2025 Awards

2025 Award Nominations Now Open!

The purpose of the QCESC STEM Awards is to pay tribute and recognize Science and Engineering Professionals whose exceptional achievements and outstanding contributions have made a lasting impact on technology, society, and their profession. This includes helping to promote and raise the awareness of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers and education in our local communities and schools.

2025 Award nominations are now being accepted for the following wards:

  • Computing Professional of the Year
  • Junior Scientist of the Year  (< 36 years old on 12/31/24)
  • Junior Engineer of the Year (< 36 years old on 12/31/24)
  • Senior Scientist of the Year (36 Years or older on 12/31/24)
  • Senior Engineer of the Year (36 Years or older on 12/31/24)
  • STEM Teacher of the Year
  • STEM Volunteer of the Year
  • Lifetime Achievement Award

Access the nomination form here

Deadline: December 9, 2024

For further information about the QCESC Awards, please e-mail Susan Eckert

2025 Award Recipients will be announced at the STEM Celebration on February 20, 2025.

2024 Award Recipients

QCESC 2024 Award Recipients

Jeff Weld, Alan Scheidler, Craig Murray – ASABE, Eric Allen, Jackie Norman Gray, Scott Warren, Stacy Gates, Sudan Abdur-Rahman. Not pictured: Jose Magalhaes,

2024 Award Recipients

QCESC 2024 Co-Junior Engineer of the Year:  Sudan Abdur-Rahman

2024 Co-Junior Engineer of the Year

Sudan Abdur-Rahman is a Quality Engineer for the Joint Munitions Command (JMC), headquartered in Illinois at the Rock Island Arsenal which provides the Joint Forces with ready, reliable, lethal munitions to sustain worldwide readiness.

As a Lead Quality Engineer at JMC, Mr. Abdur-Rahman has played a pivotal role in conducting essential inventory and stockpile readiness analyses. This analysis, crucial for the Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. Allies, ensures that the DoD and our allies can effectively meet the training and warfighting requirements. This work and his reports have been used in national budget and policy decisions in Congress.

In addition to his contributions to stockpile readiness, Mr. Abdur-Rahman has demonstrated excellence in providing extensive training to hundreds of JMC employees on the JMC Communication Model. This training aims to enhance the Command’s internal and external communication, ensuring effective and efficient information exchange within and outside the organization.  Additionally, he was on the front lines of COVID-19 when he was repurposed to designing PPE for members of the JMC Enterprise.

Sudan is the past President of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Quad Cities Professional Chapter, recognized as a BEYA STEM trailblazer, and past President of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). He is also a social dance instructor and CEO of Apollo-Ra, LLC.

Sudan has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.


QCESC 2024 Co-Junior Engineer of the Year:  Eric C. Allen

Eric C. Allen is a Senior Design Engineer for John Deere Seeding Group Located in Moline, Illinois. He has a lifelong passion for feeding and sheltering the world and being committed to those linked to the land. Throughout his professional journey, he has dedicated himself to enhancing designs, reducing costs, and optimizing assembly productivity. Additionally, Eric successfully introduced a range of tools and processes that significantly contributed to the enhanced operational efficiency at John Deere.

In his current position as Senior Design Engineer for John Deere Seeding, he leads a team of engineers to develop future planter designs, updates training documentation, and collaborates with a cross functional team to create ergonomic and efficient assembly designs. Notably, he implemented improvements to the 3rd Generation Planter Tru-Vee™ Opener Blade and heavy-duty parallel arms, enhancing durability and assembly line efficiency. In his previous roles, he excelled in current product development for planters and for 4WD Loaders in Deere’s Construction & Forestry Division, significantly reducing costs and warranty claims. He also contributed to the development of Seeding’s Active Pneumatic Downforce System for planters as a Design Engineering Summer intern.

Eric is an active and dedicated member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE)-Quad City Section, where he is the current Tour Coordinator. He has also held the positions of past Chair, Chair, Chair Elect and Community Outreach Lead, and Meeting Arrangements Coordinator. He serves as a liaison between the QCESC and ASABE and has recruited volunteer judges for QCESC high school engineering competitions. Eric also participates in the United Way’s Day of Caring and served as an advisor and sponsor for the Iowa State University Antique Tractor Club.

