Leadership Team

  • Bert Smith - Chief Executive Officer

    Bert Smith officially joined PEP as CEO in May 2010 and has been actively involved with PEP since 2005. He has served in a number of volunteer roles, including executive judge, Business Plan Advisor, teacher, mentor, donor and Chairman of the Houston Advisory Board.

    In the 1980s, Bert served as Director, General Counsel, and Head of Corporate Development for a family owned engineering company that built and operated independent power plants. After the sale of that company, Bert founded and led a group that developed proprietary alternative fuel and energy generation technologies. Prior to joining PEP as CEO, Bert was an early stage investor and CEO for a DVD kiosk rental business.

    Bert serves on the Board of Directors for a family foundation, is a past President of the Executives Association of Houston, is a member of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church and has served as an active board member and volunteer with a number of other nonprofit organizations. He holds an AB in Economics from Princeton University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. He is married and has three adult children.

  • Phi Tran - Chief Operating Officer

    Phi Tran serves as Chief Operating Officer. Phi is PEP’s longest serving employee, integral in the creation of the program’s back-end services (financial management, receipting, audits, database and technology systems, etc.) He is primarily responsible for building out and managing all of our re-entry and reintegration services.

    Phi has worked for PEP since October 2004 and has served in many different capacities over the last six years, beginning with design and development of a comprehensive database for case management. He actively manages PEP’s in-prison programs as well as chairing all of management meetings for the organization.

    Phi brings to PEP a diverse entrepreneurial background with multiple successful ventures in industries ranging from technology distribution to entertainment. He was the founder and owner of JDP Production, an organizer of entertainment events. Previously, he founded and owned a company called Panorama, a storefront selling Japanese animation products. The business rented videos to a 600-member customer base and sold related products, generating monthly sales of up to $30,000 over two years. Phi holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting at the University of Houston.

  • Tony Mayer - Chief Development Officer

    Tony Mayer joined PEP in May 2015 as Chief Development Officer. He previously was the Director of Partnership Development and Employer Development for The WorkFaith Connection. He coordinates PEP’s fundraising and development activities, executive volunteer recruitment, and marketing and communication strategy.

    Prior to joining PEP, Tony worked in the energy risk management and insurance industry in Houston, London, and New York. He is currently a board member for The Barnabas Group Houston. He has also served as a board member for The WorkFaith Connection, Archway Academy, and the Houston Speech and Hearing Center, and as a Vestry Member for The Church of St. John the Divine. He graduated from Princeton University with an A. B. in History. He and his wife Susan live in Houston and have two adult daughters.

  • Tim Hamilton - Chief Financial Officer

    Tim Hamilton serves as Chief Financial Officer and is responsible for PEP’s fiscal management as well as that of our for-profit venture, Auto-Lab of Texas. He has worked in public accounting, both with a national firm and with a sole practitioner. In both practices, Tim’s client base was almost entirely entrepreneurial businesses – owners who need hands-on financial expertise to solve day-to-day problems including financing, bonding, accounting controls and automated systems.

    He has also worked as a small business consultant in the Dallas Minority Business Development Center, a U.S. Department of Commerce initiative. Tim owns Rock Pointe Financial Services to provide accounting and financial services to individuals and small businesses. Tim’s initial association with PEP was as a peer educator during his 22+ year journey through life transformation and TDCJ. Both inside and outside of prison, Tim’s personal and financial experiences are a great match with our participants’ needs. Tim holds BS and MS degrees in Accounting from the University of North Texas and received his CPA license in 1986.

  • Kristie Wisniewski - Chief of Staff

    Kristie Wisniewski was promoted to Chief of Staff in June 2011 after serving as Manager, Human Resources since joining PEP in 2007. Her experience includes human resources management, office management, and contract administration. In addition to her duties as Chief of Staff, she helps coordinate PEP’s prison recruitment efforts and assists our development team to build relationships with various constituencies focusing primarily on churches.

    Prior to joining PEP Kristie worked in private equity, energy capital, gas and power marketing, oil and gas market research and the oil and gas industry. She also owned and operated a home-based business services company in Katy Texas. Kristie attended North Texas State University and Texas A&M University where she studied business. Kristie and her husband Wayne reside in Houston; they have two grown sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren.

  • Bryan Kelley - Executive Relations Manager, North Texas

    Bryan is responsible for recruiting and managing PEP’s portfolio of major and prospective supporters; coordinating monthly events, meetings and public presentations throughout the Greater DFW area; and assisting with the management of all in-prison events that PEP offers at the Sanders Estes Unit in Venus, TX.

    Bryan is a class XXI graduate, although he has been connected to the program since 2008 when he was a peer educator for PEP at the Hamilton Unit. During class XXI he was voted “Mr. PEP”. Bryan began working as a Transitional Coordinator for PEP shortly after release and was soon elevated to Re-Entry Manager. Bryan has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is contemplating seminary in the near future.

  • Charles Hearne - Executive Relations Manager, Houston

    A native Texan and U.S. Army veteran, Charles Hearne is a Class XVII graduate of PEP. A diligent student and outstanding presenter, Charles placed second in the Business Plan Competition and was voted “Mr. Excellence” by his classmates. He was released from prison in May 2013 in Dallas, Texas.

    About three weeks after release, Charles moved to Houston and began his role as Development Associate for PEP. For two years, Charles also served as the manager of Covington House, one of PEP’s transition homes. During this time, he also completed eSchool, PEP’s post-release continuing education program.

    In May 2015, Charles was promoted to Executive Relations Manager for the greater Houston area. In addition to recruiting and coordinating executive volunteers, and engaging and nurturing donors, Charles is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in finance at the University of Houston.


