Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board
Chad Colton is a trial lawyer with a track record of achieving great results for his clients. He focuses his practice on complex, high-stakes business cases. As part of his commercial litigation practice, Chad handles cross border disputes and international litigation and arbitration, particularly involving businesses and individuals in Mexico and Latin America. Chad is fluent in Spanish and, having lived for several years in South America, is adept at helping clients navigate the thorny legal and cultural issues that arise in disputes between U.S. and Latin American parties. Chad has also litigated and arbitrated disputes between U.S. companies and companies in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Canada.
Incisive and composed in the courtroom, Chad is widely recognized as an outstanding trial advocate. Over the past decade, he has tried nearly 20 cases before juries and judges.Chad’s trial work includes cases for breach of fiduciary duty, minority shareholder oppression, defamation, elder financial abuse, fraud, professional negligence, and breach of contract.
For the past six years, Oregon Super Lawyers has listed Chad as a “Rising Star,” a designation reserved for only 2.5 percent of Oregon attorneys under the age of 40.
Chad’s clients value his sharp and level-headed approach to litigation – he works hard to understand both the strengths and the pitfalls of his cases and then partner with his clients to set a winning litigation strategy. He has successfully represented U.S. and international clients in a broad range of industries, including the software, energy, entertainment, professional services, and agriculture industries.
He is the past Chair of the Oregon State Bar Computer and Internet Law Section. Chad serves on the board of directors for Quechua Benefit, a non-profit organization that provides food, shelter, schooling, and medical services to impoverished children in the highlands of Peru. Chad also serves as an officer and director of Up & Out, which provides housing and life services to more than 40 adults with developmental disabilities.
Co-Executive Director USA, Founder
Mike Safley was born and raised in Oregon. He attended the University of Oregon and served in the U.S. Navy Seabees, doing two tours of duty in Vietnam.
Mike was elected president of the fledgling Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) in 1990 and the Alpaca Registry (ARI) in 1996. While serving as president of AOBA, he conceived of and became the first editor for Alpacas magazine. He has been instrumental in the development of policies and practices for both AOBA and The Alpaca Registry, Inc. (ARI). Mike has written several brochures for the alpaca industry which continue to be printed by AOBA today including: “The Alpaca Investment,” “Fleece to Fashion” and “Alpacas the Color” brochure. He is also the author of Alpacas: Synthesis of a Miracle, Ideal Alpacas from Myth to Reality, The Alpaca Shepherd, and The Alpaca Chronicles.
Over the last 30 years, Mike has conducted seminars and lectures worldwide to audiences in England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, and Peru. He has been a judge at alpaca shows in the United States, England, Germany, Australia, Canada, and Peru. The major shows include the AOBA National, MAPACA, The All American Futurity, British Futurity, Alpaca Western Extravaganza, The North American Alpaca Show, The Great Western Alpaca Show, The Kentucky Classic, Estes Park Wool Market, and the Santa Fe Alpaca Show.
Mike worked to organize and fund Quechua Benefit since its inception, traveling to Peru with the crew for the past 13 years.
Co-Executive Director USA
Mr. Cantwell is currently an Oil and Gas Consultant with both small and large clients. He has more than 34 years of industry experience in the management, engineering, operations and product marketing for domestic oil and gas companies.
Mr. Cantwell was on the Board of a non-profit school for 10 years. While on the Board, he chaired the Board of Directors for 3 years and chaired a Capital Campaign which raised over $10 Million.
In 2004 Mr. Cantwell co-founded Resolute Natural Resources, and was Senior Vice-President of Operations. At Resolute, Mr. Cantwell helped guide the company from a startup with seven employees through several key acquisitions, and finally going public on the NYSE, with over $500 million in assets. Prior to Resolute, Mr. Cantwell was Vice President of Kerr-McGee Rocky Mountain Corporation, following the merger of HS Resources with Kerr-McGee Corporation in August of 2001. As Vice President, his duties were to manage all aspects of Kerr-McGee’s Colorado assets in the DJ Basin. Prior to the HS/Kerr-McGee merger Mr. Cantwell was Vice President in charge of HS Resources D-J Basin District.