Eric holds a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Business Management from Western Illinois University, in Macomb, Illinois. He also obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, with a major in Agricultural Engineering with a concentration in Power Machinery Design, along with a minor in Industrial Technology.


QCESC 2024 Senior Engineer of the Year:  Scott Warren, P.E.

Scott Warren, P.E., is the Control Systems Department Manager for Stanley Consultants headquartered in Muscatine, Iowa.  He is fluent in both mechanical and electrical disciplines, designing and creating control systems that communicate and provide the physical interface between plant equipment and its operations staff. His custom-designed systems and control panels allow plant staff to monitor and control the facility.

Scott Warren, P.E., is a highly accomplished control systems engineer with nearly two decades of experience spanning power plants, water treatment plants, and central heating and cooling plants. Serving as the Lead Control Systems Engineer at Stanley Consultants, he plays a vital role in the company’s largest projects in power, water, wastewater, federal, and energy sectors. Scott’s expertise lies in creating interfaces and control panels, optimizing plant systems for efficiency, and troubleshooting critical issues. He manages multiple roles, including Control Systems Department Manager, Project Manager, Control Systems Technical Lead, and Subject Matter Expert, contributing significantly to the success of various projects, including a groundbreaking U.S. Army Corps of Engineers fishway and microgrid designs for military bases. His non-traditional career path, from control systems technician to principal engineer, showcases his innovative problem-solving skills and commitment to excellence. Scott is a professional engineer licensed in Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia. He has published articles, co-presented webinars and conferences, and conducts client and operator training for the instrumentation and control systems he designs, while also producing comprehensive operating manuals for large-scale energy projects.

Scott is an active member of Engineers Without Borders – Iowa City Chapter, and was a member of the Muscatine Young Professionals Network Leadership Council, Stanley Consultants’ Member Advisory Committee and the International Society of Automation. Beyond his professional commitments, he serves on the AJ Magnus Home Board, City of Muscatine Library Steering Committee, United Way Day of Caring and Crop Walk, supports Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Special Olympics, and the Muscatine Chamber of Commerce. His leadership extends to his local church, where he leads the Technology Committee.

Scott earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois and an Associate of Applied Science in Robotics/Automation Systems from Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa, Iowa. 


QCESC 2024 Senior Scientist of the Year:  Jose Magalhaes, Ph.D

Jose Magalhaes, Ph. D, is a Multi-Physics Staff Engineer at John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group, Moline, IL. He is the key contributor in heat transfer & fluid dynamics throughout Deere’s organization. His work enables design teams to virtually predict crop airflow efficiency, battery cooling patterns, and noise induced by fans or motors.  These processes allow design teams to quickly improve the efficiency and durability of the product.

Jose has held various significant roles in his career. Currently, he leads advanced technology and engineering projects and the application of AI and ML tools to multi-physics simulations. Notably, he is a key contributor to the Heat Transfer & Fluid Dynamics Expert Team and collaborates on research projects with universities, national labs, and suppliers. Previously, he worked as a Senior CFD Analyst and Product Validation & Verification Engineer at John Deere, applying CFD and FEA to optimize product designs and enhance performance. He was Research Associate at Duke University, an Engineering Consultant at Altran, and a Visiting Professor at Harvard University. Additionally, he was an Assistant Professor at the University of Oporto in Portugal and as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Penn State University’s Center for Advanced Materials.

Jose is the author or co-author of seven publications. He is an active member of ASME and SHPE, and he holds a PE equivalent certification in Europe. Jose has volunteered for FIRST LEGO League qualifiers hosted by the QCESC and participated in Habitat for Humanity through John Deere.

Jose holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle, a MS and BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Porto, Portugal, and an MBA from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina.


