Planet3’s team is comprised of leaders and innovators who are passionate about building a better world by using the latest technology to bring STEAM learning to lifE.
Rob Roy is CEO and Founder of Switch, developer of the world-renowned SUPERNAP data centers. SUPERNAP data centers are the recognized world leaders in data center ecosystem design, development and mission critical operations.
In the year 2000, with a background in business leadership, engineering, commercial development and technology, Rob Roy converged his areas of expertise to create Switch in Las Vegas, Nevada. His vision was to offer advanced technology ecosystems and the combined services and solutions inherent to those environments. Switch’s clients range from sophisticated startups to innovative Fortune 100 companies.
Tim Kelly is an Ed Tech executive, Emmy Award-winning producer, and conservationist. As Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Planet3, Tim leads the strategic direction of the organization.
Most recently, Tim was President of the National Geographic Society, where he transitioned the primarily print-based organization to a global multimedia force and engineered the launch of the National Geographic Channel, National Geographic Films, and a wide array of digital media products.
In addition to serving as the CEO of Planet3, Tim serves as an advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative, on the Board of the Great Plains Conservation Trust, and on the Board of the American Prairie Reserve. An avid explorer and conservationist, Tim is passionate about connecting the next generation to the challenges and solutions affecting our rapidly changing planet.
ALBERT yu-min LIN, PH.D.
Albert Lin is an internationally renowned scientist, innovator, technologist, entrepreneur, and National Geographic Explorer. As Chief Science Officer of Planet3, Albert leads the scientific research efforts of the company. Albert also serves as a research scientist for the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology at the University of California, San Diego.
Albert is recognized for his research in the Valley of the Khans Project and as a Co-founder of Tomnod, which uses crowdsourcing to identify objects and places in satellite images. Albert is passionate about the combination of exploration and citizen science to raise awareness and solutions for global issues. Albert is also the youngest recipient of the Nevada and Lowell Thomas Medals for Achievements in Science and Exploration.
Albert Lin is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, where he earned his doctorate in Material Science and Engineering.
Kelly McGrath is a veteran science and mathematics educator with a design engineering background. As Chief Operating Officer of Planet3, she leads the development of curriculum and content. Most recently, Kelly was the Vice President of Science Product Development at Pearson. She is driven by her passion to improve K-12 education, specifically within STEAM subjects, through the use of highly interactive and immersive technology.
Kelly is a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering.
Esther Wojcicki is a world-renowned educator, award-winning journalist, edtech pioneer, and vice chair of the Creative Commons board of directors. With a background in education and technology, Esther founded the journalism program at Palo Alto High School in 1984 and grew it to one of the largest journalism programs in the nation.
Esther has been intimately involved with Google and GoogleEdu since its inception, where she was one of the leaders in setting up the Google Teacher Academy and remains a guiding force.
As Chief Learning Officer at Planet3, Wojcicki is contributing her vast experience to review and refine Planet3's instructional approach to embed her project-based learning tenets. She will also help build Planet3's strategic alliances with technology providers and educational thought leaders. (Photo by Joi Ito)
Sridhar Ganesan is a senior Executive and entrepreneur with over 20 years of career in Telecom (satellites, broadband, wireless), Media, and Technology. As CFO, he led a satellite company to a NASDAQ IPO, has helped build/scale up, manage global business operations, rollout businesses, and enter new markets. His background includes developing, establishing, and executing a variety of business models and subscription businesses as well as developing/leading M&A’s and JVs.
Sridhar has also been involved with Education – he has served as CFO of a New Orleans charter school system, is a member of Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools system’s Budget Task Force as well as its Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee. He is also president of Reston Citizens Association, a non-profit organization that supports a 65,000-strong community in Reston, VA.
Amy Maniatis is a brand strategist and marketing leader with over 20 years of hands-on experience building, launching, and growing premier global brands. A seasoned CMO, prior to Planet3, Amy helped several other educational media brands reach new audiences including at Maker Media (founders of Maker Faires). Most notably, Amy was the first CMO of the National Geographic Society where she launched a new form ofmembership for the Society in a digital age (and secured NatGeo as the #1 brand on Instagram). Prior to National Geographic, Amy held various marketing roles at major retail and technology companies in the San Francisco Bay area including CafePress and Gap, Inc. where she expanded several of the company’s showcase brands.
Amy graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, and is the co-author of two books, Love Notes & Crib Notes (Chronicle Books).
senior game designer
Washington, DC | Todd is a game designer with over 8 years of development experience across multiple game genres and platforms. His most recent experience comes from casual mobile games, where he worked on the chart topping hit Bingo Bash. Todd brings a wealth non-gaming experience to his game designs, from his service overseas in the US Air Force, to his role as an actor in the popular live show Star Trek the Experience in Las Vegas. Todd loves games, whether they have controllers, cards, or dice. He is a huge movie, television, and music fan of all types.
