To contact a member of the ODAA Team, please call our main number (405) 604-6900 or use the e-mail addresses below.
Phone: (405) 604-6900
Grayson Ardies has been the Executive Director since November 2020. The Oklahoma Department of Aerospace and Aeronautics' mission is to promote aviation and aerospace, which includes fostering the growth of the aerospace industry and ensuring that the needs of commerce and communities across Oklahoma are met by the 108 public airports that comprise the state’s air transportation system. Ardies emphasis is on promoting the aerospace industry, one of the state’s largest industries and top employers; critical planning and development for the state’s air transportation system; making the state’s 49 regional business airports the best possible economic centers in their communities; and encouraging public-private partnerships to promote the aerospace industry.
Ardies began working for the Department in 2009 as an intern. Rising through the ranks, he became the lone 5010 airport inspector as an Aviation Program Manager, conducting airport and pavement inspections at Oklahoma’s public-use, general aviation airports to provide each community with a foundation for the federal and state capital planning process. In 2016 he became Manager of the Airport Division to oversee the development of the Department's Five-year Airport Construction Program which directs approximately $25 million of federal, state, and local funding per year. He was responsible for airport inspections, airspace zoning reviews in accordance with the State’s Aircraft Pilot and Passenger Protection Act, the state’s anemometer tower marking law, and providing assistance to airports with their development, operation, and technical documents. Ardies served as Deputy Director from January 2019 through October 2020, and was unanimously selected by the seven-member Commission to fill the Director position, beginning November 2020.
He has led many statewide agency initiatives including a three-year effort working with the state legislature regarding the protection of military training airspace. He also managed a two-year project that conducted an Aerospace and Aviation Economic Impact Study which established the industry as the second largest economic engine in the state. Under his leadership the Department developed a unique P3 (public/private) partnership at Carlton Landing Airport on Lake Eufaula, and guided the difficult but necessary five-year effort to close Lake Murray State Park Airport.
Ardies was awarded the honorable 2020 State Aviation Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO). The award, which was established in 1989, honors State Aviation personnel who have excelled in their service and dedication to aviation progress and development in their state. Ardies was also listed in the Power 15 List in Aviation and Aeronautics in Oklahoma by the Journal Record in 2020.
Director Ardies graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Aviation Management with double minors in Business Administration and Air Traffic Control. As part of his education through the aviation program, he also received a commercial pilot’s license with single and multi-engine instrument ratings and is a certified flight instructor.
CHIEF OF STAFF / CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Chris Wadsworth joined the Department in September 2019, continuing his career with the State of Oklahoma that started in 2009. In his role as Chief of Staff, Chris oversees the day to day operations of the agency, including the operations, administrative, and personnel functions. As the Chief Financial Officer, he is responsible for managing the agency’s fiscal operations and financial accounting functions including budgeting, auditing, investments, cash management, and procurement. Chris also manages the Department's Fly Oklahoma mobile app.
Prior to coming to the Department, Chris served as the Budget Manager at the Oklahoma Insurance Department and Oklahoma Department of Commerce. He began his career with the State at the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education where he rose to the position of Scholarship Programs Coordinator.
Chris earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and Master of Business Administration degree from Oklahoma Christian University. He is a Certified Procurement Officer with the State of Oklahoma.
AIRPORTS DIVISION MANAGER
Nick Young was named Airports Division Manager for the Department in August 2021. Young joined the Department in October 2019 as an Aviation Program Manager.
As head of the Division he is responsible for the agency’s many airport programs including the 5010 airport safety and standards inspection program at Oklahoma’s public-use, general aviation airports as well the airport pavement management program. Young will also oversee the development and execution of the agency’s 5-year Airport Construction Program (ACP) which provides federal and state grant funding for airport infrastructure and updates to the Oklahoma Airport System Plan (OASP). Other activities within the Division include airspace zoning reviews and related permitting authority in accordance with the Aircraft Pilot and Passenger Protection Act (APPPA), overseeing military training airspace regulations within Title 17, airport grant administration, and outreach for operational/technical support at Oklahoma’s 108 airports within the public airport system.
