board members

Bob Whalen    Board President

Bob Whalen

Board President

Bob and his wife, Nancy, live in Clovis, a city of more than 100,000 people in central California. Bob has served as a Clovis city council member since 2003. In 2016, he was appointed mayor.

Bob is also a Fresno County chief deputy district attorney, a professor at the Oak Brook College of Law, and a board member of the San Joaquin College of Law. He received his juris doctorate from Regent University in Virginia Beach and his bachelor of science in finance from Fresno State University.

Since 2012, Bob has served as a member of the WAVS Opportunity Council. In October 2017, he was elected WAVS board president. At the same time, Nancy joined as a WAVS board adviser.

Bob will use his experience in law, finance and government to serve the board and advance its mission.

“God is doing a great work in Guinea-Bissau and in the hearts of those who contribute with their time, talent and treasure,” Bob said. 

Martha Reynolds    Founder

Martha Reynolds


Instead of retiring comfortably, Martha decided to devote the best years of her life to working hand-in-hand with community leaders in Guinea-Bissau to create a brighter future for their own country. She first traveled to Guinea-Bissau in 1994 and returned several times with the dream of starting a much-needed vocational school. In 2000, she founded West African Vocational Schools.

Martha, who grew up on a farm near Renton, Washington, operated her own dressmaking business in the United States and Germany for much of her life. She also worked at Boeing for 17 years and retired as a Quality Engineer. She was introduced to her husband, Herb Reynolds, by a mutual friend in 2001, and married him in 2002. Four years later, they helped establish the first WAVS School in the town of Canchungo. Together, they share the common goal of serving the Lord in Guinea-Bissau.

Martha brings to the board a passion for the health – both physical and spiritual – and welfare of the people of Guinea-Bissau. She is motivated by the knowledge that job-skills training and Jesus’ message of hope will lead young people in Guinea-Bissau to a brighter future.

Sam Babcock    Treasurer

Sam Babcock


Sam is a certified public accountant in California. He has a passion for global missions that developed at a young age while living as a missionary in Paris. He has since made his home in Fresno, California, where he graduated from Fresno Pacific University.

Sam also serves on the board for the local non-profit Katey’s Kids, which focuses on literacy for at-risk youth, and is on the audit committee for his alma mater, Fresno Pacific University.  


Richard Kagel    Board Member

Richard Kagel

Board Member

Richard is the owner of K Prime, Inc., an environmental testing lab based in Santa Rosa, California. He is also the founder of Guinea-Bissau, a non-profit that is working to develop water-quality projects in Guinea-Bissau. He lives in Healdsburg, California. You can contact him at: richardkagel (at) sbcglobal (dot) net 


Robert Poythress    Board Member

Robert Poythress

Board Member

Robert is a current member of Madera County Board of Supervisors. He is the former mayor of Madera, a city of 62,000 people in the heart of California. He was first elected to the City Council in 2004, re-elected in 2008, and re-elected again in 2012 to serve as Madera’s first elected Mayor for four years.

Robert is a native Maderan who graduated from Madera High School in 1974. After high school, he attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, and in 1978 graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Business Management. In 1998 he earned his graduate degree from Pacific Coast Banking School, University of Washington.

Robert has been in the banking industry since 1979. He is currently Vice President and Manager of Citizens Business Bank in Madera. He is also a partner in Teco Hardware and Poythress Farms.

Robert currently serves on the following boards:
Madera County Transportation Authority and Commission (MCTC)
Madera County Economic Development Commission
Sherman Thomas Charter School, Board of Directors
Madera Community Hospital, Chairman of the Board of Directors
San Joaquin Regional Policy Committee, Vice Chairman
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Board of Directors

Board Advisors

Holly Collins   Board Advisor

Holly Collins

Board Advisor

Holly lived and worked for six years in the Middle East and North Africa before returning to her hometown of Fresno, California, where she now works as a pediatric physical therapist for Valley Children’s Hospital. Holly married Chris Collins in 2013 and, since then, has spent several months each year in Guinea-Bissau building meaningful relationships with students and staff at the WAVS school.

Holly contributes with her first-hand experience and knowledge of cross-cultural community development work. While living abroad, she used her expertise as a physical therapist to train nationals in skills to care for people with disabilities. She understands the challenges and joys of development work and is able to share valuable insights with the board and staff.

Holly graduated from the University of California, Davis, and received her master’s degree from the University of California, San Francisco. She enjoys any activity that allows her to be outdoors and working her hands, including gardening and woodworking.

Herb Reynolds   Board Advisor

Herb Reynolds

Board Advisor

Herb is married to Martha Reynolds and helped her establish the WAVS school in Canchungo. He spent most of his 40-year business career in marketing, including sales and product development. He retired as senior vice president of marketing and product development at the Reynolds Corporation, a wood-working plant based in Lynnwood, Washington.

Herb has served as ministries director for the Christian Reformed Church of Seattle and was on the board of directors for Shoreline Christian School. Following the death of his wife in November 1999, Herb began working as a counselor for grief support groups. He married Martha Reynolds in 2002.

Starting in 2003, he traveled regularly to Canchungo to help start the WAVS School. He brings to the board his decade of missionary experience and strengths as a planner and administrator.

Nancy Whalen   Board Advisor

Nancy Whalen

Board Advisor

Nancy is a registered dietitian who works for the Clovis Unified School District in California.

She appreciates the work the WAVS School is doing in Guinea-Bissau because its teachers and staff are helping make life better for their students by giving them an opportunity to help themselves.

Nancy recognizes that since there is no government safety net in Guinea-Bissau, WAVS plays the role of being a neighbor who lends a helping hand.