Paul Emerson is a technologist, innovator, and business leader with over 25 years of experience in creating new technologies, evaluating and driving new investment areas as well as leading business units and research teams. For the past 20 years, Paul has been a part of Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas. His current role is general manager of Kilby Labs Dallas and director of nanotechnology. He is the inventor of 8 US patents and has several patents pending in new technology areas such as sensors and printed electronics. Paul earned his Bachelors of Electrical Engineering (BEE) and MSEE from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1991 and 1992 respectively.
Outside of work, Paul enjoys spending time with his wife of 26 years and three children especially in various outdoor pursuits like camping, cycling, and hiking. Paul is an Eagle Scout and current serves as assistant scoutmaster and high adventure coordinator as well as den leader for his two boys’ troop / pack. Paul currently leads worship for preschool children at Woodcreek Church, Richardson, TX. In the past, Paul taught Jr High Sunday School, served as a youth group leader , and was part of the Town North Presbyterian Church worship team.
Paul grew up going to Camp Maranatha as a youth where his faith in Christ, passion for service, and love for the outdoors grew strong through family camps, work days, youth retreats, and four years of muscles in mission summer camp. Paul worked at camp during the summers of 1987-88 first as maintenance assistant followed by camp counselor. He also served on the camp committee during his years in college.
Tom Cunningham is a native of Lexington, KY, where he was an active youth and adult member of Hunter Presbyterian Church. Upon his move to Huntsville, he served as deacon, taught Sunday School, and served on various committees at First Presbyterian Church. It was through his involvement with First that Tom became Church familiar with Maranatha and spent many church camp retreats there with his family. Tom is currently a Trustee, sings in the choir, and serves on several committees at Covenant Presbyterian Church, where he has been a member for more than 12 years. He also serves on the Board of the Food Bank of North Alabama. Tom currently plays an active role on the M3Ci board as an adjunct member and lead of the Property Team. In his spare time, Tom is Director of Operations for an engineering consulting firm.
Bob Copous, retired Mortgage Banker, has lived in North Alabama since 1987. Originally from Middle Tennessee, but in his previous retail career lived in Texas, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, South Carolina, and Atlanta, Ga. He has been an active member of First Presbyterian Church Albertville since 1988 and has served on several board positions of North Alabama Presbytery since 1995. During those years he worked closely with the Maranatha Ministry Team in his role on the Business Affairs Team.
In 50 years working with the public, he has seen first hand how the camping experience has substantially added to the character of individuals he has known. As a boy, he remembers his camp experience and wants to help provide those positive influences to today’s youth.
Richard Brooks was raised in North Alabama where he was nurtured in faith when Camp Maranatha first began ministry in 1965. Following college and a journey through the wilderness of atheism, Richard rededicated his life to the Lordship of Christ and entered parish ministry after receiving his master’s degree. In addition to Christian ministry, he founded two businesses. Now retired, Richard focuses his energies on Christian philanthropic activities.
Gerrit Burke does capture management and business development for a local government contractor, supporting cybersecurity and operations projects for DoD and NASA. Born in Germany to a military family stationed abroad, Gerrit has always enjoyed travelling and experiencing first hand many corners, cultures, and perspectives of the world. This, combined with his love of computers and gadgets, led him to obtain degrees in International Business/Information Systems and Spanish from Mississippi State University.
Gerrit has been involved with Maranatha since 2006, when a friend with camp connections rescued him from spending a summer frying chicken to work as a camp counselor. The following summer, touched by the accepting, spiritually intelligent, and fundamentally caring nature of those he encountered, Gerrit returned to Maranatha as a Head counselor.
Gerrit lives in Madison, AL with his wife Erin and daughter Evelyn.
David B. Edwards is a native of Huntsville, Alabama. He graduated from the University of Alabama-Huntsville with a BSBA degree in Marketing and served on the Alumni Board of Directors from 2003-2007. David is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Guntersville and has been on session twice. While on session he chaired the stewardship committee and served on the pastor nominating search committee.
