By empowering learners, educators, and citizens through hands-on experiences, we can create a new generation of leaders and innovators.
The Foundation consists of Founding Directors, Additional Board Members, and Partners who participate together in achieving the goals of the organization.
Tom Yount | Board President
Executive Vice President Engineering & Technology
Tom Yount graduated from Washington State University with a BS in Construction Management and a minor in Economics. Tom is an Executive Vice President with a global public company, EnergySolutions, and has oversight responsibilities for the Engineering and Technology activities for the company in Commercial, Government and International markets. Tom has over 27 years of project management, and executive management experience in the nuclear waste management industry, principally in leadership roles for large complex nuclear waste treatment, storage and disposal projects in the Commercial, Government and International markets. Tom has been a member of the Washington State STEM Education Foundation board since 2008 and serves on the Washington State University Tri-Cities Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. Tom has also been recognized as a Washington State University Silver Laureate for Philanthropy.
David Ruscitto | Board Vice-President
Vice President and Chief Operations Officer
Mission Support Alliance
Martín Valadez | Board Secretary
Vice President for Diversity and Outreach
Columbia Basin College
Martín Valadez is the Vice President for Diversity and Outreach at Columbia Basin College (CBC) where, among other responsibilities, he oversees diversity initiatives and programming, various federal grant programs and outreach to area schools and community organizations. In addition, since January 2010 Martín has been serving as the President of the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on a number of boards and community organizations including: the United Way, Mid-Columbia Symphony, CREHST Museum and the Latino Education Achievement Project. Martín received his B.A. in economics from UCLA, and a Masters in history from Stanford, where he is currently completing his Ph.D . He has taught history and intercultural studies at CBC as well as Latin American Studies and/or Ethnic Studies Departments in various colleges and universities including: Stanford University, Laney College, San Francisco State University, and Scripps College among others.
Kristi Nelson | Board Treasurer
NW CPA Group, PLLC
Kristi Nelson has been a CPA for 11 years, working in that time as a Senior Accountant for Ernst & Young, the Finance Director at the Federal Way School District and Sr. Manager for LeMaster Daniels, PLLC before beginning the Northwest CPA Group in 2004.
A graduate of Washington State University, she earned a Bachelor of Arts, emphasis in Accounting, with Cum Laude Honors in 1988.
She is a Member of the Tri-Cities Rotary and has served as Treasurer several times.
Meier Architecture and Engineering
Steve R. Anderson has been a Tri-City resident since 1981 and has spent the majority of his professional career with Meier Architecture & Engineering. He has served as Meier’s President/CEO since 2006, and is responsible for the technical and financial management of the organization. He also provides leadership within the community as President of the TCLBA, Mr. Anderson is working with local businesses to create opportunities for business growth. He has been on the Board of Directors for the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Foundation since 2008. He is an active member of the Tri City Chamber of Commerce and involved in the Mid Columbia Energy Initiative (MCEI). Mr. Anderson was appointed to the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) by the Governor’s office and is currently in his second term of service. Additionally, he is a long standing and active member in a local multi-sport club, the Three Rivers Road Runners.
Jack BakerVice President, Energy/Business Services(retired)
Jack Baker joined Energy Northwest in 1982. Before retiring in 2012, he was responsible for the development of new business opportunities and the operation and maintenance of all non-nuclear generation resources.
Mr. Baker held the following positions: Training Director, Columbia Nuclear Generating Station Plant Manager, Columbia Generating Station Assistant Plant Manager and WNP-1 Operations Manager.
Before joining Energy Northwest, Mr. Baker worked for Commonwealth Edison in Illinois. He has 39 years experience in the energy business sector. Mr. Baker holds a Bachelor of Science in engineering sciences as well as a Master of Science degree in nuclear engineering from Northwestern University, Illinois. He is a Certified Professional Manager and is a graduate of Harvard University's Advanced Management Program. He currently serves on the Board for the Benton City Senior Housing Project, the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center and STEM Foundation.