Prior to joining the Department, he served as an Airport Operations Officer for Max Westheimer Airport in Norman, OK and Construction Assessment lead for the Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project. Nick earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management from the University of Oklahoma and Master of Business Administration degree with emphasis in Aerospace Logistics from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He is also a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE).
DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS, INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS
Sandra Shelton joined the Department in April 2016 as the Aviation Education Coordinator and Government Affairs Liaison. She assumed the responsibilities as the Communications and Government Affairs Coordinator a few months later. She was promoted to Government Relations and Communications Manager in 2021 and to Director of Government Affairs, Industry Development, and Communications in the fall of 2023. Shelton is accountable for marketing and communications, industry development, and legislative and congressional affairs for the agency. She manages all communications material, develops branding across varying platforms, cultivates contacts with media members, influencers, and community leaders, directs content, marketing, and design, manages events, and assists in the creation of digital, video, audio, and print messaging. Shelton reports to the Executive Director and directs legislative and policy research and development working with aerospace industry stakeholders, airports, municipalities, legislators, and congressional staff.
Able to leverage over 27 years of service with five state agencies, she is a native of Yukon and attended Oklahoma State University. Shelton worked for both the Democrat and Republican parties in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the Oklahoma State Senate over her 20-year career with the legislature.
A freelance writer, she is a former contributing columnist for the internet news outlet, Examiner.com. Shelton currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Secretary for the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc., which administers various art projects at the Oklahoma State Capitol at no cost to the public. She serves as Vice President of Communications for the Oklahoma Air and Space Forces Association in a volunteer role and has also served in the private sector as a social media manager with expertise in layout and design, film production, and digital media strategy.
CHIEF AIRPORT ENGINEER
Kelly Fincannon, PE
Kelly Fincannon began working for the Department in September of 2021 as the agency’s Chief Airport Engineer. His focus is on airport planning, design, construction, and project management with a mission to provide continued development and improvement of the Oklahoma Airport System, working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration, airports, consultants, and construction contractors.
His 38 years of related work experience includes office management, staff management, regional financial oversight, business development, client negotiation, project management, engineering design, bidding services, construction administration, construction observation, grant administration, master planning, and capital improvement plans. His airport experience spans civil, military, commercial, and general aviation airports as well as other civil infrastructure projects including highways, streets, drainage, water lines, sewer lines, and water resources projects. He holds professional registrations in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri.
Kelly earned an MS and BS in Civil Engineering from Oklahoma State University. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Oklahoma Airport Operators Association.
Benyamin Naghavi, PE
Benyamin Naghavi joined the Department in November 2018 as its Airport Engineer. In his position, Ben oversees various airport projects, such as pavement and lighting design as well as pavement rehabilitation, ensuring that projects progress on time and meet high quality standards. He annually conducts over thirty airport pavement inspections, analyzing the pavement condition and providing summary reports for each airport. Ben is also responsible for preparing grant applications for FAA funding, overseeing the project bidding process, making site visits and inspections throughout the construction process, negotiating costs for preliminary engineering reports, and is involved in pavement design and planning for pavement rehabilitation projects.
Ben obtained a Bachelor and Master of Science in civil and Hydraulic Structures Engineering from Ferdowsi University in Iran. He then received a scholarship from the University of Oklahoma and moved the state in 2011 where he earned a Masters in Civil Engineering and Environmental Science in December of 2013. He previously worked for Burgess Engineering and Testing as a Geotechnical Engineer in Training (EIT). Ben brings comprehensive geotechnical experience to the Department with a wide variety of laboratory testing, in-situ testing, laboratory test analysis, and project management. He has experience working with non-destructive testing on pavement such as Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) and Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), and pavement design and analysis. Ben is a Registered Professional Engineer in the states of Oklahoma and Texas.
