Staff and Board

Meet Americans Helping Americans® staff and Board of Directors:

Bryan L. Krizek – Chief Executive Officer
Bethelhem Tessema 
– Interim Executive Director

The Americans Helping Americans®‘ Board of Directors is a supervising entity comprised of volunteer board members who perform the following functions in their respective governance roles.

  • Participate in quarterly board meetings and monthly executive governance meetings to keep apprised of Americans Helping Americans®‘ latest developments in programs, financial health, audit status, staff changes, and overall progress in the pursuit of the charity mission.
  • Review the Americans Helping Americans®‘ mission and purpose articulating the organization’s goals, means, and primary constituents served.
  • Select the chief executive and supporting officers for Americans Helping Americans®‘.
  • Support and evaluate the performance and compensation of the chief executive and officers.
  • Ensures effective planning and generally supervise overall planning process and monitoring the plan’s goals
  • Protects assets through financial oversight by:
    • Reviewing and approving the annual budget
    • Reviewing financial controls
    • Selecting and overseeing independent auditors
    • Reviewing annual audit required of all nonprofit organizations
    • Reviewing the Form 990 prior to filing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
    • Designating an Audit Committee and Financial Committee to directly supervise the audits and assets and report back to the Board members and organization office
  • Articulate prerequisites for Board candidates, orient new Board members, and periodically and comprehensively evaluate their own performance.
  • Set policy and controls to ensure legal and ethical integrity.
  • Disclose any personal interests that could give rise to conflicts or compromise integrity.
  • Annually review and approve Board’s good governance policies including whistle-blower policy, conflict of interest policy, and document and destruction policy.
  • Review, protect, and set policy in order to enhance the organization’s public standing.
  • Perform such other duties and have such other authority and powers as the Board may from time to time prescribe or as the Chairperson may from time to time delegate.

Board of Directors:

obrienJames J. O´Brien, Esq., Chairman

Mr. O´Brien is founding partner of O´Brien Law, LLC, a specialty law firm serving employers in the areas of employment law and business immigration. He graduated in 1987 from the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America, gained experience in private practice in three different law firms ranging in size from small to large, and in 1997 founded his own firm based on the principles of excellence in legal work, superior client service, and ethical integrity. He says that his experience running his own business “makes him acutely sensitive to the needs of employers for practical, common sense solutions to legal challenges in the area of human resources management.”

richardsonClyde B. Richardson, Treasurer

Mr. Richardson is a retired Federal Government Senior Manager. He earned his BA degree in Political Science from NC Central University and a MA degree in Government and Public Administration from American University. He worked for the Department of the Air Force, Department of the Army, and the Department of Labor. Mr. Richardson takes great pride in the fact that he has served on numerous non-profit boards with different missions, for example: former President of the District of Columbia United Way, Friendship House, Northeast Kiwanis Club, Queens Chapel Civic Association, Ward Five Council on Education. He also served as former National Vice President of the NC Central University Alumni Association, and former Treasurer of Africare. He was a member of the boards of the District of Columbia Lung Association and the Metropolitan Coalition for Clean Air. Mr. Richardson has served on the board for Christian Relief Services Charities for 28 years, and has been on the board of Running Strong for American Indian Youth® since 2011.

Nhi Cao, Secretary (Non-voting)

krizekEugene L. Krizek, Col. USAF (Retired)

A former Congressional Administrative Assistant and a retired Foreign Service Officer, Mr. Krizek served as the Director of White House Liaison with the State Department in 1961-1962 and as State Department Congressional Relations Director from 1962 to 1981. He was Advisor to the Assistant Secretaries of State for Consular Affairs for Humanitarian Affairs and for Refugees. In 1975, he was awarded a Presidential commendation for his coordination role with the Congress for the Indo-Chinese Refugee Act, which aided hundreds of thousands of people overseas. He was a member of the White House Conference on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and he also administered the 1961 National Conference on Bail and Criminal Justice for the Attorney General. Active in the Air Force Reserves, his latest military service included assignment to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force as Acting Director of Legislative Liaison with the rank of Colonel.

hiselRobert J. Hisel, Jr.

Robert Joseph Hisel, Jr. is the founder and former chief executive officer of Preferred Systems Solutions, Inc. (PSS) as an Information Technology and engineering services firm specializing in the commercial marketplace. Mr. Hisel serves on several business councils and is active with several youth sports organizations, non-profit organizations and other philanthropic activities including: the National Defense Transportation Association, the Northern Virginia Technology Council, and the Vanguard Group. He has been a member of the Christian Relief Services Charities Board of Directors since June 2007.

obrien2Thomas M. (Tom) O´Brien

Thomas M. O´Brien has been the CEO, President and Managing Director of TravelCenters of America LLC, a Fortune 500 Company, since 2007. Mr. O’Brien is also a Senior Vice President of Reit Management & Research LLC, an institutional manager of real estate, public real estate investment trusts, or REITs, and other public companies. Mr. O´Brien serves on the board of directors of VimetX Holding Corporation, a publicly traded internet communications firm as well as the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO). Mr. O´Brien joined the Christian Relief Services Charities Board of Directors in 2008.

stitelyFrank L. Stitely, C.P.A.

Mr. Stitely is a partner at Stitely & Karstetter, CPA. He graduated summa cum laude from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and received the Elijah Watt Sells certificate in recognition of his performance on the CPA Exam. Mr. Stitely serves small businesses and individuals in the areas of taxation, financial reporting and software support services. He is a certified accounting software consultant and trainer working primarily with Sage Software products. He formerly served as an officer for the Dulles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Rear Admiral Eric C. Jones





Elayne Silversmith

Reverend Dr. Ketlen A. Solak

colonel-williamsColonel John F. Williams

Colonel John Williams is the Chief, Career Systems & Studies Branch, Army G-1. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech) and a MBA from Capital University. While on active duty Colonel Williams has managed the analysis and execution of programs in support of congressionally mandated strength objectives and operational manning requirements; developed and led multiple equal opportunity programs; managed the personnel / human resources requirements for a multi-state government organization; served as a primary instructor and trainer at a 4-year state university; and lead the communications efforts for the Army Reserve personnel directorate. Prior to his service on active duty, Colonel Williams worked in the civilian sector as a corporate engineer where he was responsible for several new plant start ups and the implementation and design of new technologies to support steel manufacturing and the paper packaging industry.

Bryan L. Krizek, CEO  (Non-voting)

Paul E. Krizek, Esq., Vice President/General Counsel (Non-voting)