Robert Downing, President
Robert Downing is a graduate of Louisiana State University. He has practiced law in Louisiana since 1975. After practicing law for 10 years, Bob Downing committed himself to a 25-year career in public service. During his judicial career, Bob Downing served as Chief Judge of the 19th JDC; was on the Executive Committee of the Louisiana District Judge’s Association; and was a Safe Team Member for A Partnership for Safe Communities: Courts, Education and Literacy with the National Judicial College. Bob also served as Co-Chair of the Governor’s Violence Task Force, and was on the Governor’s Transition Team for Corrections. Bob Downing participates in Prison Fellowship and is a frequent speaker on the subjects of crime prevention and rehabilitation. He was inducted into the Angola Justice Hall of Fame in 2008.
“I agreed to join the Board of Global Prison Seminaries Foundation because I have been going to Angola since 1989 and I have seen the difference the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the Chapels have made on the violence in the prisons. This would not have happened without God and the vision he gave to Warden Burl Cain.”
– Robert Downing
Charles Chatelain, Treasurer
Charles Chatelain, of Carencro, Louisiana, is a graduate of Louisiana State University and a Vietnam War veteran. He is a longtime businessman with ventures in real estate, television, radio, and communications development. Mr. Chatelain owns Delta Media Corporation, a Lafayette based multi-media company, which operates 9 radio stations, 4 television stations, and numerous other media platforms.
Mr. Chatelain served on the Louisiana Prison Enterprises Board for 12 years holding the Chair and Vice Chair positions as the Gubernatorial Appointee. He has also served on the Board of the Louisiana Prison Chapels Foundation and has actively supported the construction of prison chapels across the state.
“My desire to serve on the Board of Directors of Global Prison Seminaries Foundation is inspired by my association with the correctional system and the seminary model at Louisiana State Penitentiary. I have seen the transformation of men from a criminal mentality into morally rehabilitated humans. These men can safely return to society as productive members, no longer predators. This profound change will reduce the number of victims of violent crime and save tax dollars.”
– Charles Chatelain
Terry L. Van Der Aa, Secretary
Mr. Van Der Aa is founding Chairman of Providence Bank, a Chicago area bank formed to be Stewardship Bank, directing a portion of its profits to Christian charities. This follows a long career as CEO of a number of National and International Transportation Companies owned by the Van Der Aa family. Because of the transportation company’s ability to motivate service employees and build relationships with their unions, Mr. Van Der Aa has lectured at Harvard Business School, Krannert Business School at Purdue University, Michigan State University and the University of North Carolina. He has been recognized as one the most influential people in public transportation in the Untied States by leading trade publications. Mr. Van Der Aa has studied at Trinity Christian College, Calvin College and Harvard Business School. He and his wife, Linda, have three adult children and reside in Hinsdale, Illinois.
Mr. Van Der Aa also serves on Prison Fellowship Ministries Board of Directors and the Board of the University of Chicago Hospitals. He has held Board positions with numerous other institutions including Trinity Christian College, the National School Transportation Association, Milwaukee Mutual Insurance Company, and Calvin College, as well as the International Board of Bethany Christian Services.
“Our Nation is in crisis as reflected by our tremendous incarceration rate and its continued growth. I see the great potential prison seminaries have in leading to a lower incarceration rate, less future victims of crime, and even economic benefits on a national level. Society as a whole, as well as smaller communities and families can only benefit from the impact of moral and biblical educational opportunities within prison systems.”
– Terry L. Van Der Aa
Tim Evon, Director
Tim Evon and his wife, Sue, have been married for 37 years. As a result of three wonderful weddings the family has expanded rapidly and the couple now have 7 adult children; Tim, Will/Amy, Mike/Bethany and Bonnie/Jason. They also have 7 grandchildren that keep them smiling all the time. Tim Evon has been employed by Tone Products, Inc for over 40 years and is currently the President and CEO of the company. His time in management is slowly being turned over to his 3 sons who now represent the third generation. His father and uncle started the business in 1947. Tone is a contract packer for a variety of liquid consumable items such as drink bases, cocktail mixes, barbecue sauces, and bloody mary mixes. Operations are in Illinois and the buildings total 130,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehousing facilities. Tone Products employs 120 men and women who work across three shifts 5-6 days per week.
