Felix Tao

Felix has worked as an electro-mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry for over a decade and a half and has a background in electrical engineering, mechanical design, software engineering, and testing. He has worked on missions such as the Hubble replacement JWST for NASA, HTV4 supply vehicle for JAXA delivering a payload to the international space station, Jason3 a NOAA mission to monitor ocean floor depths for earlier warning of tsunamis, and many more missions in the civilian space arena. Focusing mostly space to ground communication systems in his career, he carries his knowledge into his various hobbies.

When not working in a lab you can find Felix working on building costumes and props used for various conventions or volunteer events including many props for the TSJ Foundation, he designed the Turbo Laser seen in the video below and many other props. His love of Star Wars has also led him to organizations such as the 501st Legion who participate for various events such as charity events or just cheering up children going through a hard time through the use of Star Wars character costumes as well as the Theresa Sondra Jacobs Foundation who build experiences through the uses of props to bring smiles to children and adults of all ages and circumstances. Felix is the Chief Technology Officer for the TSJ Foundation and designs many of the STEAM programs.

Matthew Hammer

Matt is an experienced Droid builder and founder of the Hampton Roads Droid Builders.  Matt is also the Chief Operations Officer of the TSJ Foundation. Matt has training as a biomedical equipment technician and grew up building boats and computers with his father. He retired from the army due to wounds sustained in Iraq and found droid building in 2010 and built several r series (R2) and founded the Hampton Roads R2 Builder’s club. For years it was just him and would do events on his own until the release of the force awakens and BB-8.  The renewal of interest had others seek out an join the club and he changed the name to the Hampton Roads Droid Builders to incorporate all the different droids; his main area of expertise is the R series but have been doing a lot of work with BB-8. He help built the Foundation’s fully functional BB-8 unit.  He is currently building the R2 unit for the I-ARTS program. This R2 unit will have an extra new programming station with several different Arduino based systems.  With R2 we can teach not only electrical but mechanical and optical we are planning to use a projection system to teach kids how it works. With so many different control systems including I2c, Bluetooth Wi-Fi the communications between mechanical and electrical are really well refined and for kids, watching somethings start as an electron a command and end as a physical robotic command is amazing.  R2 D2 can be a basic robot or an extremely advanced, something as simple as a 3200 chip to control or to a fully functional desktop computer inside for complex response and all interactive.

Tim O’ Sullivan

Tim OSullivan is a retired military officer with 21 years of active-duty service. Tim was medically retired in 2013 for combat wounds sustained in Basra Iraq. Upon retiring from his military service he later found the therapeutic tasks of 3D printing, 3D modeling building Droids and movie related props. Tims award winning cosplay characters have placed in both San Diego Comicon and Star Wars Celebration. His builds and animatronics have since been used to support to STEAM programs, Children Hospitals, Veteran Events and Service Dog organizations. His work had also enabled him to 3D model and develop a special prosthetic that was used for a child in the Paralympics. Over the past 5 years Tims builds include C-3PO, Bistan Moroff, R2D2, BB-8, DO, Chopper, Q9-0, Life size Taun Taun bust, Animatronic Babu Frick, Animatronic Episode 1 C-3PO, Animatronic Rat Catcher bust, Animatronic Grogu and most recently earned 2nd place in 2022 Star Wars Celebration Cosplay competition in Anaheim as Bistan from Rogue One. Tim is currently building animatronic Grogu, C-3P0, Argus and Babu Frick for the TSJ Foundation Educational STEAM programs.

David Ferreira

David has been involved in the competitive robotic world since 1996. During that time, David was able to learn and practice the skills of engineering science and technology. The robot was just a tool that brought people together. The true goal of the programs was to inspire the next generation of innovators.

Today David looks to inspire by bridging the gap between all age groups and physical abilities. (We all have a love of Star Wars, so let us show the world how it’s done) This has been the basis for his projects in recent years.

David had designed and created fully functional BB-8 units that can Interact with the public like no other. Seeing the joy and happiness BB-8 brings to the public has driven him to make more exciting droids to inspire the next generation.

