Our Board of Directors

Gordon Bietz, D. Min., Chairman

bietz-speaker-photo_high-resolutionSince becoming Southern Adventist University’s 25th president in 1997, Gordon Bietz has followed an ambitious agenda to update facilities, grow the university’s academic offerings, and maintain the campus’ focus on spiritual development.

He previously served as president of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference and senior pastor of the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists.  He is currently the executive director of the Adventist Association for Colleges and Universities and is a member of the following boards: Florida Hospital, Adventist Health System, Adventist Retirement Board and Georgia Cumberland Conference Executive committee; and community boards– Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, Collegedale Church, ArtsBuild.

Dr. Bietz has authored several books, written for publications and professional journals and was a weekly columnist in the “Faith and Family” section of The Chattanooga Times Free Press. He also received a Merrill Fellowship from Harvard University in 1991.

No demands keep him from his role as “Opa” to his six grandchildren and spending time with his wife, Cynthia and their twin daughters.

Dave Briscoe

headshots-board-016Dave Briscoe is principal of Health Dimensions Group (HDG) where his responsibilities include the coordination of the firm’s business development efforts in the areas of acquisitions and management contracts, developing business strategy, and serving on the board of directors. Briscoe brings over three decades of health care operations and business development experience to HDG. He has particular expertise and skill in managing start-up and turnaround projects. Since 1990, Briscoe has been instrumental in over 20 such projects, all yielding successful results. He is a speaker at state and national conferences related to turnaround management, and senior health care and housing issues.

Briscoe served as an officer for Care Providers of Minnesota, a long-term care industry trade association. In addition, he served for eight years on an Adventist school board in the Minneapolis area. He holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Union College.

He has served on the AAF Board since 2006. After building two multi-faceted businesses, Briscoe uses his experience building high-quality organizations to suggest ways AAF can help the Adventist school system thrive. Briscoe says his greatest accomplishment is raising three amazing children, all graduates of Walla Walla University, with his wife Patty.

James H Brown, MBA, CSPG
James H. Brown has been President of Western Adventist Foundation since 2000. The Foundation provides trust management and related services to Seventh-day Adventist institutions. In his capacity as Chief Executive Officer, Jim oversees the development and implementation of long-range business strategies necessary for planned giving, trust administration, accounting, and investments.

Jim earned his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix where his thesis project was the business plan for what became the Western Adventist Foundation. He also earned the CSPG designation from the American Institute of Philanthropic Studies in conjunction with California State University–Long Beach.

His professional experience includes prior positions as Vice President of WAF, Associate Manager of Loma Linda University Foundation; Treasurer/Associate Director of Northern California Association of Seventh-day Adventists; and Assistant Treasurer for the Central California Association of Seventh-day Adventists. Jim has been working for the church in a trust related field for over 27 years.

Joan Coggin, M.D.
Dr. Joan Coggin is a retired cardiologist from Loma Linda University Medical Center and Professor Emeritus of Medicine from LLU School of Medicine. She received her Master of Public Health from LLU School of Public Health.

In the early 1960s, Dr. Coggin co-founded Loma Linda International Heart Surgery Foundation. The heart team under her direction has either initiated or upgraded open-heart surgery programs in at least 15 countries.

Dr. Coggin received the Outstanding Achievement in Education Award from the Alumni Awards Foundation in 1999, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Adventist Women in 2002, and the Zella Hobert Award from Columbia Union College in 2003.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards dating as far back as 1963, but says the award she treasures the most is a blanket given to her by the father of a young girl whom her team operated on in Greece. Despite complications, the girl miraculously survived. Years later during a visit, Dr. Coggin was presented with “the greatest award” – the red woolen blanket made on the family loom.

She is a member of various medical organizations, and has been involved with AAF since 1995, serving as a board member for 12 years. Dr. Coggin enjoys reading, theater, traveling, and music.

Byron DeFoor
Byron DeFoor has nearly thirty years experience in a variety of businesses with particular expertise in the development of commercial real estate and residential communities. In 1976, he founded DeFoor Development, Inc., a company specializing in building shopping centers, office buildings and retirement communities. During the mid-90’s, Byron began investing in skilled nursing facilities and now has an ownership interest in forty nursing homes and assisted living facilities nationwide. Byron also co-founded Contemporary Healthcare Capital, specializing in lending to a wide range of healthcare providers across the country.

Byron traces his success as a businessman to the culture and circle of influence he discovered while attending two Seventh-day Adventist schools, Georgia-Cumberland Academy and Southern Adventist University. He has been an active member of the AAF Board since its inception in 1995. His unique gift for playfulness and festivity has allowed him to grow support for the foundation.

