Prepared to Serve
For the last several years, Phil and Karen have both been full-time faculty at LeTourneau University in Longview, TX. Phil has served as the Assistant Chief Flight Instructor, a role that allows him to invest in mentoring students (and nourish his love of airplanes). Karen has been teaching biology and working with her students in the Wheels Project: researching and sending feedback to wheelchair manufacturers to improve wheelchair functionality for the developing world.
Phil grew up in Canada, and Karen spent her youth as a missionary kid in Kenya. They met at Penn State University where Phil was earning an MS in Biomechanical Engineering while Karen earned her BS in Biology. After they married, Phil went on to become a commercial and airline transport pilot in the US and Canada, and Karen earned her MS in Biology from the University of Texas.
Phil always dreamed of flying airplanes.
That dream seemed shattered when the retinas in both his eyes detached in a diving accident. After reattachment, they detached again, and doctors told Phil he would probably be blind. Phil came to know his Creator through healing so miraculous his dream of flying was restored!
Pictures of Phil are rare because he's usually on the other side of the camera. Knowing the Creator makes him fascinated by Creation. That and the airplanes he loves are the primary subjects of his photography. Phil also loves music and frequently plays banjo with the Bethlehem Bluegrass Band.
Phil brings a broad spectrum of gifts and skills to the work of ATCatalyst. He has the heart and experience of a teacher and mentor. His skill as a photographer and videographer will help communicate the story ATCatalyst needs to tell to everyone involved, from wheelchair manufacturers to hospitals, and from therapists to supporters.
Karen's youth gave her a love of adventure.
Many of Karen's experiences have found their way into her books. She grew up in Kenya and volunteered at the Kijabe hospital. That first-hand knowledge and experience prepared her for her work with the Wheels Project during her teaching at LeTourneau University.
Karen loves animals—especially horses. In fact, she has trained horses in Canada and even rode in the Centennial Cattle Drive. She is also an avid nature photographer. Her photographic art has sold to private collectors and galleries. Karen's experiences in Africa and Canada and her love of nature are woven throughout the stories in the books she has written.
Karen's experiences growing up in Kenya and working with the Wheels project will be invaluable to her work with ATCatalyst. Through her work, she has developed contacts, relationships, and even partnerships with many wheelchair providers who are already interested in providing functioning wheelchairs for people in developing nations.
Both Phil and Karen are passionate about this work.
Karen's work with the Wheels Project includes research conducted with her students and other scholars. Much of this research was published as peer-reviewed journal articles or presented at academic or professional symposia and conferences. To read these articles and papers, please click here.