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Board of Directors
Dennis Bakke cofounded AES, a multinational company that at one time was the third largest owner of electrical power in the world. AES and Dennis gained international attention through his unusual business practices of decentralizing decision-making among his 36,000 employees, his low overhead corporate office of less than 100 employees, and his purchase of millions of acres of rainforest to offset power-plant carbon-dioxide emissions. Prior to 1981, Dennis was Deputy Director of the Energy Productivity Center, Carnegie-Mellon University. In addition, he served for 18 months as Chairman of the International Energy Agency Conservation Group in Paris, France. He graduated with distinction from the National War College, and with honors from the University of Puget Sound. He went on to receive an MBA from Harvard University. In 2005 he published the NY Times best-selling book Joy at Work in addition to the award-winning documentary “The Power Trip” that chronicled AES’ work in Tbilisi, Georgia. Mr. Bakke is a regular lecturer at Kellogg, Duke, Stanford and Harvard Schools of Business. Dennis is currently the President of Imagine Schools, a company that operates elementary and secondary (K-12) charter schools in 12 states and the District of Columbia, serving over 40,000 students.
As the current President and co-owner of Edgerton Gear, Inc, Dave has served the past 21 years in their second generation family business. Dave has led his company to be an example of a business with a culture that empowers people to make decisions that affect their work, and creates a vision in employees for the significant contribution they make to the world through their calling in their workplace. Completing his Master’s thesis of “Systems Theory and a Family Business” from Regent College in Vancouver, B.C. in 1994, his innovative approach to small business has birthed two more small businesses, two charitable trusts, and a partnership with the local high school in mentoring youth in the trades. Crediting his passion for the Marketplace and Theology of Work to the late Pete Hammond of IVCF and Dr. Paul Stevens of Regent College, Dave is a frequent speaker and consultant on the meaning and value of work. Together with his wife, Tracy, they also serve extensively in Honduras, focusing on community transformation through the education and mentoring of young people. Raising their 3 college age sons on a small farm in rural Wisconsin, Dave is truly “blue collar,” as he enjoys gardening, hunting, bee keeping, raising their own cattle and chickens and cutting wood to heat their home during the long Wisconsin winters. Dave serves on the Board of Bakke Graduate University and is also a student in BGU’s DTL program, developing a character based curriculum for young people desiring to enter the trades.
President; Professor of Transformational Leadership
Brad Smith is the President of BGU and board member of the World Evangelical Alliance, Leader Formation International, and board chairman of visionSynergy. He served as a legislative assistant to two U.S. Senators in areas of foreign relations and agriculture and was on the founding team of the Center for Christian Leadership at Dallas Seminary in 1986, where he spent seven years developing spiritual formation and leadership programs. President Smith also was the founding pastor of Kessler Community Church in Dallas, Texas. He also served as the President of Leadership Network.
As Chairman and C.E.O. David Syre has guided Trillium Corporation from a regional real estate development company in 1974 to an international global investment company with a strategically diverse portfolio and an asset value approaching $500 million. Prior to founding Trillium Corporation, David was in a private law practice and commercial banking. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from Washington State University and a law degree from Gonzaga University. Throughout his career, David has been active in a diverse range of professional and community projects, including the Board of Directors of Western Foundation at Western Washington University and the Foundation’s Executive Committee, the Board of Trustees for the Washington State University Foundation, and Board Member of Seattle Pacific University Fellows.
Jack vanHartesvelt has had a distinguished career in hotel development and is currently President of Hartland Hotels. A speaker at numerous hotel industry forums and a frequent college lecturer, Jack was voted Outstanding Alumnus in 1982 from Michigan State University's School of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from which he graduated in 1975. He has spearheaded a number of mission renovation projects, and the hallmark of all of them has been the organization of volunteer workers in a way that enables both skilled and unskilled laborers to come together and completely renovate a building in a few days at a considerably reduced cost. Since 2002, he has executed an extreme makeover of 4 churches, including one in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico and 3 buildings in Seattle, Washington used by local philanthropic organizations. Jack and his family are members of Mercer Island Presbyterian Church.