Our Team

Our leaders have been passionately called to help deliver lasting hope against hunger around the world.

Abram J. Bicksler Ph.D.


Bicksler earned his Doctorate and Master’s degrees from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences with a focus on sustainable cropping systems and completed his Bachelor’s degree at Taylor University in Environmental Science and Biology. As a leader and researcher, Dr. Bicksler has been published in a number of journals including: Experimental Agriculture; Agronomy for Sustainable Development; Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems; the Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education; Ecosystems and People; the International Journal of Development Research; and, the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, in addition to contributing to a number of FAO publications

While at FAO, Bicksler guided agroecology and sustainable food systems initiatives in multiple regions of the world. Before serving in Rome, Bicksler led the ECHO Asia Impact Center’s international staff team, coordinated and implemented regional networking and training events, initiated research culminating in multiple published studies, planned and began execution of the ECHO Asia Small Farm Resource Center, and grew the capacity of the ECHO Asia Seed Bank.

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  • Andy Cotarelo

    Global Farm Manager

    Andy Cotarelo has been with ECHO since 2006 when he was an ECHO Intern. Andy has a BS in Biology. His background includes teaching High School science both domestically and abroad for 6 years. His overseas passion is focused in Senegal and his experience is growing as he manages the many aspects of ECHO’s Global Farm.

  • Charles Thibodeau

    Retail Nursery Coordinator

    A native Floridian and hobbyist gardener with a background in health science, Charlie was attracted to ECHO for their commitment to developing sustainable agricultural practices in poverty-stricken areas of the world.  He is a firm believer that optimal health begins with what you eat, thus the importance of having a reliable and nutritious food source.

  • Dan Overton

    Maintenance Associate/Digital Media Associate

    Dan is originally from Indiana. He holds a degree from Compass College of Cinematic Arts. Dan has worked in film, photography, construction, and wild game processing. His favorite things about Florida are the sunshine, beach volleyball, and the number of plants [foods] that can be grown here. Outside of work, you can often find Dan outdoors, grilling food with friends, or participating in church activities.

  • Danielle Flood

    Assistant Director of Advancement

    Danielle came to ECHO in December 2007 after serving as a missionary in Niger, West Africa for two years. She has a degree in Spanish and enjoys learning languages and cultures, kayaking, picnicking and basically anything outdoors. She and her husband look at ECHO as an opportunity to serve the missionary community and want to be faithful to serve God wherever he plants them.

  • David Strong

    Internship Manager

    After growing up in the Philippines and Malaysia, David did his post-high school education at Wheaton College (B.A. Communications) and Eastern University (M.S. Economic Development). Later, while working in Cambodia as the director of a primary health care project he met his wife, Doris. The couple then served 14 years alongside Cambodian farmers in community development initiatives such as a rice field co-op, SRI training, natural composting, moringa promotion and micro-business. ECHO’s technical notes, seeds, and trainings were a key resource in their journey. Since 2010, David has been in a regional role with CAMA Services serving staff and local development initiatives in 8 countries in Asia and coordinating relief efforts after major disasters in that region. David shares ECHO's passion for developing people, local partnerships, and wholistic outreach.

  • Diana Ryan

    Human Resources Manager

    Diana received her Associate’s Degree in Human Resources Management from Columbus State Community College after attending the Ohio State University. She holds both PHR and SHRM-CP certifications. She was raised in Dublin, Ohio and moved with her husband Kip and their two dogs to Cape Coral, Florida in 2010. She is an active member in her church, Cape Coral First United Methodist Church and enjoys serving the Lord through her PraiseMoves and Prayer Bead ministries. She loves leading a team at the annual Operation Love Your Neighbor event. She is passionate about helping others and building relationships along the way.

  • Elliott Toevs

    Appropriate Technology Manager

    Elliott was born and raised in Idaho. His passion for agriculture began at an early age as he was actively involved in the family farm and in his parents’ irrigation and implement business. He earned his B.S. in Agriculture Systems Management and M.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Idaho, where he also met his wife Alexa. After interning at ECHO from 2011 to 2012, God called them to the Peruvian Amazon to serve alongside the indigenous church. Elliott rejoined ECHO as an Appropriate Technology Manager in February 2017. He enjoys traveling, outdoor recreation, and spending time with friends and family, especially his wife and children.