Most recently David has contributed to some of the droids on the Boba Fett series and you may have seen his droid on the Star Wars Show, “Gil” RX-91L in 2022 at Star Wars Celebration and you will also find him with Gil on the Star Wars show 2023! David is also one of the TSJ Foundation full time builders and he is designing and building many of the STEAM educational programs.

Dr. Joshua Montgomery

Dr. Joshua Montgomery is a Computer Science Professor at Southern State Community College & Adjunct Instructor at Southern New Hampshire University. Montgomery has been a professor for over 10 years, and before that was the Technology Director for the Chillicothe City Schools for 13 years. He is the Curriculum Coordinator for the Ohio Coders Project, an initiative that was developed by the state of Ohio to help K-12 schools in the southern region of the state to develop coding programs and skills for students. Montgomery is the cofounder of SOMACC (Southern Ohio Makers Against COVID Coalition). This grassroots group built 4,500 3D-printed face shields for first responders at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is the inventor of the Droid Builders Mini-Dome, a teaching tool used to instruct students in electronics and coding by using a 50% scaled 3D printed R2-D2 dome that can be programmed to blink lights, move motors and play sounds. This project is now supported, funded and powered by the Grant Imahara Foundation.


The foundation has purchased supplies and materials for 102 students to build 72 domes for the 2021/2022 school year so students can complete the Grant Imahara Coding Challenge. This coding challenge is a supported initiative by the Ohio Coders Project and will help to further those students understanding of both electronics and coding. Montgomery is also an active member of the Star Wars builder communities.
One of his most significant accomplishments is building a replica of R2-D2, a droid from the movie Star Wars that took him 2.5 years to complete. Montgomery used that experience of building R2-D2 to change how he teaches classes at his college. He explained how building R2-D2 made him a better teacher in his Ted Talk at Dayton Ohio in 2021. Josh and his wife, Brandy, reside in Southern Ohio with their two children and 4 dogs.

Dr. Lindsay Burns

Education in all its unique forms has always been a passion for Dr. Lindsay Burns. Dr. Burns has been teaching for 12 years, teaching courses in middle school and high school math and science and undergraduate and graduate level courses for the College of Education at The Ohio State University. Dr. Burns completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University with a B.S. in Middle Childhood Education. As she began her teaching career in a sixth-grade math classroom, she completed her master’s in education at Wright State University. Early on in her career, Dr. Burns realized her interest in curriculum and leadership—knowing that you can create something that can have a lasting positive impact on a child’s education is truly incredible. So, Dr. Burns returned to Wright State to pursue an education specialist degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development. While getting her curriculum administration license for the state of Ohio, she began teaching eighth grade and high school physical science, before returning to eight-grade science to write the curriculum and teach a new integrated STEM course. It was this experience that encouraged her exploration of Ph.D. programs—which landed her at The Ohio State University, researching informal science education and informal science institutions. Her research interests have centered around immersiveness, which examines and integrates exhibit vision, visitor experience, and exhibit goals to create unique learning experiences for science students of all ages and backgrounds. Additional previous projects include engineering education studies, citizen science projects, integrated STEM consulting, and presentations and talks about integrated STEM education.

Dr. Burns currently works as an evaluation specialist contracted to NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement. When not working on projects with Guardians of Honor, LLC., Paragon-TEC, NASA, Ohio State University, New York University, or the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center, Lindsay enjoys building Legos and watching Star Wars movies with her husband and two children.

Matt Hobbs

Matt Hobbs is an extremely experienced Droid Builder who’s portfolio ranges from BB-8, BB9e, Mouse Droid, scrubber Droid, R2 D2, Wall-E and many more.

Matt has spent the last 11 years in support of the manufacturing and install of the sunshields onto the James Webb space telescope. He currently has 11 fully functional droids with 2 more in work. Matt Hobbs is now serving as a manufacturing engineer for Northrop Grumman.

Martin Cerame Colón

Martín Cerame Colón, a creative mind that has explored multiple forms of expression, from orchestral composition to digital graphic design, Martin has been an avid fan of science fiction and fantasy ever since he saw Star Wars in 1977. He had the fortune of being able to transfer his drawing skills from paper to screen when his father bought a Macintosh computer back in the 1980’s and allowed Martín to use it and develop his skills as a digital graphic artist as the technology evolved.