David is the owner and President of Hamlett Property Management in Huntsville. He is a licensed real estate broker with the State of Alabama and served on the legislative task force to write current tenant/landlord law.
David is married to Vicki Edwards and they have one daughter named McKenzie. McKenzie has attended Camp Maranatha many times with her friends through the years.
David is a member of the Huntsville Museum of Art and the Hunstville Quarterback Club. He serves on a leadership team for Randolph School’s Annual Fund and the Fundraising committee for the Huntsville Municipal Ice Complex.
In his leisure time David enjoys fishing on Lake Guntersville, Alabama Football and spending time with his family and friends.
Laura Lynn Kerner
Laura Lynn Kerner moved from executive and consulting positions in healthcare and internet software development companies to teach college students at Athens State University. In her desire to share her knowledge and experiences to help students become successful, she incorporated “real” world projects in her classes. One of her marketing research classes completed a project for Camp Maranatha. Ms. Kerner and her students were so impressed with the dedication and commitment of the Board they wanted to continue their support. When she was invited to become a Board member, she welcomed the opportunity.
Ms. Kerner’s career successfully spanned six industry sectors: internet software development, healthcare, education, interior design, event planning and floral retailing. She has became passionate about improving the lives of children and adults by teaching them how to develop self-esteem and how to add good character traits to their lives. She has written two books: “How to Market Yourself: Being Empowered to Succeed” and “My SUCCESS Manual. She developed a comprehensive SUCCESS program used in middle schools and high schools teaching life management and decision making skills. She is now working on a sexual assaults prevention program for college campuses.
She grew up in Mississippi on a family farm, worked in her mother’s florist and gift shop, graduated from the University of Mississippi. She is married to Dr. Jim Kerner, Professor of Management at Athens State, between them they have 5 children and 18 grandchildren.
Bob Ludwig, retired publisher of The Huntsville Times, is a community activist engaged with non-profit organizations that support economic development (Tennessee Valley BRAC Committee, City of Huntsville Federal Building Authority, BizTech) and improving the quality of life of those living in North Alabama (Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County, elder Covenant Presbyterian Church). “On my way to becoming an Eagle Scout, my six years of summer camp experience clearly helped me develop leadership skills I used throughout my life. Maranatha’s resurgent program will give today’s youth a reason to set aside their mobile devices and tweet their own life skills in a Christian setting.”
Jess Porter grew up in Alabama and was heavily involved in his church youth group. He earned a BSEE from the University of Alabama in 1987 and later an MSEE from UAH. Jess moved to Huntsville in 1987 and began a carrier as an instrumentation engineer, signal analyst, and division chief for a US Army test center. Jess was introduced to Maranatha through his wife who was a camper and counselor and her Father-in-law who was a longtime volunteer at Maranatha. Jess and his wife Laurie have been married for 27 years and have three sons who all attended Maranatha summer camps.
Roland Walker was born in Alabama and grew up In Orange Beach, a member of a family of fishermen. He graduated from Foley High School and Auburn University with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering.
He worked for General Electric Company – Industrial, Marine, and Energy Services retiring after 37 years. He continued to work for GE part time as a consultant for an additional 13 years. While working for GE, Roland and his family lived in Schenectady, NY; Birmingham, AL; Mobile, AL; Jacksonville, FL; Wilmington, NC and Huntsville, AL.
Roland met his wife, Peggy Skillng from Birmingham, AL, at Auburn and they have been married for 52 years. They have three children and four grand children.
He grew up in the Presbyterian Church and served as an officer in the Mobile Presbytery Youth Fellowship. Roland has served as a Deacon, Elder, and Trustee in several churches as his family relocated during his career. He recently served as a Trustee and Moderator of the Business Affairs Team for North Alabama Presbytery.
Roland attended camps during the teen years and acknowledges the impact a camp experience can provide for children, youth, and adults.