We Make the Impossible, Possible!

aka FKA: PHASTAR   |   Cleveland, OH   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 45-0833007


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

Ruling year info


Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Captain David Andrew Ferguson

President & Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Annemarie Grassi Amefia

Main address

2332 Prospect Avenue East

Cleveland, OH 44115 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as




Subject area info


Environmental education

Safety education

Search and rescue

Population served info

Children and youth

Ethnic and racial groups

Economically disadvantaged people

At-risk youth

NTEE code info

Search and Rescue Services (M23)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Tax forms


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Addressing the lack of diversity, particularly people of color, in the maritime and aviation industries is essential for providing representation and role models for individuals from underrepresented groups. When people see others who look like them succeeding in these industries, it can inspire them to pursue similar career paths. Diverse perspectives foster innovation and problem-solving. Having a variety of backgrounds and experiences in the maritime and aviation industries can lead to more creative solutions and advancements in technology and safety. Access to high-paying jobs in these industries should be equitable across all demographic groups. Addressing the lack of diversity ensures that opportunities are available to everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity. High school workforce readiness programs like Argonaut provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workforce, including technical skills specific to industries like maritime and aviation.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Davis Aerospace & Maritime High School

Argonaut and Davis Aerospace Maritime High School share an innovative partnership, co-leading the school’s efforts to not only provide a high-quality educational experience for 9th – 12th graders in the City of Cleveland but to also create and facilitate a career readiness model that fosters students into careers in the field of maritime and aerospace upon graduation. Established in 2017, Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Argonaut partnered together to open Davis A&M and welcome its’ inaugural class of sixty (60) 9th-grade students. Davis A&M provides the core content of the high school experience, ensuring students meeting the requirements for high school graduation. Argonaut provides hands-on engagement in the industry sectors through expanded learning programming, paid internships and work experience, teacher-supported project-based learning, and works to both develop and support CTE credentialing and industry-specific licensing and certification.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work


Champions of the River 2022

Cuyahoga County Area of Concern

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of links and collaborations with external organizations that support student learning and its priority tasks

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Argonaut works with companies, governments, nonprofits and other organizations to accomplish our mission. Our partners make contributions including financial support, ideas, expertise, volunteers, and

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

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.
These programs provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workforce, including technical skills specific to industries like maritime and aviation. Argonaut exposes students to career opportunities they may not have considered otherwise. By introducing them to industry partners in the maritime and aviation fields, these students develop an interest in career opportunities they may not have considered otherwise. By specifically targeting underrepresented groups, programs like Argonaut's help address disparities in access to opportunities and resources, ultimately working toward greater equity in the workforce.

Argonaut focuses its programming on five core tenets that are aligned to national best practices for college and career readiness: expanded learning programs that support and complement classroom learning, career exploration, skills training, and work experience, and credentialing in the defined pathways that advance opportunities in industry-related careers. As a growing model for integrating career readiness and job readiness into a high school, Argonaut and Davis A&M have worked to demonstrate several core benchmarks: increasing its industry-lead internships, growing enrollment, and increasing the number of career pathways that will provide students who need to work immediately after high school.
Employee recruitment and retention are challenges confronting the maritime and aerospace industries. An aging workforce has increased the demand for aerospace and maritime employees in the Great Lakes region (and across the country), and most employers are seeking to fill at least half of these open positions with BIPOC and female applicants. In response to the workforce shortages and lack of diversity in the aerospace and maritime industries, Argonaut Founders sought to create 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. Recently, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of career pathways for student success. As the world of work continues to evolve, it is becoming increasingly important for students to have a clear understanding of their future career goals, along with the skills and knowledge they need to achieve them.

