Leading the Saint Louis Science Center toward a brighter future
President and CEO
Bert Vescolani is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Saint Louis Science Center. He leads a team of 225 staff members and 400 volunteers whose mission is to ignite and sustain lifelong science and technology learning. The Science Center serves more than one million people each year, making it the fourth largest science center in the country, and one of the nation’s 25 largest museums. It has built a national reputation for programs and exhibits, community partnerships, and visitor experience. The Science Center is part of many local, regional and national initiatives to build better and stronger links between formal and informal education. These include the Taylor Community Science Resource Center, the Youth Exploring Science (YES) program, and collaboration with St. Louis Public Schools to operate the Compton-Drew Investigative Learning Center Middle School. These efforts have been recognized by the Association of Science/Technology Centers with its highest honor, the Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award, awarded three times since 2005.
Prior to assuming his present duties in 2011, Vescolani served six years as the director of the 103-acre John Ball Zoological Gardens in Grand Rapids, Mich. During his tenure, attendance grew, revenues doubled and guest satisfaction increased to all-time highs. Education and Conservation programs grew dramatically and in the six-year time period over half of all exhibits were renovated and/or replaced. Prior to joining the John Ball Zoo, Vescolani served as Senior Vice President at John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago from 1991 until 2005 during one of the largest expansions in their history.
A native of East Lansing, Michigan, Vescolani received his bachelor of science in education from Michigan State University and has pursued graduate studies at North Park University. He and his wife, Danielle, have three children.
Carol J. Valenta
Chief Scientific Officer
Carol J. Valenta is responsible for content and mission based activities, including exhibit design and development, research and evaluation, science and galleries, public programs, collections, the public understanding of science and regional partnerships. She directs planning and implementation for two major elements of the Science Center’s three-pronged strategic plan: the 21st Century Museum and the Center for Science. On a national level, she leads the efforts of the Science Beyond the Boundaries Network with more than 120 like institutions, serves on the Board of the Association of Science Technology Centers and as a reviewer for national museum accreditation.
Before joining the Science Center in 1996, Valenta served as the Director of Education at the California Museum of Science and Industry. While in this position, she developed and received funding for a number of major initiatives that received national attention. She served as the site director for the Career Access Program, My Place and “Project Endeavor,” all multi-million dollar projects designed to engage underserved communities in accessing science.
Prior to her work at CMSI, Valenta served as an elementary teacher and school principal in the Los Angeles Unified School District and directed the District’s eight science centers. During her tenure with LAUSD, she developed initiatives in science and math curriculum, teacher professional development and models for multicultural education. She was recognized for her innovative educational programs, community involvement, bilingual initiatives and work with children’s television.
In addition, Valenta is recognized as a leader in formal and informal science education and has made contributions as a consultant, keynote speaker, program reviewer and author. For Harcourt Publishers Inc., she has been a lead author in the areas of physics, chemistry and mathematics beginning with Science Anytime! in 1995 to the present.
Valenta received her Masters in School Administration from California Lutheran College and her Bachelors of Arts from the University of California – Los Angeles.
G. Patrick Williams
Chief Institutional Advancement Officer
G. Patrick Williams is responsible for the advancement activities at the Saint Louis Science Center. Williams has more than 35 years of professional experience in the advancement field. His experience includes positions as Finance/Fund Raising Director with the Boy Scouts of America, Vice President and Senior Consultant with Metaplex Corporation, Vice President and Senior Consultant with F.G.A. & Associates, Inc., Vice President of Public Information, Development, Marketing/Communications and Operations for MCOSS, CEO of the MCOSS Foundation, Vice President of Institutional Advancement for Lourdes College and President/CEO of the Lourdes College Foundation, Vice Chancellor for University Relations for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Chief Executive Officer for the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Foundation.
As an Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE), Mr. Williams has extensive knowledge in all areas and disciplines of development/advancement. His experience and education has created special expertise in the areas of strategic planning, policy formulation, board and staff recruitment, development and team building efforts, deferred giving, capital and major gift programs, governmental relations, economic development programs, constituent relations programs and integrated marketing and communication programs.
Williams attended Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ and holds a B.A. from Kings College in Wilkes Barre, PA. He also attained a Master of Science degree in Health and Human Service Administration with a concentration in Gerontological Services from Misericordia University in Dallas, PA.
Chief Operating Officer (Acting) and Chief Financial Officer
Barbara Boyle is Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for the Saint Louis Science Center. In this role she supervises all aspects of the Financial and Information Systems Administrator functions.
Boyle heads the Science Center's Finance and Audit committee of the Board of Commissioners and is responsible for the preparation of the annual audited financial statements and the annual operating budget. She also oversees the Science Center's compliance with AICPA standards and all related laws and the financial integrity of all applicable commitments.
Most recently, Boyle was the Director of Finance / HR – Eastern Region and Interim Chief Financial Officer at Boys & Girls Town / Edgewood Children’s Center. In addition to nonprofit experience, Boyle has more than 20 years experience in investment banking with A.G. Edwards, including more than 10 years as Managing Director – Investment Banking in the Capital Markets Division.
A graduate of the Olin School of Business at Washington University, Boyle started her career as an auditor and financial consultant with Deloitte & Touche.
Deborah Washington - Managing Director, Staff Relations
John G. Wharton - Managing Director, Facilities