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
In loving memory
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.