Mr. Cantwell earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado. He currently is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Mr. Cantwell is married and has two daughters. He is an avid skier and bicyclist.
Bill Beranek is a veteran software consultant with 20+ years of experience designing systems at various large corporations and medium size companies. Bill has a B.A. in Spanish from Western Kentucky University and a M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Alabama. He has worked and traveled extensively in Central and South America.
In 2011, Bill participated in his first Quechua Benefit mission trip translating for Dr. Bailey. He joined the mission again in 2012 translating for the doctors, nurses and patients.
Bill and his partner, Mario Garcia, started Rancho Inca Alpacas in Navasota, Texas in 2007. They have 45 alpacas and board several more. When they are not consulting for customers and tending to the alpacas, they enjoy cleaning pastures and relaxing on the ranch.
Chuck Gulotta graduated from Virginia Tech in 1997 with a PhD in clinical child psychology. He has worked as behavioral psychologist for 15 years and is currently the Program Director of the Pediatric Feeding Disorder Program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The Kennedy Krieger Institute is an internationally recognized institution dedicated to improving the lives of children and adolescents with pediatric developmental disabilities and disorders of the brain and spine. As the Program Director of Pediatric Feeding Disorders Unit he directs both inpatient and outpatient care as well as conducts outcome research on pediatric feeding disorders. Chuck also works part time as a contractor for the Veterans Administration conducting mental health exams for returning veterans.
In 2000 Chuck and his wife Ashley Hanahan purchased a small farm and began breeding suri alpacas as way to relax and enjoy the country life. They currently live on a 9 acre farm, Arcadia Hollow Alpaca Farm, LLC in Manchester, Maryland where the raise suri alpacas as well sell alpaca fiber and products in their farm store. Over the past 11 years in the alpaca industry Chuck has served as treasurer and board member for both the Maryland Alpaca Breeders Association and the MidAtlantic Alpaca Breeders Association (MAPACA). He has also organized and run as a volunteer the MAPACA Jubilee from 2006-2008.
Dr. Rhonda Deschner went to Baylor College of Medicine and did her Pediatric Residency at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She has been practicing Pediatrics for 20 years and currently lives and practices in the Wimberley/San Marcos, TX area.
She and her husband, Kern have been raising alpacas since 1997 with their 4 children– Austin, Michelle, Mark, and Ethan. They have a herd of about 100 huacaya alpacas and a dozen chickens.
Rhonda became involved with the Quechua Benefit when she went on the first medical mission with the organization in 2009 and fell in love with the Peruvian Highlands and the children and families there. Rhonda is also involved with the Pan American Health Service, Inc in Honduras where she and her husband, Kern have been participating in medical missions in conjunction with their local hospital, Central Texas Medical Center.
Pamela Brewster has supported Quechua Benefit for many years. She is a foundation donor who built one of the original cottages at Casa Chapi. She recently made her largest donation to the charity by agreeing to join our Board of Directors and volunteer her valuable time.
Pamela lives on Stillmeadow Farm, which was established by the Brewster family nearly 50 years ago. This world-class venue is situated on 300 acres of pasture and woodlands in Stonington, CT.
Prior to entering the alpaca industry in 2011, Pamela and her husband were premier breeders and trainers of warm-blooded show horses. For 30 years Stillmeadow Farm produced champions, sending horses to the Olympics and the most prestigious races in the world. Stillmeadow’s goal has always been to produce the best possible stock while keeping the animals well-being a top priority.
Lynn Edens is an alpaca breeder and partner in a vertically integrated U.S. yarn, knitwear and textile business. Reflecting her philanthropic focus on human rights and health care and education access, she has both supported and served as a board or advisory committee member of several of non-profit organizations with community health and/or social justice missions. Naturally, it was also this combination of interests that lead to her interest in and support of Quechua Benefit’s important mission and leadership. Lynn previously worked on Wall Street for a decade as a bond market analyst – this was in the dark ages between the advent of the fax and that of the smaller-than-a-suitcase cellphone, however. She and her husband Wes have four grown children.
