Tag : veterans

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Edwin Thomas

By: Noelle Beans

Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in December 2008 with a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Health Care Management. Thomas once read that John Maxwell served on the Board of Directors of the university. He thought to himself, “If John Maxwell was on the board, it has to be a great university!”

While at IWU, Thomas enjoyed the professors. He also enjoyed the opportunity to associate with other professionals pursuing an MBA as well. His masters education included focus on leadership, which led to a lot of introspection about how to lead people. Thomas said, “I believe that focus allowed me to examine the spiritual aspects of leading and influencing people.”

Currently, Thomas works for the American Legion of the United States and Bradthom-Diaz Corporation. With the American Legion, he is an assistant director of health policy. His job entails conducting on-site evaluations of hospitals managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs/Veterans Health Administration. Throughout the year, he travels around the country to at least eight or nine VA/VHA hospitals in an effort to improve the quality and delivery of health services to the nation’s veterans.

His work at Bradthom-Diaz Corporation is more of an entrepreneurial pursuit. Bradthom-Diaz Corporation develops account management training modules for pharmaceutical and managed care organizations. The company also offers health planning and development services to various companies. For instance, BDC worked with a client in the Dominican Republic to develop that country’s first and only air ambulance service.

Through Thomas’ academic and spiritual journey at IWU, he has gained different career positions and a mindset to help him succeed within these positions. Thomas said, “With my MBA credential and educational background, the world of business opened up and presented great opportunities.” One of these opportunities was as a consultant and senior project manager for Otsuka Pharmaceutical USA assisting with managing a $70 million portfolio of strategic projects for two of the company’s divisions. In regard to Thomas’ mindset, he has adopted a spiritual posture of “Let Go. Let God.” This keeps him focused and determined in the world of health care, and business in general, that can be very frustrating and stressful. Thomas shared that when he cannot meet the challenge of a situation, he puts it all in God’s hands. Through this act of surrender he has never been abandoned or led astray.

Before Thomas’ IWU education and career accomplishments, he could not tie his shoes until the 9th grade. He never learned, and his sister would tie his shoes for him, even in public. Other fun facts about Thomas include his love for singing romantic ballads in Spanish (Luis Miguel specifically), entertaining guests in his home and watching movies.

Lastly, Thomas sends encouragement to students regarding their ideas: “Believe in yourself even when others abandon you or your ideas. ONE positive idea can change your life.” To the university, Thomas adds, “Keep up the great work producing world changing leaders at IWU! The world needs more leaders ready to change the world!”



Written by Noelle Beans, a writer for the Alumni Center. Noelle is a freshman Nursing and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College.

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Brian Copes: HVAF of Indiana

By: Dezaray Barr

Brian Copes

Brian Copes is the President & CEO of Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation (HVAF), which helps homeless veterans return to self-sufficiency and engages at risk veterans to prevent them from becoming homeless by providing supportive housing, case management, food, hygiene and clothing, as well as other essential services.

Copes graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in management and in 1997 with a master’s degree in management. “I received the peer-selected Outstanding Professional Award from both my cohort groups and was recognized by the IWU Alumni Association with Outstanding Achievement Awards in 2003 and 2010,” he shared. At the time, Copes didn’t select IWU for it’s faith-based aspect, but because it met his needs as a busy adult who was working and raising a family.

As a commuter, Copes had no traditional campus-life experience. “My student experience in the LEAP program(s) was rewarding, enjoyable and very satisfying. The course work was relevant to my life and work goals, the facilitators were experienced professionals and my fellow students were all people of accomplishment and ambition,” Copes said.

Although he didn’t come to IWU for it’s religious affiliation, it made an impact on Copes that forever changed his life. He said, “My two degree programs with IWU, particularly my Master’s program, were critical and integral parts of my journey to salvation. I did not profess a saving relationship with Jesus the Christ until November 1997 at age 38 following my IWU Master’s graduation in August 1997.” After completing his master’s degree, he surprised his family and asked for a study Bible. “Since then (November 1997), I have stayed in the Word daily using a variety of devotionals and studies,” Copes said. “My original Bible has been my constant companion, prayer journal and travelogue as I traveled in the United States and overseas while serving in the military. It weathered a long hard year in Afghanistan as well as duty in Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Egypt, Bosnia, Kosovo, Germany and the Slovak Republic.”

Copes retired in August 2015 after 38 years of service in the Indiana Army National Guard. In April 2016, he began serving as the President and Chief Executive Office of HVAF. HVAF of Indiana is the largest nonprofit provider of comprehensive veterans’ services in the state of Indiana.

Brian Copes and his wife

In June, Copes and his wife, high school sweethearts, will celebrate 41 years of marriage. They’re blessed with a son and a daughter, both whom are married, and they have six grandchildren.

Copes wanted to thank those at IWU who helped him get to where he is today. “Thank you to the leadership of Indiana Wesleyan University for providing me with a quality education and for shaping an institution which I am proud to associate myself with. IWU made my professional life possible and helped direct my eternal life toward a saving relationship with Jesus the Christ, Lord of my Life,” he said.

“I first met Brian when he was a Brigadier General with the Indiana National Guard, Army. He is a dedicated Christian who has a servants heart, yet can lead people effectively. Our Alumni Association through Indiana Wesleyan awarded him the distinction of a Distinguished Alumni Award a few years ago. It was my honor to know him, and even today I have a lot of respect and appreciation for his ministry to veterans. He represents well the mission of Indiana Wesleyan University,” Rick Carder, IWU’s Director of Alumni and Church Engagement, said.



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.