VP and Chief Financial Officer
CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Company
Vicki Bogenberger serves as Vice President of Business Services and Chief Financial Officer for CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company at the Hanford Site in southeast Washington State. Prior to joining the Plateau Remediation Contract, Vicki served as Senior Finance Officer for CH2M HILL’s Nuclear, Environmental and Government Division. She has also served as a Certified Public Accountant in Wyoming, Colorado and Washington. She has extensive engineering and construction industry experience working for ICF Kaiser Engineers at Hanford, was Controller at the Department of Energy Rocky Flats Closure Project, and has worked on a variety of CH2M HILL corporate and project assignments across the globe.
Vicki has served on several boards and was actively involved in the community in Denver. She was recognized in 2008 as a Wise Woman of Colorado by the Women’s Vision Foundation and is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Denver. A Tri-City native, Vicki is a graduate of Gonzaga University.
Senior Director Communications
Fluor Government Group
Ms. Connell is the Senior Director of Communications for Fluor Government Group’s Richland Project Office. Before joining Fluor at Hanford in 2001, Ms. Connell worked in the U.S. nuclear fuel and service markets (AREVA and its predecessor companies in the U.S.), where she managed the communications functions, as well as strategic planning and mergers & acquisitions.
Ms. Connell holds a B.A. degree in Chemistry from Albertus Magnus College and an M.S.-level degree in Biochemistry from Sloane-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, a division of Cornell University. At Cornell, she was a candidate for a Ph.D. in Biochemistry. As a “blue-sky” researcher for Revlon, she co-developed several patented dyes for use on hair and nails, as well as innovative chemical formulas for topical applications.
She is a member of the of the National Management Association and the American Nuclear Society on both a local and national level and sits on several community boards in the Tri-Cities (Richland, WA) including the Reading Foundation; YMCA; United Way; Junior Achievement; and STEM program for advancing science, technology, engineering and math. Ms. Connell is also a member of EnergySolutions’ Scholarship-Selection Board.
Bechtel National Inc.
Richard French Jr.
Chief Financial Officer
Federal Engineers & Constructors
Richard French Jr. is responsible for financials for all national and international offices at FE&C. Additionally, he is accountable for all aspects of information technology, equipment management, human resources, contracts and procurement roles in the company. He holds the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and has many years of experience managing multiple products, products and teams. He was formerly a Senior Project Manager at Lockheed Martin Information Technology where he led sizable project teams on software and web development projects for large government contractors and Fortune 500 corporations.
Imageworks/Vivid Learning Systems
Matt is President and Chief Executive Officer of Vivid Learning Systems, a publicly traded e-learning firm in Washington State. In 1994, Matt co-founded Imageworks, an interactive marketing and training company and was President of the firm until its acquisition by Vivid in 2004. In 2005, he became Vivid’s Chief Operations Officer and was named President and Chief Executive Officer in 2007. Matt is responsible for developing and implementing the strategic vision of the firm with special emphasis on marketing and strategic partnerships. Matt has a BA in Marketing and Business Administration from Washington State University and 15 years of executive leadership experience in technology-based companies. In addition to being the Vice President of the Washington State STEM Education Foundation and a member of its Development Committee, Matt’s community involvement includes Vice-Chairman of the Three Rivers Community Foundation, and Founding Member/Board Director of PLADD (People Learning About Destructive Decisions).
Patricia M. Irving is the founder and owner of InnovaTek, Inc., an advanced technology company in Richland, WA that develops innovative products for sustainable energy and environmental safety. As President and Chief Executive Officer, she supervises and controls all the assets, business and affairs of the Corporation. The Company, which employs scientists and engineers, has been in business since 1997.
Previously, Dr. Irving held the positions of Director of Technology Research and Integration, and Manager of the Environmental Sciences Department at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory, operated by Battelle. Prior to joining Battelle, she conducted basic and applied research in energy and environmental systems at Argonne National Laboratory, operated by the University of Chicago. She was on special assignment from 1986-1992 in Washington DC to the White House Council on Environmental Quality where she advised the President and Congress on the Clean Air Act. Dr. Irving taught graduate courses in Industrial Ecology as an Adjunct Professor with the Environmental Sciences Department at Washington State University, Tri-Cities, from 1999 to 2007. She has a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Wisconsin.