Argonaut staff, led by Captain Drew Ferguson--Founder and CEO (Troy Greenfield, Director of Programming, Tim Hatfield, Program Manager, Frank Madison, STEAM Learning Coordinator, Devon Sheehy, Career Based Learning Coordinator) will work within the Davis A&M High School structure to provide 270 students with the expanded learning programs that support and complement classroom learning, career exploration, skills training and work experience, and credentialing in the defined pathways that advance opportunities in industry-related careers. These themes are built into the curriculum and reinforced in our Extended Learning Programs offered every day after school. The team also ensures the teaching staff at Davis A&M is well-equipped to develop connections between core content standards and their application to the industry sectors.
We will track student outcomes for 10 years using surveys and self-reporting measures. As recipients of Ohio Department of Education grant funds, we adhere to strict guidelines that include complete demographic and attendance forms which are completed quarterly. We have recently acquired software to build and maintain Alumni records as well.
A core measure of the success of the Davis Argonaut partnership is the close alignment with industry leaders who
bring expertise and resources to develop young people into talented professionals within the defined pipelines.
United Airlines provides core resources for our students to navigate ground school and earn their private pilot
license while in high school. They also provide discovery flights, internships, and job shadowing experiences at
the United Maintenance Hangar at Hopkins International Airport. Argonaut also works closely with PHI Aviation, Airtrek Academy, Aerozone, Ohio Aerospace Institute, and NASA Glenn Research Center. Argonaut and the Port of Cleveland established a joint river cleaning program that leverages the Ports river cleaning vessels and Argonaut's operational management of the vessels to provide students with on-water training, sea hours, internships, and experiential learning opportunities. The Port of Cleveland also provides resources for the Argonaut Marine Safety Program, increasing safety resources on the water during peak season, while also providing students hands-on training and core maritime skills. Argonaut has recently partnered with Interlake Maritime Services to develop additional resources for students that lead directly to the seaman pathway. Through this new partnership, students will have access to job shadowing experiences, paid summer internships at sea, and a clear path to job opportunities immediately upon graduation. Argonaut also works closely with local maritime leaders including Goodtime III, Cleveland Metroparks, the Foundry, Cleveland Rowing Foundation, and University Hospitals to align necessary resources that elevate the educational experience for our students.

The corporation's name was changed from PHASTAR to Argonaut in June 2022. While the organization's name has changed, its goal remains the same. Following two years of pandemic-related obstacles, the organization has undergone strategic internal and leadership changes that have made growth possible. We have developed infrastructure, invested in human capital, and engaged in strong partnerships to fuel our advancement. The team has expanded from 4 full-time employees to 12; we've stabilized the operating budget and increased revenue from $450,000 to $1.87 million. We have overhauled the organizational brand, unifying Argonaut, and Davis A&M, and overseen the efforts to increase enrollment, develop career pathways, establish year-round programming, and expand summer work experience opportunities. Staff have been working diligently to build capacity and implement a strategic plan for expansion and sustainability that will carry the organization well into the future. Our leadership has recruited a strong and diverse board of directors, strengthened the partnership between Argonaut and the district, and built critical infrastructure, including financial controls, employee policies and practices, and organizational metrics. In the wake of the pandemic, we strategically invested in programs with the greatest potential to fill a significant community need and grow to the point where our sponsors and partners absorb their direct costs and overhead. These programs can expand to include additional community partnerships and serve more students. We have also looked across all our program areas to reduce expenses as appropriate and contain costs while not compromising program efficacy and quality.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.)