Throughout the years, Martín grew professionally as both a graphic designer and a performing and recording musician. His passion for Star Wars drove him to design set maquettes for his 3-3/4” action figures during the 90’s; maquettes that he could not get built at the time because the access to computer-controlled tools like CNC machines and laser cutters was very limited at the time.

It would take 30 years for the necessary technology to become affordable for hobbyists like Martín, who acquired his first desktop laser cutter during early 2022 and began constructing control panels based on those featured in the Star Wars films. With a keen eye for the visual language of Star Wars, Martín’s designs quickly earned the praise and respect of fellow and more experienced builders like Brian Thompson, creator of the Smugglers Room channel on YouTube and the Star Wars Room Builders Group on Facebook, who featured Martín’s work (along with other builders’) in an episode titled “Secrets of Star Wars Design”.

Martín continues to build control panels and props combining laser cut and engraved acrylic with LED elements and display screens, all of which can be seen in his Facebook and Instagram pages under the name Dune Sea Outpost.

Aedo Morin


David White

Host of Whitey’s Wicked Workshop https://www.youtube.com/Whiteyswickedworkshop

David White has been an Electrical Engineering Technician for the past 23 years for Hydro Aluminum Extrusions, one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world, where he has specialized in PLC Controls and Safety Automation.

As a means to cope with the effects of social distancing and isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic, David took to designing and building components inspired on science fiction films to transform his basement. Using IoT (smart) devices, the self-initiated maker built an automated electromechanical door in the visual style of Star Wars. David recorded the complete process, which he edited into several instructional videos and uploaded them to his newly created YouTube channel Whitey’s Wicked Workshop hoping to inspire and help fellow sci-fi enthusiasts to engage in similar projects.

David’s propmaking endeavors continued with the build of a full-sized Millennium Falcon cockpit replica that incorporated complex features like an adjusting dashboard which lowers as much as 6 inches by means of a linear actuator to increase the viewing area of an 82” monitor, serving as both decorative prop and entertainment center. This project presented several challenges which David tackled by learning to use new tools and technologies like a laser cutter and 3-D modeling, which he used to create a version of the iconic rocker switches seen throughout Star Wars in control panels and chest plates.

Having taken his first steps in 3-D printing, David decided to continue developing his digital modeling skills. Familiar with 3-D design from his days of creating first-person shooter gaming maps using the Unreal Editor, the maker and now YouTuber started to delve deeper into the waters of 3-D modeling and, with the help of his friend and fellow maker Aedo Morin, gained proficiency with Fusion 360, a 3-D modeling program which White describes as “addictive”.

Using Fusion 360, David took his rocker switch design to its highest potential making a fully functional Star Wars-style rocker switch complete with LED accent lights and available in solid resin and translucent UV resin. David’s rocker switches have become extremely popular within the Star Wars Room Builders community and are now commonplace in many builds, including the upcoming project of the TSJ Foundation (where David was recently appointed Communications Director), the ECO Crest, which features David’s switches prominently throughout the cockpit.

As a maker, David continues to develop his craft, learning new skills and using new tools to keep up with the latest trends in propmaking. His latest projects are featured in his YouTube channel as well as his Facebook and Instagram pages (David White / Whitey’s Wicked Workshop) in addition to his Etsy and Patreon pages through which makers can acquire his build kits and original STL / SVG files. You can catch David online on the YouTube podcast FabWorks Live, which he co-hosts with fellow maker and YouTuber Aedo Morin.

Thomas Ira Nixon

From a young age, Thomas Ira Nixon has always been known as an imaginative engineer. However, it wasn’t until 15 years ago that he fully embraced his creativity and embarked on the journey of building his very first R2 droid. From that moment on, Thomas knew that his purpose was to inspire young minds and encourage them to never stop dreaming and exploring the limitless possibilities of creative engineering and technology.