As a member of the Founding Board of Directors of the WA State STEM Education Foundation, Dr. Irving chairs the Outreach Committee. She is a member of the Board of Directors and was elected to the Executive Committee of the U.S. National Hydrogen Association in 2008. She served on the User Advisory Board for the DOE Environmental and Molecular Sciences Laboratory at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory from 2007-2009. Dr. Irving was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Board of Directors of Washington State’s Economic Development Institute, Sirti, from 1998-2003.
Dr. Irving is the author or co-author of over 75 scientific papers, books, and technical reports, 3 patents, and over 100 invited presentations at scientific and technical meetings. Her passion for nature and desire for sustainable systems is what drives her career and interests.
VISTA Engineering Technologies, LLC
Phil Ohl is a founder and principal partner serving as president of Vista Engineering Technologies, L.L.C., a full service engineering design and technology development firm. The company provides engineering, environmental, and technology development services.
Phil is currently serving on the engineering advisory board for the Department of Materials and Mechanical Engineering at Washington State University. He is also on the Blue Mountain Council Board of Directors for the Boy Scouts of America and president of the Washington State STEM Education Foundation.
Phil holds a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering and a M.EM. in Engineering Management from Washington State University. In addition, he is a registered professional mechanical engineer and in the states of Washington and Oregon and a registered Project Management Professional. Phil also holds a Certificate in Management and Leadership from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Associate Laboratory Director
Dr. Douglas Ray serves as Associate Laboratory Director for the Fundamental & Computational Sciences Directorate at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a role he has fulfilled since May 2006. The Directorate serves as the primary steward for research supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Science and the National Institutes of Health.
As Associate Laboratory Director, Dr. Ray directs more than 500 staff members in four research divisions: Atmospheric Sciences and Global Climate Change, Biological Sciences, Chemical & Materials Science, and Computational Sciences and Mathematics. Under his leadership, the divisions focus on important scientific problems with national implications as the key to advancing the frontiers of science. He and his staff members seek to
- Achieve a predictive understanding of the behavior of multi-cellular biological systems
- Create new computational capabilities to solve problems using extreme-scale simulation and peta-scale data analytics
- Develop tools and understanding required to control chemical and physical processes in complex multiphase environments
- Develop, integrate and deploy transformational tools in the DOE’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory that accelerate scientific discovery and innovation
- Transform the Nation’s ability to predict climate change and its impacts
- Understand energy and materials transfer in the subsurface environment from molecular to ecosystem scales.
Dr. Ray holds a Ph. D. in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, where his mentor was Richard J. Saykally. He was a postdoctoral research associate with W. Carl Lineberger at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics before joining PNNL. A laser spectroscopist, Dr. Ray’s research interests include the effects of weak intermolecular interactions on chemical phenomena in condensed phases, at interfaces, in clusters and in supramolecular complexes. Dr. Ray is a member of the American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, American Geophysical Union, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academies’ Chemical Sciences Roundtable.
Vice President, Information Systems, Chief Information Officer
Kadlec Medical Center
Dave has 30+ years of technical and management experience in healthcare. Dave has worked as an Engineer and a technical director for several companies, including 2 hospitals. At Kadlec Medical Center, Dave directs the activities of nearly 100 staff in 7 functional areas with a combined budget of nearly $15 million. Dave’s areas of responsibility include Information Systems, Clinical Information Systems, Medical Records, Telecommunications, Clinical Engineering, Corporate Compliance and Strategic Planning. Dave has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, with a major in Computer Science.
Ken RobertsonExecutive Editor(retired)
Ken Robertson is the former executive editor of the Tri-City Herald, where he worked from 1976-2011 and managed its newsroom from 1991-2011. He served as the Herald’s managing editor, assistant managing editor and city editor. Prior to coming to the Herald, Ken was managing editor of The Helena (Mont.) Independent Record, where he also was a reporter for several years. Under his direction, the Herald newsroom won several national awards during his tenure as editor, including national SPJ awards for investigative reporting in 2002 and for feature writing in 2010.
