Paul Kaup, CEO and Co-Founder

I am a pilot (Captain) for Southwest Airlines. I currently hold an ATP rating in Boeing 737, BE-1900D and D-328jet. I am a space, and technology enthusiast. I have over 23000 hours of flight time as a pilot of many different types of airplanes. I have a UAV/UAS remote pilot certificate issued by the FAA. I am an AMA member with over 11 years of R/C flying experience and I am a member of the Arizona Model Aviators.. I am an AMA “Contest Director”, and instructor pilot.  I have several years of small model rocketry experience. I am a member of NAR and SARA. I am level 2 certified in  High Power Rocketry.  I have an amateur radio license. I have conducted over 30 missions to near space with weather balloons. I have coached 6 years of Robotics as a First Lego League coach, and I have coached First Technical Challenge teams for 2 years.  I am currently coaching a TARC team (The American Rocketry Challenge) and a UAS4STEM team.  In August of 2020, my team of students from Richmond Burton High School received recognition from Guinness Book World Records for having achieved the worlds record for “Highest Remotely Controlled Airplane (38,400ft).  I received the President’s Award for my work with the students from Southwest Airline in 2016.  I was recognized by Spirit Magazine as Southwest employee of the month also for my work with students.  As of December, 2021, I am currently working on the following projects with students in middle and high school.

Taking Flight 2022


Promote STEM Sports (Multi-rotor Racing, Tiny Whoop Racing, and Wing Racing)

Spaceport Americas Cup Demonstration Team for 2022

The American Rocketry Challenge

Junior High Power Level 1 rocket certification with the students.

Working on my Level 3 rocketry certification.

Solar power RC airplane “Project Soare”

Build, design and fly a model rocket and land the first stage back at the launch pad.

Lead the first group of High School Students to send a rocket to space.  

Develop the STEM+C Learning Center/Workshop

I have been working with students in middle school, high school, and college. I started working with students in 5th grade several years ago in the Spring Grove Elementary School, Richmond Grade School, and Nippersink Middle School through a Southwest Airlines sponsored event called Adopt-A-Pilot.  In my first 2 years I became aware of the lack of hands on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, +C) within our schools curriculum. At that time, one of the popular STEM activities was building and launching a “Near Space Balloon”, which I turned into a program for students in 5th grade.  This program became an overwhelming success in our small town of Spring Grove, IL.  It was at about that point that STEM+C was founded.  I included “+C” because I feel creativity is as important as the other 4 areas. I aspire to elevate our students’ grasp of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. As much as I value those subjects, I also value art and creativity. That’s why I call my little company STEM+C.  I think artists, engineers, scientists, musicians, writers, and performers all share the same basic artistic, creative part of our brains. Each one of those professions uses the creative part of their brain for a different discipline or interest. The creative part of my brain likes to inspire the next generation through hands-on learning projects like “Project Blackbird”, or through “Strato Journey”.  My personal goal with STEM+C is to bring real life project-based learning experiences to our kids. To get them excited about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. 

I am married to a perfect wife, with 3 kids of my own. I worked my way up the ladder at Southwest Airlines where I started with the company back in 1992 as a baggage handler. I am truly fortunate to work for Southwest airlines.  My career allows me the time to do these kinds of projects with the kids.  It also affords me the time to try to broaden the scope of this project and reach out as far across America with the intent of giving every kid in the United States the opportunity to take part in these types of projects. I was also featured in the April 2013 Spirit Magazine….here is a link to the article.