Throughout the years, Thomas has had the privilege of visiting individuals from all walks of life. Whether it be children battling cancer, students in classrooms, or attendees at weddings and Comic-Con events, his main goal has always been to inspire others. He has constructed numerous droids, including three R2s, a BB8, a K2SO, and even a fully functional Wall-e. It is worth noting that most of these creations were built before the advent of 3D printers.

Between 2019 and 2021, Thomas and his closest friend took on the challenge of constructing the Solo movie version of the Millennium Falcon cockpit. This ambitious project spanned over two years and involved designing, constructing, and 3D printing every single part. The journey was nothing short of incredible and allowed them to bring the Falcon to life. Thomas even took it a step further by designing and scratch building the digital display panels, as well as creating 3D animations.

Over the years, Thomas has had the opportunity to design parts and accessories for cosplay artists, film productions, and special effects companies. His main mentor, who was involved with model designing and special effects in the original Star Wars trilogy, inspired him to push his creativity to new heights. This led Thomas to start making functional devices out of Star Wars props, which he affectionately named Thomas Nixons – Really2Robots. One notable creation was his entry into the SW Andor Challenge Panel, where he showcased his functional holographic display.

If there’s one message that Thomas wants people to take away from his journey, it’s the importance of never giving up on one’s dreams, no matter how unconventional they may seem. With determination, creativity, and a willingness to think outside the box, anything is possible.

Currently, Thomas serves on the Executive Team and as the Creative Engineer for the TSJ Foundation. He is responsible for building incredible projects, including a two-way hologram communication system that will be utilized in the foundation’s education and mobile entertainment programs. Thomas brings a remarkable set of skills to the foundation, and he recently partnered with “The Project X1” after successfully building “The Swedish Falcon.” The new home location for The Swedish Falcon is in Germany, which opens up endless possibilities for future events in Europe and other parts of the world, pending approval from Disney and LFL. This partnership also allows for the pooling of resources to create even more impressive projects. Together, Thomas and The Project X1 have already booked numerous exciting events for 2023.

Thomas Nixon’s accomplishments in building impressive projects like the Falcon may overshadow his lesser-known work. In fact, Thomas began his career as a male nurse before transitioning to become a pedagogical educator at the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. His primary role involves educating teachers and lecturers on the process of digitalizing traditional course materials and curriculums, with the aim of creating a more diverse and sustainable future.

Thomas’s expertise in this field is evident through his contributions to the development and publication of educational content on their Learning Management System (LMS). With the rapid integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in various sectors, the introduction of this technology has necessitated a significant evolution in course curriculums. Thomas is at the forefront of this transformation, ensuring that educators are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to adapt to this new era of education.

James Culley

James is an Assistant Principal, Digital Learning and Innovation, Science Museum Tech Gallery Advisor, Fujitsu CoDE contributor and host of YouTube’s ‘Rebel Base Builds’

Douglas A. Bickert

Droid Builder – inventor of the R2’s dome animation system. The Warp Core Dome System. This is the clear acrylic base plate and the circuit boards he created will help R2 launch Light Sabers, etc.

Douglas Bickert is a Central Ohio Astromech Droid Builder and a member of the global R2 Builders Club associated with Droid Builders Inc; a 501c3 that organizes philanthropic events.  Doug specializes in droid drive systems, dome animatronics, and signal distribution shields.  He has had the privilege of actively participating in droid building panels at multiple Star Wars Celebrations and other conventions.  His creations have been utilized in the franchise and he has many others in private collections.  Doug has an Associate of Arts in Communications from Sinclair Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Ohio Dominican University and holds a ChFC® designation in the financial services industry.  When he is not wrestling with the stock market, he enjoys taking R2 to pediatric cancer fundraisers, children’s hospitals, STEM events, and museums.

Andrew Wood

Andrew Wood is an engineer with 3 years of service at the Air Force Research Lab. His background is in robotics, systems engineering, and mechanical design. Andrew works closely with Tim O’Sullivan to bring animatronics to life through image processing and object recognition to enable our droids to identify and talk to onlookers. His most recent project is enabling a life-size C-3PO animatronic to talk to onlookers that is to be displayed at COSI Science Festival 2023.

