Board and Staff Members
Rick Ahaus (Co-founder)
An electrical engineer by trade, Rick Ahaus has worked in his family business, Ahaus Tool and Engineering, since 1966. Beginning as a toolmaker in training he gained hands-on experience in the metal working industry. He soon became vice president of sales and engineering and, in 2005, chairman of the board. Rick is also actively involved in the Richmond community. He has been elected to both the Richmond City Council and the Richmond Community Schools school board. He has served as chairman of many local agencies including Richmond Power and Light, Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce, Dunn Mental Health Center, and the Wayne County Foundation. As a school board member, Rick recognized the importance of students reading on grade level in the third grade. He suggested that reading at grade level become the number one priority of RCS. That philosophy prompted Rick and Vic Jose, a retired Richmond businessman, to establish the Third Grade Academy in 2008. TGA is an intensive summer reading program designed to improve reading skills and comprehension. To provide an avenue for funding Every Child Can Read, a 501C3 organization was created. Rick serves as chairman of that board. To further emphasize the importance of reading, in 2012 ECCR created the K-Ready program which encourages parents to read with their children 20 minutes every day. This program serves all Wayne County children four and younger.
Robin Henry (Past Chairperson)
Robin is a lifelong resident of Richmond, Indiana. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Ball State University and a Master's Degree in Adult Education from Indiana University. She is the Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer at West End Bank. Professionally, Robin has a Senior Professional in Human Resource designation with the Society from Human Resource Management. She is involved in the community by serving on the following boards: Reid Health Governance Board, Reid Health Foundation, Richmond Art Museum, Earlham Cemetery and Beth Boruk Temple.
Jon Ford (Member Emeritus)
Mr. Ford is a 1958 graduate of Hanover College. He worked for Ralston Purina/Purina Mills for 40 years in various locations including St. Louis, Cincinnati, Battle Creek, MI, Davenport, IA, Mechanicsburg, PA and Richmond, IN. He retired in 1998. Jon has been married to Judy for 56 years and has 5 children and 12 grandchildren. Mr. Ford also serves on the Reid Hospital Board of Directors as their Board Chair, Board of trustees of Ivy Tech Richmond, the Indiana Hospital Association Board of Directors and as an Elder at Christ Presbyterian Church. In the past, Mr. Ford has also served on various local boards including the Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Wayne County Foundation, Starr Gennett Foundation, Hanover College Alumni Board and the YMCA.
Becky Jewison (Treasurer)
Becky is in her 2nd year as Treasurer of the ECCR board of directors. She started working with ECCR in 2018 as the K-Ready coordinator and quickly learned what great literacy programming we had to offer. Upon retiring form Reid Health, first with the Reid Foundation then the Reid Volunteer program, Becky wanted to make a difference in Wayne County by working with a literacy program. She was particularly interested in the impact that The Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library could make. Becky is looking forward to another successful year with K-Ready and TGA.
Jason Blunk (Chairperson)
Landon Elder was born and adopted in South Bend, Indiana, and spent a majority of his childhood in Northeast Philadelphia. He then pursued an education at Indiana University Bloomington, where he graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Youth Development, with a focus on serving at risk youth. Landon then spent time back in Philadelphia as a preschool teacher, before ultimately moving to Richmond, Indiana in pursuit of a new career. Landon has a professional background in social work coaching and education, and is thrilled at the opportunity to continue to make a difference in the lives of children everywhere.
Nikki Brock is married to Ben, and has two children, Zoe and AJ. She graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College with a degree in music and has taught middle and high school music in the Union County Schools in Liberty, Indiana. Currently Nikki is a part time music teacher at Community Christian School. She is a member of the local chapter of Tri Kappa Sorority, and a member of First English Lutheran Church. Nikki, Ben and their children are a huge Disney loving family, and Nikki enjoys baking cupcakes for everyone!
Keon Jackson earned a degree in Business Administration from University of Toledo in Ohio with a major in Human Resource Management and a minor in Business Law. He recently moved to Richmond after serving as the Vice President of Asset Management at Lucas Metropolitan Housing in Toledo, Ohio. He has been working in public housing since 2010 in both Ohio and Illinois, and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) and the 2017 Most Influential African American of Lake County Business Leadership Award. Keon is currently employed as the Executive Director/CEO & President of the Housing Authority of the City of Richmond.
April is a Richmond native and graduate of Richmond High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and graduate studies at Indiana Wesleyan University. She currently lives in Hagerstown with her husband and youngest son who attends Centerville High School. Their older son studies Mechanical Engineering Technology at Purdue University and daughter lives in Richmond and works as a CNA at a local nursing home. April has worked in the health care industry for 15 years and currently works as the Billing and Finance Manager at Neighborhood Health Center. NHC started a Little Free Library and April thoroughly enjoys watching the excitement on young children’s faces when they get to take home a free book. At various points over the past 24 years, April has taught music in the public schools and volunteered as a director of various children’s choirs and youth drama clubs. She understands the importance of early childhood literacy and her favorite reading time is spent with her little grandbaby. April is excited to serve on the Every Child Can Read board.
Kristen cares deeply about educating children and has built her life in Wayne County because of her love for this community. She is a graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a graduate of Ball State University with a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology. She has 20 years of experience teaching children from Kindergarten to Middle School in Richmond public schools with several years being devoted to teaching young children to read in her role as a Reading Specialist and Reading Recovery Instructor. Currently, she is a real estate broker, adjunct faculty at Indiana University East, stained glass artist, and life-long learner. She lives in Richmond with her husband, Mark, and 3 kids.
Tricia currently works for More Than Words, a program of the United Way, as a creative consultant. She serves as a board member of The Women’s Fund and Stage One Youth Theater. As a stay at home mom she has been fortunate to get to spend many hours volunteering at the schools her children attended, at church and at Richmond Civic Theater. She has a passion for creativity, currently focusing on the art of pottery. Tricia was born and raised in Richmond, is a graduate of Richmond High School and holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from GMI Engineering & Mgt. Institute. She and her husband Jeff live in Richmond where they have raised their 3 children. Tricia is very proud to be the daughter of ECCR founder Rick Ahaus.
Jackie Webb (Secretary)
Jackie Webb is recently retired from Reid Health where she worked for 16 years. She served as Barry McDowell and Craig Kinyon’s Administrative Assistance. She was born in Lynn, Indiana and then lived in Florida for 20 years before returning to Richmond 17 years ago. Jackie has an accounting background. Jackie is proud to have served on the Girls Inc. Board for the past four years and will be the President of their Board for 2021. She attends the First Church of the Nazarene and recently started volunteering with the Chamber of Commerce’s ACE’s Committee.