Byron enjoys collecting and racing historic sports cars. In 2009, he won 1st place in the Rolex Endurance Series and 2nd in class in the LaCarrera Pan-Americana, a 2,000-mile race across Mexico. He also competes in the annual Rolex 24 in Daytona, Florida. Byron Lives on his farm in Tennessee with his wife. He has two adult children and two adorable grandchildren.

CH DeHaan
headshots-board-002CH De Haan is owner of Sunland Insurance SPC, which provides medical malpractice insurance for healthcare-related companies. He has been a member of numerous school boards for over two decades, and believes this allowed him to gain perspective on issues in education. De Haan is known for his calm, steady approach to challenges and his unique ability to negotiate positive conclusions. He currently sits on several boards, including Thunderbird Adventist Academy, Arizona Conference Board of Education, Holbrook Indian School, and The National Cutting Horse Association. De Haan has served on the AAF Board for 13 years. He graduated from Union College and holds graduate degrees in biology and neurophysiology.

De Haan says his desire is to make a positive impact on the future of Adventist education. De Haan and his wife, Wendy, have two adult daughters who have chosen to live close to home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He enjoys scuba diving, racquet ball, basketball, historic car racing, and being a part-time cowboy competing in World and National Cutting Horse Association events.

George T. Harding IV, M.D.
headshots-board-010Dr. George T. Harding IV is a psychiatrist and serves as chairman of the Harding Heritage Foundation in Worthington, Ohio. He is also currently a professor of psychiatry at Loma Linda University. Dr. Harding received his Doctor of Medicine in psychiatry from LLU School of Medicine, and spent two years in the United States Army Medical Corps.

Dr. Harding’s family history includes grandfather, George T. Harding II, who founded the Harding Hospital in 1916, and was the considered the first Seventh-day Adventist psychiatrist. His father, George T. Harding III, founded Worthington Foods in 1939 and also served as president of Loma Linda University.

Having served on the AAF Board since 2000, Dr. Harding says his training as a psychiatrist helps him to understand people and their motivations, and the obstacles that keep them from being able to do their best work. He feels that he has been able to be an encouragement to the AAF Board, and provide another linkage between church leadership and its members. Dr. Harding says his greatest contributions have been in bringing people together to accomplish good; but, his greatest accomplishment is a family that includes a wonderful wife, Joan, five daughters, and 12 grandchildren.

Carolyn Hamilton
Carolyn20HamiltonCarolyn Hamilton recently joined Southern Adventist University’s administrative team as the vice president for Advancement. Hamilton began her new role at the beginning of November after serving as vice president for Philanthropy at Loma Linda University Health.

Hamilton, a certified fundraising executive (CFRE), was the founding partner of The Hamilton Company, a  fundraising consulting business for over 25 years. She has also served in the past as interim vice president at Pacific Union College and previously at Southern. In June 2014 she was the recipient of the prestigious Milton Murray Trailblazer in Philanthropy Award from Philanthropic Service for Institutions (PSI).

Carolyn is married to Marty Hamilton, associate vice president for Financial Administration at Southern. They have two daughters, Amanda, ’13 intercultural communications graduate, and Olivia.

Carla Lidner Baum, D.D.S., M.S., F.A.C.D.
headshots-board-013Dr. Carla Lidner Baum directs three very large (multi-million dollar) dental grants for low-income and disadvantaged children in the Riverside and San Bernardino Counties of southern California. She is an assistant professor of Dental Educational Services at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, and an assistant professor in the University of California – Los Angeles Department of Public Health and Community Dentistry. Dr. Lidner received her Doctor of Dental Surgery from Loma Linda University. She co-authored Physicians Guide to Dental Emergencies, and has written many articles for dental publications. She has received numerous awards and honors including: the 2010 Soroptimist International – Gold Key Award, California Woman of the Year, Hometown Hero, Athena of the Inland Empire, and many others.

Dr. Lidner is currently a member of at least five community advisory boards, four boards of directors, is a member of the California State Dental Association, the American Dental Association, and is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists. Dr. Lidner joined the AAF Board in 2008.

John P. O’Brien, Jr.
headshots-board-020John P. O’Brien, Jr. is a principal of both Grace Healthcare, LLC, and Contemporary Healthcare Capital, LLC. He received his Bachelor of Science in accounting from Southern Adventist University, and holds a C.P.A. license for the state of Tennessee. O’Brien was named Business Alumni of the Year by Southern’s School of Business and Management in 1995. By age 36, O’Brien worked his way up to president of Life Care Centers of America, a company with over 20,000 employees and over $1 billion of revenue. He is a competitive triathlete and ultra-endurance trail runner. O’Brien has qualified and competed in both the half and full Ironman World Championships.