QCESC 2024 STEM Teacher of the Year:  Stacy Gates

Stacy Gates brings 15 years of teaching experience as a Chemistry teacher at Fulton High School, Fulton, Illinois, where she also serves as a Dual Credit Chemistry Teacher for Sauk Valley Community College. Additionally, she has been an Adjunct Professor in Chemistry at Black Hawk College and contributes to Fermilab as an Educator, conducting workshops on physics topics during the summer. Stacy is also a dedicated Varsity Tutor, specializing in Chemistry instruction.

Stacy completed a DOE Pre-Service Teacher Internship at the Idaho National Laboratory. She is a member and session presenter at the National Science Teachers Association, Illinois Science Teachers Association, American Chemical Society, and American Association of Chemistry Teachers.

As a Curriculum Writer for Fermilab Education Department, Stacy published the curriculum unit “The Particle Nature of Light and Modern Physics.” She has presented posters at the 235th and 237th American Chemical Society National Meetings and successfully wrote and secured over $84,000 in grants for the River Bend School District.

Stacy is actively involved in various community activities, including STEM Coordinator for City of Fulton Projects, City of Fulton Mapping Committee Member, Science Club Advisor and former FTC Robotics Coach at Fulton High School.

Stacy holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a Minor in Secondary Education from Carroll University, Waukesha, Wisconsin, and a Master’s in Chemical and Life Sciences from the University of Maryland College Park, Maryland.


QCESC 2024 Volunteer of the Year:  Jackie Norman Gray

Jackie is a committed volunteer with more than ten years dedicated to the advancement of STEM in the Quad Cities area. She actively volunteers for both local Quad City Engineering and Science Council (QCESC) hosted FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST Lego League (FLL) events, as well as international FTC and FLL events.

Jackie is actively involved in FIRST Robotics, serving as a coach, mentor, and volunteer. She co-coaches and mentors the FTC team #8813, The Winter Soldiers, which has participated in the FIRST Championship in Houston for the past two years. Additionally, Jackie coaches FLL team #56176 The Jordan JagWIRES, which earned a 3rd place Champions Award at the Iowa FLL Championship in January. The Jordan JagWIRES, from Jordan Catholic School, will be competing at the WPI FLL US Open event in Worcester, MA in June 2024 where over 100 teams from around the world will be in attendance. Her efforts extend to teaching STEM camps, exposing students to the FIRST program, and assisting other coaches in starting three separate programs at different schools in the Rock Island area.

Within John Deere, she has been involved in the SWE Outreach Committee, serving as a founding member of the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Planning Committee and serving for over 10 years. Her efforts in organizing events, such as introducing 8th-grade girls to STEM at John Deere, coordinating job shadowing at the Crop Harvesting PDC, hosting Introduce a Kid to Engineering at John Deere Headquarters in 2014, and attending the National SWE conference to recruit diverse engineering talent, showcases her commitment to promoting women in engineering. Additionally, Jackie has served as a past Secretary for the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE) and is affiliated with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

Jackie Norman Gray is a Senior Engineer, Product Safety & Compliance at the John Deere Global Crop Harvesting Product Development Center, Silvis IL. She earned an MBA from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northern Illinois University DeKalb, Illinois. Jackie is a published inventor with a United States Patent for a clutch in a belt drive system.


QCESC 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award:  Alan Sheidler

Alan Sheidler worked as a Senior Staff Engineer at John Deere Crop Harvesting Product Development Center, East Moline, Illinois before his retirement in 2016. Following retirement, he worked at the same location as a Consulting Engineer assisting periodically for the analysis, sizing and development of engine cooling packages, combustion air cleaners and thermal management systems for the X9 combine. His career at John Deere spans 43 years and included roles such as Propulsion Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Design Engineer, Drive Train Engineer, Staff Engineer and Senior Staff Engineer.

His career highlights include:

  • Designed structural axle, propulsion transmission, brakes, hydrostatic propulsion systems, and hydraulics
  • Contributed to the development of the 2000-series combine chassis and propulsion systems at John Deere Zweibrucken Works
  • Worked on the STS combine chassis team, championing the concept of fully designing and optimizing the chassis structure before prototype build
  • Led the implementation of a rubber track system and worked on combine cooling systems and emissions-compliant engines
  • Involved in optimizing performance of propulsion transmission, crawler tracks, and noise reduction efforts
  • Led emissions integration and new engine development for worldwide applications, including a hybrid combine with a motor/generator and Lithium-ion battery pack

Alan is a licensed P.E. in Illinois since 1985, is a member of ASABE Quad City Section since 1979, and also a member of the Popular Astronomy Club in Quad Cities, holding roles as Vice President, President and currently serving as Director of Observing. Additionally, he is currently serving as Chair of the North Central Region of the Astronomical League.

