OCDC Board of Directors

William Sparks — ACDI/VOCA
Vice President, Technical Learning and Application

William SparksWilliam Sparks

Winner of the Dr. J.P. London Award for Promoting Ethical Behavior, William Sparks brings 20 years of business and development experience to building organizational capacity. He has worked on assignments and technical projects in Africa, South America, Asia and the Middle East, including Feed the Future and economic growth programs that strengthen the competitiveness of farmer associations and cooperatives.

Currently, Sparks serves as vice president for ACDI/VOCA’s research and development team, which designs and implements capacity-building, behavior-change and technical interventions. Innovations from the group include the Sell More For More™ program, which links farmer organizations to markets by improving their ability to meet quality specifications and manage operations effectively. Under the USAID-funded Cooperative Development Program, Sparks created the M4 farmer organization rapid assessment tool to help organization leaders and members identify priority development needs and assess ongoing performance. He has authored publications on development and behavioral change and co-created ACDI/VOCA’s AchieVe performance management system to help organizations onboard, develop and retain talent.

Sparks earned a master’s in organization development from Pepperdine University and a bachelor’s in business management and psychology from Woodbury University. He also completed the Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership program at the University of Missouri.

Pete Giacomini — CRI
Senior Vice President, Business Development

Pete GiacominiPete Giacomini

In his role with CRI, which he has held since January 2013, Pete Giacomini is creating new opportunities for CRI's growth through development of global and domestic alliances, advancement of research programming, and consideration of acquisitions that expand services and markets for its cooperative businesses.

Prior to joining CRI, he was COO for AgSource, which he began working in 1985. He also served as president and CEO of the Wisconsin Dairy Herd Improvement Cooperative and director of field services and jersey marketing service for the American Jersey Cattle Association. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in agricultural economics and dairy science.

Dean Gilge — CRI
Associate Vice President, Global Development

Dean GilgeDean Gilge Dean Gilge has 30 years' cooperative experience, working for Cooperative Resources International (CRI) and its predecessors in various management positions.

In 2005, Gilge became COO of IndiaGen PVT Ltd., a joint venture between CRI and the National Dairy Development board (NDDB) in Hyderabad India. IndiaGen began with 40 service technicians. Under Dean’s leadership, within two years it had established seven different regional offices with 1,000 technicians breeding cows throughout India. In 2007, Dean returned to CRI USA to take on his current role. He has worked in over 40 different countries, establishing various livestock development programs through commercial business development and donor-funded programs.

Gilge currently chairs the OCDC board of directors.

Dr. Barbara Czachorska-Jones — Global Communities
Director of Operations, Policy and Innovation

Barbara Czachorska-JonesBarbara Czachorska-Jones

Before she joined Global Communities in the early 1990s, Dr. Barbara Czachorska-Jones pursued a legal career in Poland, receiving her doctorate degree in law from the Institute of Legal Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

In her various senior positions at Global Communities, she has managed cooperative housing and development projects focusing on cooperatives in the Philippines, South Africa, Bosnia, Poland, Mongolia and Rwanda. Czachorska-Jones has extensive experience managing shelter delivery projects, housing and privatization reforms, civil society and capacity building, development of cooperatives and training and leadership programs.   

In her involvement with OCDC, Czachorska-Jones has been integral to the CLARITY project since its inception, using her legal and regulatory experience to contribute to the design and content of this initiative. She continues to work on cooperative advocacy projects and as lead specialist on several collaborative projects focusing on cooperatives.

Scott Aebischer — HealthPartners, Inc.
Senior Vice President, Customer Service and Product Innovation

Scott AebischerScott Aebischer

Scott Aebischer and his staff are responsible for serving more than 1.36 million HealthPartners members through several service centers, including member services, CareLineSM nursing services and Nurse NavigatorsSM. He also is responsible for the organization’s product development, marketing and sales systems, market research and strategic information and overall web development. Since 1997, Aebischer has led HealthPartners’ USAID-funded programs in Uganda.

Before joining HealthPartners in 1991, Aebischer worked as the manager of provider relations at PreferredOne and was director of social services with Fairview Hospitals. He holds a master's degree in public health administration and a B.S. from the University of Minnesota.

Barbara Tretheway — HealthPartners, Inc.
Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Barbara Tretheway Barbara Tretheway

In her role at HealthPartners, Barbara Tretheway provides comprehensive legal advice and direction to the management and governance of HealthPartners and its affiliated entities. She also manages the legal, clinical and enterprise risk management and sustainability functions of the organization.

Prior to joining HealthPartners, she practiced law at Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, P.A., in Minneapolis. Tretheway received her J.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She is a recipient of the 2011 Diversity in Business Award and regularly has been recognized as a Super Lawyer in health care. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Minnesota State Bar Association, Wisconsin State Bar Association and American Health Lawyers Association. Tretheway also serves on the boards of Mississippi Market, a natural foods cooperative, and People, Inc., a mental health agency.

