Board of Directors

James C. Allen, Chairman of the Board and PresidentJames C. Allen

James C. Allen (Jim) is presently the Chairman of the Board and Corporate President of Agua Viva International, Inc. He first visited Guatemala in 2005 with Colonial Presbyterian Church. As a result of his Christian accountability group with Curt Mader, Jim was compelled to join a short term mission trip to Guatemala where he first learned about the severe shortage of clean drinking water in Guatemala. Shortly after, in the fall of 2005, Jim joined Jeff Rommel, on another short term mission trip to Slidell, Louisiana to provide relief for Hurricane Katrina.  As a result of this Christian brotherhood, and the foresight of Dr. Craig Gaugh, Agua Viva was incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 2011.

Trying hard to follow God’s lead, Jim has developed many relationships in the United States, Guatemala, Ecuador, Honduras, Peru,and Tanzania, Africa. He has been very encouraged by the close friendships that have grown from this outreach. “I have seen God’s hand on every aspect of this ministry and I believe that this is why it continues to be blessed in so many ways”.

Jim graduated from the University of Missouri – Rolla in 1977. He is employed by Burns & McDonnell as a Senior Mechanical Design Engineer and travels frequently to NASA and Tinker Air Force Base.

Jim has been married more than 37 years to Nancy and they have two children and three grandchildren.

David Brown, Board MemberDavid Brown (2)

David has always had a heart for others, but his compassion for people from other parts of the world really began to flourish in his late teens.  It was the summer of 1976 when he was blessed to be part of a seven week mission trip to the vibrant island nation of Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean.  It was a life changing experience.  He discovered that our God is a Big God.  A God who is less interested in how much we can build with our hands for others, and more interested in how much of ourselves we have to offer in order to build relationships with others.

The passion for building relationships carried over to his collegiate life at Kansas State University.  While there he was the president of a campus organization that sponsored cultural events and activities to bring together US students with international students outside of the classroom.

After earning a degree in architecture he lived and worked in California for five years. The best part was that’s where he met his wonderful wife Joan. Today they have four children and one beautiful granddaughter.

David is a Principal with HMN Architects in Overland Park, Kansas and has been involved in the design of hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the country.

When he heard the story of Agua Viva International, and the way they focus on relationships with deserving communities they serve around the globe, David was convinced that he had to get onboard.  What a great fit.

Mrs. Deanna Farris, Board Member

Deanna Farris is privileged to teach God’s Word to God’s People –specifically women in Bible Study Fellowship for the last 15 years. Her call to do this first came when sheDeannaFarrisand her family were living in Brazil.

“God picked our busy suburban family up and put us in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for my husband Jim’s job with Sprint. We thought it would be a great opportunity for our family. It was there God called me to teach the Bible, but it was also there God moved our hearts for the poor and persecuted.  When you watch street children dodge security at the grocery store week after week to plead with you to buy rice, beans and boxed milk for their siblings your heart is changed your eyes are opened and you must engage.“

Like teaching God’s word to God’s people Agua Viva’s work is eternal – it provides clean water to allow for a promising life on earth and opens doors to offer Living Water – the gospel of Christ for abundant eternal life.

Deanna graduated from the University of Missouri and has lived in Kansas City most of her life. She and her husband Jim, high-school sweethearts, have 3 grown children Bradley (KC), Catherine and husband Mike (Fort Worth), Nathanael and wife Betsy (Philadelphia) and an “adopted” daughter  Laura living in Berlin with her husband and two children.

Roy LoeppAgua Viva.Roy Loepp.Photo , Board Member

Roy first developed an appreciation for global food and agriculture growing up on the family farm near Inman, Kansas.  He began his career working 6 years with Cargill and has spent the last 20 years with Seaboard Corporation where he has been exposed to businesses and organizations across six continents.  Involvement with Seaboard affiliates in 13 sub-Saharan countries has enabled Roy to learn many roles including project management, procurement, engineering, finance, operations, and sales.  His professional leadership culminated with his recent election as president of the International Association of Operative Millers.