Jamie Dull

The Outer Rim

I have been a life-long fan of Star Wars since first seeing “A New Hope” in the theater in 1977.  Another one of my passions is doing Halloween Haunts. Starting in 2020, I combined my love of Star Wars, and HalIoween, by creating “The Outer Rim”, a Star Wars themed Halloween display. I’ve built everything from Death Star wall panels to a Millennium Falcon corridor, and much more, including talking creatures and droids, and an interactive control panel that lets guest fire a laser cannon!

I have a background in home automation and home theater and I particularly enjoy putting together props and displays featuring, blinking lights, sounds and video. I created a YouTube Channel last year, to share how I make my props and sets, and to share my knowledge.  I love learning new things and being a part of the vibrant Star Wars maker community.

You can follow my social media channels here:


Below are a few YouTube links that share How To projects.

Joy Hoover

Joy is an experienced and professional seamstress, who brings her love for sewing and passion for design into all costume builds. Joy began her love for sewing at age 5, taught by her Mom. She made her own clothing by age 12, and now owns her own bridal and formalwear alterations shop in Kettering, Ohio called, Joy2Sew. She has also worked as a sewing instructor at a Christian school for 4 years, as well as developed a PDF costume pattern line for children. Her patterns can be found on her website at https://www.joy2sew.net/shop-joy2sew/ .

Joy obtained her AA degree in 2022, and is currently working on her BS in Organizational Leadership at Wright State University.

Embracing her greatest love for costuming, Joy has been costume designer for shows at Stivers and West Carrollton High Schools, exhibited in the Clash Fashion Show, as well as collaborated on team projects with team member, Tim O’Sullivan. Their collaboration of the Bistan Star Wars character won 2nd place: Best Likeness at Celebration 2022. They continue to create iconic characters to bring continued joy and educational opportunities to children and adults alike. More of Joy’s work can be found on her website at https://www.joy2sew.net/.

Recent projects Joy has completed are Argus, Bistan, Grogu Robes, Skywalker custom shirt and cape, full SpaceX suit,

Nicole Ortuno

I am currently a high school senior passionate about robotics and mechatronics engineering. In the future I wish to specialize in humanoid robots and pursue a career as a robotics business leader. I wish to achieve beyond just a STEM career, major, I am excited to explore the diverse communities that are rich in networking and connect with communities all over the world. I love to learn and expand my knowledge in various areas that advance my understanding of the world. 

    I have had the opportunity to conduct research alongside a computer professor at George Mason University where we developed a robot path planning optimization program based on partially known areas and built behavior-correcting algorithm for robot interpretation. While I have continued to connect with professionals in the robotics field, this past summer I worked alongside a professor at Carnegie Mellon University whose focuses on actuation and legged dynamic controls. Our research proposed an alternative feedback system that favors force control to develop “squishy”-like robotics structures, analyzing the most advanced humanoid robots built in companies such as Boston Dynamics. 

    In addition to my efforts in working alongside field professionals, I have also founded the RoVersity Project, an introductory robotics program to engage a group of young elementary students at a local homeless shelter. Through STEM summer programs and competition experience, students explore their interests and further their knowledge in STEM that captivate their curious minds. With the support of tech companies such as Amazon and UBTech as well as partnering organizations including George Mason University, we have supported our students with milestone opportunities for them to receive a final collegiate scholarship to continue their education as first generation students. 

    I am dedicated and passionate about breaking down barriers for women and underrepresented minorities in STEM careers. I am excited to be apart of such a rewarding organization and build animatronics that will inspire confidence among young students in finding their passions.

Mark Borja

Mark Borja is an skilled custom builder with amazing talent and passion for his work. He has built the TSJ Foundation “Executor” and is currently building our Mobile Classroom – the Eco Crest. Mark has decades of experience building custom cars, hydraulic systems has a deep passion for his work and helping the community. He is the TSJ Foundation’s exclusive builder for our mobile classrooms and mobile entertainment vehicles. We are very excited to have him work on all of our projects and he also volunteers at many of our events to help bring joy to all with his work.