Mr. Evon and his wife are active members of Old St. Pat’s Church in Chicago. He has been involved with Wheaton College, and more specifically with HoneyRock Camp for over 20 years. He recently retired as Board Chairman of HoneyRock after serving 8 years.
“My involvement with Wheaton College is what originally connected me to Angola Prison and Burl Cain. I have seen firsthand the incredible benefits and potential that the seminary at Angola has provided. I support the vision that Burl Cain has for spreading this opportunity further. It is my honor and my pleasure to serve as a charter member on the board of Global Prison Seminary Foundation at this time.”
– Tim Evon
Tom Kohl, Director
Judge Kohl was appointed to the bench in Washington County, Oregon by Gov. John Kitzhaber in April of 1997. Prior to his appointed, he specialized in employment law. Since his appointment, Judge Kohl has been elected three times. He retired from full time judging on January 1, 2016 and currently is on assignment, part time, as a Senior Judge for the State of Oregon. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky (BA) and the University of Toledo (JD). He headed the birth of the Washington County Adult Drug Court in 2005 and was the only judge for the drug count until his retirement. The Washington County Drug Court received state-wide and national recognition. As of December, 2015, the drug court had 169 graduates, saving the state over 9 million dollars in incarceration costs. Judge Kohl was also the Presiding Judge in Washington County from 2006 through 2010. He was President of the Oregon State Circuit Court Judges’ Association from 2010-11. In 2006, Judge Kohl’s daughter, Megan, was brutally murdered. The killer was tried and convicted of aggravated murder several years later. Judge Kohl is a Christian and was able to forgive Megan’s murderer only through the power and presence of Jesus Christ in his life. Judge Kohl wrote and published a book, “Losing Megan; Finding Hope, Comfort and Forgiveness in the Midst of Murder” in 2012. The book opened doors to churches and special events for Judge Kohl to talk about how God can take a tragedy and turn it into a triumph. The book has also opened the doors of prisons for Judge Kohl to share his powerful story of hope and forgiveness with inmates. He has spoken in prisons around the country including Oregon, Washington, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina and Louisiana (Angola Prison) and overseas in prisons in Rwanda and Indonesia.
In February of 2017, Judge Kohl founded a non profit, Paid in Full Oregon, which is in the process of placing a four year accredited faith based college in one of the prisons in Oregon. It will be the first of it’s kind in the Northwest.
He currently sits on the Board of Trustees for Multnomah University and the Advisory Board for New Charter University. Judge Kohl lives in Hillsboro with his wife, Julie. Judge Kohl recently completed the Camino de Santiago, a 500 mile walking pilgrimage from St. Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago de Compostela.
Dave Jackson, Director
Dave Jackson is Evanston Advisors’ Chief Operating Officer. Dave has responsibilities for strategic planning, operations, and relationship management. He is an experienced entrepreneur and business development professional. Prior to joining Evanston Advisors in 2001, Dave owned FirstChoice HealthCare, a middle-market home health care company with offices throughout northern Illinois and in St. Louis. Dave’s business plan for rapid growth and offering unique and innovative services led to an operating philosophy where the best, the brightest, and the most creative were attracted, rewarded, and, most importantly, unleashed. After attaining significant competitive advantages, Dave embarked on a plan to sell his company. The business was divided into two business units and marketed to specific strategic buyers. The first divestiture occurred in 1996 to a privately held firm. The second divestiture took place in 1998 to a public company looking to acquire market share and service integration. Since that time Dave has been an active business investor and professional business advisor sharing his knowledge and experience with other successful business owners. He also has been involved with many non-profit and charitable efforts, as a way to give back to the community.
In loving memory
Dave Haidle, past board member with GPSF, passed away suddenly on August 28th. Dave’s ministry to the incarcerated in Illinois and at Angola touched hundreds of lives over many, many years. Dave died laboring in service to others while working with the non-profit, “A Roof Over Your Head.”
John Robert Toney, Chaplain of Angola, served as a founding board member of GPSF meeting regularly with the Board and Founder until he went home to be with the Lord, in October of 2016.