O’Brien has served on the AAF Board since 2004. As a business leader and entrepreneur, he sees a great need to effectuate change in the Adventist education system to improve the overall quality and financial accountability. He and his wife, Georgia, have three children.

Andy McDonald

headshots-board-004After completing his BA in Theology in 1977 from Southern Missionary College, Andy McDonald attended Andrews University where he completed his Masters of Divinity, in December 1979. Andy served congregations in Georgia and Tennessee before becoming Youth Pastor of Florida Hospital Church in 1984.  After just eight months in that role he was selected to serve as the Senior Pastor, the position where he continues to serve today. Over the years Andy led the congregation in the development of a new facility at a new location, created programmatic and governance structure changes, developed  a “seeker’s service”, con-temporized worship services,  and championed the development of a 250 capacity Children’s Academy at Loch Haven a childcare facility. While leading this changing and growing congregation he also completed his Doctor of Ministry in 1999. Andy serves on a number of committees and boards and was key in developing the second Shepherd’s Hope Clinic offering health care to the working uninsured in Orlando.  Andy seeks to continually push for development, change, and excellence ever asking “Why not?” to new opportunities. He and his wife Vicki have two grown children—Whitni McDonald who is currently relocating from Brooklyn, New York to Ooltewah, TN, and Zachary and his wife Riley McDonald who live in Asheville, NC.

Arpad Karoly Soo

headshots-board-022Arpad Karoly Soo, a builder and developer, and plumbing contractor, is president for Cal Coast Building & Plumbing Inc., as well as president for Cypress Gardens and Cypress Ridge Elder Care facilities. He belongs to various construction related organizations and boards, and is former co-chair of the Central California Conference Capital Campaign Board of Trustees. Soo is also co-author of In His Hands published by Pacific Press in 2002. He studied at the Bucharest Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Romania.

Soo says his highest triumph has been adjusting to a new life in America after leaving Romania, and keeping his faith through many adversities. He has served on the AAF Board for 13 years, and actively participates annually in presenting teachers with the Excellence in Teaching Award. Soo has been involved with school boards in many capacities for 18 years. He raised his three sons, with wife Adela, through the Adventist education system. He enjoys traveling, motorcycling, cars, and sports.

Robert B. Summerour, M.D.
Dr. Robert B. Summerour is a psychiatrist in Riverside, California, and founder of Riverside Psychiatric Medical Group and Riverside Center for Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Summerour graduated from the Loma Linda School of Medicine, and is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He is a clinical professor at the University of California, Riverside Division of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Summerour is an original member of the Wedgwood Trio, and says he counts that as one of the most significant opportunities in his lifetime.

Dr. Summerour is one of four founding AAF Board members, having started with the Foundation in 1995. He believes AAF leads the way in a movement for progress in Adventist education similar to how the Wedgwood Trio started a reformation in Christian music for Adventist youth in the 1960s.

He has an appreciation for golf, vintage car racing, videography, and musical performance. Dr. Summerour, and his late wife, Cheryl, have two adult children and three grandchildren.

Max Treviño
Max Treviño has more than 45 years of experience in financial management for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He has been Treasurer for both the Oklahoma Conference and the Southwestern Union Conference. In 1995, Max was elected President of the Southwestern Union Conference, where he served until his retirement in May 2011.

As Union President, he was Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Southwestern Adventist University. He was also an active board member for Adventist Health System, Andrews University, Oakwood College, Pacific Press, Review and Herald Publishing, and Huguley Memorial Medical Center.

He currently serves on the boards of Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center, Southwestern Adventist University, and Pinnacle Bank of Texas Board of Directors. Max also chairs the finance and audit committees for Adventist Health System.

Max was involved in the development of Summit Ridge Retirement Center, Huguley Nursing and Hays Nursing Centers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

Gary Wilt
Wilt, Gary 5Wilt, Gary 5
Gary Wilt is co-president and owner of TAG Manufacturing, Inc., a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based manufacturer of sub-assembled steel parts for the construction, industrial and agricultural markets. Wilt received his Bachelor of Science in business from Southern Adventist University. He has served on the AAF Board since 2000, and uses his expertise of starting and running a business to suggest ways AAF can make the Adventist education system financially solvent. Wilt and his wife, Anita, have two daughters in Adventist education. They enjoy family traditions, entertaining friends, trips to the beach, traveling, and golf.





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