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback


Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Jun 30
Financial documents
2023 2023 Audited Financials 2022 Argonaut 2021 2021 Audited Financials
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 0.92 over 9 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 2.4 over 9 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 9% over 9 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Argonaut’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $25,017 $142,977 -$87,097 -$211,964 -$379
As % of expenses 5.4% 25.7% -14.8% -26.1% -0.1%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$21,696 $85,644 -$150,364 -$278,976 -$32,845
As % of expenses -4.2% 14.0% -23.0% -31.7% -5.3%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $467,964 $626,653 $496,632 $815,721 $417,671
Total revenue, % change over prior year -13.8% 33.9% -20.7% 64.3% -48.8%
Program services revenue 10.6% 7.0% 12.4% 6.3% 9.5%
Membership dues 5.3% 4.0% 5.6% 3.2% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 13.1% 18.4% 23.7%
All other grants and contributions 84.1% 89.0% 67.9% 69.3% 55.1%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 1.0% 2.8% 11.7%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $466,116 $556,176 $590,166 $813,231 $581,544
Total expenses, % change over prior year 69.7% 19.3% 6.1% 37.8% -28.5%
Personnel 60.7% 54.3% 55.9% 57.1% 55.9%
Professional fees 6.7% 4.3% 1.8% 2.1% 1.4%
Occupancy 3.8% 8.0% 13.8% 8.6% 3.1%
Interest 0.4% 0.3% 0.5% 0.1% 2.8%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 28.4% 33.0% 28.1% 32.1% 36.7%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $512,829 $613,509 $653,433 $880,243 $614,010
One month of savings $38,843 $46,348 $49,181 $67,769 $48,462
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $8,683 $0
Fixed asset additions $124,906 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $676,578 $659,857 $702,614 $956,695 $662,472

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 1.9 2.3 4.6 1.8 3.5
Months of cash and investments 1.9 2.3 4.6 1.8 3.5
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets -0.5 1.9 -1.7 -4.6 -2.4
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $72,501 $104,831 $226,234 $125,193 $171,141
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $7,055 $13,545 $14,925 $85,523 $30,904
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $430,073 $474,191 $514,202 $528,391 $277,998
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 23.6% 33.5% 43.1% 54.6% 70.3%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 19.1% 21.6% 63.5% 71.6% 120.9%
Unrestricted net assets $261,180 $346,824 $196,460 -$82,516 -$115,361
Temporarily restricted net assets $72,500 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $72,500 $0 $0 $214,454 $50,960
Total net assets $333,680 $346,824 $196,460 $131,938 -$64,401

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Captain David Andrew Ferguson

D. Andrew Ferguson and partner Douglas McConnell founded Argonaut (formerly known as PHASTAR) in the Fall of 2010. In 2011 he was appointed as the organization’s first President and CEO. In this role, he has been responsible for the overall direction and operations of the organization. His vision and direction lead to the opening of the Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School in 2017. Ferguson grew up in Northeast Ohio, has served as a firefighter for more than twenty-five years, and is a certified firefighter/EMT and Rescue Technician. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle, and a Master of Public Health degree with a graduate certificate in emergency & disaster management. Ferguson is an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) and Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) in helicopters and holds a USCG Captain of 100 tons license.

President & Chief Operating Officer

Annemarie Amefia

Dr. Annemarie Grassi Amefia is the founder of Open Doors Academy (ODA) and the Center for Out-of-School Time Advancement. Through her 17-year tenure with the organization, she built a vision and model that was both proven and acknowledged state-wide and nationally for its’ strong results and powerful impact. She has extensive experience in entrepreneurial leadership, child and adolescent development, program development, evaluation and performance management, fundraising, and strategic visioning. Dr. Amefia holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Psychology from Ohio University, and a Master of Science in Education in Child and Adolescent Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Case Western Reserve University and a Ph.D. in Urban Education from Cleveland State University.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990


Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.


Board of directors
as of 02/07/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Eric Peace

Lake Carriers Trade Association

Term: 2022 - 2024

Steve Peplin

Talan Products

Joycelyn Harrison

Kent State University

Ronald Cordaro


Courtney Gilliam


Michael Schoop

Greater Cleveland Partnership

John Wiitala

United Airlines

Richard DeCarlo

Independent Consultant

Jim Marra

JM Capserve

Wayne Denny

CECO Environmental Corporation

Kent Stauffer


Derek Moore

Sherwin Williams

Paul Christensen

Interlake Maritime Services

Rick Brown

United Airlines

Robert Burger

Thompson Hine

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/18/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data