Board of Directors
Julius Achon – Founder and President
Julius Achon grew up in a small village, Awake, 40 miles northeast of Lira in northern Uganda. At age 12, he was kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a militant coalition that rebelled against the Uganda government, and was forced to become a child soldier. Three months later, Julius escaped and returned to his village.
Shortly thereafter, Julius returned to school and began running. His talents landed him a scholarship in 1990 to attend school at Makerere High School in the capital city of Kampala. At age 17, having attracted the attention of several Ugandan sports officials, he was entered in the 1994 World Junior Championships in Portugal, and ran the 1,500. He won the race, wearing shoes for the first time in competition and bringing Uganda its first World Junior gold medal. His performance caught the eye of John Cook, an American track coach who brought him to George Mason University in Virginia on a scholarship.
Julius went on to compete for Uganda in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, both times serving as captain of the Ugandan Olympic team. While training near his village in 2003, he encountered a group of orphans and couldn’t help but take them into his home. That was the beginning of the Achon Uganda Children’s Fund.
Currently living in Portland, Oregon, Julius is employed by Nike, and spends much of his time engaged in the humanitarian work of the Achon Uganda Children’s Fund. He and his wife Grace tithe to support the Achon orphans and family members in Uganda. Julius was featured in the January 2012 Runner’s World magazine as its “2012 Hero” for his humanitarian work and remarkable story.
Tony has spent the past 15 years with Nike and currently serves as Global Running Footwear Category Leader overseeing the Design/ Development/ Product Marketing and Engineering Footwear Functions for all of Nike’s running footwear. He previously held positions at Nike of global and European responsibility for product marketing. He was born and raised in England and graduated from Loughborough University of Technology with a BSc (Hons) Physical Education & Sports Science. Tony was a Great Britain Olympic Trials Finalist in 1500m in 1992. Tony and his wife Nancy were married in 1996 and have two children, Nancy Grace and Jack.
Maureen is past President of Seattle Rotary Service Foundation’s Board of Trustees (2013-14). She has served on multiple boards, including Children’s Hospital’s uncompensated care board and is current President of Seattle University’s Board of Regents. Maureen also co-founded, with her daughter Tia, Teens In Public Service (TIPS) in 1997. TIPS continues to develop future leaders committed to serving their communities. TIPS selects teenage leaders for paid community service. Maureen and her husband, Joe, are the proprietors of Doe Bay Resort & Retreat located on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands.
Giovanni Cucchiaro – Director
Giovanni Cucchiaro serves as Director of Comfort, Pain and Palliative Care in the Department of Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Giovanni has spent his career as a Surgeon and Anesthesiologist. He brings a strong interest in creating effective and efficient health care delivery systems in low-income countries. After obtaining a Masters in International Public Policies, he joined AUCF in 2014 and has traveled to Uganda to take part in the organization’s positive contribution in the care of sick patients in Northern Uganda.
The wife of former Executive Director Jim Fee, Angela today coordinates most of AUCF’s North American activities, including fundraising, communication and administration. Angela brings an extensive public service background to her position, having served in a variety of roles ranging from high school college counselor to event planner to hospice volunteer. Angela supported Jim and Julius as they first established AUCF, and has twice traveled to Uganda to coordinate events on behalf of the organization. Angela hails from Chicago and attended Marquette University. Today she lives in Portland and enjoys spending time with her loving family, including her six grandchildren.
Dr. Stephanie Van Dyke – Director
In 2006 Dr. Van Dyke founded Engeye Clinic in Southern Uganda and remains CEO. While completing her Family Practice residency at Oregon Health Sciences University, Dr. Van Dyke continues to lead trips, have medical oversight, communicate with Ugandan staff, and ensure a thriving Engeye Clinic. Dr. Van Dyke has won numerous humanitarian awards including a Point of Light Award (2007) honoring individuals that have made a commitment to connect Americans through service to help meet critical needs in their communities, signed by then President G.W. Bush. She recently completed her family practice residency and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.
Frank Weigel – Board Chair
Frank brings extensive business, development and program management to his role as AUCF’s first Board of Directors President. A graduate of the University of Oregon, Frank also attended Lewis and Clark University’s Northwestern School of Law. He has served as owner/operator and president of various insurance, manufacturing and real estate companies. More recently, while operating his own real estate and investment consultancy, Frank has volunteered extensively with various Oregon non-profit organizations, including the St. Patrick Parish Council and the Oregon Symphony, as well as Catholic Family Services and OMSI’s New Building Committee. Frank is a tireless advocate for the less fortunate and is happy to lend his energies to AUCF’s efforts in Uganda.
Jim Fee (1945-2013) – Former Executive Director
Jim Fee spent four years of his retirement serving as AUCF’s Executive Director, assisting Julius with management of all organizational operations. He passed away suddenly and sadly in October 2013.