Dwight Bailey, is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School and completed his family practice residency at Medical University of South Carolina. He has been in family practice in Lebanon, Virginia for 31 years. Dwight and his wife, Deborah, have been active in mission work around the world. He was asked to be a board member of Quechua Benefit to lead the first medical outreach for Quechua Benefit in 2009. It was truly a remarkable success; he asked to serve on the board and then subsequently as the medical director. Dwight Bailey is an ordained minister and brings a spiritual emphasis as well as medical care to our mission outreaches.
Dental Mission Representative
Dr. Wayne Jarvis graduated from University of Michigan Dental School in 1977 and has been practicing Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in the Western New York area since that time. Dr. Jarvis first read about Quechua Benefit in an Alpacas Magazine article written by Dr. Mario Pedroza. He made his first trip to Peru with a Quechua Benefit team in 2002 and has returned annually to help the Quechua Benefit cause.
Richard “Dick” Miller is a retired Civil Engineer who has been working as well as volunteering in Central and South America for years! He is fluent in Spanish and served as an interpreter on many of out mission trip. He has been a advocate and fundraiser for over 20 years for children’s learning and their education in Guatemala.
Born and raised in Ecuador, Akiko has had the opportunity to experience the economic conditions in which the Quechua people live in the Andean region. As a teenager, she used to volunteer in a humanitarian clinic where her mother worked as a social worker observing the difficulty that members of those communities had to access basic resources and care for loved ones.
Akiko moved to the US in 1996, attending The University of Montana for her BA in Economics. While in Montana, Akiko worked for state organizations such as Bioeconomics, Inc, doing research and cost benefit analysis on wildlife and environmental conservation issues, and, the Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research, preparing reports on the socio-economic status of children living in Montana as well as research papers on the cost of end-of-life care.
After moving to Washington, DC in 2001, Akiko attended John Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), obtaining a MA in International Relations, concentrating in International Development, International Economics, and Conflict Management. In DC, Akiko worked for the Integration and Regional Programs Department of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), focusing on international trade, analysis of free trade agreements and the effects of regional trade integration in Latin America and the Caribbean. She also worked as a consultant doing research on the causes and economic conditions of intractable internal conflict and civil war with the faculty of the Conflict Management Program at SAIS.
Fluent in Spanish, English, and proficient in Portuguese and Japanese, Akiko now lives with her husband, Scott Oncken, and their three children in Sisters, Oregon. While raising her children, she has established herself as a yoga and mindfulness teacher, something that has been a lifelong personal practice. She facilitates therapeutic sessions and workshops in groups and in private. As a teacher, she guides adults and children, committed to making yoga and wellness accessible to the growing Hispanic population in the area by offering bilingual classes. Akiko currently volunteers serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Oregon Youth Orchestra. She loves to hike and travel, is an avid knitter, hand spinner, weaver, and freelance photographer.
I grew up in Reisterstown, Maryland, which is located in northwest Baltimore County. I attended and graduated from Franklin High School, where I took part in track and was a member of the Honor Society. A little lacking in direction after high school, I worked at several jobs before finding a calling in medicine. I enrolled in the Physician Assistant program at Essex Community College, graduating in 1980. I then worked at Franklin Square Hospital and North Charles Hospital as a surgical PA for the next 15 months or so.
In the fall of 1981 I interviewed with and was hired by Geisinger Medical Center to work in the department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. In this new position, I did more than I could have ever dreamed of as a surgical Physician’s Assistant. Because the service had no residents, the PAs on the service were given an incredible amount of responsibility. We prepared the patients for surgery, assisted the surgeon in the operating room, and cared for the patients post-operatively, including in the ICU. We also performed procedures such as central venous line insertion and chest tube insertion.
