PREP Founder and Team

JoAn Mann, Founder/President

JoAn Mann, MBA-GPHR, is the Founder of PREP Profile Systems, Inc and Connecting Insights, a management training and consulting company specializing in building organizational communications, aligning corporate cultures, team change and transitioning and assessment services. As founder of PREP Profile Systems, Inc., she initiated the integrative approach to behavioral style assessment that measures personality from a multi-dimensional approach, synthesizing common elements and applying to organizations, individuals and relationships. The Personal Strengths Profile, a personality and interpersonal stress profile has international distribution. JoAn researched and developed this assessment inventory in 1984 along with Statistician Dr. Houston.

Ms. Mann is an adjunct faculty member in the International Management School at the University of Applied Sciences in Deggendorf, Germany. 

Ms. Mann has been a leader in organizational team building, management development, corporate stress management and visioning since 1980. She works with local and state governmental agencies, small businesses, law enforcement agencies, Fortune 500 executive teams, resorts and national hotels, health care providers, athletic clubs, radio broadcast groups, and manufacturers. She trains both national and international consultants in human resources and team building techniques. Prior to her organizational development work, JoAn headed Career Development Services at Iowa State University and Colorado College, and started the Cooperative Education Program at the University of Denver.

She has a unique background in liberal arts, foreign languages, teaching and statistics. Her MBA is from University of Denver, with an emphasis in personnel management and marketing. This combination enhances JoAn’s natural ability to understand people and translate conflict into productivity, caring communications and trust. She combines sophisticated statistical knowledge with a highly interactive, intuitive personal style to strengthen teamwork and interaction.

She has authored several articles, researched and contributed chapters in career development and lifestyle change books, published personality and stress inventories, and written management training programs for corporations in the Northwest as well as Midwest and East Coast on communication, teamwork, visioning and career development.

JoAn has lived in Bend, Oregon since 1983, has two boys, ages twenty three and twenty six. JoAn enjoys family activities, camping, cross-country skiing, ballet, tango, swimming, hiking and a few moments of quiet.

Dr. Björn Kesper, Program and Web Developer

Dr. Bjoern KesperDr. Kesper from Germany is an independent contractor for PREP Profile Systems, Inc. and is currently working for the website development. As an IT consultant he is working for companies in Germany, the United Kingdom and the US, focusing on databases and complex web development.

He studied computer science in Clausthal-Zellerfeld receiving a german Diplom in 1995. Björn than moved to Hamburg where he did his Ph.D. at the university of Hamburg in 2001. After working as an IT manager with 5 employees for a small biotech company, in 2003 Björn started to work as a freelancer and consultant. He is the author of several articles and a book about website development.

Björn loves skiing in the Bavarian woods and enjoys reading. He lives with his wife Kerstin in Passau with his two girls.

Gail Sorensen, PREP Special Projects

Gail Sorensen brings 15+ years of combined experience in human resources, teaching/training, high tech, project management, customer support, and law to PREP’s special projects team. With her diverse background, Gail has been able to contribute since 2007 to the many projects required for PREP’s continued growth and modernization, such as helping to develop PREP’s online Administrator Certification training program.

While being a PREP team member, she continues to work full-time as the Assistant Director of HR at Central Oregon Community College(COCC).

Gail holds a degree in Political Science from UC Davis and claims her indecision about law school led her to her Paralegal Certification from the University of San Diego and later to both PHR and SPHR Certifications. After several years in the legal field, she was presented with the opportunity to move from Northern California to Germany where she taught law classes for Central Texas College in addition to holding various other positions with the US government for four years.

Upon returning to the US in 1995, she settled in Bend and started a new career in high tech; including software consulting, training, implementation, testing, and project management. During her seven years in high tech, she also began a part-time career in HR and finally switched to HR full-time in 2003.

Gail has traveled extensively throughout the United States for her work and has lived in both Canada and Germany, but calls Bend her favorite home for its beauty and limitless outdoor opportunities.


Shaun Pichler, PhD PREP Survey Statistician

Dr. Shaun Pichler is on faculty at California State University - Fullerton, CA.  He received his doctorate May, 2009 from the Department of Human Resource Management at the School of Labor and Industrial Relations at Michigan State University. He graduated with High Honors with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Michigan State University, and with Dean's High Honors with a Master of Science in Human Resource Management from Loyola University Chicago.

His research has been published in Behavior Research Methods, Instruments & Computers, the International Journal of Human Resource Management, Human Resource Management, the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, the Journal of Vocational Behavior, the Oxford Handbook of HRM, among others.

His research interests include organizational behavior and human resource management, and he has taught data analysis classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Dr. Samuel "Bob" Houston,  Founding PREP Survey Statistician

Dr. Houston, co-developer with JoAn Mann of the Personal Strengths Profile survey, has extensive background in developing psychometric instruments. He was Professor of Math and Applied Statistics at the University of Northern Colorado for about twenty years prior to moving back to Milwaukee, WI, to be working with at-risk students.

He has a Postdoctoral Certification in Biometry from Yale and a Ph.D. from Colorado State in Statistics. He has Master's Degrees in Mathematics from the University of Oregon and in Education from California State University at Los Angeles. His Bachelor's degree is in history and mathematics from UCLA.

