A Moment with the President

David Russell interview photo

Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and join us as we get to know a bit about SonSet Solutions President and CEO David Russell and the ministry he serves. You may be surprised at his background and his favorite dessert! Since November 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of SonSet Solutions, he also shares his excitement and vision for the ministry!

David is a telecommunications engineer by trade and gained experience in the aerospace industry of Southern California. Even though he worked in the “concrete jungle” of Los Angeles, his actual roots are in the Amazon jungle of Peru, where he was born to missionary parents who translated God’s Word into the language of a stone-age tribal group. His multicultural and multilingual upbringing prepared him well for a missionary career that has taken him to many parts of the globe.

David joined the ministry of HCJB World Radio in 1991 serving in Ecuador for nine years before transitioning to what was then known as the HCJB World Radio Engineering Center in Elkhart, Indiana. This operation, now known as SonSet Solutions, was originally created to take on an incredibly daunting task in the mid 1970s during the Cold War. Learn more

Engineers came together again in the fall of 1986 (thirty years ago) with the purpose of building high-power broadcast tools to support a new initiative known as World by 2000. The team stayed together and is now known as SonSet Solutions. David beams, “What was so exciting about World by 2000 was the very intentional effort to collaborate with other organizations to reach the entire world for Christ. This attitude of partnership continues to be the hallmark of SonSet Solutions.”

We asked David three questions about how the ministry has been expanding and what his vision is for the future of SonSet Solutions. Here is that conversation:

Besides radio transmitters and antennas, what other areas of technology does SonSet Solutions develop?

We developed a device known as the SonSet® radio. It is a rugged, solar-powered radio that is pre-tuned to a local Christian station. To date, we have delivered over 46,000 of these tools to our ministry partners around the world.

Another tool we have developed that is quickly growing in demand is the remote water monitoring system. It links remote devices like village water pumps and WiFi media sources to ministry groups who may be far away but who are now able to monitor the performance of their systems and help ensure their reliability. The link is made through data that gets transferred over satellite.

We have also recently created an easily-configurable Solar Media Center. This tool is centered on a solar-charging regulator with a variety of connecting ports. It makes it a simple matter to interface up to a 200-watt solar panel with battery storage and then power a variety of devices like a bright LED lamp, a WiFi hotspot with Christian content, a cell phone charging station, a low-power FM radio transmitter, an audio mixer and amplifier and an active loud speaker system.

We have also made great strides on an intelligent Equipment Power Protection device. This tool senses variations in electrical power that could damage expensive radio broadcast or medical equipment. Within just one twentieth of a second it disconnects the equipment until the danger has passed. Power is then reapplied automatically.

So far our technology has resulted in tangible pieces of equipment, but we have expanded into an area of virtual technology. Can you explain?

A media center was built in our facility to help us come up to speed on mobile media technologies that can be used for ministry. There are now more cell phones in circulation throughout the world than there are people. Those phones are easily used as media players. They represent the most promising opportunity ever to bring the message of hope through the Lord Jesus into every home on earth. We are in the process of discovering how to reach people with this powerful tool.

What is your vision for the future of SonSet Solutions?

I envision a SonSet Solutions that continues to hold unswervingly to the Lord’s marching orders to take the gospel to the whole world and make disciples. Through ever-increasing collaboration with like-minded organizations, we will become quicker at identifying opportunities for technology to extend the reach and multiply the impact of those we serve; people who are bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to their communities.

Finally, just for the fun of it, what is your favorite dessert?

Anything chocolate will normally satisfy my dessert cravings. My wife makes a chocolate truffle that is to die for. I also especially enjoy a French pastry that isn’t necessarily meant to be a dessert. “Pain au Chocolat” is a soft, flaky croissant bread with a stick of dark chocolate embedded in the middle. Nothing is better than this with a creamy cup of coffee.

By Erica Simone