STATEWIDE AEROSPACE STEM EDUCATION MANAGER
Paula Kedy, M.A. Ed.
Paula Kedy is a life-long educator, most recently serving as the Executive Director of Academics and Instruction for the Ada City School District. Kedy was named the Oklahoma Supreme Court Teacher of the Year in 2004 and has also been recognized as a finalist for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. She is a past president of the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of English and currently serves on the national steering committee for the AOPA High School You Can Fly program. Kedy has partnered with aviation business and industry leaders in the implementation of The Sky is Not the Limit, the Ada City School District's district-wide aviation program and currently works across the state to strengthen aviation education.
STATE MANAGER FOR ADVANCED AIR MOBILITY
Doug joined the Oklahoma Department in January of 2022, bringing 26 years of law enforcement experience, including 17 years as a first-line supervisor, with responsibilities for training, supervisory, management and administrative tasks. This included project development and leadership for the first small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Program at the Riley County (KS) Police Department.
Covering 77 counties as the State Manager for Advanced Air Mobility, Wood reports trending unmanned and air mobility policy to the Executive Director of the Department and the agency’s Director of Government Affairs as it relates to Oklahoma statutes. He works with Oklahoma stakeholders including commercial businesses, academic institutions, state and municipal entities, tribal governments, and the Federal Aviation Administration to promote Advanced Air Mobility, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and Emerging Aviation Technology in Oklahoma.
Doug conducts research related to national and international trends and best practices regarding regulations for AAM and UAS, to determine how Oklahoma can best position itself within the industry. Wood is the state’s expert in air mobility and develops and updates the Oklahoma Advanced Mobility Strategic plan, advising other state agencies and local and tribal governments on AAM and UAS operations, regulations, and policies.
Within ODAA he administers the Department’s UAS program focused on providing data for Airport Inspection and Engineering Programs, and participates in its aerospace STEM education and workforce outreach programs as a subject matter expert.
He also served 23 years in the U. S. Navy (Reserve), retiring as a First-Class Master-at-Arms. His military career included increased levels of responsibility for training, supervision, administration, mentorship, and technical expertise as a Leading Petty Officer, primarily in the area of firearms training, anti-terrorism and force protection physical security procedures.
SENIOR PROJECT & GRANTS MANAGER
Michelle Bouziden began working at the Department in February 2015 and serves as the Senior Project and Grants Manager for the Airports Division and Aerospace and Aviation Education Grant Program. As the Senior Project and Grants Manager she is responsible for the management of grants awarded through the Department’s Five-year Airport Construction Program, which directs approximately $25 million of federal, state and local funding each year for the construction, repair and maintenance of Oklahoma’s public-use, general aviation airports. Her duties include coordinating with community sponsors, city officials, airports, consultants and the Federal Aviation Administration on grant management and contract documents, ensuring grants are managed according to Oklahoma statute and that all grant assurances are met. Michelle is responsible for grant making practices, procedures and standards, reviewing and processing invoices, maintaining records of complex financial data, invoicing sponsors for monies owed to the Department and conducting financial audits.
Within ODAA’s Aerospace and Aviation Education Grants Program, Michelle serves as a resource to schools and organizations interested in the program, processes grant applications and contract documents, reviews invoices and supporting documentation and works to administer payments in accordance with state statute. She also serves as the agencies Administrative Rules and DBE Liaison.
Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Southern Nazarene University and an Associates in Elementary Education from Rose State College. She is a Certified Procurement Officer for the State of Oklahoma. Michelle currently serves in a volunteer role as the Vice President of STEM for the Air and Space Forces Association Gerrity Chapter, #215.
AVIATION PROGRAM MANAGER
Thomas Galloway joined the Department in June 2020. As an Aviation Program Manager, he is responsible for 5010-1 Master Record updates by conducting pavement and safety/standard inspections at Oklahoma’s public-use, general aviation airports. Thomas assists with developing the Airport Construction Program (ACP) and updates to the Oklahoma Airport System Plan (OASP). He also conducts airspace zoning reviews and prepares related permitting documents per the Aircraft Pilot and Passenger Protection Act (APPPA).
