Board of Directors

Gary Gates

Former President and CEO, Omaha Public Power District

Limited yet crucial role in planning the strategic direction of Prairie STEM. Working with the board, which sets the course of the nonprofit, the President provides advice on the practicality of the board’s vision and individual wish-list items, based on the President’s knowledge of the organization’s budget, resources and staff expertise.  The President acting in a role of secondary liaison between the board of directors and any managers or directors of the nonprofit. The President will have duties as part of the public face of the organization, delegating management responsibilities to the COO, EVP, Executive Director of Development and department heads.

Del Weber, Ph.D.

Chancellor Emeritus, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Board Member Emeritus in Memorium

Nancy Williams

Founder, Community Organizer and Board Member, No More Empty Pots

Curtis Beeson

Curtis Beeson is former Chief Technology Officer at Woodmen of the World, VP at First Data Corporation, and has assembled a long career in deploying and managing technology into corporations and organizations. Mr. Beeson has demonstrated technical expertise in his career with Fortune 500 companies, and testifying before Congressional committees on information security. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from Bellevue University He has unique insight into the needs of business in developing qualified and motivated technical employees and leaders and brings his understanding of technical education needs of the business marketplace to the Board of Directors.

Ken Bird, Ph.D.

Ken Bird is President and CEO of Avenue Scholars which promotes post secondary education for high school graduates, and former Superintendent of District 66 Westside Public Schools. He has extensive experience in education administration. He has been involved with other nonprofit organizations and is very familiar with other nonprofit organizations in the community. He brings an understanding of public education, leadership of large K-12th grade educational institutions, and post-primary school and school to work educational needs to the Board of Directors.

Bing Chen, Ph.D.

Bing Chen is a tenured professor and former chairman of the Computer and Electronic Engineering Department at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Omaha Campus, co-Principal Investigator for the NSF SPIRIT2 grant and the predecessor NSF grant, past president of the Association of Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Heads Association (ECEDHA), founder of the Nebraska Solar Energy Society, and president of the Loren Eiseley Society. He brings experience with university engineering and technology education and leadership to the Board of Directors.

Jeff Jensen

Jeff Jensen is a business and technology consultant at the University of Nebraska and a former Director at First Data Corporation. He has served on the board of other nonprofit organizations in the community. Mr. Jensen brings experience with technical staff development needs for business and has operational expertise with successful educator and student STEM enrichment programs.

Allan Ziebarth, J.D.

Allan Ziebarth is an attorney and has experience with corporate structures, operations and formalities and has many years of experience with many foundations and nonprofit organizations in the community. He is VP of Palleton, Inc., co-founder of the Nebraska Solar Energy Society, attorney and adviser for the not for profit Loren Eiseley Society. He brings not-for-profit legal expertise to the Board of Directors.

Neal Grandgenett, Ph.D.

STEM Outreach Coordinator Supervision Professor, University of Nebraska at Omaha