  • Program Staff

    In Prison Program

    Patrick McGee

    Manager Prison Initiatives

    Gami Jasso

    In Prison Program Manager, Estes

    Al Massey

    In Prison Program Manager, Cleveland

    Alfredo Manning

    Character Development Specialist

    Family Program

    Theresa Black

    Family Liaison

    Sandra Jasso

    Family Liaison

    Laura Stiehl

    Family Liaison

    Transition

    Robert J. Rodriguez

    Re-Entry Manager, Austin

    Jorge Castillo

    Transition Coordinator, Houston

    Harvey Mai

    Re-Entry Manager, Houston

    Joshua Munoz

    Transition Coordinator, Houston

    Jason Moore

    Re-Entry Manager, Dallas

    Benjamin DeLeon

    Transition Coordinator, Dallas

    David Flores

    Transition Coordinator, Dallas

    Administrative

    John Conradt

    Bookkeeper

    Max Han

    Fleet/Office Manager

    Mi Lai

    Data Entry Associate

    Edison Nguyen

    IT Specialist

    Chase Mayr

    Development Associate, Houston

    Evann Henderson

    Development Intern, Dallas
  • PEP Faculty

    In addition to the classroom leaders from our staff and servant leaders, we also rely on a number of other individuals for their expertise and assistance with specific parts of our curriculum.

    Jim Arnold - Toastmasters

    Keith Bird - Men’s Life, Estes Unit

    Vice President, Global Engineering and Manufacturing Strategy, ALCON

    Keith Frazier - Men’s Life, Cleveland Unit

    President and CEO, Bird’s Nest Services, Inc.

    Steve Hausman - Integrity Selling

    President, Advance Business Capital

    Michael Humphrey - Business Case Studies

    Chairman, Communitas Auto Group, LLC

    David Rains - Integrity Selling

    President, Commercial Finance Consultants

    Colleen Rickenbacher - Business Etiquette

    Colleen Rickenbacher, Inc.

    John Younker, Ph. D. - Myers Briggs Type Inventory

    Professional Training and Coaching

Governing Board

Robert Barkley

Principal, Director of Client Development

Barrow, Hanley, Mewhinney & Strauss, Inc.

Dr. Gary Carini

Associate Dean of Graduate Programs

Baylor University, Hankamer School of Business

Pat Gotcher

CEO

OptimaMinds

Mr. Brandon Holcomb

Vice President – Investment Management Division

Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Mr. Mike Humphrey, Chairman of the Board

Chairman

Communitas Auto Group

Mr. John Jackson

Individual Investor

Mr. Roger Manny

Executive VP & CFO

Range Resources Corporation

Ms. Britanie Olvera

President/Owner

B.I.T. Construction Services Inc.

Nancy White

Retired

National Advisory Board

Elizabeth English

Research Associate

American Enterprise Institute

Bob Graham

Chairman (Retired)

AIM Management

Noah Kramer

Head of Business Development

HG Vora Capital Management

Jerry Madden

Senior Fellow

Right on Crime

Paul Morris

President

SupportFocus, Inc

Jeff Smith

EVP and Head of Community Engagement and Policy

Concordance Academy

Houston Advisory Board

Bruce Anderson

Managing Partner

Thinking Partners, Inc

Daniel Cahill

Cahill & Vela PLLC

Dougal Cameron

Cameron Management

Mike Coffey

Intex Commercial Flooring

Sandi Dillon

Corporate Development Specialist

Karen El-Tawil

TGS-NOPEC Geophysical (Retired)

Genie Erneta

Owner

Genie Erneta Inc. – Homes & Designs Inc.

John Harrell

Retired

Dave Jacobs

TechKnowledge Consulting

Melvin Maltz

Sr. Acct. Manager

Lone Star Advisory Group

Keith McJunkin

President

McJunkin & Associates, Inc.

Guillermo Mendoza

Impact Coaching Solutions

Bill Miller

Vice President (Retired)

Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Ben Morris

Former CEO

Sanders Morris Harris

Monte Pendleton

Business Mentor

Silver Fox Advisors

Lauren-Kristine Pryzant

Mercury Fund

Alan Stewart

Executive Director and Treasurer

The Cullen Foundation

Thomas Suffield

Managing Director

OFS Capital

Jay Wall

Senior Vice-President

Moody Rambin

Scott Wesley

Project Manager

Marek Brothers Systems, Inc.

J. Wayne Wisniewski

President and Chief Operating Officer

Eagle Hydrocarbons, Inc.

 North Texas Advisory Board

Keith Berry

General Manager

Hazel’s Hot Shot

Keith Bird

Vice President Global Engineering & Mfg. Strategy

Alcon

Marc Birnbaum

President

MAB

Timothy Black

Oracle Corporation

David Blanchard

Investment Advisor Representative

Voya Financial

Robert Callahan

Hewlett-Packard Co.

Javier Creixell

Trinity Fiduciary Partners, LLC

Ken Dunham

Vice President of Human Resources

Rogers-O’Brien Construction Company

Ivan Giraldo

Clean Scapes LP

Jon Goodale

Owner

Goodale Exploration LLC, and Group Chair at Leaven Exchange

Steve Hausman

President/CEO

Triumph Business Capital

Kyle Henderson

Pastor

First Baptist Church Athens

Steven J. Heussner, CLU®, ChFC®

Co-founder and Chairman

Mogul Wealth Strategies, LLC

Jim Holloway

Owner

hGroup

Mabrie Jackson

Director, Public Affairs

HEB/Central Market

Lynn Newman

McCaslin Barrow Henderson, LLC

David Rains

Commercial Finance Consultants

John Selzer

Septariate, LLC

Linda Thomas

PR Incorporated