Leadership Team

  • Bryan Kelley - Chief Executive Officer

    Bryan Kelley serves as the CEO—Chief Empowerment Officer as we like to call it—of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP). Prior to his current position, Bryan has been a consummate servant-leader in many roles for PEP: Peer Educator, Executive Judge, Business Plan Advisor, Mentor, Character Coach, Transition Coordinator, Case Manager and Executive Relations Manager to name a few. He has also been a conduit of innovation, wise stewardship and fun when performing other tasks such as: property manager, eSchool instructor, public speaker, event coordinator, volunteer recruiter, fundraiser and friend-raiser.

    Bryan has been a part of our organization since 2007 and graduated with Class 21 at the Cleveland Unit where he was voted “Mr. PEP.” He joined our staff shortly after his fresh start in 2014 and has earned his way up the ladder of our family with integrity and execution. Bryan knows well both sides of the fence and is able to bridge the razor wire gap—and communicate a message of hope and love—as well as anyone. PEP’s 10 Driving Values are definitely in his DNA.

    Bryan has a BS in psychology from Sam Houston State University. He has been a business owner and is currently serving on the governing board of another nonprofit organization that helps released felons secure much needed clothing upon release. He is an active member of Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas, where he volunteers on the External Focus Team, specializing in prison ministry. He has also become a passionate prison-reform advocate giving voice to those who wear the scarlet letter of ex-felon. Each day, Bryan models the blessed hope of what it can mean when one lives out the mission of PEP.

  • Bert Smith - CEO Emeritus

    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.

  • Brian Troy - Executive Relations Manager, Houston

    Brian Troy is our Executive Relations Manager in Houston responsible for coordinating monthly events at the Cleveland Unit and recruiting prospective volunteers and supporters through meetings and public speaking engagements. Brian is also an Entrepreneurship Instructor at the Cleveland Unit. Furthermore, Brian has worked as a Transitional Coordinator for PEP and is a Class XIX graduate of the program.

    Brian has extensive sales experience in the financial services and logistics industry and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography with a Speech Communications minor from Texas Tech University. Brian also held positions in construction and retail management and served in the U.S. Army Reserve.

  • Victor Gutierrez - Executive Relations Manager, North Texas

    Victor Gutierrez is our Executive Relations Manager in North Texas. He is responsible for coordinating monthly events at the Sanders Estes Unit in Venus, TX and recruiting prospective North Texas area volunteers and supporters through meetings and public speaking engagements to bring community awareness to the human potential within Texas prisons.

    Victor is a Class XXIII graduate and has been involved as a Peer Educator, Group Management, Event Coordinator and Facilitator. He also volunteered as music director and a guitarist for Catholic Prison Ministries. He also facilitated Celebrate Recovery at Estes.

    Since his release in 2016 he has been working as a talent acquisition specialist in recruiting skilled and unskilled workers for the commercial construction industry. He is most proud of having placed over 60 men from the PEP program with employers upon their release. He has previous experience in corporate management, retail sales, marketing sales and client relations. Victor lives his life with a Servant-Leader mentality in which finding meaning in his life means helping others find meaning in theirs.

  • Karen Turnquest - Women's Program Manager

    Karen Turnquest joined PEP in August of 2018 from a career as a business strategist and consultant. Her Executive MBA took her from a career in engineering research and development to one in organizational development and change. She spent years as a professional coach working with individuals, organizations and companies of all sizes to achieve their goals and to position themselves to maintain consistent performance through all types of external market conditions.

    Karen has led several teams and held several roles at Fortune 500 companies focused on leadership development, operational enhancement and organizational change. She has also volunteered with many organizations in Austin helping them to extend their reach and recognize more of their potential to meet the needs of members and alumnae. She was also honored to serve as President of Baylor's Executive MBA Advisory Board.

    Karen speaks to several organizations around the country and across a variety of industries, helping them to take their teams and businesses to the next level.

    Karen has enjoyed working with all age groups. She has taught children’s church, has supported her husband’s work with seniors and now currently volunteers as a life coach in the God of Hope unit at the Lockhart facility. She and her family attend Austin Ridge Bible Church in West Austin. She is originally from The Bronx, New York and now resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and daughter.

    She is a 2007 graduate of Baylor University's Executive MBA program and was honored to serve as President of the program's advisory board. Karen has a background in microelectronics, including a B.S. in chemical engineering from M.I.T. and two Masters degrees, also in engineering.