While working at Geisinger I met my wife, Judy, and we married in 1990. After 10 years as a Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery PA, I decided to embark upon another adventure and began taking courses to prepare myself for medical school. I was accepted at Des Moines University (then known as the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences), and began my medical school studies in 1991.
I graduated medical school in 1995 and began a rotating internship at Memorial Hospital in York, Pennsylvania, planning on completing a residency in Family Practice. However, after doing a rotation in Pediatrics, I fell in love with this field and decided to instead pursue a residency that would allow me to care for children exclusively. I completed my residency in Pediatrics at Geisinger Medical Center and the newly constructed Janet Weis Children’s Hospital.
Because of an obligation to the Public Health Service, I was required to spend several years serving in a medically underserved area. I was able to accomplish this in Titusville, Pennsylvania, birthplace of the oil industry. My wife and I lived there for 5 years before returning to Danville and the campus of Geisinger Medical Center once again. I accepted a position as a Pediatric Hospitalist there and work in that capacity to this day.
After returning to Geisinger, I developed an great interest in international medical missions and was made the director for international rotations for the Pediatric residency. In this position I have had the opportunity to take part in medical missions to Honduras, Ukraine, Peru (Amazon and highlands), and China. I also traveled to Namibia to check into a rotation opportunity for our residents with one of my medical school friends.
International medicine has turned out to be one of my chief interests and certainly adds to the variety that I enjoy in my current position.
Dale is a Senior Vice President and Financial Advisor with Robert W. Baird & Co. He has been providing wealth management advice to high net-worth individuals, professionals, business owners, corporate executives and non-profit organizations for more than thirty years. He graduated from Washington State University in 1982 and has worked with notable firms Dain Bosworth, Piper Jaffray and Wells Fargo Advisors.
In 2014 Dale joined Robert W. Baird & Co. through the acquisition of McAdams, Wright, Ragen. In 2000 he successfully completed his Certified Investment Management AnalystSM designation (CIMA®) through The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA). In 1990, he obtained his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification from the College for Financial Planning in Denver, Colorado.
Through his local church, Dale Co-Founded Bridgetown Mentor’s Forum – a once a month speaking forum featuring business owners and professionals primarily from the Portland metro area aimed at mentoring the younger generation about life, career and family.
He is an advisor to the Development Team at Bridgetown Inc. a non-profit organization that provides assistance and relief to Portland’s homeless community as well as low income families and children in the metro area.
Dale and his wife Cher currently reside in Portland, Oregon. He has two sons, Lucas and Braden. He loves sports and the outdoors and his favorite activity is fly fishing the many streams and rivers in the Pacific Northwest.
Pamela is a retired attorney and full-time alpaca rancher.
She was born on a ranch in South Dakota, graduated from the University of Colorado, Phi Beta Kappa, then from the University of Notre Dame Law School. After graduation Pamela founded her own business law firm with three partners and grew that firm to 35 attorneys where she specialized in business and transactional law. She was then asked to become a partner in the multi-national firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher where she again practiced transactional law, specializing in oil & gas and real estate for 25 years before retiring.
Pamela’s community work has always centered on issues effecting women and children, homelessness and domestic abuse. She helped found and obtain funding for Denver’s first domestic abuse safe house, organized attorneys to assist domestic abuse victims and served on the board of the Gathering Place, a daytime homeless shelter for women and children and educational outreach community. She’s a founder and past-President of the Colorado Women’s Bar Association.
Pamela and Dale Cantwell have 2 grown daughters, Amelia and Elizabeth, and live at Xanadu Farm north of Denver. Pamela loves Delta blues, old-time railroads and traveling. She’s a certified glider pilot.
Ruthie Gohl has been a registered Nurse for 47 years she earned her Master’s Degree from University of Portland, and has retired from a career as a hospital Nursing Director in Ohio, Oregon, and Washington. The last 6 years of her career were spent as Walla Walla University School of Nursing Instructor, and she is currently Deputy Executive Director for Battle Ground HealthCare, a free clinic she founded which offers chronic medical and dental care for uninsured and underinsured.