Alan holds 57 U.S. patents, showcasing his significant impact on the industry, peers, and mentees. These patents cover diverse designs, including an air scoop for air diversion, to the CTS combine tine separator module utilizing computational fluid dynamics, a gasket preventing fan air leakage, and an air scoop inlet duct enhancing cooling efficiency and reducing debris accumulation. Notably, one of his groundbreaking inventions was a hybrid combine concept, employing a motor/generator for energy storage and release to enhance performance and engine efficiency, a concept ahead of its time in the 2010s. These patents reflect Al’s innovative contributions throughout his career.

Al has been actively involved in QCESC STEM-related activities, hosting numerous astronomy programs, supporting the QCESC FIRST Lego League Qualifier, and helping host the North Central Region of the Astronomical League 2019 Conference. Additionally, Al is the chairman of the North Central Region of the Astronomical League and has mentored young engineers, taught engineering classes at multiple institutions, and actively supported STEM education in the Quad City area.

Alan earned a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and an Associate of Applied Science in Electro-Mechanical from Terra Technical College in Fremont, Ohio.


QCESC 2024 President’s Award of Merit: Jeff Weld

Jeff Weld is the recipient of the QCESC 2024 President’s Award of Merit.

Jeff has recently stepped down from his position as Executive Director for the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council – a position he held since its inception in 2011.  This innovative program has been the envy of the rest of the country and has been emulated since it’s creation.  What Jeff really brought to that program was an innovative approach to building relationship between schools and their community to help give the kids real-world problem solving opportunities through STEM-Best and other programs.

While serving the state of Iowa, he was asked to head to Washington DC as the National Senior Policy Advisor and Assistant Director to develop America’s Strategic Plan for STEM Education.  This was published on December 4th, 2018.

Throughout all of this innovative work, he has also been a highly decorated faculty member at the University of Northern Iowa from 2000-2023 in the Department of Biology.

Jeff is unforgettable to those who know him with his positivity and his relentless focus on what is possible.  He has always been a friend to the QCESC.


QCESC 2024 Society of the Year Award: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) – Quad City Section

Each year, QCESC recognizes an outstanding professional society in our Region. The Society of the Year Award considers how professional societies support their membership, their members actively volunteer at STEM student events, and their support of the mission of QCESC.

The Quad City Engineering and Science Council is pleased to present its 2024 Society of the Year Award to the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) – Quad City Section.

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers is an educational and scientific organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. Founded in 1907 and headquartered in St. Joseph, Michigan, ASABE is an international organization with members in more than 100 countries.Membership is open to all who are interested in engineering and technology for agricultural, food, and biological systems.

The Quad City Section of ASABE, with approximately 125 members, is very active. In 2023 it held three Section meetings, and offered free registration to students to encourage them to learn more about Ag and Biology real-world topics.

The ASABE Quad City Section awards a $1500 STEM scholarship each year to a local STEM high school senior. In addition, the Section recognizes outstanding members each year.

Members of the Section have participated in several QCESC meetings and have volunteered at our annual QCESC Egg Toss Trebuchet held at Bettendorf High School.

More information about the ASABE Quad City Section can be found online at http://www.asabe.qcesc.org/ .

The awards were first established in 1966, initially with the Engineer of the Year award. Since then, additional awards have been added including:

  • 1995 – Scientist of the Year
  • 2000 – Society of the Year
  • 2007 – Lifetime Achievement
  • 2010 – STEM Teacher of the Year
  • 2013 – STEM Volunteer of the Year
  • 2023 – Computing Professional of the Year

Past Award Recipients Listed by Year (1966 – 2022) 

The QCESC will celebrate 60 years of awards in 2026!