  • Program Staff

    In Prison Program

    Patrick McGee

    Manager Prison Initiatives

    Gami Jasso

    In Prison Program Manager, Estes

    Al Massey

    In Prison Program Manager, Cleveland

    David Flores

    Character Development Specialist

    Greg Phillips

    Character Development Specialist

    Family Program

    Theresa Black

    Family Liaison

    Sandra Jasso

    Family Liaison

    Laura Stiehl

    Family Liaison


    Jorge Castillo

    Transition Coordinator, Houston

    Marc Gomez

    Transition Coordinator, Houston

    Christopher Jimenez

    Transition Coordinator, Dallas

    Harvey Mai

    Re-Entry Manager, Houston

    Jason Moore

    Re-Entry Manager, Dallas

    Joshua Munoz

    Re-Entry Manager, Austin

    Arturo Reynoso

    Transition Coordinator, Houston

    Timothy Washington

    Transition Coordinator, Dallas


    Courtney Dykstra


    Max Han

    Fleet/Office Manager

    Edison Nguyen

    IT Specialist

    Roger Bewley

    Development Associate, Houston

    Brandon Green

    Development Associate, 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.

Pat Gotcher, Vice-Chairman


LifeSynch, Inc. (Retired)

Brandon Holcomb, Chairman of the Board

Vice President – Investment Management Division

Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Mike Humphrey


Communitas Auto Group

John Jackson

Individual Investor

Roger Manny

Executive VP & CFO

Range Resources Corporation

Britanie Olvera


B.I.T. Construction Services Inc.

Nancy White


National Advisory Board

Elizabeth English

Policy Analyst

The Council of State Governments Justice Center

Bob Graham

Chairman (Retired)

AIM Management

Jo Kwong

Director of Economic Opportunity

The Philanthropy Roundtable

Jerry Madden

Senior Fellow

Right on Crime

Paul Morris


SupportFocus, Inc

Jeff Smith

EVP and Head of Community Engagement and Policy

Concordance Academy

Houston Advisory Board

Bruce Anderson

Managing Partner

Thinking Partners, Inc

Charles Blain

Houston Director

Empower Texans

Daniel Cahill

Cahill & Vela PLLC

Dougal Cameron

Cameron Management

Mike Coffey

Intex Commercial Flooring

Rachel Compton

Account Executive

Elmore PR

Sandi Dillon

Corporate Development Specialist

Karen El-Tawil

TGS-NOPEC Geophysical (Retired)

Genie Erneta


Genie Erneta Inc. – Homes & Designs Inc.

John Harrell


Cristian Hernandez


On Sight Welding

Dave Jacobs

TechKnowledge Consulting

Melvin Maltz

Sr. Acct. Manager

Lone Star Advisory Group

Keith McJunkin


McJunkin & Associates, Inc.

Guillermo Mendoza

Impact Coaching Solutions

Bill Miller

Vice President (Retired)

Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Ben Morris

Former CEO

Sanders Morris Harris

Jeff Offutt


JITA Printing

Monte Pendleton

Business Mentor

Silver Fox Advisors

Ben Pigati

Arena Energy

Alan Stewart


The Cullen Foundation

Thomas Suffield

Managing Director

OFS Capital

Abrahm “Abe” Turner

Performance Improvement Consultant


Jay Wall

Senior Vice-President

Moody Rambin

J. Wayne Wisniewski

President and Chief Operating Officer

Eagle Hydrocarbons, Inc.

 North Texas Advisory Board

Keith Berry

Terminal Manager

Intermodal Bridge Transport

Keith Bird



Marc Birnbaum



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

Michael Doss

Chief Executive Officer

FTS International

Roy Foster

Chief Financial Officer–Business Operations

Andrews Distributing

Jon Goodale


Goodale Exploration LLC, and Group Chair at Leaven Exchange

Steve Hausman


Triumph Business Capital

Kyle Henderson


First Baptist Church Athens

Steven J. Heussner, CLU®, ChFC®

Co-founder and Chairman

Mogul Wealth Strategies, LLC

Jim Holloway



Mabrie Jackson

Director, Public Affairs

HEB/Central Market

Adam Minter

Assistant Superintendent

Rogers-O’Brien Construction

Lynn Newman

McCaslin Barrow Henderson, LLC

Kevin Rainey


Corp Car LLC

David Rains

Commercial Finance Consultants

John Selzer

Septariate, LLC

Scott J. Schlegel, CPA, CFP®

Financial Advisor

SchlegelDunn LLC

Allison Schlender

Senior National Sales Executive

The Coca-Cola Company

Brent Taylor


Unique Concepts

Carl Thomas

PR Incorporated