He comes to the Planet3 team ready to rock the party.
MONICA BIRNBAUM, PH.D.
Educational Researcher & Grant Writer
San Diego, CA | Monica earned a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focused on the cognitive processes and study methods that optimize learning, memory, and skill transfer. Monica is a San Diego native but also has a place in her heart for Los Angeles having lived there for 15 years.
When she is not at Planet3, you can find her hiking, skateboarding at the beach, or playing the drums.
Washington, DC | Madeleine’s 30-year career in documentary and non-fiction production most recently includes ten+ years as Executive Producer at the National Geographic Channel. She has managed thousands of hours of non-fiction, documentary, and alternative programming for output on multimedia, social, digital, cable, and satellite platforms. Madeleine’s long-time interest in science media began with an internship at NOVA at WGBH-TV while she was a student at Harvard. She has traveled in 39 countries, with repeated extensive stays - cumulatively two years - in India and Nepal, following her interests in other cultures and in climbing.
Washington, DC | Tim Cassell recently graduated from George Mason University with a Major in Computer Game Design and Minor in Computer Science. Tim works in the Unity game engine, programming with the C# language. His expertise is in creating game mechanics, but he also has a background in making user interfaces, 3D modeling, and animation.
While he’s not working, he enjoys the city nightlife as well as the mountainous outdoors.
Washington, DC | Nathan graduated from the George Mason Game Design program in 2016. His skillset includes digital painting, 3D modeling, and level design.
Washington, DC | David is a 2016 graduate from the George Mason University Game Design program. Coming from a background in CAD and Graphic Design He specializes in 3D art, animation, and character design. He has worked on a variety of games, apps, and projects throughout his career both 2D and 3D through his own start-up company and has now joined the team here at Planet3 to offer his skills as a 3D modeler and to help expedite art pipeline. Ironically, as an artist, David has developed the design philosophy of clean strong mechanics first and art second, but believes good art will sell good mechanics.
David is known to neglect his health for work but will compensate with 7 cups of coffee a day and in his first week here was found sleeping in a meeting room after a night of work.
operations & administration manager
Washington, DC | From a small town in Delaware, Amanda’s spirit of adventure has led her to places near and far. She has a passion for global communities and has been involved with development projects locally and around the world. In addition to holding the title of Planet3’s first official employee, Amanda serves as Chief Academic Officer for The $100 Solution™, an education-focused non-profit.
Amanda is an explorer at heart and has a goal to visit all seven continents (five down and two to go!). When Amanda’s not keeping Planet3 in shape or trotting across the globe, she spends her time kite flying, backpacking, flea marketing, and giggling at tubby squirrels in parks.
Web Application Engineer
Manila, Philippines | Jerome is from the other side of the world, Manila. He started as a wedding photographer where he gained more creative inclination. He got a diploma for a degree in Computer Engineer at University of Pangasinan, now a seasoned Web Application Engineer whose primary focus is application usability, optimization and scalability with a little fancy over it. Jerome works on both UI/UX and backend area making him more flexible as the left and right hemisphere of his brain are equally active.
market research analyst
Washington, DC | Luke comes to the Planet3 team after three years of teaching, first in Baltimore City Public Schools and then in DC Public Schools. He spent his summers at TIC “Technology is Cool” camp in DC and training new teachers for TNTP in Baltimore. As an avid gamer himself, Luke is excited about the opportunity to combine education and technology to make learning and the classroom experience overall more enjoyable for everyone.
Luke graduated from Wesleyan University in 2012 with a degree in Studio Arts. He was a two-time captain of the Varsity Wrestling team, and started two local programs through Beat the Streets - Baltimore as a wrestling coach.
web + ui/ux developer
Washington, DC | Martin began his career as a visual designer and marketing consultant helping companies, from newborn startups to global leaders like Nike, develop brand assets in tandem with their digital media strategies. His passion for creating beautiful designs combined with his affinity for logical solutions soon led him to user experience and interface design. Martin believes that data should drive design decisions and that good design makes for good business, personally helping “pre-product” startups raise a combined total of over $1M in investment capital.
Outside of Planet3, Martin is an accomplished “sneaker artist” (one of the world’s best according to SneakerFreaker Magazine) and enjoys growing his extensive sneaker collection.
web applications developer
Washington, DC | Aaron is a recent graduate of the George Washington University, where he earned a B.A. in Japanese Language and Literature. He has spent time as an educator and translator in a rural Japanese farming town known for their delectable persimmons. Aaron has been interested in software development since his teenage years when he figured out he could program text-based games on his TI-84.
In his spare time, Aaron enjoys computer building and general tinkering.
