Chairman of the Board
FIRST in Texas Foundation, Chief Technology Officer, NASA - Johnson Space Center
Mr. Culbert has been a long time supporter of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®) and has served on the FIRST in Texas Foundation board for many years. He recently accepted the position of board chairman to continue the statewide mission of bringing FIRST programs to even more students in Texas.
Mr. Culbert has spent more than 30 years developing technologies and systems for human spaceflight at the Johnson Space Center. He is currently Chief Technology Officer at NASA/Johnson Space Center where he is responsible for coordinating center level technology strategies for human spaceflight missions. During his career, he has managed the development of advanced technologies in robotics, automation, and software for Space Shuttle, Space Station, and advanced human missions. He has also led the agency’s Human Spaceflight Architecture team, developing concepts for human missions to deep space. He has led center wide teams to develop core information technology solutions such as consolidated networks and e-mail systems. He started his career as a flight controller in the Mission Control Center where he supported navigation analysis for a number of Space Shuttle missions.
Chief Marketing Officer, SwiftSensors, Inc.
Ray Almgren evangelizes the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education as a member of the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®) in Texas board and member of the National FIRST® Executive Advisory Board. Almgren is also a member of engineering advisory boards including The University of Texas at Austin, Southern Methodist University, and Tufts University.
Almgren is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at SwiftSensors, Inc. Prior to this position, he served as the Vice President of Marketing at National Instruments. Almgren holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.
CEO, The Capital Factory
Joshua Baer helps people quit their jobs and become entrepreneurs at Capital Factory, Austin’s largest coworking space and most active investment fund. Josh founded his first startup in 1996 in his college dormitory at Carnegie Mellon University and now teaches a class at the University of Texas for student entrepreneurs. He was recently recognized as a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a member of the National Committee on US-China Relations Young Leaders Forum, and an Eisenhower Fellow.
Josh lives in Austin with his wife Amy and three children. The best way to reach him is on Twitter @joshuabaer
Vice-President, Global Operations Dell Technologies
Piyush Bhargava is a a vice-president, global operations at Dell Technologies. He leads a global organization responsible for procurement and partner management of Dell’s human capital, customer facing services, human-resource services, technology real estate, and marketing products and services. He also manages Dell’s global packaging procurement and engineering organizations. Mr. Bhargava has been with Dell for over 17 years and has managed strategic sourcing of various high-spend commodities over the years. He has worked for Dell in the US, China and Singapore and has held various senior leadership positions, including executive sponsor for Dell’s Asians in Motion Employee Resource Group. He is a recognized thought leader that excels in formulating strategies that enable organizations to leverage the supply chain and procurement functions as a source of competitive advantage.
He serves on the boards of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, FIRST in Texas Foundation, the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan and the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego. Prior to joining Dell, Mr. Bhargava held various management position at Intel, General Motors and Siemens. His interests include volunteering on non-profit boards focused on youth and STEM education as well as contributing to a sustainable and strengthening circular economy.
He received a bachelor of engineering degree in electrical and electronics engineering from the Birla Institue of Technology, a master of science in manufacturing systems engineering from Lehigh University and an MBA from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Art Cavasos
Superintendent, Harlingen CISD
Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos is a nationally recognized leader with almost 30 years of experience in education. He was appointed to the University of Texas College of Education Advisory Council.
In 2014, he was selected by the U.S. Department of Education as one of 100 top school leaders from across America to participate in the first-ever National ConnectED Superintendents Summit at the White House.
Dr. Cavasos was a math teacher in the Edinburg Consolidated ISD, and McAllen ISD math teacher, counselor, and principal. He also worked as the Director of Secondary Education in the Mission Consolidated School District. Before being named superintendent, Dr. Cavazos served as the district’s Interim Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent for Transformation and School Support. He joined HCISD in 2001 as the Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education.
Dr. Cavazos earned his Doctorate in Education from the University of Texas, Austin in April. He attended the University of Texas Pan-American, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Education degree with a Counseling and Guidance.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Dr. Cavazos is active in the community. He serves on the Boys and Girls Club board, Su Clinica Familiar Board, South Texas Emergency Care Foundation board, and the local UIL Executive Committee. At the State level, Cavazos serves on the UIL Waiver Review Board, State Academic Achievement Distinction Designation Committee (AADDC), the Texas Association of School Administrators Leadership Advisory Committee, Ford Next Generation Superintendent Council and the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium. He’s a member of the Rotary Club, Boy’s Scouts of America, and St. Alban’s Church.
Shareholder, Gordon Davis Johnson & Shane P.C.
Yolanda’s practice focuses on land use, real estate and government law. She advises on issues concerning commercial and non-commercial real estate as well as land use development and entitlements.
Yolanda joined the Firm in 1999. She received her B.S. at the University of Texas at El Paso and J.D. at Drake Law School. Yolanda was listed on the Rising Stars list by Super Lawyers®, a Thomson Reuters service, in 2005, 2007 and 2008. More recently, Yolanda was included on the 2017 list of The Best Lawyers in America©, by Woodward/White, Inc., in the specialty of Real Estate. Outside the office, Yolanda is a Board Member for the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority and is a proud mother of two children.
R&D Director, IoT Software, National Instruments
Ray Hsu serves as the Director of IoT Software at National Instruments, where he leads R&D initiatives to expand the NI software platform by applying Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0 concepts to automated test and measurement solutions. Hsu previously served leadership roles for NI’s Academic Program to improve engineering education from K-12 to higher education through hands-on learning.
