Aaron Velky - CEO & Co-Founder
Aaron Velky brings to the team an award winning managerial style, deep experience as a coach, and an in-depth knowledge of business operations, leadership, social media marketing and business development. Aaron is the visionary and prolific public voice behind Ortus Academy. He is the person responsible for growing the community components of the business - with the public, our volunteers, our advisory board, and our investors.
Aaron graduated from UMBC in 2009 with a degree in Financial Economics, and was a walk-on member of the Men’s Division One Varsity Soccer Team. After graduation, he rapidly was promoted in the Towson University student housing arena. His expertise landed him a managerial role at the newly opened 929 Apartments, inside the EBDI footprint of East Baltimore. There he developed and implemented a system of internal simplification and and lead a community involvement initiative inside of a redevelopment project.
During his time managing apartments, Aaron also coached youth soccer with Pipeline Soccer Club as a part-time outlet. He quickly fell in love with youth empowerment, and found his impact was reaching far beyond the soccer field. He excels at coaching youth - but uses soccer as the vehicle to teach the importance of combining creativity with hard work, successfully blending athletic experiences with failure re-calibration, and finding educational success.
In May of 2015, Aaron left full-time employment to take his business experience, financial education, coaching strategies, and passion for community engagement to Baltimore. He left a promising career for the betterment of Baltimore's youth and the pursuit of his dreams - Ortus Academy had it's full-time leader.
His leadership, salesmanship, and eccentric personality lend itself to be a cutting edge financial voice for a new generation. His focus on culture, development of our team members, and sustainable approach to growth - both personal and business focused, lends itself to the nature of the Ortus Academy's mission. The volunteers that join the program are empowered to make lasting impressions with students, and that legacy is driven by Aaron’s overwhelming interest in the person over the performance.
When he isn't leading our team, Aaron is still involved with coaching youth girls soccer, is an avid runner and gym rat, coaches other entrepreneurs, enjoys reading and listening to podcasts on personal development, and travels the world (often for free - ask him how).
Josh Massey - Ortus Academy COO & Co-Founder
Josh Massey brings to the team an acclaimed teaching and coaching history and an in-depth knowledge of business operations, systems building, leadership, marketing and business development.
He earned his third degree black belt in Hapkido, and from 2005 to 2012 was a Lead Instructor and Program Director of that school - this was where his passion for teaching was realized. He helped grow the business from less that 100 students to nearly 300. While countless students earned their black belts under Josh's instruction, he is most proud of the leadership development course he and his team designed. He successfully ran the program for 4 years before deciding to go back to finish his Bachelor's degree at UMBC - at 32.
It's worth noting, when Josh was 13 a rather tragic medical event occurred. He was told by the doctors, "I'm sorry, but you'll never walk again." He spent two years re-learning how to walk, twice, and underwent corrective surgeries. The result, his right hip was completely fused - no mobility at all. This instilled a level of resilience in him that has allowed him to overcome obstacles and develop a growth mindset that is apparent even today. While he might not be able to do things the way other do, he finds his own way, blazes his own trail, and treats life like the entrepreneur we all want to be.
Josh is the first person in his family to complete a bachelor’s degree, an incredibly important aspect of Josh's goals. In 2014, he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Leadership Development & Social Entrepreneurship. Since graduating, he has launched two for-profit businesses, took one to acquisition, helped coach entrepreneurs, and co-founded Ortus Academy. In 2015, he moved into a formal teaching position as Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship & Business at Howard Community College. In 2018, he left this role to rejoin the Ortus Team full time and began his Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship, Leadership, & Innovation - also at UMBC.
Baltimore is home for Josh, his wife, and young daughter. He is passionate about making a difference in the city and is committed to making it better for those that live here, especially our youth. His connections to the business world and local entrepreneurs provide a great value to the undergraduate students who volunteer with our programs and his history as an educator provide insights to our in-depth curriculum development and the culture that has attracted and retained talent.
Gabe Bustos - Ortus Academy's Director of Education
As Education Director, Gabe Bustos brings 6 years of educational management and development to the Ortus team. He closely helped an energy start-up greeNEWit grow from 4 employees into a $2 million/year company and has since been running an environmental STEAM education business called Elemental Education. Through Elemental Education, he has created and delivered 4 different interactive STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math) programs on renewable energy and hydroponic farming to over 40,000 students at 80 schools around Maryland.
Gabe is a highly creative, motivated, and autonomous professional who thrives in collaborative and dynamic work environments. In addition, he is a bilingual native Spanish speaker with a strong passion for social entrepreneurship, experiential education, and tech-driven impact solutions.
His background in financial intelligence is rooted in a business degree from the Smith School of Business at College Park, and since then, he has run accounting and financial management for 4 different businesses including an organic food market, an advertising company, and energy start up, and his own STEAM Education business.
Gabe leads our team in curriculum development, building our online lessons, and is an amazing mentor to our team of interns.
Ben Lyons - Ortus Academy's Wealth Adviser & Principal
Ben Lyons is a 35-year veteran of the mortgage banking and real estate industries and has founded, built, and sold several mortgage banking platforms. Ben has been an initial investor and owner of a commercial bank, a title company, a consumer finance company, a mortgage bank, and has sponsored numerous residential and commercial real estate ventures. Most recently, he co-founded a Private Equity Fund that provides capital to Real Estate Investors, Builders and Developers - Lynk Capital. Ben splits his time between Florida and Maryland.
He has served on the boards of three schools and currently is on the board of Gerstell Academy, a Leadership school in Maryland.