Red Dirt Road is a business based on market principles. It is not a charity. It is a story about what is possible when women from opposite sides of the world come together as equals in a vast sisterhood..to help each other realize their dreams.
THE RDR TEAM
Marie Eckstein - Co-Founder + CEO
Marie met Saly while visiting Cambodia in 2011, after retiring from her role as a Vice President at a Fortune 500 company. She is channeling her passion for making a difference in the world into growing Red Dirt Road into a sustainable social enterprise business. Marie is adamant that the business be based on market principles and operate for the benefit of the Cambodian seamstresses. She travels to Cambodia to work directly with the women in Tramung Chrum and resides in Charlevoix, Michigan.
Lin Alessio - Director of Women's Development and Village Programs
Lin is an award winning former educator, past art gallery owner, and now runs her own business, Interlochen Perennial Farms in Interlochen, Michigan. Lin and Marie work closely together on all aspects of the business. She is passionate about developing the leadership and business skills of our village seamstresses. Lin is a warmly welcomed visitor in Tramung Chrum, where she has initiated numerous village programs to improve the health and quality of life of all villagers. Learn more about Lin’s village programs in Initiatives.
Hap Saly - Leader/Owner Red Dirt Road Village Workshop
Hab Saly is a talented seamstress and is the leader of the Red Dirt Road village team. She left her garment industry job in 2011 to follow her dream to start her own sewing business in her home village of Tramung Chrum. The current workshop with its nine sewing machines occupies most of her father’s front porch and his one-room home.
Sos Tey-Assistant Manager, Cambodia
Sos Tey is a graduate of the Royal University of Law and Economics in Phnom Penh, with a degree in Finance and Banking. With her excellent English skills, she serves as a conduit for information flow between Saly in the village and Marie and Lin in the U.S., and manages in-country orders, logistics, and accounting. Tey grew up in a village much like Saly’s, and was able to attend university only through acceptance into The Harpswell Foundation’s Dormitory and Leadership Program for Women. Tey communicates daily with Lin and Marie either by e-mail or Skype, and is an invaluable member of the Red Dirt Road team.
Rodney Rascona - Director of the documentary "Red Dirt Road"
Rodney Rascona is an award-winning film director who was inspired by Saly and donated his time and talents over the course of 18 months to create the documentary movie “Red Dirt Road.” Rodney has also provided countless hours of his time to create the beautiful imagery, design and layout for our new website.
Jeanni Finney - Website Fulfillment Manager
Jeanni Finney has managed our website and diligently shipped orders for more than four years on a volunteer basis, all while working and earning her college degree. She manages to balance her desire to give back with her role as a working mother of a young toddler.
Alan Lightman is the co-founder of Red Dirt Road, which grew out of the original sewing business he and his daughter, Elyse Lightman Samuels, helped Saly to start in 2011. Alan and his organization, The Harpswell Foundation, have been present in the village since 2003 and built the first primary school in the village in 2005. The Harpswell Foundation continues to support healthcare and children's education in Tramung Chrum.
Laura Wolak, formerly of Midland, Michigan and now living in Dubai, UAE, was one of the original founders of RDR and helped Marie get the business off the ground by developing the market strategy, launching the initial web site, and selling product every chance she had.
Laura Asiala, formerly of Bay City, Michigan and now living in Washington, DC, introduced Marie to Alan Lightman. Laura continues to enthusiastically use her amazing network of socially minded professionals to help with various aspects of the business-and is a loyal customer!