Before coming to the Department, Thomas worked as an Operations Specialist at the Crater Lake – Klamath Regional Airport in Klamath Falls, Oregon; in addition to a prior background in the oil and gas industry. Thomas’ educational background includes a Bachelor of Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott Campus, and Certified Member and Airport Certified Employee Designations from the American Association of Airport Executives.
Thomas is an active member of the aviation community as a private pilot in both gliders and powered aircraft as well as hang gliding. In the Civil Air Patrol, Galloway functions as a Pilot, current Assistant Aerospace Education Officer, and a former Aerospace Education Officer and Safety Officer. He is an active member of the Oklahoma Soaring Association and is a Glider Pilot. He is an Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Lifetime Member, an EAA Chapter 24 Member, a Vintage Airplane Association (VAA) member, an AOPA Member, and a Licensed HAM Radio Operator.
AVIATION PROGRAM MANAGER
Jace joined the Department in July of 2022. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in May with a Bachelors in Aviation Management (Non-Flying) and a minor in Business Administration and Management.
PROCUREMENT AND FINANCE SPECIALIST
Claressa Bailey joined the Department in 2022 with ten plus years of service to the State of Oklahoma. In her role, Claressa processes agency purchase orders, vendor payments and accounts receivables. She also serves as the agency's travel and fleet coordinator.
She began working for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board in 2011 as an Administrative Programs Officer. She is a Certified Procurement Officer (CPO) and assists with financial duties.
She holds an Associate of Applied Science in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling from Oklahoma State University with a focus on Drug and Alcohol recovery and Interpersonal Communication. She is passionate about her work with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the ministry God Behind Bars where she is dedicated to transforming the lives of prison inmates and their families.
MARKETING AND OUTREACH COORDINATOR
Katelyn Wade joined the Department in 2023. Katelyn Wade is a seasoned communications professional with a prolific background in public service, bringing her expertise to the role of Marketing & Outreach Coordinator at the Department. With a track record of successfully managing communications in various state agencies, Katelyn is committed to driving the Department's communication strategy forward, blending her extensive experience and creative talents.
As the Marketing & Outreach Coordinator, Katelyn recommends and designs communication initiatives aimed at fortifying the Department's brand and enhancing its reputation. Through strategic outreach and promotion efforts, she plays a pivotal role in expanding the Department's reach and impact.
Beyond her role as a communication expert, Katelyn is an accomplished graphic designer and writer. Her multifaceted skill set allows her to manage a diverse range of content, from impactful press releases to engaging digital materials. With an eye for design and a knack for crafting compelling narratives, Katelyn helps to ensure that the Department's messaging resonates effectively across various platforms.
Prior to her role at ODAA, Katelyn served as the Content Manager at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and held progressive roles at the Oklahoma Transportation Cabinet, starting as a Contract Marketing Specialist and ascending to the position of Public Information Officer.
Katelyn holds a Master of Science in Global Communications and Public Diplomacy, along with a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications and a Minor in International Studies, all earned at Oklahoma State University. Her academic background reflects a dedication to understanding and leveraging communication on a global scale.
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Andrea began her tenure at the Department in August of 2019. Andrea is vital to the function of the agency and provides administrative support to the Executive Director, which includes managing his busy calendar, calls, email, and travel. On behalf of the Executive Director, Andrea communicates with others outside and inside the organization and completes complex administrative tasks.
Andrea holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Museum Studies from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha, Oklahoma. Her prior public service includes working as the Executive Assistant to numerous city managers with the City of Guthrie. She also served as their Tourism Director, executing annual department budget proposals, financial reports, purchasing, board meeting agendas and minutes, and marketing and communications planning. Ms. Post also served in the Pioneer Library System for the Norman Public Library East.