GRADD Team Bios

Reza Karamooz – Chief Executive Officer

Reza_Thunderbird_6-1024x575Reza Karamooz is the Founder and CEO of GRADD.

Mr. Karamooz is also the Founder and President of the Nevada Business Aviation Association (NVBAA), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with over 400 members from across Nevada and beyond, working diligently on growing the business of Aviation, UAS, Defense and Aerospace in Nevada. In 2014 he founded the Nevada Chapter of Aerospace States Association (ASA) and manages the Chapter as its Vice Chair. Reza is the current Honorary Commander of the 547th Intelligence Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, adn the former Honorary Commander of 11th Attack Squadron at the Creech Air Force Base. He believes that it is critical to the National Security and economic well-being of our country to be the worldwide dominating force in Aviation, Aerospace and UAS industries.

Reza was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma and started his college career at The Colorado School of Mines and holds an engineering degree from The Penn State University. His industry knowledge spans Aviation, UAS, Defense, Aerospace, IT, Technology, and Energy.

Reza is the Vice Chair of the Nevada Airports Technical Advisory Committee, serving the Nevada Dept. of Transportation, to help improve the Nevada Airport infrastructure. Reza started and sponsors the Aviation Club at Sunrise Mountain High School in Las Vegas and with the help of his wife, Mrs. Thitiya Karamooz, who is an accomplished mathematics teacher at Sunrise Mountain High School, inspired students to compete in and win the National STEM Championship in the 2014 Aviation Design Challenge, and National Team Top Score 2015. Reza started the Aviation Post 888 to serve the Las Vegas Area Council of Boy Scouts. Aviation Post 888 (Post 888) is a Career Exploration Post with special focus on Aviation, Aerospace, UAS, Robotics, and 3D design/printing.

Stephen Lloyd – Honorary President, former Director for Safety, FAA ATO

Steve Lloyd picStephen Lloyd joins GRADD with nearly 40 years of experience in the aviation and aerospace industry holding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) executive, senior leadership positions in air traffic operations, airspace development, procedures oversight and safety.

Mr. Lloyd held key positions for over 10 years in the FAA’s Regional offices in Los Angeles, California and Washington DC Headquarters. His experience is wide and diverse and includes a background at multiple high density and complex air traffic control facilities. Mr. Lloyd has made significant contributions to the operational and technological success of FAA’s National Airspace System (NAS) in the Enroute, Terminal and Oceanic environments.

Mr. Lloyd has also led and was integrally involved with the development and implementation of Local Safety Councils and Safety Awareness Discussions, which have significantly improved communications and dialogue throughout the ATC network.

Click here to read the FAA article about Mr. Lloyd’s retirement.

Marco van Viegen – Pilot – Flight Operations & Mission Planning

Marco van Viegen has spent 23 years in the United States Air Force and is a career aviator with over 7,000 hours of flight time. While in the military, Marco
acted as a C-5 Loadmaster, C-130E and KC-10A Flight Engineer, and finally as a Sensor Operator on the MQ-1B.

Marco grew up in Chino Hills, CA and joined the Air Force after high school. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Columbia Southern University.  Prior to his service to the military, Marco has had a long standing passion in aviation with 30 years of remote control aircraft experience.



Thitiya Karamooz – Director of Education

Thitiya Karamooz is a Golden Key International Honor Society member awarded by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2008 with 15 years of experience teaching AP Calculus and AP Statistic. She received a Masters Degree in Education (Mathematics Education) from University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 2009 and a Masters Degree in Education (Educational Policy & Leadership) from University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 2017.

What distinguishes Thitiya from others in her field of expertise is that she treats teaching as a series of fun activities. She believes that; “It’s simple to explain why, but if it isn’t fun and relevant enough, students switch the channel”. Thitiya has a special interest in STEM-based Aviation and Aerospace activities. She believes that on the road to success it’s important to keep trying, and trying. Thitiya received the Clark County School District 2015 Distinguished Educator Award.

Born in Chaiyaphum, Thailand, and now a naturalized American Citizen, she is determined to uncover the secrets of how successful teachers communicate with students.

In 2014 and 2016 the sole valedictorian from Sunrise Mountain High School was Mrs. Karamooz’s Calculus student. Mrs. Karamooz’s Krypto Math Club from Sunrise Mountain High School won the Southern Nevada 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 Competitions and her senior students’ Math Proficiency passing rate was one of the highest in the Clark County School District in 2014 and 2015.

Thitiya is the faculty advisor of the newly formed Aviation Club at Sunrise Mountain High School that won the 2014 National Championship in a STEM Competition – GAMA Build-A-Plane / Aviation Design Challenge, and achieved the 2015 National Top Score.

Ben_IMG_9952_scaledBen H. Nguyen – Director of Business Research

An immigrant-refugee to America from Vietnam. Ben is a Corps Member for Teach For America in the Las Vegas Valley at Sunrise Mountain High School (SMHS). He leads the SMHS Robotics Club, and is part of the GRADD-NVBAA STEM Education team. In addition to his placement as a 11th and 12th grade Physics Instructor, he also leads the after-school Robotics Team, and teaches the 1st ever Robotics Class at Sunrise Mountain High School.

In California, Ben served on the board of local non-profit, organizing bi-lingual community workshops for neighborhood projects, and grant writing for a brand-new neighborhood garden.

Ben attended Dartmouth College on a full scholarship. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology, focusing on medical and cultural anthropology from Dartmouth College. He received a minor in Human Development and Education, with special focus on psychology, neuroscience, and education research. He also engaged in Pre-Medical courses while pursuing these concentrations. Ben served on the board of local non-profit, organizing bi-lingual community workshops for neighborhood projects.

Liyan Catherine Wan – SME – Architecture, Interior Design, Industrial Engineering

Liyan is a design professional with experience in Architecture, Interior Design, and Industrial Engineering. She believes that by using her multidisciplinary background to share her passions of design and education, she can affect positive social impact where most needed. She is the Founder and Director of Meerkat Academics, a Chicago-based boutique education company specializing in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) tutoring and technology consulting. Liyan is also the Owner and Principal Designer of W Design, a Graphic, Interior, and Architectural Design firm.

Her current design interests include transforming cities, urban densities, social connectivity, digital fabrication, and sustainability. She studied 3D printing in Barcelona under premier innovators of 3D printing and contributes to design education through research, consulting, and speaking engagements.

Liyan’s educational background includes a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Penn State University, A.S. in Interior Design from Art Institute of Philadelphia, Masters-level architectural coursework at University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Architecture degree from University of Illinois at Chicago.

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