Who is Dan Hollingshead? Who is his wife, Aleksandra? How Do They Both Help Those With Developmental Disabilities?
Dan Hollingshead is our Senior Systems Software Engineer and a Co-Founder at GO Concepts Inc. Back in1997, Dan Oliver (Dan O.) and John Gambill, Jr, had the original idea for GO Concepts and brought in Dan Hollingshead (Dan H.) due to his technical expertise.
A side note, one that’s very interesting… Dan H. and Dan O. grew up together as neighbors. Dan H. says that he and Dan O. have been friends since he was one year old!
And… Dan O. introduced Dan H. to his lovely wife Aleksandra 16 years ago! So, as you can see, this is a tight-knit partnership in many ways.
Back to Dan H. and GO Concepts’ connection to people with developmental disabilities…
In January of 2013, GO Concepts got involved in the DD Community to help provide services to County Boards, Providers, and Agencies in Ohio. Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities was looking for an outsourced IT services company at the time and GO Concepts submitted a bid.
We were selected, and eventually brought the County Boards up to modern standards and best practices with their information technology and assisted with their HIPAA compliance. We also helped them with remote access, which is so important for their staff to be able to stay connected in the field and to be as efficient as possible.
What Is Aleksandra’s Connection To People With Developmental Disabilities?
Aleksandra is originally from Poland. She was an au pair working for a Warren County Ohio family with a special needs child when Dan. O. introduced her to Dan H.
Aleksandra is an Associate Professor & Special Education Program Coordinator at the University of Idaho. When she was offered this position, she and Dan left Ohio for Moscow, Idaho, where they now live with their 2 children and where Dan works remotely for GO Concepts.
Aleksandra also has a further connection to people with disabilities. Before coming to the United States, she had earned a master’s degree in Political Science and had lots of experience working with people who had developmental disabilities.
Years ago, she knew she always wanted to do something with this. So, she arranged to meet with the director of the DD programs in Warren County, Mr. Mike Virelli, who suggested she get a second Master’s Degree in Special Education.
She obtained this at Antioch University McGregor , in Yellow Springs, Ohio. At this point, Warren County hired her as a classroom teacher for their Education Service Center.
She went on to get her Doctorate from the University of Cincinnati. When she finished, she was offered the position that she now holds at the University of Idaho.
And there’s more…
As a professor at the University of Idaho, Aleksandra and her colleagues are working on developing a postsecondary education program for individuals with developmental disabilities! This would help those who traditionally wouldn’t be able to go to college due to their disabilities and the stringent entrance requirements.
Although it would be a non-degree program, this would be a wonderful opportunity for those who are interested in higher education. They could audit classes and would give them some employment experience as well. Right now, Aleksandra and her colleagues are in the process of getting feedback from the community to determine the interest level so they can apply for federal and state funding in order to support these students.
Some of Aleksandra’s other accomplishments and connections…
Aleksandra is also involved at both the state and national level at the largest special education organization: The Council for Exceptional Children. She holds a leadership position at the national level in the Innovation in Special Education Technology subdivision, where she and others work to find ways where technology can help students with disabilities.
On the state level, she is a member of the Representative Assembly representing Idaho on the national board. In addition, she’s involved as a treasurer in a subdivision specifically related to people with developmental disabilities.
Aleksandra also represents Idaho on the Board of Directors for Education Northwest. This organization includes five states. She is the only person representing both special education and higher education. They look at different programs for students in need, including those with developmental disabilities. Their overarching goal is to bring more equity to education.
Now, back to Dan…
Dan jokes that along with supporting GO Concepts, he also supports his wife’s efforts. Dan works on software development and integration to make sure GO Concepts can provide the best technology services and solutions for the organizations and businesses they serve. He ensures their technology is always efficient, reliable and secure.
Do Dan and Aleksandra Have Any Time For Fun?
As busy as they both are, Dan and Aleksandra love participating in outdoor activities with their children, Victor age 4 and Lenka age 2. They love hiking the trails, skiing the mountains, and taking in the splendors of nature.
Do You Believe In Fate?
Aleksandra’s entire career has been focused on special education and working with children with developmental disabilities. Isn’t it interesting there’s a tie between what both Aleksandra and Dan now do?
Plus, both of their careers started in Warren County, Ohio, where GO Concepts began making such a difference to those organizations and businesses serving people with developmental disabilities.
This makes one think; perhaps there’s a reason why Dan H. and Aleksandra were brought together. Wouldn’t you agree? Thank you Dan O., for helping bring them together!