Jon Haag

Jon has been a lover of all things Star Wars throughout his life. Having been a member of the 501st Legion since 2016, he branched out into droid building in 2017 after attending Star Wars Celebration Orlando and seeing the many the droids on display there. Jon is heavily focused on leveraging 3D printing in the build process, having completed two iterations of his fully 3D-printed C2-B5 (the Imperial R-series droid briefly seen in Rogue One) and completed one of the latest droids in the Star Wars universe: D-0 from Episode IX. He has also built a DO for the TSJ Foundation I-ARTS program.

Jon currently serves as one of the lead members of the Hampton Roads Droid Builders, with a focus on public relations and event coordination.

Brian Thompson

Talented Builder Check out his YouTube channel The Smugglers Room and Website: Click Here

Jesse Maricelli P.E.

Jesse is a licensed electrical engineer and is working in operational leadership for an engineering company in the oil and gas industry of Houston, TX. He is also an Army veteran with service in Tikrit, Iraq under Operation Iraqi Freedom. Jesse studied power engineering primarily but also embedded systems and controls. He participated in the university level IEEE robotics competition during his studies at U of H where he began to be interested in robotics. Although his day job does not deal with robotics, he keeps his interests alive with Star Wars droid building projects. Jesse is a member of the Houston Area Droid Builders Club, but his designs have been reproduced throughout the world. Most recently, Jesse completed a design for a fully animatronic, life sized C-3PO. His work included 3D modeling of the entire suit using a 3D scan of a highly accurate reference as a starting point. Jesse then developed a mechanical design for a robotic skeleton that the suit would be placed on top of. The result is a life like animatronic with 20 separate degrees of motion. The C-3PO project took over 4 years to go from idea to a finished project. Over the past 8 years, Jesse has also built an R2-D2, BB-8 and MSE droid. Jesse is currently in development for a new droid project that will show case hydraulics and pneumatics. He is excited to add these skill sets to his experience base and to help others learn with him as he works on new projects.

Jesse Campos

Stephane Beaulieu

Eric Jacobs 

Co-founder and CEO

Eric Jacobs, CEO and Co-founder, brings over 25 years of dynamic company management to his role at the TSJ Foundation. His dedication to community service and collaboration, driven by a belief in philanthropy’s transformative potential, is amplified by his passion for Star Wars.

This passion infuses innovative ideas into the Foundation’s projects and props, captivating all ages. Eric’s artistic contributions extend to interactive props and iconic designs. At the core is Eric’s unwavering advocacy for STEAM education, expanding through themed mobile fleets and immersive exhibits. Following the loss of his mother “Theresa” to cancer in 2017, Eric, alongside his wife and daughter, founded the Theresa Sondra Jacobs Foundation, dedicated to catalyzing positive change in his community.

Eric’s exceptional communication skills rally support for his visionary concepts, and his fusion of passions—Star Wars, art design, and prop construction—anchors the Foundation’s impact. With a steadfast focus on inclusive accessible STEAM education, he opens doors for young minds to explore captivating props, droids, and vehicles, nurturing the seeds of innovation in the next generation.

Ruba Jacobs 

Co-founder and Vice President

Ruba Agha, Vice President and a Co-founder of the TSJ Foundation, She has a computer science degree besides an impressive portfolio of over 25 years of experience in the IT domain and diverse industry management. Her active role in the community reflects her dedication to community service and collaboration, driven by a belief in philanthropy’s transformative potential. Beyond her professional endeavors, Ruba is a prominent and active member of the community, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to positive change. Driven by a firm belief in education’s transformative power, she actively contributes to initiatives that create a brighter future. Leveraging her extensive expertise, Ruba plays a pivotal role in the Foundation by providing robust technical support, ensuring the maintenance of a resilient IT system for optimal operational efficiency and data security. Her skills extend beyond the technical realm, encompassing strong operational acumen and business management capabilities. With meticulous attention to compliance and operational excellence, Ruba orchestrates the seamless execution of Foundation initiatives, effectively bridging the gap between strategic vision and meticulous implementation. Her multifaceted proficiency serves as a cornerstone in propelling the TSJ Foundation’s mission forward, in alignment with her dedication to fostering positive impact through education, innovation, and active community engagement.

Let’s build something together.