Who We Are

Get to know the mission & history of Argonaut

Our Mission

We build adventurers through immersive learning experiences that challenge assumptions and shift norms for growing empowered talent in aerospace and maritime fields.

“To meet the future demand for seafarers it is vital that the industry actively promotes careers at sea and enhances maritime education and training worldwide, with a focus on the diverse skills needed for a greener and more digitally connected industry.”

– Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping

Learn More

“The pilot shortage for the industry is real, and most airlines are simply not going to be able to realize their capacity plans because there simply aren’t enough pilots, at least not for the next five-plus years.”

Scott Kirby, CEO, United Airlines

Learn More

Our History

Argonaut is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation founded by D. Andrew Ferguson and Douglas McConnell in 2010. Recognizing the workforce shortages and a lack of diversity in the aerospace and maritime industries, Ferguson and McConnell created a combined business/education model that incorporates a project-based learning environment and real-life experiences for high school-aged youth in the city of Cleveland. Argonaut’s goal is to engage young people in high-quality educational experiences, increase the number of youths who enter careers in the fields of aerospace and maritime, and increase the number of youths who successfully attain financial independence in adulthood through education and employment.

From PHASTAR to Argonaut

While the name of the organization has changed, its goal remains the same. Following two years of pandemic-related obstacles, the organization has undergone strategic internal and leadership changes that make it poised for change. Not satisfied with the status quo, it has developed its infrastructure, investing in human capital, and engaging in strong partnerships to propel its growth. Staff have been working diligently to build capacity and implement a strategic plan for expansion and sustainability that will carry it well into the future.

"The new name is an exciting step forward for all of us– from students, parents, staff, community partners, supporters, and the region at-large– can embrace."

Drew Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer