Staff at The Orchard
Click on the heading below to read about and contact the staff.
Pastor Colin Smith was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. He trained at London School of Theology, where he met his wife, Karen. He served as pastor of Enfield Evangelical Free Church in London for 16 years before coming to The Orchard in 1996. As Senior Pastor, he has brought a strong emphasis on God's Word, has helped the church develop a vision for the future and has encouraged and taught young preachers. Colin and Karen have two sons, Andrew and David.
» Email Colin Smith
Pastor Scott was born and raised in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. Before coming to The Orchard in 2007, he served as a church planter for the EFCA in Valparaiso, Indiana, and Bolingbrook, Illinois, and as a Sports Ministry Director for Athletes In Action in Tampa, Florida. Scott has helped the church to move to a multi-site model for ministry and has reinforced the strong commitment to the Gospel. He and his wife, Cindy, who grew up at The Orchard, have four children: Alyssa, John, Matthew, and Ben.
» Email Scott Lothery
Executive Director, Growth and Outreach
John was born and raised in Arlington Heights. After graduating from University of Illinois, John worked in non-profit marketing for three years. He then went on to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where he earned an MBA in Marketing and Finance. In 1999, he co-founded The SAVO Group, one of Chicagoland’s fastest growing software companies. He served as the CEO of SAVO through 2010, growing it to a global company with over 200 employees. While still active on SAVO’s Board, in 2011, John began serving as the Executive Director of Unlocking the Bible. In September of 2012, he took on this new role with The Orchard, where he is responsible for all external communications. John and his wife Carla have been attending The Orchard for more than 10 years and have been blessed with two boys, Jack and Joey.
» Email John Aiello
Administrative Assistant - Student Ministries
Christine grew up in Arlington Heights and has attended The Orchard since 1999. She attended Taylor University and graduated in May 2012 with a degree in Sport Management and a minor in Corporate Communications. She was married to Karl Anderson in August 2012. Christine joined The Orchard Staff in June 2012 as the Student Ministries Administrative Assistant and is eager to assist the families and students who are involved with student ministries.
» Email Christine Anderson
Director of Communications & Congregational Life
Claire grew up in southeastern Michigan. She studied social work at both Central Michigan University and the University of Michigan before moving to the northwest suburbs in January 2006. Claire joined the staff in March 2008 to help develop and support the LIFE Group ministry. She currently oversees communications and congregational life, including LIFE Groups, membership, and weddings.
» Email Claire Bechard
Laura has attended The Orchard since 1989 where she and her husband, Dan, were married in September of 1990. They have three children, Caitlin, Maggie and Ryan. Laura and Dan have enjoyed serving in LIFE Connections on Sunday mornings and together lead a LIFE Group for couples. Laura came on staff in August 2007 and serves as the Executive Assistant to Executive Pastor Scott Lothery.
» Email Laura Eder
Pastoral Intern - College and Career Ministry
Russell was born in Mississippi, and grew up across the southeast living in Alabama and Georgia as well. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2002 with a degree in Business Administration, however he felt a call to ministry pulling him in a different direction. He began serving as a Campus Minister on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ at the University of Florida from 2002 to 2009. At Florida Russell was involved in shaping the structure and strategy of the campus ministry, while also having opportunities to preach and disciple students. This is also where he met his wife Molliann, whom he married in 2008. Russell and Molliann moved to the Chicagoland area in the summer of 2009 so he could pursue his Master of Divinity degree from Trinity. Russell gives direction to the college and career ministry.
» Email Russell Flynt
Director of Resource Development
Ruth and her husband Stan have been members of The Orchard since 1979. They raised their family here and have been involved in many areas of ministry. After a 30-year career in the investment world, Ruth joined the staff to facilitate the development of our message and mission to the congregation, and to the immediate and far-reaching community. In June 2012, she took on the role of Director of Resource Development.
» Email Ruth Guillaume
Administrative Assistant - Communications & Congregational Life
Alyssa grew up in Mount Prospect and came to Christ because of The Orchard's High School Ministry. She graduated from Syracuse University in New York with a degree in public relations, public affairs and chinese studies. Upon graduation, she joined staff in June, 2012 and became a High School ministry volunteer.
» Email Alyssa Hillman
Pastor of Counseling & Recovery
Tom (Hutch) oversees the Celebrate Recovery ministry of the church. He has been on staff at The Orchard since 2004, first as an intern completing his coursework for his Master's of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, as Pastor of Compassion Ministries, and most recently he was involved in helping to launch the Barrington Campus of The Orchard. As president of H-O-H Water Technology, Inc. in Palatine, Tom is an active member of the business community. He and his wife, Beth, live in Arlington Heights and are the proud parents of five children and three grandchildren.
