Board of Directors
Harmon Parker, founder of BtGA, constructed his first footbridge in Kenya in 1997 in response to the need of a local village. Since then, he has built more than 46 footbridges in rural Kenya. In 2010, Harmon was selected as one of the world's Top Ten CNN Heroes. Harmon hopes the award will build awareness for the need of lifesaving bridges for poor communities around the world.
Steven Parker is SVP Development –Restaurant Group for Focus Brands headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. He has 30 years of experience in capital budgeting, scheduling, designing, and constructing multiple branded/non-branded restaurants, street side and retail outlets in airports, toll roads, and malls throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. Steve enjoys time with his wife Monica, golf and playing guitar.
Michele Atkins graduated from UK with a degree in Communications and Marketing. In 1999, Michele and Deanna Strother founded Vinewood Interior Design. Since 2005, Michele and her husband, Blaine, have owned and operated Allsports, a family business in Lexington, KY. She has served on her church’s board of trustees and various committees and has been an active volunteer and supporter of BtGA for many years.
Tom Richards is a special services counselor for the County of Bucks: Youth Facilities. He has been an active volunteer with Bridging the Gap for over five years, bringing significant knowledge of the nonprofit sector. Tom holds his Masters Degree in Nonprofit Management from Eastern University. He is also a 1997 graduate of Juniata College where he attained a BS in Education.
Terry Herring has held positions in various pharmaceutical organizations over the past 25 years. He currently serves the Mission Pharmacal Company as its President. Terry has been an active volunteer for a number of nonprofit charities, offering both his leadership and fundraising support. He is a proud alumnus of The Citadel - The Military College of South Carolina where he earned his bachelor degree in Biology.
Josh Parker grew up in Kenya and has worked for several years in East Africa. His experience in the Non-Profit sector provides contextual knowledge of the people, cultures, and realities of life and work in East Africa. Josh currently works full-time as a research manager for OneHope, a faith based non-profit that works in over 90 countries. Josh graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2010 where he studied Sociology and Economics.
Heidi Cramer is the Director of Major Giving at the Palomar Health Foundation. She is an emerging leader in the San Diego nonprofit sector bringing over nine years of proven fundraising achievement. She holds a Bachelors degree in Communications from California State University, Fullerton and is currently obtaining her Master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management at University of San Diego.
Chris Offen held several executive positions over the past few decades at pharmaceutical companies. Prior to retirement, he ran his own consulting business to the pharmaceutical industry. Chrisvolunteers at his local church, spearheading social justice programs. Chris has graduated with a MBA in Marketing and Sales Management and a BA in Biology.
Technical Advisory Committee
Nate Bloss chairs the TAC for BtGA. He served as Bridging the Gap’s field engineer from 2012 to 2014. After graduating with a BS in Civil Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2008, Nate joined the U.S. Peace Corps and was stationed in a remote village in Northern Namibia. Prior to joining Bridging the Gap, Nate spent time designing coastal works, supervising construction, and carrying out dive inspections and installations in Dubai, U.A.E.
Bobby Reese is a registered Professional Engineer. He graduated in 2009 from the University of Arkansas with an M.S. in Civil Engineering. Bobby has a background in bridge design having worked as a Bridge Engineer with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department for over 3 years. He was born in Zimbabwe and lived there until moving to Arkansas for college. Currently Bobby and his wife are back in Africa living and working just outside of Nairobi, Kenya.
Matthew Bowser is a licensed Professional Engineer (Ontario, Canada) within MMM’s Bridge Engineering Group where he takes a lead role during preliminary design, detail design, and construction administration providing specialized experience in movable bridges, high complexity steel bridge construction, bridge rehabilitation and constructability review. Mr. Bowser holds a MAS in Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo.
Justin Edwards is a storymaker in film, music, and ebooks. He studied film production at the University of Texas at Austin and received a BA in Performance, Production, & Culture at Bowling Green State University, an M.Ed. from BGSU in Career & Technology Education, and an M.F.A. in Film Producing from the American Film Institute. In 2008, he started the World Story Organization and delivered film curriculum and training to universities in Nairobi, Kenya.
Natalie McCombs is a licensed professional/structural senior project engineer with HNTB Corporation in Kansas City. She has over 18 years of experience designing and detailing highway bridge projects across the US. Natalie has a BS in Civil Engineering and an MA in Civil Engineering from the University of Kansas. She participates in the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) collaboration meetings to update the industry recommendations for steel bridge design.
Burleigh Law is a licensed professional senior project engineer with HNTB Corporation. He has over 17 years of experience working on and leading structural design and construction projects across the US. He has a BA in Physical Science and a BS in Civil Engineering from UK. Burleigh serves on the INDOT/ASCE Structural Committee helping to establish design criteria and standards for the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Jerome S. O’Connor, P.E. is Executive Director of the Institute of Bridge Engineering, University at Buffalo. His 30 years of experience in bridge engineering encompasses research, design, construction, materials, and development of education programs/courses. He has a Master’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is an ASCE Fellow. At Buffalo, he mentors students who want to make a difference in the world by supporting the mission of Bridging the Gap Africa.
Kelley C. Severns, P.E. is a licensed Professional Engineer serving as the Bridge Engineering Research Lead in the Complex Bridge division of WSP|PB where she works with national research organizations, Federal Highways, and AASHTO on up and coming technology in the Bridge Industry. She has a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a M.S. in Structural Engineering from the University of Kentucky. She brings 20+ years of experience in bridge design and technical expertise to the BtGA team.