  • Emma Mudd

    Seed Bank Assistant

    Emma is from Catonsville, MD. She received a bachelor’s in Plant Sciences; and in Agricultural Sciences and Technology (Agronomy) from the University of Maryland. After the ECHO Internship, Emma hopes to work in agricultural development or extension work.

  • Glenn Hornbuckle

    Strategic Relationships Manager

    Glenn Hornbuckle holds a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a concentration in technical communication. A native of Alabama, Glenn moved to Fort Myers in 2009 with his wife and son and is proud to call Southwest Florida home. Having worked in management for both small businesses and Fortune 500 companies, Glenn is humbled to have the opportunity to use the skill sets learned in the for-profit world to help effect meaningful, lasting change in the lives of small-scale farmers around the world.

  • Holly Sobetski

    Seed Bank Manager

    Holly grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and a love for gardening grew in her as she worked with her mother in the backyard. She went on to get a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Missions from Lubbock Christian University. She was an ECHO intern (Lowlands/Seed Bank) from 2005 – 2006 and served as the Assistant Seed Bank Manager for a month following her internship. From 2007 – 2012 Holly worked in Cambodia teaching sustainable agriculture and basic nutrition to students, as well as working with CAMA Services to run a moringa business. She joined ECHO as the Seed Bank Manager in 2013 and spends her time managing the storage, regeneration, and distribution of seeds, as well as training interns and visitors about seed saving.

  • Jayne Forbes


    Jayne is originally from Virginia Beach, VA and has a BS in Business Administration, Accounting, from Old Dominion University. She has a background in finance/accounting, project management, and financial systems implementation and support in both large public companies as well as small private organizations. In addition to over 30 years in the corporate world, she served as a volunteer staff CFO with ORPHANetwork for 8 years and has been an active volunteer at church and with various non-profits.

  • Jhon Ayazo

    Physical Plant Supervisor

    Jhon joined Echo in 2012 after spending 20 years in construction and landscape maintenance. Jhon came from Columbia in 1998 and enjoys spending time with his wife, Sandra and family. Jhon has recently become a grandfather and he and Sandra enjoy helping with their new granddaughter. Jhon is the leader of the Hispanic Ministry at his church and serves on the church board.

  • Joy Patch

    Donor Services Associate

    Joy was born in England and has lived in many locations around the U.S. After going to nursing school and providing direct patient care and community education, she worked in medical transcription while homeschooling her children. She has been coming to ECHO for a long time by purchasing plants, taking tours, and feeding the International Agricultural Conference delegates with the homeschool community.

  • Karuna Taylor

    Propagation Assistant

    Karuna was born in Decatur GA and grew up in Dehradun India. She received bachelors in Biology from Covenant College. After the ECHO Internship, Karuna hopes to pursue further studies related to International Development with the desire to work with governments of developing nations to shape policies related to nutrition.

  • Kathleen Pignato

    Library Assistant, and Agricultural Resourcing and Research Admin Assistant

    Kathleen and her husband Mike enjoy life in Cape Coral with tortoises, dogs, and an Amazon parrot. Originally from Chicago, Kathleen took her BA in Liberal Studies at Roosevelt University. Her graduate studies have included the University of South Dakota, Keller School of Management, East West College of Natural Medicine, and the University of Mary. In addition to a lifetime as director of church music ministries, she has held library tech positions at Northwestern University, Roosevelt, and worked as Registrar for the University of Colorado.

  • Larry Comstock

    Director of Advancement

    Larry joined ECHO in February, 2023, after ten years in senior development positions at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and World Vision. Before that, he had a long career in the financial services industry. He has seen first-hand the impact of Christian philanthropy and expertise on smallholder farmers and their families. He is also committed to Henri Nouwen’s approach to fundraising as ministry to both donors and beneficiaries. A graduate of Brown University (BA) and Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (MBA), Larry lives in Naples, Florida, with Alison, his wife of 43 years.

