Meet Our New Engineering Projects Manager, Dereck Plante

By Hannah Beairsto ’20

Dereck Plante came to Messiah this May, though it’s far from the first bullet on his resume. He graduated from Eastern Nazarene College in 1997, has a Masters in Electrical Engineering and has a certificate in Biblical Studies. He has served in both Cambodia and Romania,  experiences a bit outside of his field as an engineer, but very much in line with the passion for ministry that led him to the Collaboratory. Before God led him to Messiah, he took his Masters to the field of electronics in organizations such as Lucent Technologies, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (the institution that found the Titanic!), and Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

One of his favorite things about the Collaboratory is that it involves students working on projects that solve real-world problems across the globe, because he is “passionate about missions, and sharing love of Christ with others.”

He, his wife Lea, and their two children, fourteen-year-old Ruth and nine-year old Alan, enjoy outdoor activities such as traveling and hiking. His family has been involved with YWAM (Youth With a Mission), a non-denominational missions organization, for almost two years.

One of his favorite Bible verses comes from the Old Testament: Micah 6:8, “….and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (NASB)”

Derek says this verse is meaningful to him “ we usually say something like, love the Lord your God with heart soul mind and strength, but this shows the outward expression is how we act that out. To walk humbly with your God, to me, is kind of a way to that we shouldn’t be arrogant or prideful about our knowledge or relationship with God but be humble as we journey through our faith, which helps us to love others in the way God wants us to, because we’re not being arrogant.”

In conclusion, Dereck says “I am thankful that my passion in engineering, missions and education have come together.”

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Getting to Know Doug Flemmens, Our New Director

By Kira Adelman ’19

I had the privilege to sit down with our new Director, Doug Flemmens. Doug came to Messiah this fall as his daughter started out her first year here. He has a mechanical engineering degree from Penn State and a masters of science in manufacturing systems engineering degree from Lehigh University. When I asked Doug what he loves most about Collab, he said, “I love that Collab gives you the opportunity to have both a practical and professional educational experience. I also love that Collab does really good things for people who need help all over the world.” He cannot wait to work side by side with the students to help people all over the world; he feels strongly that we are, as Christians, called to make the world a better place.
It shocked me to discover his favorite Bible verse is actually the initial prompting that led him to apply for a job at Messiah. He lost his job about a year ago; through his hardship he was praying that God would lead him to the right career choice. God led him to Ephesians 2:10, “for we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” He didn’t quite know why at the time, but it was that verse he had on his mind when going through his job transition. During this time period, he came to an Accepted Students Day with his daughter after she was accepted to Messiah. In the opening ceremony, they began with Ephesians 2:10! He knew at that very moment that God had something special planned for him. Then, he applied and received the position working for Collab. Since he began working here, Ephesians 2:10 continues to pop up everywhere. He explained that Collab sent the 2016 Panama site team off with this same verse. The verse holds significant meaning for Doug and it is a huge part of why he is at Messiah! If you have time, you should talk to Doug in greater depth about this story. His transition to Messiah is an amazing spiritual journey.
Lastly, I asked Doug, “If he could give one piece of advice to students and faculty what would it be and why?” He responded, “Always be watching for what God wants you to do.” In Doug’s case, God was guiding him to the right job with Ephesians 2:10, but it can be as simple as encouraging someone during part of your day. God speaks to us in all sorts of ways and it’s our job to listen to Him with obedience. Doug closed our interview with gratitude, “I am really thankful and blessed to be here. Thanks for all the kindness Messiah College has showed me.” His dedication to the organization will help shape it’s future and identity. I cannot wait to see the amazing influence he will have on Collab!