Meet the Staff

Fred Fransen


Frederic J. Fransen is the CEO of Certell, Inc. an educational non-profit based in Indianapolis. Founded in 2015, Certell is the culmination of many years of developing high quality, multimedia, online educational tools. Certell works with content creators as an umbrella organization to develop, market, and distribute courses and course content across the U.S. and around the world.

Fransen is also a national authority on philanthropy and a thought leader in the field of philanthropic advising. He has written for, or been quoted in, papers in 33 states, reaching an audience of more than 50 million readers, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune. Fred specializes in higher education projects and is involved in numerous initiatives related to the transition to digital learning, as well as the application of technology to education around the world, including projects in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well as the United States.
Fred has worked in the intersection of education and philanthropy since getting his Ph.D. in Social Thought from the University of Chicago in 1996.
From 1996 until 2006, Fred worked at Liberty Fund, Inc., a private operating foundation. From 2001 to 2006, he simultaneously served as director of grants for the Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation, a private grant-making foundation. At Liberty Fund, Fred worked with top scholars to develop more than 2,000 educational seminars on topics ranging from European liberalism and the American Founding to the novels of Joseph Conrad and the opera Carmen.

In 2006 Fred helped The Philanthropy Roundtable initiate a new breakthrough group in higher education philanthropy.  At the same time, he began providing support to donors interested in being more strategic about their higher education giving.
In 2008, as a direct result of his work at The Philanthropy Roundtable, Fred began focusing full-time on Donor Advising, Research & Educational Services (DA•R•ES), LLC, a national, fee-for-service organization dedicated to providing support and assistance to strategic-minded philanthropists. With the launch of Certell, Fred is returning to the operational side of education and philanthropy.

He also has a passion for travel. Work and pleasure have taken him to six continents, more than 60 countries, and all 50 states. He’s traveled by plane, train, and automobile, in addition to horse, camel, kayak and canoe. He’s been high up in the Himalaya, and as far off as Mongolia. Along the way he’s learned that people everywhere are eager to learn, and that technology has the ability to level the educational playing field between the extremes of the slums of Nairobi and the ivory towers of New England. He’s determined to make it happen sooner, rather than later.

Fred is married to his soul-mate and match, and together they have a daughter in college and a son in high school. For relaxation Fred enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, including remodeling their lake house in rural Arkansas.

Ryan Keller


Ryan Keller is Chief Operating Officer of Certell and joined the non-profit organization in April of 2016. He has a background in education and instructional design. He has a Master’s degree in Leadership Development of Not-for-Profit Organizations from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in Plant Science. Ryan also teaches the Ascending Leaders course through the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Ryan leads strategic planning sessions, a peer mentoring group, and occasionally teaches an online course with local organizations around the State of Indiana.

Ryan is married with three children. In his limited spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, the outdoors, and rooting for the Chicago Cubs.

Gabriel Cheek

Director of Technology

Gabriel Cheek is our Director of Technology. He has been with Certell as an outside consultant since late 2015. In March of 2017 transitioned into an internal position. Gabriel had a love of technology from a very early age. As a young child he was known for tearing apart any of his parents broken devices to repair them. In the 5th grade he got his first computer and promptly pulled it apart. Before completing high school he had already become Microsoft Certified.

In his spare time he serves as a minister for the deaf. Gabriel also teaches American Sign Language classes and volunteers much of his time toward projects supporting the Sign Language community. Gabriel and his wife enjoy spending time together hiking the great outdoors.