IPS Board of Directors


Board of Directors - Mike WintherMichael R. Winther is the President of the Institute for Principle Studies and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mike also sits on the Board of Scholars at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and is a Board Member of Stoa USA.  He holds a degree in political science from the University of Idaho.

Mike leads tours of historical places and events on the East Coast where he teaches about the real foundations of America.  As a frequent speaker at conferences and conventions, Mr. Winther teaches government, economics, and history to audiences throughout the country.  Mr. Winther has written numerous articles and essays and frequently participates on radio broadcasts.

As a lifelong student of history and government, Mr. Winther feels a burden to teach the important principles of government and economics. Principles that were known by many of our founding fathers, but unfortunately were forgotten a generation later.  After graduating from the University of Idaho, he worked as a professional campaign consultant in Washington and California.  He is the founder of the Institute for Principle Studies, a Christian think-tank dedicated to researching and teaching foundational principles of government, economics, and history.  Also, he is the co-developer of a government and economics curriculum that teaches biblical principles of good government and economics.

Furthermore, Mr. Winther also has an extensive background in forensics (debate).  He has participated in speech and debate activities as both coach and competitor. Mike is the author of a textbook on rhetoric and academic debate.  He is a frequent speaker at debate camps and workshops, while also regularly presenting at conferences across the country.

In addition, Mr. Winther has six years of competitive speech and debate experience.  As a student, he competed for three years in high school and for three years in college. He competed at North Idaho College and for the University of Kansas.  Mike has competed in team policy debate, Lincoln Douglass debate, extemporaneous speaking, impromptu, and radio broadcasting.

Finally, as a coach, Mr. Winther has coached a local homeschool club for 20 years. His club has competed in leagues such as the Home School Legal Defense Association, the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association, and Stoa USA.

Vice President

Tim Olney is the Vice President of the Board of Directors. Tim has a long history with the Institute for Principle Studies, being present from its initial inception.  Mr. Olney has been a board member since the founding of the organization and still serves the organization in this capacity to this day.

Mr. Olney is a self-employed private contractor operating his own business, Distinctive Remodel.  He began in this field in the early 1970’s, alter becoming an official licensed general contractor in 1977.

Mr. Olney is a born and raised Californian. He started out in Stockton, afterwards moving to Fresno where he attended Fresno State University. Tim graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial Technology with an emphasis on drafting design.  While at Fresno State University, he also served at the school’s fire department where he became certified through the Department of the Army on explosive devices.

After graduating college, Tim and his wife, Suzanne, moved to Modesto. Here they began his business and started raising their three children.  Tim and Suzanne are members of Big Valley Grace Community Church. They enjoy sailing and backpacking among many other activities.


Rev. Dr. Phil Olsson is the Treasurer of the Board of Directors. Phil lives in Greenbay, Wisconsin, with his wife, Heather, and three of their seven children. Previously, Phil worked as a Pastoral Care Advocate for Samaritan Ministries International, a health-care sharing ministry that includes over 60,000 member households.  Currently, Phil is working for Providence Academy in the Logic and Rhetoric school as a Humanities, Bible, and Rhetoric teacher.  Phil teaches grades 7th – 10th.

Dr. Olsson earned his MA in History at California State University (East Bay) and his PhD in Religion at Claremont Graduate University. Along with a penchant for philosophical theology and more generally the humanities, he has served in a variety of fields, including: transportation, construction, and health care. He previously served as an elder at Church of the King in Peoria, IL.

Furthermore, Phil is an ordained minister within the Federation of Reformed Churches.  In addition, he serves as a Co-Director for the international on-campus ministry Ratio Christi (Bradley University chapter).  Published in 2015, Phil was the primary author of the book Wait Till It’s Free: The Plague of Socialized Health-care and the Only Known Cure. Presently, Phil is pursuing training as a counselor through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.


Brian EschenBrian Eschen is the Secretary of the Board of Directors. He is a fourth generation Bay Area native. Brian lives a quarter of a mile from his childhood home in Danville, California.  His deep roots in California and love for his home state gave him an instant connection with Mike Winther and the message of liberty promoted by IPS. This all started when he attended the inaugural Biblical Principles of Government course.

Currently, Brian runs a family-owned real estate investment company with his twin brother, Jeff.  His love for education has lead him to volunteer his time teaching local home-school students in an outreach ministry started by him and his brother.  Since 1999, Brian has been happily married to his beautiful bride, Teresa.  They enjoy traveling, exploring history, and playing music together with their three children, Brianna, Josiah, and Risa.