He also won several Northwest regional SPJ awards for column writing, including first place awards in 2001, 2002 and 2005. He graduated in 1970 from the University of Montana in Missoula where he majored in journalism and Latin. From 1970-1972, he attended the University of Alberta’s master’s degree program in ancient history. In addition to his duties overseeing the Herald newsroom, he was chairman of PNNA's Education Committee from 1998-2007 and served on PNNA reviews of several regional university journalism programs.
He also has served on advisory boards for the journalism programs at Washington State University, Western Washington University and the University of Montana. In the Tri-Cities, he has served on the boards of Junior Achievement and the Three Rivers Community Foundation. In 2008, he received the Crystal Apple Special Achievement Award for his contributions to education across the school districts that serve the Tri-City area.
He and his wife Patti, a piano teacher and collaborative pianist, were married in 1976 and have three grown sons and three granddaughters.
Director and General Manager
Lockheed Martin, Energy Technology Solutions
Richland Operations Business Unit
Mr. Kyle Willers is the Director and General Manager for the Lockheed Martin (LM), Energy Technology Solutions, Richland Operations Business Unit. Kyle has over 20 of years experience in the Information Technology (IT) industry, where he has developed and implemented cutting edge IT solutions for federal, state and commercial clients. Kyle is an active community volunteer and supports an array non-profit organizations and serves on the boards of a number of organizations within the Tri-Cities community.
Telquist Ziobro McMillen PLLC
Non-Voting Board Members
Kennewick School District
Dave Bond is the superintendent of the Kennewick School District. Bond assumed that position July 1st of this year when Marlis Lindbloom retired from her position as the Kennewick School District superintendent. Mr. Bond served the Richland School District from 1988 to 2001 as a teacher, athletic director, assistant principal, and then Principal at Hanford High from 1996-2001. He has worked in the Kennewick School District since 2001; first as principal at Kamiakin High School (2001-2006), and then as the Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education (2006-2008).
Bond earned his master’s degree in Educational Administration from Seattle Pacific University and then went on to Washington State University to receive his superintendent’s credential.
In both his professional and personal life, Bond looks at his greatest accomplishment as preparing kids for a successful future. “Ultimately it’s about student achievement,” says Bond.
He and his wife of 32 years, Carmen, are proud and anxious for the exciting transitions that await their three children: Josh - a graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy; Jeremy – a graduate of Seattle Pacific University in international business; and Jenny – a sophomore at Washington State University planning to major in nursing.
Pasco School District
Saundra Hill has been Superintendent of the Pasco School District since 2002, and has been an educator for 33 years. She holds a Juris Doctor, University of Washington, a Principal Credential from Central Washington University, a Master of Arts in Education, (Reading, Curriculum, Leadership) from Central Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Education with a minor in Spanish and French from University of Puget Sound.
Her many achievements show a lifelong dedication to education including:Member of Washington State Bar Association, La Voz Amiga Award 2008, Excellence in Education State Leadership Award 2007 from Delta Sigma Theta, Outstanding Community Leader of the Year Award 2006—Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber, Partner in development of Delta High School.
Richland School District
Karen Baker | Executive Director
Washington State STEM Education Foundation
Karen Baker is the Executive Director of the Washington State STEM Education Foundation, based in Richland Washington. The Foundations vision is to be a national model for generating passionate support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in Public Education: Every kid every day. Karen holds a BA in Economics with a minor in Finance from University of Colorado. Karen has more than 25 years of experience in corporate planning, educational reform and building public-private community partnerships. Believing that industry alignment for STEM and workforce development is critical to solving the issues we face in developing an innovation economy. She blends her corporate experience and passion for education to build authentic community partnerships. Karen has worked in both Washington and Colorado coordinating public-private partnerships between K-12 school districts and industry.