Staff and Board
Randy and LaNae Meyer started Lakou in 2017 after working in Haiti for 5 years. They have been married thirty-four years, have five children and five grandchildren. Often asked, “How can you spend so much time away?”
“Honestly, the time away seems to make the time together somehow stronger. Our children support ‘Nana’ and ‘Papa’ working at something they love after many years in the trenches.”
randy meyer - Director
Randy has 35 years of construction experience, both residential and commercial. He is a journeyman in masonry, carpentry, and concrete. He was a U.S. construction business owner for 15 years and worked in commercial construction in Haiti for 6 years.
“I love every aspect of construction, estimate to finish, but mostly love that I have the opportunity to now teach all of what I have learned. I had no idea how important it was to me to pass something on, especially to those who’ve been on the outside…at least for the moment.”
lanae meyer - Director
Compassion and Community
LaNae Meyer is a country girl from Iowa who is a mother of 6 and grandmother of 5, although many more would claim her to be “mom”. She has 10+ years of experience in sales, loves mentoring, and was a life skills tutor for special needs individuals. She has enjoyed opening her home to many people, sharing meals, creating a sense of community, and a place to gather … much like the Lakou.
“Working within the Haitian communities has given me the opportunity to cultivate my life story to love on and walk alongside the people of Haiti.”
franco cobite (coby)
coordinator Haiti Operations
Coby has proven himself time and again as a man of integrity and character. He and his wife, Stephania, are part of our family and taught us about Lakou before there was a Lakou. He graduated high school in Fort Myers Florida in 2005 and is an excellent communicator. He has four beautiful children.
"My passion for Haiti is its beauty and its riches and I love the opportunity to be here with the chance to work hard in one direction and to help realize the dream of my parents and what they suffered for so many years. I love to learn and to grow, living among strong men and women who build and encourage me to have faith and to stay in Haiti to help make a difference.”
Dave Haracz - Board member
David Haracz has been a judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County for many years. Prior to taking the bench, he spent his legal career at Legal Aid Chicago serving the poor and homeless. He focused on public housing and eviction issues as well as domestic violence matters. He attempts to focus on the dynamics and interactions between people and using a more holistic approach at problem solving. It is important to be on the ground and listening.
Dave is inspired by the writings of attorney Bryan Stevenson: “[T]he true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.”
Bill murphy - board member
Bill is a practicing architect based in Chicago with 35 years experience, and founder of William Murphy Architect, Ltd. in 1993. Project types include residential, educational & religious facilities, and range from new construction to adaptive reuse.
“ Each step of the architectural process involves collaboration, between client, architect & builder. This type of interaction among people in a community to understand needs and to achieve best solutions is something we practice every day. This interaction is also at the heart of the Haitian tradition of Lakou. Our work hopes to provide a place where this tradition can strengthen and grow, where education & experience are available, and from which the Haitian community is best prepared. “
Robert (ducky) baum
founder of founders
It was Ducky Baum and his wife Christine who made it possible for Randy and LaNae to work in Haiti, sponsoring them on the first project.
Owner of Sun Valley Masonry, Phoenix Az, he also first gave Randy his start in construction.
We honor him here and credit them with a living legacy. We call it Lakou.