Dr. Houston has published numerous articles in measurement journals, as well as professional statistical, education, business and psychology journals. He specializes in the multivariate statistics, the basis of personality research, and linear and multidimensional policy-capturing models. He is widely acclaimed as an international scholar as his activities include invited papers and/or statistical consultations with the governments and/or professional societies in Canada, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Egypt. Advisory Board

Special Consultants to PREP

Akana Ma, Attorney

Akana MaAkana Ma offers clients from around the world practical, creative solutions to business and legal issues involving different cultures, legal systems, and business. He is Of Counsel in Ater Wynne’s Global Trade Group.

Akana works with companies and individuals conducting business in the global marketplace to help structure international joint ventures; comply with foreign laws and regulations; license and protect technology, trademarks, software and other intellectual property; contract for the sale and distribution of products and services; establish foreign offices, license and finance exports; comply with customs and import laws and regulations; and negotiate and draft commercial contracts. He has practiced international law for more than 20 years.

Akana is a member of the District Export Council for Oregon and Southwest Washington, an appointed group that provides local companies with information about export issues. He is also a founding member of Legal Counsel International, a global alliance of international lawyers and law firms helping clients engaged in a wide range of international business transactions.

Dr. Allan Witkowski, Executive Consultant

Dr. Allan Witkowski is the National Director of Training & Consulting for Leadership Development International (LDI), a character-centered educational services company based in China. He also serves as an adventure education specialist, curriculum developer, trainer, and coach for business professionals and their families. Allan holds academic degrees in Analytical Chemistry and Biology from the University of Kentucky, the University of Florida, and Transylvania University in the United States.

Dr. Witkowski brings a unique blend of corporate management, marketing, recruiting, and process improvement practice with over 20 years of scientific research, development, and application experience in the biosensor, biotechnology, analytical chemistry, and pharmaceutical arenas. His current responsibilities include strategic technology and business consulting, experiential education facilitation for high ROPES course and group activities, training workshops on leadership development, teamwork, and corporate culture, and the administration of the PREP™ personality profile and Job Match™ services to companies and individuals.

Allan lives in Tianjin, China, with his wife Renee and their 3 children.

Dieter Waiblinger, Cross-Cultural Expert

Mr. Waiblinger has over 20 years of experience in international sales, intercultural education and translation/localization. He currently runs viaLanguage's European sales division. Prior to co-founding viaLanguage, Mr. Waiblinger successfully spearheaded the development of The Language Company in 1995, a provider of linguistic services in the U.S. and abroad. Previously, he founded and managed the World Trade Center School of Languages and the Portland School of Languages.

Since moving to the U.S. from Germany in 1981, he has been a member of many international business associations and has spoken frequently on international issues at local schools and cultural organizations.

Mr. Waiblinger, a native of Stuttgart, Germany, is comfortable in several languages and has a business degree from the Stuttgart Business School.

Steve Hanson, Sales Executive


Steve Hanson brings 30+ years experience in high tech, software, and start up companies to his role on the Advisory Board. During that time Steve has served in Sales and Marketing roles both as an individual contributor and Executive Sales leader. He has been a key contributor in software startups and VC funded organizations; several of which became public companies including Floating Point Systems and Star Technologies. He was responsible for leading the building the multi-channel sales organization at Sprint PCS for its first major market launch of its digital wireless phone service. Steve also has extensive experience in building and leading high performance sales organizations selling direct and indirectly to Fortune 1000 organizations.

Before moving to Bend, Mr Hanson was VP, North American Sales for Captaris; a publicly traded provider of document management software. After moving to Bend he managed the NW region Enterprise sales team for Skillsoft; the world’s leader in e-learning content. Currently he is responsible for building and leading the Western US Sales organization for a startup software firm focused on mobile communications for smartphones.

With a background in Finance and Operations prior; he brings a unique combination of general management skills combined with his Sales and Marketing experience to the Advisory Board. Steve is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in Finance.

He resides in Bend, Oregon and enjoys all the vigorous outdoor activities available year round including mt biking, skiing, and running.

John Whitesell, Executive Advisor

John earned a PhD in Organizational Psychology from Duke University and has held positions in marketing, research and senior leadership with Xerox Corporation and 3M International. He is the Managing Director of OrgCode Consulting, Inc., with locations in Toronto, Canada and San Diego, CA.

The consultants of OrgCode have worked with over 120 organizations around the world since the original company, Kaizen Consulting Group, Inc., was formed in 1982. Clients have included: American Express, EDS, Yamaha, Makita, Steelcase, Avery Dennison, Microsoft, TD CanadaTrust, Acxiom, AFG Glass, Microsoft, Allied Research, KONE, Sprint PCS and CBC. OrgCode optimizes organizations through expertise with people, quality and technology.

OrgCode is structured so John can be a “playing coach” and directly engaged with clients. He has led teams that have won several quality awards including the launch of the Corporate Purchasing Card on behalf of American Express. John is a master facilitator, mediator and coach. He is also an expert in organizational design, adult learning methodologies and business modeling.

An amateur athlete who enjoys kayaking, running, sailing and biking, John resides in Toronto, Canada with his wife and two children. For more information please visit

Sylvia Koltzenburg, Curriculum Development Specialist

Sylvia M. Koltzenburg was born in Germany, raised in Canada and now lives in Seattle, Washington. Sylvia holds a Master's degree in Education with a major in counseling and psychotherapy. Her background includes more than 20 years in the corporate world working as an organizational development consultant with Fortune 500 companies. This includes both national and international experience in mentoring and coaching executive teams in aligning their leadership investments with organizational strategies.

Sylvia has consulted internationally, specializing in China Leadership Development. She has been active in Leadership initiatives for the Beijing and Whistler, BC Olympics.