Washington, DC | Mike Gibson has over 25 years of overseeing and participating in the creative process of making interactive stories, games, and learning products. In that time, he's helped make awesome content for games, apps, and other interactive projects with good folks at Disney, National Geographic, Firaxis Games, and now Planet3. In his free time.... actually, Mike doesn't have free time because he has a new puppy.
RACHAEL HARMS MAHLANDT
communications coordinator and digital media producer
Washington, DC | Rachael serves as Planet3’s Communications Coordinator and Digital Media Producer, combining her background in science, communications, and digital media. Rachael received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in neuroscience and psychology and has worked in vision research at UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego, and the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute. She is also an avid photographer and graphic designer, and most recently served as the Digital Media and Programs Coordinator for the National Women’s History Museum. When she’s not at Planet3, you can find Rachael crafting and listening to 90s music.
educational curriculum writer
Washington, DC | Joe is a ten year veteran of the classroom, having taught high school Biology, Forensic Science, and Biotechnology. Afterwards, he served two years as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the National Science Foundation. Joe is currently a graduate student pursuing a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction in Science Education from Texas Tech University's Global PRisE program.
Director of Technology
Washington, DC | One of the legendary programmers of the game industry, Julian is credited among other accomplishments with creating the first first-person-shooter with full 3D characters in Terminator: Future Shock and its multi-player sequel Terminator: SkyNET. In addition to working on more than 30 game titles, Julian has held positions outside the game industry conducting research and development specializing in the fields of computational linguistics and information retrieval.
educational curriculum writer
Washington, DC | Joshua began his teaching career with Teach for America and has taught middle school science in DC for the past five years. Joshua began consulting this past year, in order to develop content model frameworks utilizing the Next Generation Science Standards. He won the Harris Wofford Award for National Young Educator of the Year from Youth Service America and the Teacher-Leader of the year award from the DC Association of Chartered Public Schools. Joshua currently sits on the Mayor’s Serve DC commissioners board for National and Community Service.
Joshua has a vast bowtie collection and eclectic shirts featuring vegetables, octopi and ice cream cones.
Washington, DC | During his 25+ year career in the game industry, F.J. has been instrumental in the creation of several companies and the development of over fifty interactive games, educational titles, and entertainment properties for companies including Disney, Mattel, Sesame Street, and Marvel Comics.
He is also a published novelist and screenwriter.
Washington, DC | Vince Loiacono is a finance and business leader with more than 30 years of diverse industry experience including Big Four public accounting, technology industry serving wireless, broadband and satellite telecommunication. His experience includes start-up operations, ERP implementations, and SEC filings and Initial Public Offering events.
He is a family man and enjoys time with his sons. He loves the water and enjoys sailing, and hopes to fulfill his dream of owning and operating a vineyard preferably by a lake with a dock and a boat.
Washington, DC | Jeff is a recent graduate of George Mason University for Computer Game Design. He is a 3D artist, Unity3D programmer, and game designer with a drive to make the player question everything. He has worked on a few serious games and mobile apps over the past few years.
You can tell he’s deep into a project when his beard gets rowdy. He is NOT from Belmar, NJ.
nevada school and partnership coordinator
Henderson, NV | Elizabeth joins the Planet3 team with fifteen years of experience as a science teacher, regional professional development provider, and curriculum developer. She led the development of the curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards for the Clark County School District and designed professional learning experiences to prepare teachers for the transition to the new standards. As the Nevada School and Partnership Coordinator, she continues to support educators across the state and helps them implement quality curriculum aligned to the NGSS with the Planet3 products.
In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys exploring parks with her children, attending local festivals, and traveling to watch baseball games.
Washington, DC | Sean Mason is a system and content designer with a BFA in Computer Game Design from George Mason University. When he isn't making or playing games, you can find him skateboarding throughout the DMV area, digging through old-school hip-hop albums, and scarfing down Korean BBQ. Prior to joining the Planet 3 team, Sean was an intern at Bethesda Softworks and Media Rez working on AAA and educational games.
web application engineer
Washington, DC | Danny is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland. Since his recent graduation, he has gotten to work for some of the oldest companies on the internet and some of the youngest developing web applications. After working in the classroom in college, he is excited to be building something for students.
San Diego, CA | Kenny recently graduated with a B.S. in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Human-Computer Interaction at University of California, San Diego. With his origins in UI/UX design, he draws inspiration from the delight and intuition of the users in order to create solid user experiences and consistently draw them back to the product. Through contextual inquiry and empathy, he believes that doing your research and understanding your user can yield meaningful design creations.
When he’s not working or studying, you’ll find him dancing hip hop, experimenting in the kitchen, and exploring cities for new sights and food experiences.