Hsu has over 24 years of experience leading high-growth companies to create successful software products for a variety of industries. Prior to joining NI, Hsu served as the Vice President at @hand Corporation and was responsible for delivering enterprise mobility solutions for the Oil & Gas industry and government agencies. He was awarded multiple U.S. patents for his work in LabVIEW to detect and merge differences between graphical programs.
Hsu holds a master’s degree in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering from The University of Texas at Arlington.
Partner - Ironclad Partners
Caroline Joiner has more than two decades of experience in government affairs, political consulting, grassroots organizing and strategic communications. She is a seasoned advocacy veteran with deep experience in technology policy.
From 2014 to 2018, Caroline served as Executive Director for TechNet, the national, bi-partisan association of technology companies. In this role, she oversaw TechNet’s state advocacy and political activities in Texas and the southeast, and managed issue advocacy, government affairs, events, policy analysis, media affairs, political fundraising, membership relations and coalition building. She raised the organization’s profile by securing significant legislative victories on education and workforce, privacy, cybersecurity and procurement.
Owner, Larry Lentz CPA
Larry is a Certified Public Accountant with twenty plus years of experience in public accounting. His practice is in the tax preparation and planning area. He is the owner of Larry Lentz, C.P.A. Larry also has experience in the auditing field. Larry is currently pursuing licenses that would allow him to expand his practice into the financial planning area.
He was introduced to FIRST® when his son joined the robotic team at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy High School in Austin, Texas. He volunteered and supported the LASA robotics team.
Larry earned a bachelor’s degree from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas.
Vice President Business & Corporate Development, SiFive
Hiren Majmudar is a Vice President of Business and Corporate Development at SiFive. Hiren leads Corporate Development (M&A, Equity, Partnerships) and also drives Business Development activities (Partnerships, Strategic account growth etc.). Prior to SiFive, Hiren was Vice President of Intel Capital, leading Silicon and Software Development sector for Corporate Development. Hiren worked at Intel Corporation for 25 years in technical and management leadership in Chip Design, EDA/SW tools, Technical Marketing and Business Development. During his career, Hiren has led multiple corporate level initiatives in EDA, Semiconductor IP Ecosystem Development and Business Development.
Hiren has been a robotics coach and volunteer for more than a decade and has mentored teams for JFLL, FLL, FTC and Best Robotics competitions in Texas. Hiren holds Masters in Electrical Engineering from State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Advisor, Investor, Entrepreneur, STEM advocate
Steve is an advocate for STEM education and project based learning. He has been involved with FIRST since 2013. Steve Schaffer has more than 30 years of experience growing both startups and established Internet and software companies. He is currently an investor and advisor to start-up and established Technology and Internet companies.
Previously Steve founded Offers.com, located in Austin, Texas. Launched in February 2009, Offers.com saves consumers time and money by helping them find the best coupons, deals and offers from thousands of top online stores and brands. Steve was the CEO of Offers.com from the founding until the acquisition by Ziff Davis in December 2015. Prior to that Steve has been an entrepreneur, consultant and manager at several online and consumer software companies. Steve is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance.
Chief Engineer, Lockheed Martin
Don Schapker is a Chief Engineer and Director for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control located in Grand Prairie, Texas. Don has over 26 years of technical and leadership experience in the aerospace industry for a variety of military and commercial products. Don has been involved in FIRST® since 2008 and was part of the advisory board that established the North Texas FRC Regional in Dallas. Don has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida.
Board Member, National Judge Advisor - FIRST
FIRST in Texas
Cynthia Stong graduated from Seattle University with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1989 and worked for The Boeing Company 1980 to retirement in 2009. She completed a MBA from City University with an emphasis in Project Management. She has been an active member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) serving on local and international boards and committees.
She enjoys FIRST® Robotics and currently co-leads the judges for FRC events both locally and nationally. She is a past member of Seattle University Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board, Arizona I.D.E.A. museum, Mesa Leadership and Otero Leadership. Also currently serving on Boards for The Flickinger Center for Performing Arts, Arizona FIRST Board, OteroSTEM, FIRST Robotics NM and Alamogordo Public Library.
She is active in her local Rotary, helps mentor a local NM FRC team, serves as the Regional Director of NM and is now glad to help the FIRST in Texas Board as they grow and succeed!
Vice President of Operations, U.S. Gulf Coast Site Director, Texas Operations President & CEO, Union Carbide Corporation - The Dow Chemical Company
Over the course of his 36-year career with The Dow Chemical Company, Rich Wells has held leadership roles in a wide range of areas, including Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (M&E), Business Leadership, EH&S (Environment, Health and Safety), Energy and Climate Change, and Public Policy.
Wells, a member of the Dow Operations Leadership Team, was named Vice President of U.S. Gulf Coast Operations and Site Director of Texas Operations in 2017. He is responsible for 10 advanced manufacturing sites, the Texas Innovation Center (a state-of-the-art R&D campus) and the Houston Dow Center (a strategic engineering and business hub).
As the Site Director for Dow Texas Operations, he leads one of the largest integrated petrochemical manufacturing sites in the world. The site employs more than 8,000 people, producing products that are used in industrial and consumer applications including food packaging, health care, automobiles, construction and electronics. He is also President and CEO of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) and he sits on the UCC Board of Directors.