Speak Hope 2010-2014 that engaged creative social action to provide clean water to villages in Sub-Sahara Africa. Lana's compassion for spreading the gospel led her to develop children programs in Belize and Honduras. Lana has established herself as one of the top respected hair & make-up artists in the fashion industry with the Kim Dawson Agency in Dallas, Texas. She is known to be a visionary to build a community of creative people for the purpose of addressing some of today's most challenging needs.
Lana is using her creativity and energy to develop the strategies and lead the Empower Dreams broad marketing and communication needs.
Judah Fertig, Director of Prayer
Judah has worked for over 30 years as a commercial banking officer in California in Texas. Even though knowing about Jesus, he did not become a Christ follower until the age of 33. Judah has served in a leadership capacity in various religious and non-profit organizations. His hope is for Empower Dreams to live out the gospel by selflessly serving ministry partners who are making disciples, until all the peoples praise God (Psalm 67:3).
Rebecca and Judah met in church and were married 20 years ago. They have two teenage daughters, Chloe and Phoebe. Their family resides in Double Oak, Texas.
Kris Watson, Treasurer
Kris grew up as the son of missionaries in China for two years, and Taiwan for thirteen years, before joining YWAM for a term in the Pacific. He has been involved in mission’s equipping, care, sending, and re-entry for nine years across several international ministries, but with his primary home fellowship at the Village Church, where he was certified by the Association of Biblical Counselors, and assists their mission’s care team.
He is also an ambassador for Davar Partners in bringing solar-powered Audio-Bibles to unreached people groups in Africa, and has delivered roughly 800 AudiBibles to minority tribes throughout Kenya and Tanzania.
Kris spent the last 9 years partnering with technology companies in solving their executive talent challenges across the US and Europe. He recently started serving on the Communications Board of his alma mater, University of North Texas. Kris and his father Tim also direct Source Care Ventures, a small 501c3, geared towards mission’s care and impoverished groups.
He has known his wife Ashley, for five years, and recently brought their first child Isaiah, into the world. Kris is excited to join Empower Dreams and see the Lord move in new ways!
Gary graduated from college with a business degree in accounting, and then found himself in the trucking industry, where he spent the bulk of his career. After 30 years managing and leading large national truck-lines, he “retired” to spend more time in local ministry and international missions work. His focus in that has been business development and start-up ventures in refugee communities in Africa. Gary is passionate about seeing the Gospel proclaimed and spread internationally, and believes that Empower Dreams is uniquely positioned to play a significant role in doing that.
Gary is married to Debra, a nurse who is involved in medical missions in Africa. Together they have 4 children and 8 grandchildren.
Keith has over fifteen years of experience working in various sectors of the international development arena (food security and agriculture, refugee services, and education programs), both in the U.S. and abroad. Currently he serves as Associate Director for Program Development at the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture within the Texas A&M University System where he has overall responsibility for new business development. Previously he served as the Institute’s Assistant Director for Administration and Finance providing overall administrative oversight, financial management, project coordination and compliance, and logistical support for international contracts, cooperative agreements, and grants portfolio that between 2002 and 2012 exceeded $80M. With an emphasis on food security programs primarily in conflict and post-conflict countries, in recent years this has included projects in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Panama, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan.
From December 2011 through April 2012, he was temporarily posted to Jalalabad, Afghanistan to oversee completion of the construction of a new college of agriculture facility at Nangarhar University funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation as well as coordinate preparation of several agribusiness plans for the Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (DOD/TFBSO).
Within the refugee field, following field experience in-country working with the American Refugee Committee (ARC) (www.arcrelief.org/) in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1997, he served for four years as a board advisor to the finance and fundraising committee of the Rocky Mountain Survivors Center (RMSC) in Denver, CO, an organization providing mental health counseling and legal services to refugees and asylees who survived torture in their home countries, and frequently spoke to community groups about issues faced by refugees and internally displaced persons.
Concerned about domestic food security as well, he served on the board of the local Brazos Valley Food Bank from 2006 to 2012. He is a member of InsideNGO, the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development (AIARD), the World Affairs Council of Houston, and Amnesty International.
