Michael R. Winther (Chairman) is the President of the Institute for Principle Studies and sits on the Board of Scholars at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He holds a degree in political science from the University of Idaho. He 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. He is the co-developer of a government and economics curriculum that teaches the foundational principles of good government and economics.
Mr. Winther also has an extensive background in forensics (debate). He has participated in speech and debate activities as both coach and competitor, and is the author of a textbook on rhetoric and academic debate. He is a frequent speaker at debate camps and workshops and regularly presents at conferences for many speech and debate leagues across the country.
As a student, Mr. Winther has six years of competitive speech and debate experience. He competed for three years in high school and for three years in college for North Idaho College and for the University of Kansas. He has competed in team policy debate, Lincoln Douglass debate, extemporaneous speaking, impromptu, and radio broadcasting.
As a coach, Mr. Winther has coached a homeschool club for 20 years, competing in leagues such as the Home School Legal Defense Association, the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association, and Stoa USA Christian Homeschool Speech & Debate. Mr. Winther and his wife, Mary, are the authors of the textbook titled, “Rhetoric Through Policy Debate.”
Tim Olney (Vice President) has had 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 and became an official licensed general contractor in 1977.
Mr. Olney is a born and raised Californian starting out in Stockton then moving to Fresno where he attended Fresno State University and 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 where he began his business and started raising their three children. Tim and Suzanne are members of Big Valley Grace Community Church and enjoy sailing and backpacking among many other activities.
Rev. Dr. Phil Olsson (Treasurer) lives in Peoria, Illinois with his wife Heather and three of their seven children. He works as a Pastoral Care Advocate for Samaritan Ministries International, a health-care sharing ministry that includes over 60,000 member households.
Phil holds a PhD in Philosophy of Religion and Theology from Claremont Graduate University and is an ordained minister within the Federation of Reformed Churches. In addition to being a board member for the Institute for Principle Studies, he serves as a Co-Director for the international on-campus ministry Ratio Christi (Bradley University chapter). He was the primary author of the 2014 book Wait Till It’s Free: The Plague of Socialized Health-care and the Only Known Cure. He is also currently pursuing training as a counselor through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.
Brian Eschen (Secretary) is a fourth generation Bay Area native, Brian lives a quarter of a mile from his childhood home in Danville, CA. 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, which 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 homeschool students in an outreach ministry started by his brother and him. 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.