Service has played a role in Roy’s life for many years as an outgrowth of his faith.  Roy served many years as a Sunday School teacher at various churches in addition to numerous committees and presently leads a monthly worship service at a local retirement community when he is not traveling.  The involvement of his children in the arts community led to Roy’s involvement as sets coordinator or assistant for many productions with The Culture House and other organizations.  He looks forward to playing a greater role in delivering hope to those in need beyond our borders through Agua Viva International.

Roy, along with his wife of 25 years, Lydee, have three daughters and reside in Overland Park, Kansas.  Faith and Victoria are students at Kansas State University while Olivia is a freshman at Blue Valley Northwest High School.  Roy earned a B.S. degree from Kansas State in Milling Science and an M.B.A. from the University of Kansas.

Jared Riegle, Board MemberJReigle Bio Pic

Jared is an Associate of Harcros Chemical and manages International Market Development. Harcros has been serving the world since 1917. Its core business is the distribution of industrial chemicals with twenty-eight branches in twenty states, primarily in the Midwest and Southeast. The Harcros Organics Division produces surfactants, emulsifiers, defoamers, and a myriad of specialty products at the plant site in Kansas City.

Jared first traveled overseas in 2006 to Ghana to work with a catholic priest and family friend in a remote village in the Ashanti Region. This trip would be a turning point in his life and completely change his world view. After exposure to such endemic poverty he felt lead to make a change. Upon returning from West Africa and through the prayers and support of those around him he founded OEDI (Overseas Economic Development Initiatives) whose main focus is economic and education development in rural communities in Ghana and India. He has a strong passion for helping those less fortunate than him and strongly supports the mission of Agua Viva International.

Jared has been a great friend of Agua Viva International for several years, and has inspired Agua Viva to expand our operations into Africa. His insight and wisdom in international affairs has proved invaluable to the growth and success of Agua Viva.

David Watts. Board Member                                                      

David works for Boston Scientific’s Neuromodulation Division as a Reimbursement Manager in Health Economics and Market Access traveling throughout the country working with healthcare providers.  He has been to Honduras and to Guatemala four times with Agua Viva and has developed a great admiration for the people of Central America.  “A person’s place of birth should not deprive a child of life’s basic necessities such as clean parasite free drinking water.”  Helping people overwhelmed by their circumstances is something we can all do”.

Getting my hands dirty to help others first took place during the 1993 Midwest flooding sandbagging through the night then shoveling mud in a small Missouri town. Helping with recovery efforts following Hurricane Katerina in Slidell LA showed just how widespread devastation can appear.  In Haiti helping establishing ongoing medical services revealed how complicated just trying to help can be.  So it only makes sense to look for how one can provide a lasting impact to those in need, and clean water is a basic necessity we can help provide.

With planning a small group of people can make a lasting impact for hundreds in a remote community thousands of miles away.  Agua Viva International leaves behind a water bottling system that is low maintenance and provides jobs for the self-sustaining business that serves the community. The system will serve the people long after we leave and provide clean affordable water that is free of parasites and disease.  It is fulfilling work and I would encourage others to join me to experience this life changing work.

Jim Burger – Board Member

Jim is a retired mechanical engineer, loving husband, and proud father and grandfather. Jim and his wife Paula have 3 children and 5 grandchildren that keep the calendar busy. He was a Professional Engineer/Mechanical Department Manager at Burns & McDonnell Consulting Engineers and retired in 2015 after 35 years. He began supporting Agua Viva several years ago while working with Jim Allen at Burns & McDonnell.

Jim (and Paula) began supporting clean water projects in third world countries in the 1980’s with an organization now known nationwide as Water.Org. Jim actively volunteers at the St. James Food Kitchen and for Project Uplift (providing food and clothing to homeless in Kansas City). He continues to use his God given skills on a weekly basis at Bishop Sullivan Center in the Job Placement Program.

Jim was asked to join the Agua Viva Board of Directors in 2017 shortly after watching a Ted Talk video of Pope Frances encouraging all individuals to “Make a Difference” by “Doing” something ….. how timely was that! One of Jim’s favorite tag lines at the end of his email is:

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.”