He completed an MA degree focused on international development jointly offered by the Josef Korbel School for International Studies (www.du.edu/korbel/) and the Division of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and an MS degree in international management from the Daniels College of Business (http://daniels.du.edu/), both from the University of Denver. His graduate research focused on the application of continuous quality improvement tools to the operations of international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operating in post-conflict countries with a regional focus at the time on Southeastern Europe and the Newly Independent States. Portions of his thesis have been required reading in graduate classes at the Korbel School and was defended “With Distinction”. His undergraduate degree in English literature is from Texas A&M University (www.tamu.edu). He has worked and traveled in 50 countries and 44 of the 50 U.S. states.
Keith is very well published in related topics and is a regular speaker to classes at Texas A&M University on a variety of topics in food security, international development, and contracts/grants management including:
He is married to Catherine Cole who also serves on Empower Dreams Advisory Board.
Rick has spent over 35 years studying, advancing and applying scientific methods related to oil and gas exploration and development. Accomplishments include patenting a methodology used in steering horizontal wells allowing much more accurate targeting of laterals. This methodology is used on the majority of horizontal wells drilled. Recently Rick and partners have started several companies to leverage his experience and knowledge.
He has been married for 37 years and has 3 children and 5 grandchildren with more on the way! His goal is to use the many blessings he has received to help those in need.
THE EMPOWER DREAMS ADVISORY BOARD
Dr. Bryan R. Cole
Dr. Bryan R. Cole is Professor Emeritus of Educational Administration in the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development at Texas A&M University. During his 41year career at Texas A&M University, Dr. Cole served as Assistant and Associate Dean of the College of Education, Department Head of the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development and as Assistant Vice President for Quality Leadership. Dr. Cole is a recipient of the Texas A&M University Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching for 1979, 1994 and 2011. Dr. Cole served as the Coordinator and Facilitator of the Bonfire 2002 Planning Committee (2000-2002) and served as Co-Chair of the Texas A&M University Vision 2020 Mid-Term Review (2010-2011) and has facilitated significant planning and improvement efforts throughout the University as well as for a number of non-profit organizations. Dr. Cole currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Baptist University of the Americas and previously served on the Board of Directors for St. Joseph Health System (Bryan, TX), and as a Board Member for the Quality Texas Foundation for seven years and the Baptist General Convention of Texas Christian Education Coordinating Board for six years including two years as chairman. Dr. Cole has served as a Deacon at First Baptist Church Bryan, Texas since 1983.
Dr. Cole is a retired Colonel from both active duty and the U. S. Army Reserve that included tours of duty in Germany, Vietnam and the U.S. Dr. Cole received his B. S. from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and his M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Educational Administration (Higher Education) from Texas A&M University.
Dr. Cole is married to Wanda Kay Cole, his wife of 48 years. They have two adult children, Keith and Allison and three grandchildren.
Catherine Cole has almost 20 years of experience working in various roles within nonprofits, domestically and internationally. She has a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin and began her career as a social worker.
She also earned an MBA from Rollins College in Florida and currently Catherine studies Human Resource and Development at Texas A&M.
She served as Senior Administrator for Community Services at Brazos Valley Community Action Agency. She served as Director for Financial and Strategic Planning for World Vision, United States (WVUS), International Programs Group in Washington DC where she provided leadership across the division for all operational, financial and strategic planning including incorporation of long-term WVUS strategy, scorecard and policy development, and all budget, analysis, reporting, and special projects.
Catherine led various special projects at WVUS, including the 2008 WVUS investigation for multi million dollars in unsupported Title II U.S. funds on the ground in Liberia, creating and leading a local staff capacity building project in Port au Prince, Haiti, pre and post 2010 earthquake, and leading a divisional risk management task force to liaise with the WVI Global Grants Compliance Unit. Catherine became a Certified Fraud Examiner in 2011.
With an emphasis on internal audit, controls, and programmatic outcomes, Catherine has worked in Guatemala, Ghana, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Bulgaria, Kenya/Sudan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Bosnia, Albania, Liberia, Senegal, Haiti, Thailand, Switzerland, and Malaysia.