  • Lauren Daniels-Judge

    Propagation Manager

    Lauren attended Moody Bible Institute, majoring in Secondary Education with a focus on urban neighborhood development. She is from Chicago, IL. Lauren was the Garden and Propagation intern (#269). She also served at ECHO on the Indiana Work team for four summers before joining ECHO as an Agricultural Volunteer in 2019. She has volunteered at Faith Mission Outreach soup kitchen for three years and served as Vice President of Frontlines homeless ministry for two years.

  • Melissa Hall

    Tree Specialist

    Melissa grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota and attended Iowa State University where she studied Global Resource Systems and Environmental Science. During her studies, she spent two summers in Uganda with the Iowa State Uganda Program. While in Uganda, Melissa worked with the school garden programs, and irrigation and agroforestry systems. She also helped conduct a water quality and accessibility study in the nearby communities. After graduating, Melissa became ECHO’s Lowlands and Propagation intern (intern #230). Melissa moved back to Minnesota upon the completion of her internship and worked on a permaculture pizza farm. Most recently, she ran a small business where she provided garden installations, consults, maintenance, and gardening classes.

  • Nate Flood

    Interim COO

    Nate Flood is from suburban Detroit and is a graduate of Cedarville University. With a background in broadcast management and production, he came to ECHO after 10 years with WAY MEDIA, where he first served as Director of Marketing, and later as the Director of Operations for the Southwest Florida market. Nate specializes in software development with an emphasis on real-time systems integration but is also truly passionate about the outdoors.

  • Rachel Carlucci

    Retail Manager

    Rachel is a fourth-generation Floridian. She has a background working with kids in previous jobs such as Children Pastor’s Administrative/Classroom Assistant and as an Assistant Teacher at a preschool.  She loves to learn and ECHO provides many opportunities.

  • Robert Walle

    Agricultural Technical Writer

    Robert joins ECHO as the Agricultural Technical Writer. He graduated from the University of Florida and the PanAmerican Agricultural College and has a Masters in Soil and Water Science. He has 15 years’ experience in Latin America working in community development and organizational consulting with various nonprofit and faith-based organizations. Robert has expertise in regenerative agriculture and land reclamation. He has been involved with WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) in municipal, community, and disaster response contexts. He also has extensive experience in resilient water systems, local food production, and sovereignty.

  • Stacy Swartz

    Informational Resourcing Associate

    Stacy is from Pittsburgh and graduated from Boston College in 2013 with a major in Biology and a minor in International Studies. During undergraduate studies, she researched Switchgrass as a biofuel and the tri-trophic interactions among Monarch caterpillars, Mycorrhizal Fungi, and Milkweed. Stacy was an ECHO intern in 2014. She has traveled to Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana, and Burkina Faso for various short-term endeavors and has spent time as an agricultural consultant in Tanzania. She received her MS in Agronomy (Agroecology Concentration) from The University of Florida in 2020 where she researched tropical green manure cover crop mixtures. As an adjunct professor at Dallas International University, Stacy helps facilitate graduate-level agricultural courses offered by ECHO.

  • Steve Snyder

    ICT Specialist

    Steve grew up on small farms owned by his parents and grandparents in NW Pennsylvania with little exposure to a worldview of agriculture or missions. While attending Penn State (where he met his wife, Marcy), Steve was exposed to a broader view of agriculture through his studies in Ag Economics and to Ag missions by his Mennonite fraternity brothers who took him to meetings at the local Alliance church. Steve and Marcy married in 1973 and have 2 children and 2 grandsons. Steve was employed 40 years by the PA Farm Bureau as IT Director. Looking back, Steve sees God’s fingerprints across the decades, preparing him for this new season of contributing with his Ag and IT background to the work of ECHO.

  • Tim Motis Ph.D.

    Agricultural Resourcing and Research Director

    Dr. Motis grew up in Ethiopia and Liberia and served as an agriculturalist in Ethiopia for two years before earning his Ph.D. in Horticulture at the University of Florida. He has been on staff with ECHO since 2003. Currently, he oversees ECHO’s Agricultural Resourcing and Research Department. His team produces informational and plant resources, responds to ag-related inquiries from our global network, coordinates research activities, and maintains a library of resources pertaining to tropical agriculture.