The founding members of Praxis consist of three families, the Concepcions, Oteros and Pearsons who came together in 2007 to provide programs and services to Haitian refugees in the Dominican Republic. As their focus refined and their resolved to make a difference deepened, they turned to focus on Haiti and created Praxis Internationational, a charitable non-profit organization to facilitate the vision they share. Steven and Gina Concepcion relocated to Haiti in late 2010 to begin the work of Praxis in earnest.
Steve and Gina Concepcion
Gina is Haitian born and her family has deep roots going back six generations in Haiti. Her family was at the center of commerce for the Jacmel/Lavanneau region until they left in the 1950's. Steven and Gina and their two daughters relocated to Haiti and have moved onto the family property to start rebuilding the social infrastructure of the community and to develop resources for this once thriving agriculturally vibrant area.
The Concepcions bring years of professional expertise and leadership to Praxis in the areas of non-profit management and public and private sector work specializing in organizational development, process engineering, project management and budgets.
Esteban and Leanne Otero
Esteban and Leanne Otero were drawn to Haiti even before the work in the Dominican Republic. They knew it was the "poorest nation in the Western hemisphere" but desired to learn more about and experience more of Haiti's rich history and to be a part of making a difference in the lives of every day Haitians. Esteban and Leanne have two sons, one adult and one primary age.
The Oteros bring professional expertise along with technical, administrative and project management skills to Praxis from their backgrounds in private sector business and in their local community.
Tim and Jennifer Pearson
Timothy and Jennifer Pearson fell in love with Haiti while in college and have been involved with Haiti all of their adult life. They have two daughters and adopted two sons form Haiti. Their adoption was almost complete when the devastating earthquake struck in January 2010. Timothy as a firefighter and paramedic was able to fly into Haiti immediately following the quake to provide urgent care for the wounded and thereafter worked with the US State Department to evacuate their sons, along with other children who were still living in Haiti in the final steps of their adoption to families in the US.
The Pearsons bring tenacious passion and resourcefulness to everything they touch and are tireless advocates for Haiti and the effects of poverty in our world. Their experience with at risk youth, sports outreach programs as well as education and program development make them a great asset to the team.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Esteban Otero - Chair
Esteban Otero followed in his father's footsteps and earned a technical diploma in Air Conditioning & Refrigeration from Erwin Vocation School. After working for various HVAC and General Contracting firms in Central Florida he eventually obtained his Mechanical Contractor’s license. A few years later Esteban opened a commercial air conditioning company and completed projects throughout Florida and the Carribean. His project experience ranges from medical and educational facilities to luxury hotels and retail stores. Esteban is a LEED AP and chapter member of both the US Green Building Council and Florida Green Building Coalition. He also serves on the Water Committee for the Florida Green Building Coalition. His background in Air Conditioning and LEED principles has given him a broad understanding of energy and air quality issues. His experience in Project Management and business ownership also provides valuable expertise in delivering high quality projects. He uses these skill sets to meet the complex challenges of both triple constraints: Budget, Schedule, Scope (Proj. Mgmt), and People, Planet, Profit (LEED).
Tim Pearson - Co-Chair
Tim Pearson attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he earned his degree in Communications with an emphasis on group dynamics and interpersonal communication. After graduation Tim moved to Tampa, Florida where he has been the local director of a youth development program and earned certificates in Emergency Services as an EMT, Paramedic, and Fire Fighter. Tim currently works as a Firefighter/Paramedic for Hillsborough County one of the highest trained fire rescue organizations in the United States. He is a member of Airline Ambassadors, a humanitarian organization providing aid to children and families in need as well as relief and development to under-privileged communities worldwide. Tim was a project leader and logistics point of contact in a relief distribution project for AAI following flooding in the Dominican Republic with an emphasis on helping the underserved Haitian community. Following the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, Tim provided logistical support to fly in medical supplies and personnel for AAI as well as setting up a field hospital in Tabarre that served patients from Cite Soleil and Simone Pele. Tim is married to Jen Pearson and has two daughters and two sons.
Bessie Skoures - Secretary
Bessie Skoures works at the University of South Florida's Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions which supports distinguished research and educational programs that promote sustainable, healthy communities in a globalizing world with a particular focus on sustainable economic activities, water and sanitation, and urbanization and migration. Much of the Center's work has focused on sustainable economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is currently crafting a partnership with UNESCO on the training of secondary school teachers in Haiti. While at USF she has also served as an Adjunct Instructor for the Global Perspectives course. Prior to her move to Tampa, she was Deputy Director of the Term Member Program at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York for several years. Previously, she worked at Human Rights Watch (HRW) in New York and Brussels, HRW's European Union press and advocacy office. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her M.A. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She is fluent in French and Greek. Ms. Skoures is a member of the Tampa Bay Committee on Foreign Relations and is co-chair of its Host Committee.
David Troutman PG, LEED AP - Treasurer
David Troutman has a BA degree in Chemistry from Emory University, Atlanta, GA and a MS degree in Forest Resources (Hydrology) from University of Georgia, Athens, GA. Mr. Troutman worked as a hydrologist with the Water Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) from 1975 to 1984. He worked in management and as an environmental consultant for various national environmental engineering firms from 1985 to 1991. In 1991 Mr. Troutman founded Enviro-Logical Solutions, Inc. (ELS), a regional environmental consulting and remediation company that provided services to public and private sector clients. In 2002 he founded Mobile Treatment Services, Inc. (MTS) a spinoff of ELS that designed, built, leased and operated environmental remediation equipment and performed construction services to over 80 engineering firms nationwide. Mr. Troutman sold ELS in 2009 and MTS in 2011 and currently serves as president of Environ Equipment & Services.
Jude Pierre is a practicing physician in Tampa, FL. Dr. Pierre is a graduate of Quisqueya Christian School in Port au Prince. He holds his undergraduate degree in Microbiology from Howard University, and his M.D. is from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Pierre has published been published in the Journal of the National Medical association regarding the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection in Haiti and developed a computerized hospital registry at a rural hospital in Haiti.