David Fee, Director of Operations
David Fee is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Benchmade Knife Company, a Portland, Oregon, manufacturer of knives intended for outdoor recreation. Previously he served as President of Garmont, North America, Sr. Director of North American Sales and Product Development at Yakima Products, Inc., and in various sales and marketing positions with Ford Motor Company. An avid cyclist, runner and triathlete, David holds a BA from Boston College and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He lives with his wife Robin and children Elliott and Suzanna in Portland, Oregon.
Mike Fee, Marketing Director
Michael Fee serves as Executive Vice President at EverFi, an education technology company that teaches children and adults important health, nutrition, financial and technological skills. Michael has spent his career in education, including seven years as a teacher and staff member with Teach For America. He is a two-time graduate of Stanford University (B.A. ’91, M.B.A. ’99). Today he lives in Davis, CA, with his wife Karen and three children.
Jimmy Okullo, Director of Operations, Uganda
Jimmy Okullo, 27, is one of Julius’ brothers, and the fifth of nine children born to Charles and Kristina Achon. Jimmy graduated from high school in 2003, and was enrolled in a Lira technical institution when Julius asked that he withdraw and instead use his tuition to pay the school fees of the 11 orphan children Julius was supporting. Jimmy generously agreed and further took on primary responsibility for the care of the children in Lira. Julius states, “I trust Jimmy to care for the kids and teach them good behavior”.
Since 2008, Jimmy has successfully overseen construction of a church in Awake, a home in Lira where 11 Achon orphans live and most recently the Kristina Health Center project. He has earned a solid reputation for managing projects. Jimmy’s goal is to complete his education as the children grow and funding permits, and AUCF has committed to assist him in this endeavor.
Volunteers & Advisors
Fred Cason (Bth, M.Divinity) is a successful pastor, mentor, church planter and motivator. He is Lead Pastor at True Life Fellowship Church in Beaverton, Oregon. Together with his wife, Betty, (married in 1969) and their whole family, he has provided the leadership and guidance that has transformed T.L.F. to what it is today: a vibrant, motivated, and family-oriented church. Fred is known for his relevant and transforming bible teaching. He has trained hundreds of ministry leaders overseas in a variety of conferences. He is faithfully committed to the strictest levels of personal and professional accountability.
Kelly joined AUCF in June of 2010 after graduating from Stanford University in 2009 where she studied International Relations and minored in Spanish. She now lives in San Francisco, CA, and works in the Consumer Operations department at Google.
Dave Devine works for the University of Portland School of Education. A longtime runner and former coach, Dave was previously an editor for DyeStat.com, a website covering national prep cross country and track, and then for ESPN when DyeStat was acquired in 2008. Dave holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A.T. from the University of Portland, and an M.A. in Fiction Writing from Portland State. He and his wife Eileen live in Portland, Oregon, with their two children.
Stephanie Musho has spent the last 14 years in marketing, product management and research & development in the healthcare, high-tech and athletic industries. She holds a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and a MS in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. Currently, she serves as Global Category Manager in Patient Monitoring for Welch Allyn, Inc in Beaverton, Oregon. Stephanie joined Achon Uganda Children’s fund in 2010, and lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband Ed and their two young daughters.
Tim Schneider became involved with AUCF in 2011 after Julius shared his story with him while they were both working for Nike. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in 2007 where he earned his B.S. in Sociology. Tim currently lives in Portland, OR and works for Medical Teams International.
Tim traveled to Uganda on behalf of AUCF in 2011 for the Julius Achon Run and in 2012 for the Kristina Health Center dedication. He teamed up with Kristin Hewitt to organize the AUCF Benefit Concert in Portland in 2012 and 2013.
Kristen Hewitt graduated from Pacific University in 2010, with a BA in music education and an emphasis in vocal performance. She currently lives with her husband Tyler in Portland, Oregon, where she is a musician and private music instructor, through which she met Tim Schneider, who graciously connected her to Julius and the AUCF.
Kristin and Tim Schneider organized the Portland, OR AUCF Benefit Concert in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 she traveled to Uganda using her musical talent to entertain and teach the AUCF children.
Chris Cook has spent the past 17 years with Nike and is currently Senior Developer for Track and Field Footwear. He was born and raised in England and graduated from Oxford University with a BA (Hons) in Physics and Birmingham University with a PhD in Exercise Science. Chris and his wife Erin were married in 2004 and have two boys, Rowan and Leo.
Chris and Erin traveled to Uganda in 2011 on behalf of AUCF where Chris served as race director of the inaugural Julius Achon Run.
It was early 2012 when Maryline stumbled upon the Runner’s World article featuring the life of Julius Achon. Since then, she’s set out to support the mission of AUCF with a yearly fundraising event in her hometown of Annapolis, MD. She is supported in this task by her husband Bob and 4-year old son, Trey.
To learn more about the Run Awake 5K, visit www.runawake.com.
Maryline is already making plans to visit the new Kristina Health Center for the first time, hopefully in the early part of 2014.