Lead by team of professionals and experienced Volunteer Aerospace and Aviation Mentors
Col. John Telles, Co-Founder
Col. John Telles is the senior partner and Operations Director. John has vast experience in many levels of education, most recently as founder and Director of A-STEM youth education with Air Group One, CAF. He worked for the Singer-Link Corporation as project manager for several aviation crew courses, one of which significantly reduced the rate of mishaps for military multi-crewed aircraft. While a Marine Corps pilot, John served as a ground school and jet flight instructor for the Naval Aviation Flight School. His expertise also extends to the arts as a school music teacher and professional musician.
John is a graduate with a BS Industrial Management from Roger Williams College, and MS Systems Management, Magna Cum Laud, from USC. He is also a graduate of the U. S. Naval War College.
John retired from the United States Marine Corps after 28 years of service with nearly 5,000 flight hours. He is a veteran of two combat tours in Vietnam flying fighter and helicopter aircraft. John later flew “Marine One” as a Presidential Helicopter Command Pilot for Presidents Nixon and Ford.
Rick Worthen, Volunteer Adviser
Mr. Rick Worthen is Curriculum Development adviser with 40+ years teaching experience. He brings in-depth knowledge of the teaching and learning environments at many levels, and is well-versed in California Common Core Standards and Next Generation Core Standards for science and mathematics. Rick is an aviation expert, having served as FAA-Certificated Flight and Ground Instructor (CFI/I/ME/H, AGI, IGI); FAA-Designated Pilot Examiner; FAR Part 141 Flight School Chief Instructor; and Pilot (ATP AMEL; Comm ASEL, RH).
Rick holds a BSEE degree from San Diego State University. His extensive experience as an Electronics Engineer includes 26 years with the Department of Defense, most recently as Design Engineer, Carrier Advanced Combat Direction System and SSDS Mk2. He was also with Northrop Grumman as a Senior Systems Analyst, carrier systems. Rick is a military veteran with nine years service in the U. S. Navy, including two Vietnam combat tours on riverine patrol boats, and later as an aviation electronics technician.
Sonya A. H. McMullen, Ph.D., Adviser
Sonya A. H. McMullen, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the College of Aeronautics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide. Dr. McMullen has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in the United States and European Campuses to include Aviation Legislation; History of Aviation in America; Human Factors in Aviation Safety; Ergonomics; Space Mission and Launch Operations; Applications in Space: Commerce, Defense and Exploration; Aircraft and Spacecraft Development; Human Factors in the Aviation/Aerospace Industry; and Aerospace Psychology. In addition, Dr. McMullen has taught graduate courses for The Pennsylvania State University World Campus. Her research interests focus on the evolution of the commercial space transportation industry as well as applications in multisensor data fusion and data visualization. From 1996 to 2005, Dr. McMullen served as a Space and Missile Operations Officer in the United States Air Force (USAF). Her duties included Delta II Training Officer, Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Combat Crew Commander, Flight Commander, Deputy Director Collection Systems Evaluation Task Force, and Command Post Chief of Training. Her awards include the National Security Agency Deputy Director of Analysis and Production Team Award, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, and Combat Readiness Medal. Dr. McMullen is the co-author of the textbook, “Mathematical Techniques in Multisensor Data Fusion, 2nd Edition”, and multiple refereed international and national conference papers. Dr. McMullen is a 1996 graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, a 2001 graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Master of Aeronautical Science, and a 2015 graduate of Northcentral University with a Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration with specializations in Homeland Security and Aeronautical Science Management.
Gary B. Fogel, Ph.D., Adviser
Dr. Gary B. Fogel has had a lifelong passion for model aviation, starting first with free flight gliders, then model rockets, then radio-controlled models of all types. He has established 11 world records and over 40 national records for aeromodels. As a Fellow, Leader Member, and Contest Director of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, Gary has helped represent the interests of model aviation to the FAA since 2009 through the AMA Standards Workgroup that is helping to promote safe and effective incorporation of small unmanned systems into the National Airspace System. As Adjunct Faculty at San Diego State University, Gary uses model aviation to teach a popular introductory course in aerospace engineering where students are required to build and fly their own free flight models. He enjoys sharing his passion for model airplanes with kids of all ages. Deeply interested in the history of aviation, Gary has also authored three books focusing on the history of gliding in southern California and its impact on the nation. He also has helped promote the importance of preserving historical aviation assets such as the Torrey Pines Gliderport in San Diego.
Gary holds a Ph.D. from UCLA in Biology, and a B.A. in Biology from UC Santa Cruz. He is Chief Executive Officer of Natural Selection, Inc. a machine learning software company with applications in aerospace, homeland security, and biotech. Gary is a Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a member of the AIAA.
Tom Valenzia, Emeritus Instructor & Adviser
Tom Valenzia, a retired Northwest Airlines B-747 Captain, is the founder of the ROTC Pilot Indoctrination Program. A program designed to prepare graduating Air Force and Navy ROTC aviation select candidates for a career in military aviation. Tom’s 45 years of industry experience included careers with flight simulator and aircraft manufacturers, commercial airlines, and the USAF. He developed the Cessna 404 Titan systems program for Cessna Aircraft Company and served in the military and airlines as a pilot, instructor and flight simulator instructor. He also developed the Northwest Airlines B-747-200 Crew Qualification Module of the FAA mandated Aircrew Qualification Program. After airline retirement, Tom was hired by the Boeing Aircraft Company as part of the initial cadre of flight simulator instructors for the B-787. Tom also served as acting Chairman of the Northwest Airlines Professional Standards committee – LAX, and served on the Western Airlines B-737-200 Advanced Aircraft Development and Airline Safety committees.
Tom is a graduate from the University of Illinois, with an AS. in Aircraft Engineering Technology, a B.S. in Industrial Education, and a M.A. in Management and Supervision from Central Michigan University.
Rich Kenney, Co-Founder
2018 award for "Outstanding Contribution to Aerospace Education" from the San Diego section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. AIAA is the world’s largest aerospace technical society.
Rich reignited his lifelong fascination for flight by marketing and participating in air show and youth education events focused on aviation and space exploration. As a co-founder of AeroED Group, formerly an active member of the Gillespie Field Committee, Workforce Committee, General and Advanced Manufacturing Committee of the East County Economic Development Council.
Member: Organizing Committee, La Jolla Concours D’Elegance as vintage aircraft, FlyBy Chair. Selected to the Board of Directors, World Acrobatic Society. Most recently selected to the AIAA San Diego Section Council for K-12/STEM activities.
Mr. Kenney's professional experience includes many different areas in the marketing arena in addition to teaching art and coaching gymnastics. He has been employed in product design, publications, professional photography, sports marketing, special event promotion and production, corporate sponsorships, television packaging and the Internet. Rich developed an Internet business model that became the featured WebCam on the homepage of the largest newspaper in San Diego, San Diego's "Centre City Development Corporation" and many of San Diego’s major condominium developers.
Previously, Rich was Marketing & Communications and Sponsorship Director of the United States Gymnastics Federation (now USA Gymnastics). Rich was intimately involved in rebuilding this organization after the 1980 Olympic boycott, planned and implemented marketing and corporate sponsorship programs funding the USGF and its teams during three successive Olympic Quadrenniums.
Rich received a Bachelor of Science of Design Degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with double major in Industrial Design and Sculpture. Captain of Big Ten Gymnastics Team, Treasurer Letterman's Club among other accomplishments.
M.S. in E-Commerce, National University, San Diego, California