» Email Tom Hutchison
Cindi grew up in Arlington Heights and has attended The Orchard since 1968. She attended Taylor University. She met her husband, Steve, through the Singles Ministry when James MacDonald was the pastor and they were married here in September 1989.They have two boys – Brad and Tim. Cindy has been working at The Orchard since October 2006.
» Email Cindi Johnson
Russ grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, and attended Illinois State University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts. Prior to joining the staff at The Orchard as Business Administrator, Russ worked in operations and account management in the healthcare industry. Russ and his wife, Julie, a special needs teacher in Arlington Heights School District, have three children and enjoy camping, drum corps and sporting events.
» Email Russ McCune
Director of Missions
Brad was born in Colorado and grew up at Calvary Bible Evangelical Free Church in Boulder. He finished high school in Vienna, Austria where he started corresponding with his future wife, Kari. Brad is a licensed aircraft mechanic and pilot, served as a Russian Linguist in the United States Air Force, and went on to earn a B.A. in Aviation Science from College of the Ozarks. Brad and Kari helped plant the First Evangelical Free Church in Springfield, Missouri before being sent to Budapest, Hungary in 1999. They were supported missionaries of The Orchard while serving with ReachGlobal. Brad and Kari have four children: Whitney, Kelsey, Peter, and Jacob. As the Director of Missions, Brad will play a key role in helping us fulfill The Orchard’s mission around the world.
» Email Brad Mullet
Bing grew up in the heart of the Silicon Valley in California. He attended the University of California at Santa Barbara where he received a degree in electrical engineering. After working in the engineering field for a few years, he relocated and joined the pastoral team at a church just outside Cleveland, Ohio. In his free time you may find him at a local coffee shop reading, in his room strumming away at his guitar, or in a gym playing basketball. He and his wife, Christy, have one daughter, Charissa.
» Email Bing Nieh
Director of Placement
Kathy grew up on the far NW side of Chicago. She attended Wheaton College, and graduated from Loyola University with a BBA in Personnel Management. She and her husband, Mark, met in high school, were married in 1982, and have three children: Erik (wife Kathryn), Kevin, and Jennifer. They started attending The Orchard in 2002. Prior to joining the staff in 2007, Kathy worked in Human Resources Management. Kathy and Mark serve as Starbursts teachers, are Middle School LIFE Group hosts, and are in a couples' LIFE Group.
» Email Kathy Ruda
Mariel grew up in Palatine, Illinois and graduated with a BA in English from the University of Illinois in 2007. After interning with Campus Crusade for Christ in East Asia, she went back to school to pursue a Graphic Design Certificate from Harper College. She manages the website, creates print materials and organizes weekend service slides here at The Orchard. Mariel and her husband, Paul, began attending The Orchard in January 2011 and were married in August 2011.
» Email Mariel Schmitt
Director of Media Services
Rob blends technology with ministry as our Director of Media Services. He brought a decade of experience as a Youth Pastor to his media ministry experience. He coordinates seventy volunteers over four venues. Rob holds a seminary degree from Columbia International University with a Youth Ministry undergraduate degree from Liberty University. He and his wife, Heather, are raising twin daughters, Alexis and Rachel.
» Email Rob Soukup
Director of Student Life
Georgette has been attending The Orchard since 1996, serving with middle school students in a variety of roles. In 2007, Georgette joined the staff to oversee middle school ministry during the transition period between middle school pastors. She continues to assist with the planning and coordination of student ministries. Georgette graduated from Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana, majoring in Business Management, and worked 13 years for Allstate Insurance in Office Systems. She has been married to Joe for 30 years and has two children, Andrew and Ally.
» Email Georgette Steiger
Director of Multi-Cultural Ministries
Shohei was born in Japan and came to Chicago in 2004 with his family. He came to know Christ when he was in Canada in 2000. Since then, he has been called to reach out to diverse people (Matthew 28:19-20). He graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with his Master of Divinity degree. He loves the Lord Jesus Christ and has a vision for all the diverse people being united in the name of Jesus worshiping Him together. Shohei and his wife, Nami, have two children, Paul and Rayna.
» Email Shohei Suzuki
Rita was raised in Central Florida where she met her husband, Brian. All three of their children, Emily, Ben and Sara, were born there. They moved to the northwest suburbs of Chicago in 1994 and began attending The Orchard in 1999. After serving as the interim accountant here, Rita closed her 12-year-old accounting business, knowing she was called to work at The Orchard. Rita and her family attend the Barrington Campus.