Washington, DC | John is a multidisciplinary developer who uses his talents in art, design, and technology to deliver full spectrum game development. He got started as a teenager, making community skins and maps for Half-Life and Quake 3. He contributed to the indie title Pirates, Vikings, and Knights II, which was made while attending college at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He then joined Netdevil to make art for Jumpgate Evolution before joining Breakaway Games as a technical artist. There, he worked on serious games and simulations in the fields of education, healthcare, and defense. When not making games, he enjoys long walks on the beach, 80’s new wave, and old-school computer games.
Washington, DC | Matt is an avid web developer who takes pride in bringing polished designs to life while focusing on effectively enhancing user experience. He also enjoys exploring cloud-based solutions and has provided cloud migration services for various companies in the past. In his spare time outside of Planet3 you may find Matt DJing with friends, listening to his favorite house artists perform in DC, or playing real-time strategy games.
educational curriculum writer
Washington, DC | Logan began her career in education as teen volunteer at a science museum. While passing around Madagascar hissing cockroaches to visitors, Logan realized that the only thing she liked more than science was educating people about science. Over the next 19 years, Logan developed her science education skills in museums, aquariums, penguin colonies, publishing companies, and the classroom. In her role at Planet3, Logan hopes to pass on her enthusiasm to students through engaging digital activities.
In her free time, Logan likes to catch bluegill on her fly rod, teach children at the Museum of Natural History, and develop new Panini press recipes with her co-chef at Lo-Jo’s Café, Joshua Johnson.
director of implementation and teacher experience
Sarasota, FL | William joined Planet3 with 19 years of experience in the education world, both in the classroom as a high school biology teacher and in sales of science instructional resources with Accelerate Learning and Pearson.
Driven by the desire to ensure that all students have the chance to actively engage in authentic science practices and apply those practices to their everyday lives, William uses his expertise to lead the effort to implement Planet3's product into classrooms and ensure maximum benefit to students and teachers.
In his spare time William loves to explore the Florida environment and is an amusement park enthusiast. He is also a big Kentucky Wildcats fan!
Washington, DC | Having recently graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a major in Interactive Media Design and Video Game Development, Kendall got her start developing educational tools with MARi LLC. She later moved to advance her design skills as a Contractor for Gearbox Software before returning to her hometown of Washington DC. She is thrilled to find her place at Planet3 and looks forward to the opportunity to work with the team to make a positive impact.
In her spare time she enjoys hiking, biking, knitting, and repeatedly over watering her cacti.
Washington, DC | Nick is an avid cloud developer. His experience ranges from government contracting, to enterprise, to basement start-ups. He explores cloud-based solutions constantly and has provided cloud migration, development, and hosting services for various companies in the past. Nick plays hockey, piano, rides his motorcycle, and has code-a-thons with his friends on the weekends.
educational curriculum writer
Washington, DC | Jacob brings a passion for earth science and education, along with six years of high school science teaching experience, to Planet3. He taught Earth Science, Chemistry and Physical Science in both Illinois and Washington, DC. He received a Bachelor’s in Geoscience at The University of Iowa and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction at Northern Illinois University. His professional goal aims to bring excitement and enthusiasm back into the science classroom and he believes Planet3 is the perfect solution.
In his spare time, Jacob likes to watch, play and talk about sports. He also enjoys nature walks and time with friends.
senior creative advisor
Washington, DC | Vijay Lakshman is an interactive software developer and creative IP expert with more than 25 years of experience in the interactive media industry. As Senior Creative Advisor of Planet3, Vijay advises on the creative direction for the immersive environments in the platform. During his career, Vijay has published over 85 software titles, including mega franchises such as The Elder Scrolls: Arena, The Lord of the Rings, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and Animal Jam.
senior technology advisor
Jacksonville, FL | Royal O'Brien is a software and hardware engineering veteran with more than 30 years of experience in the corporate enterprise and video game industries, having founded multiple companies, including BitRaider, from software development to service solutions.
As Senior Technology Advisor for Planet3, Royal advises on the technology development of the company. Royal has invented and holds multiple issued patents in the video, VOIP, game, and digital distribution technology industries and has successfully commercialized multiple products in the marketplace from theory to final release.
chief canine officer
Washington, DC | The leader of the DC pack, Jordan is a frequent visitor to Planet3 HQ. When she isn’t out swimming in the river or running alongside her human friends, she can be found lounging in the Planet3 office, migrating from room to room in search of the best sun spots. Her hobbies include beach lounging and catching snowballs.
social media spokesdog
Washington, DC | Boshi brings 3 years of modeling experience to Planet3. When she's not posing for the latest social media post, you'll find her napping, enforcing our zero waste policy for food scraps, and showing off her latest tricks. Outside of work, Boshi's hobbies include eating cheese, jumping really high, and running.