Address: P. O. Box 1166, Bettendorf, IA 52722
Sign Up for our eNewsletter

Supporting STEM professionals, societies, educators, parents and students

2019 – 2020 Board of Directors

List of past Chairs

President & Award Chair
Dan D’Alessandro

Dan D’Alessandro retired from Deere & Company in 2016 after 40 years of service. In his last role, he was the Global Manager of an engineering organization that developed embedded electronic hardware and software systems for Deere agricultural and turf products.    

Dan graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and also holds a Master’s in Business Administration from University of Northern Iowa.

He is involved in several volunteer roles including FIRST FLL/FTC/FRC competition Judge, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Iowa Chapter Board Member, American Red Cross Orientation Trainer, YWCA of the Quad Cities Board ex officio Member, and Western Illinois University Senior Design Mentor.Also, Dan is an independent engineering management consultant.

Austin Laugen
Austin Laugen graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Computer Engineering in 2013.  In 2018, he completed the Systems Design and Management certificate program through MIT.       

Since then, he’s worked for John Deere in multiple embedded software roles.  He currently works as the software delivery lead for an upcoming combine program.Outside of work, he’s spent four years mentoring two different FTC teams.  He also mentors through Big Brothers Big Sisters and serves on Beta Sigma Psi Fraternity’s alumni board.Austin grew up in the Quad Cities and first became involved with QCESC while in high school.  He’s excited to be back involved to help facilitate further STEM opportunities in the area.

Secretary & Communications
Beth Ullmark
Beth Ullmark graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana with a degree in Computer Science through the College of Engineering.  She has an MBA degree through St. Ambrose University.    

After graduation, she worked at Linguisystems, but since 1991 has worked at John Deere.   Her assignments in Global IT have included network and server admin, managing the Corporate networks, and John Deere Finance Software Testing.  She is currently working on the largest software program in John Deere history as a Quality Manager in Davenport. In the past 7 years, she has worked extensively with the FLL tournaments in the Quad Cities.  She became a member of the State of Iowa SE Stem Advisory council in 2016.   A lifelong Quad City inhabitant, she is committed to ensuring that all children have opportunity to realize the potential of a STEM career.

Chris Hebel
Chris Hebel earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1981.He has been employed by Exelon Corporation at Quad Cities Generating Station for over 34 years, in various positions .Chris most recent position was Senior Engineer with responsibility for the Reactor Vessel and Internals Program prior to retiring recently.
Director Emeritus
Pat Barnes
Twitter @PatrickOBarnes
Pat Barnes is currently the QCESC Director Emeritus and has served since 1992 in various roles including three times as QCESC President.       

Pat is John Deere’s Global Program Director for STEM & Youth Education.  This includes responsibly for John Deere’s youth education strategy,  investments and related volunteerism.   He works at John Deere’s World Headquarters in Moline in the Foundation & Citizenship Group. Throughout his career at John Deere, Pat has held technical positions and leadership roles in plant engineering, production engineering, quality assurance, product engineering, and Information Technology supporting engineering operations worldwide. This included  responsibility for an extended IT Team in Pune, India.Pat holds an Electrical Engineering Degree from Iowa State University and is a member of IEEE along with serving on numerous boards and committees including: Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Southeast Iowa STEM Advisory Board and the United Way of Quad Cities Area Education Council.

Pat has served as a volunteer for FIRST for 11+ years supporting all four FIRST programs.  This includes coordinating FIRST events in the Quad Cities and Judge Advisor for State Champions for FLL and FTC in Iowa.  In addition, he has judged at the FIRST World Championships and supported  FIRST events on four continents.

Director (Past President)
Chris Cournoyer
Chris Cournoyer graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Computer Science. After working as a Senior Consultant in the Technology Division of Andersen Consulting, Chris became self-employed as a Website Designer in 1997 to stay home with her 4 children. Chris was elected to the Pleasant Valley Community School Board in 2013 and served as the Board President. She has coached Jr. FIRST Lego League and FIRST Lego League teams, mentored an “Iowa Girls Code” high school team and facilitated an “Hour of Code” class to introduce elementary students to computer science. She was involved in the Iowa STEM Council Computer Science Workgroup to support computer science in schools and was appointed by Governor Branstad to the Southeast Iowa STEM advisory board. Chris was awarded “STEM Champion” at the Women of Innovation awards hosted by the Technology Association of Iowa and was selected one of “20 People Who Make a Difference” by the Bettendorf News.    

Chris was elected to the Iowa Senate in 2018 serving District 49, which represents Scott and Clinton Counties. She serves as Vice Chair of Education, as well as the State Government, Transportation, National Resources & Environment Committees and the Economic Development Budget Sub-Committee.

STEM Coordinator
Sankari Kandasamy
Phone 505-301-1999
Sankari was born in India, moved to the United States in 2002.   She is married to Namachivayam Ganesh. with two children, who are both studying in Pleasant Valley School District. Sankari finished her Bachelor’s degree in India and is currently going to school for a Secondary Teaching Degree. With her family, she has lived in Stamford Connecticut for 2 1/2 years, Albuquerque, New Mexico for 7 1/2 years, Cherry Hill, New Jersey for 1 year and moved to Quad Cities in the year 2012.   

Sankari has been working as a Robotics coordinator and also a Substitute teacher in Pleasant Valley school School District from 2016.   She currently is coaching FIRST LEGO League teams, FIRST LEGO League Junior teams, and FIRST Tech Challenge Teams in Pleasant Valley School District. Previously, she worked at H & R Block for 4 years, and Cardinal Health for a year.

She has volunteered in many places including as School PTA Secretary for a year and a PTA President for a year. She has also volunteered at the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center as a Data Analyst.  For the past 5years, she has volunteered at FIRST events in Quad Cities.

Scholarship Chair
Tom Hein
Phone 309-798-0556
Tom retired from Deere & Company in Moline, Illinois after 32 years of service. He was a leader innovation and in evaluating and applying emerging technologies for the company, most recently focusing on information technology impacting Deere’s customer and product. He also supported research alliances with Universities, industry and standards groups. He served on the boards of the Object Management Group and the Automotive Industry Action Group. He has held various positions in manufacturing, engineering, and systems management during his 41-year career, including several entrepreneurial startups. Tom has a degree in Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Illinois, Chicago.In retirement, Tom is continuing his focus on innovation and STEM literacy through community organizations.
Professional Development Coordinator
Currently Open 
Fundraising Chair
DJ O’Leary 

D.J. O’Leary graduated from Upper Iowa University of Fayette, IA with a degree in Marketing. She is currently working toward her MBA in General Management through Upper Iowa University. She is projected to graduate in May of 2020.

D.J. has worked in Sales at Cobham Mission Systems since 2016. She started in the Releases and Restraints group and moved into the Coolers product line. Currently she is on the Oxygen team working in service and repairs of the oxygen system for the T6 Trainer for the Airforce and other foreign military groups. D.J. is excited to be a part of local efforts to encourage Quad City youth to pursue their passion for STEM activities and opportunities