Alex Serrano – NCBA CLUSA
Vice President, Development and Technical Services

Alex Serrano

Alex Serrano's areas of expertise include producer organization and agribusiness development, market analysis and linkages, and project design and evaluation. Serrano has spent the past 28 years has served in a variety of roles in Africa and around the world working on rural group business development and market linkages.

For example, as NCBA CLUSA country director in Mozambique, he assisted with the development of a network of more than 500 rural group businesses at the primary and secondary levels, involving more than 16,000 members, and helped to establish market linkages with agribusiness for local, regional and international markets.

Serrano holds a BA in business administration and economics and an MA in international administration.

Amy Coughenour Betancourt – NCBA CLUSA
Vice President, International Programs and Development

Amy Coughenour BetancourtAmy Coughenour Betancourt

Amy Coughenour Betancourt joined the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) in 2011 as vice president of international development. She oversees CLUSA’s $30+ million international portfolio in 15 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Prior to joining NCBA, Coughenour served as deputy director of the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF. She also worked for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on its Americas Program Caribbean initiatives and the Center for Occupational Research and Development, a workforce education and training organization. She currently serves on the board of Cooperative Business International (CBI Global).

Coughenour holds an M.A. in International Policy Studies (Latin America) from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a B.A. in German and received a teaching Fulbright scholarship in Germany.

Dr. Dan Waddle – NRECA International
Senior Vice President of Operations

Dr. Dan Waddle is an expert in rural electrification project and program design with more than 25 years’ experience in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He has extensive experience in small- to medium-scale power generation, including grid-connected and off-grid technologies, as well as load forecasting, financial analysis and geographic information systems applications for rural electrification planning and analysis. Waddle has managed numerous projects funded by USAID, the U.S. Department of Energy, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank and a host of local sponsors. He received his doctorate of engineering from Texas A&M University and his M.S. and B.S. from Virginia Polytechnic and State University.

Paul J. Clark – NRECA International
Senior Advisor
OCDC Board Chair

Paul ClarkPaul J. Clark

Paul Clark has served NRECA International in various capacities, retiring as a vice president in 2008. He has extensive experience with rural electric cooperative development overseas, primarily in Latin America and Asia.Prior to joining NRECA in 1981, Clark was a member of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee professional staff from 1977 to 1981 and legislative assistant to Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado from 1975 to 1977.



Michael Edwards — World Council of Credit Unions
Chief Counsel and Vice President for Advocacy and Government Affairs
Current OCDC board president

Michael EdwardsMichael Edwards

In addition to Michael Edwards’ responsibilities for legal matters at the World Council of Credit Unions, he also advocates on behalf of credit unions before international standards setting organizations, such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the International Accounting Standards Board, the Financial Action Task Force and the G20, as well as before the European Commission, the European Parliament and other European Union entities. Edwards also supports the advocacy efforts of WOCCU’s members at the national level and performs World Council's role as the secretariat of the International Credit Union Regulators' Network (ICURN). 

Prior to joining World Council, Edwards worked for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) in Washington, D.C., as its senior assistant general counsel.  At CUNA, he advocated for credit unions’ interests before U.S. regulatory agencies and the U.S. Congress and advised on litigation and other legal matters.  Edwards also has worked as an articles editor for the American Bar Association’s Administrative Law Review and for a Philadelphia law firm.  He holds J.D. degrees from American University-Washington College of Law, an M.A. in International Affairs with an international development specialization from American University-School of International Service and a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.



Paul Hazen

Paul Hazen became executive director of the Overseas Cooperative Development Council in February 2012. Previously, he represented one of the member organizations and served as OCDC’s board chair and board member.

Prior to joining OCDC, Hazen was CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based National Cooperative Business Association. Under Hazen’s leadership, NCBA’s cooperative development portfolio grew from $8 million to over $30 million annually. During his 25-year tenure with the organization, he held key positions, including chief operating officer, vice president of public policy, vice president of member services and director of consumer cooperatives.

Hazen is the one of the founders of DotCoop, the top-level domain for cooperatives around the world. He currently is leading IMPACT, an initiative to document the economic and social benefits cooperatives provide in the developing world.

Active in cooperative matters at many levels, Hazen serves on the boards of the International Cooperative Alliance, where he chairs the Human Resources and Election Committees. Past board service includes the Consumer Federation of American, Cooperative Development Foundation, Cooperative Business International and NCB Retail Finance Corporation.

In demand for his cooperative expertise, Hazen speaks frequently at national and international forums on the role of cooperatives in community and economic development. In 2001, he was named CEO Communicator of the Year by the Cooperative Communicators Association.

A native of Wauzeka, a rural community in western Wisconsin, Hazen holds a B.A. in economics and finance from the University of Wisconsin.