In her spare time Ruthie has been an alpaca owner since 1997 and is the full time mother to 5 awesome children and their spouses, and 11, creative grandkids.
Ruthie is currently having fun going on mission trips (with High School Students) to share Christ’s love with others. Married to one handsome, innovative guy, Daryl Gohl, who is blessed by God to work to give back to others.
QB Peru Staff
Peru Country Director
Alejandro Tejeda Barzola was born in Majes, an agricultural valley in the Arequipa region of Peru. He graduated from San Agustin de Arequipa University with a degree in Economics in 1985.
Alejandro joined the QB team in 2009 with a great deal of experience working on governmental projects in Southern Peru. He has always enjoyed focusing on rural projects with Quechua communities and alpaca breeders.
For me, is a great achievement of my life to witness how much we are growing. As the Quechua Benefit Peru Country Director, I have to give my best every day in all activities and projects. Casa Chapi a beautiful opportunity for our kids — it is changing their lives. I am very happy to work with American people who believe in the Peruvian people.
Claudia was born and raised in Arequipa, Peru. In 2010, she graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the Catholic University of Santa Maria. After college, she worked in retail and then the public sector at the Regional Office of Transport and Communications. Currently, she is pursuing a Masters in Human Resources. She joined the QB team in June 2016 as Administrative Assistant at our Arequipa office.
Working with Quechua Benefit has been one of the most satisfying experiences in my life; it is an honor to work with and for people who have a huge heart. I feel really blessed to be part of this family.
Principal of Casa Chapi
Guini Calcina Vargay is an inspiration. After working for the mining industry, Guini was encouraged by her family to become a teacher. She began by teaching three- and four-year-olds, which motivated her to continue more training. Guini has taught various ages and ethnicities in Peru for fifteen years. Her investment in Casa Chapi is not merely academic. Guini says, “I enjoy and admire children in their successes, achievements, and joys as a single family.” She loves watching students develop confidence and independence. As the children come from diverse backgrounds, she helps them create a new happy family that helps them face the challenges of life together.
Teacher at Casa Chapi
Maria Luisa was born in Ocoña, on the coast of Southern Peru. She graduated from the Institute of Santa Maria with a taching degree in 2007. At a young age, she belonged to a Christian congregation of religious sisters.
She taught primary school for the Municipality and worked as an assistant educator in high schools for four years. She joined Casa Chapi in 2013 as a House Mother then began teaching primary grades in 2016.
Over the years I have been here, Casa Chapi has grown significantly with new buildings and many new activities. Today we serve more than 60 highland children, and I am happy to be part of this team. I am committed to being a teacher and auntie to these children so that I can create positive change their lives.
Administrator of Casa Chapi
Lusmila was born in the village of Tuti, in the Colca Valley of Peru. She grew up speaking Quechua.
Lusmila worked alongside Padre Marcos for four years as the church secretary in Chivay. She then studied and graduated from the University Marcelino Champañat in Lima with a degree in primary education in 2001. She taught elementary school for the next 12 years, and joined the team at Casa Chapi in March 2016 as the administrator and assistant teacher. She says that her job at Casa Chapi has been a welcome challenge, and that she is very happy to share in the children’s daily experience of learning.
Margot was born in Arequipa, Peru. She graduated with a degree in Education from the University of Saint Augustine in 2005 and then went on to teach in both public and private schools in Arequipa. She joined Casa Chapi in 2013 as a house mother. She stepped into her natural role as teacher when Casa Chapi first became a school, and she was appointed Principal in 2015.
Working at Casa Chapi is a wonderful experience. I feel great satisfaction working with Quechua Benefit and serving children of the highlands in need of education and love. I’m happy to be part of a team that has grown and achieved great things in our three years together. I am thankful that these children have the opportunity to continue studying in Arequipa. Education is something that cannot be taken away.