» Email Rita Thompson
Director of Human Resources
Renée Veenendaal has attended The Orchard since 1994. She is married to Jeff and has two sons, Jason and Brandon. Renée has been on staff since 1999, serving in various roles including Screening Coordinator, Administrative Assistant to the Business Administrator, Office Manager, and now Director of Human Resources.
» Email Renée Veenendaal
Sandy grew up in Erie, PA and met her husband, Russ, at Taylor University in Indiana. They have been attending The Orchard since shortly after their marriage in 1982 and have two adult daughters who live in the area. Sandy came on staff in 2004, working for Pastor Colin's radio ministry, Unlocking the Bible, and in 2006 became Pastor Colin’s Executive Assistant.
» Email Sandy Williams
Mary grew up in South Bend, Indiana. She graduated from Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana with a bachelors degree in Music Education. She has more than 25 years of IT experience in computer software, data analysis and reporting tools. Mary has been on staff part-time since April 2008 helping to support the church management software. Mary has one daughter, Lily, adopted in 2000.
» Email Mary Zoss
Tom grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He attended Wheaton College, where he met his wife, Kari. Tom and Kari were married in 2004, and they have two daughters, Kettie and Tovie, and a son, Thomas. Tom served as our contemporary worship pastor while completing his Master of Divinity degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2007. He was the high school pastor from 2008-2012, and now serves as pastor of the Barrington Campus.
» Email Tom Olson
Pastor of Student Ministries
Josh Newton began attending The Orchard in 2008 after moving to the Chicagoland area in 2006 from Boone, NC. He came with his wife, Diana, leaving the Appalachian Mountains to follow the Lord’s call to youth ministry. While earning his Master of Divinity he served as a youth intern under Bing Nieh, working with our middle school students. He graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in December 2010 and transitioned to Pastor of Student Ministries at the Barrington Campus in the spring of 2011. Josh, Diana and their chiweenie, Scout, now live in Palatine and are excited to see what the Lord has in store for them in the years to come.
» Email Josh Newton
Ray is a Korean-American, born and raised in the Chicagoland area. He has lived in S. Korea, Hawaii, Los Angeles, Spain, Panama, and Guatemala. He received a B.A. in Communications from Wheaton College. He has traveled to 34 countries for missions, backpacking, and business. He is currently pursuing his MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and loves Jesus, a lot.
» Email Ray Chang
Administrative Assistant - Barrington Campus
Born and raised in Michigan, Marilyn is the daughter of a pastor. She married her high school sweetheart, Forrest, and they are the parents of four adult daughters. Their family also includes three sons-in-law and seven grandchildren. Marilyn returned to college in 2007 and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Judson University in 2009. She began attending The Orchard in June 2007 and joined the Barrington Campus staff in December 2010. Her passion is helping facilitate the work of the ministry by assisting staff and church members. Marilyn’s ministry verse is Ephesians 5:2.
» Email Marilyn Coe
Director of Women's Ministries - Barrington
Members of The Orchard since 2003, Laura and her husband, Dave, have three school-age children - Megan, Adam, and Aaron. Prior to coming to The Orchard, Laura worked as a software engineer at Motorola for 15 years and also served in youth ministry, worship, small group leadership and crisis pregnancy counseling. In 2008, she joined The Orchard's worship staff and transitioned to women's ministries in 2010. Laura has a passion for helping women apply the Gospel to their lives and is thrilled to be serving at The Orchard.
» Email Laura Kleinschmidt
Director of Children's Ministries & Special Needs - Barrington
Wendi has attended The Orchard since 1993 with her husband, John - her high school sweetheart - and their children, Zach and Alexis. After receiving her degree in regular education and special education, Wendi taught in the Schaumburg Schools and at Immanuel Lutheran Palatine, but stayed home between these positions to raise her children. She began volunteering as our Special Needs Coordinator in 1998. In June 2009, Wendi joined the staff as Director of Children's Ministry and Special Needs at the Barrington Campus. She is extremely passionate about giving all children of all ages and cognitive abilities the opportunity to learn and grow in the truths of God's Word.
» Email Wendi Serna
After graduating from Cedarville University with a degree in Church Music Ministries, Ben spent one year in China teaching English and music to middle and high school students. As a pianist, he enjoys all types of music with a special appreciation for jazz. At The Orchard, Ben serves as a worship leader.
» Email Ben Sincock
Facility Manager - Barrington
Russ and his wife, Sandy, live in Arlington Heights with their daughters, Rachel and Megan. Russ earned a Bachelor of Science in Business from Taylor University, where he met Sandy. They have attended The Orchard for 28 years. Prior to joining staff in April 2010, he was project manager for a large real estate/property management firm in Chicago. Russ has previously served on the Audio Visual and Properties Councils.
» Email Russ Williams