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iDE Board of Directors

> IDE Staff

iDE Board of Directors

Robert Hill, Board Chair

 Bob Hill Mr. Hill is co-founder of the law firm of Hill & Robbins, P.C. and specializes in commercial and class action litigation. Since starting Hill & Robbins, his work is responsible for many of the largest civil-damage recoveries in Colorado, returning hundreds of millions of dollars to class members. America's Leading Business Lawyers referred to him as a "first-rate lawyer" who is "not only 'extraordinary' in the courtroom, but also able to diffuse a dispute before it goes to trial." Mr. Hill is also very active in non-profit organizations, serving as the chair of iDE’s Board. He also founded and chairs the Board of Nurse-Family Partnership, a nationally recognized, evidence based nurse home visitation program for at-risk families.

Andy Keller, Vice Chair

Andy (Ph.D., Irrigation Engineering) is president of Keller-Bliesner Engineering and an adjunct professor at Utah State University. He is a licensed civil engineer specializing in the design and management of irrigation, agricultural development, and water resources planning. Andy has extensive USA and international consulting experience working with farmers, irrigation districts, and government and nongovernment organizations. Andy has worked closely with iDE since 2003 developing and implementing PRISIM, water resources assessment tools, and smallholder irrigation products. He is passionate about wealth enabling opportunities for smallholder farmers worldwide.


Lee Addams

Paul Polak Lee Addams is a Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer for Good Earth Irrigation, a startup company that boosts crop yields and resiliency by investing in efficient irrigation systems on behalf of absentee landowners. He previously was SVP and Chief Strategy Officer for Valmont Industries, a global, $3B revenue company manufacturing irrigation systems and other infrastructural support products, as well as providing irrigation technology. Earlier, he was part of the founding global leadership group of McKinsey & Company’s Sustainability and Resource Productivity Practice, advising private sector companies and public institutions on business strategy in multiple sectors – including agriculture and food, water resources, water technology, energy, and infrastructure. He holds a Ph.D. in earth and environmental sciences from Stanford University, specializing in hydrology and water resources, and a bachelor’s degree in applied physics from Brigham Young University.

Frank DeFehr

Frank DeFehr Frank is a businessman with over 40 years experience in the furniture manufacturing industry. He served as the president of Palliser Furniture Ltd., his family owned company and Canada's largest furniture manufacturer, for close to 30 years. His entrepreneurial ventures now include two manufacturing companies: one a manufacturer of corrugate packaging and the other a manufacturer of polyurethane and wood furniture components. His other interests include several farming operations, a flour mill and a flax production and processing operation. He has an intense interest in sustainable agriculture and "grass roots" farming. This interest, his love of the land and the desire to help those less fortunate, led him to become involved with iDE and its agricultural development programs around the world.

Tom Ebling

Tom Ebling

Tom Ebling has a proven track record of rapid growth and market leadership in emerging software companies. He currently serves as President and CEO of Demandware, the leading on demand eCommerce platform. He previously served as CEO of ProfitLogic, which he led to successful acquisition by Oracle in 2005. Before ProfitLogic, Ebling acted as CEO of Torrent Systems, which was acquired by Ascential Software in 2001. He also helped grow Marcam Solutions from startup to $200 million in revenues and a successful IPO. Ebling holds a Bachelor of Arts degree Magna Cum Laude in Mathematics with Highest Honors from Williams College. He also attended Harvard Law School, and holds a patent for inventions in software related to Process Manufacturing at Marcam Corporation.

James Ehnes, Program Committee Chair

James is a terrestrial ecologist who specializes in translating science into practical solutions for everyday problems. Dr. Ehnes has completed graduate degrees in economics and science, worked as a real estate developer, operated two small unrelated businesses and served as a volunteer for several non-profits. For the past fifteen years, his environmental consulting firm’s primary activities have been environmental impact assessment, environmental monitoring, scientific research, conservation evaluations, computer-based mapping and developing practical approaches to promoting environmentally sustainable land use


William A. Fast

Based in Winnipeg, MB, Bill is founder of a variety of family-owned businesses that operate throughout North America. These businesses include manufacturing, export and import enterprises. Bill has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Manitoba and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario, now called the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Mark Fitzgerald, Finance Committee Chair

Mark is a principal in KPMG’s International Development Assistance Services (IDAS) practice, based in Washington, DC. He is responsible for providing specialist services to U.S.-based private foundations, international development organizations, and public charities. Prior to joining KPMG, he was the Director of Internal Audit and Investigations for the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). His focus has been providing services to international organizations involved with development. His clients have included the World Bank, various United Nations entities, the European Commission, DfID, DANIDA, and USAID. He has also worked with not-for- profit organizations with a development focus and has assisted organizations in making grants and funding projects in over 70 countries, with combined funding of over $800 million.


Judith Hermanson

Paul Polak Dr. Judith Hermanson is the President and CEO of IHC, a global coalition for inclusive housing and sustainable cities, with members drawn from civil society and the private sector. During the course of her career, she has held senior leadership positions in government, the non-profit and private sectors, and higher education across the globe (assignments in 50+ countries). Previously, she was the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and a tenured professor of public administration at Northern Illinois University (NIU). She received her undergraduate degree with high honors from Smith College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa (an honor society for international scholars), and her graduate degrees from The George Washington University. She also received an honorary doctorate from AUP in 2014.

Rick Mazur, Governance Committee Chair

David Rigby Rick is the co-founder of RLG International, a consulting firm specializing in optimizing bottom-line results through people. His leadership in providing executive coaching and leading performance improvement implementations has grown the company internationally from 4 to 250 professionals with revenues of $100M. Rick is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and currently sits on both Public and Non-Profit Boards and is the Chairman for RLG International. Rick acquired his MBA in 1984 from the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Ted Paetkau, Fundraising Committee Chair

Ted Paetkau Ted is the founder and the current CEO of Concord Projects, a Western Canadian Construction and Development Company with its headquarters in Winnipeg, Canada. He grew up on a farm in southern Manitoba and is an engineering graduate from the University of Manitoba. He is a current member of the Association of Professional Engineers of the Province of Manitoba.

Ted has been involved in numerous boards and committees including Non Profit organizations such as MCC, Meda, YFC, etc.He has also served on Board and Committee positions for a Publically Traded Biotech Company.

Ted has been involved with iDE for approx. 12 years and is currently the Chair of iDE Canada.

Dan Wessner

Dan Wessner chairs History and Politics at Regis University. He has worked on extensive local- and national-level development projects in China and Vietnam, and has taught development-related subjects in ten countries from the Himalaya to the Mekong to the Andes to the Adirondacks. Dr. Wessner teaches law, human rights, peacebuilding, development discourse, and political philosophy. He is a member of the State Bar of California and an ordained minister of the Mennonite Church.

Paul Polak, Board Member Emeritus

Paul Polak Dr. Paul Polak is the founder of iDE, and has been recognized by Scientific American as one of the world's leading 50 contributors to science. After handing over iDE to new leadership, Polak started two new organizations. D-Rev: Design for the other 90% is a non-profit development organization with the mission of creating a revolution in design to reach 4 billion poor people bypassed by current design. In addition to bringing radically affordable new technology to the market-ready point, D-Rev supports the Cooper-Hewitt exhibit Design for the Other 90%, as well as the creation of courses on design for the other 90% in Universities around the world. Windhorse International is a for-profit company which combines radically affordable technology with radically decentralized supply chains to earn profits serving bottom billion customers. Polak's book, Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail has rapidly become the bible for anyone looking for practical solutions to global poverty.

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