Our Founders

Ben & Kat

Prior to this project, we traveled across the country in a retrofitted RV, doing educational outreach at museums, planetariums, schools, and other venues (The Mobile Observatory Project), hosting 75 events in 8 months across 41 states and 4 provinces (2014-2015). We ran an annual conference series, Observing The Frontier, providing a forum for researchers to share their insights, student sessions, and social events (2015-2019). Ben hosts a daily update on YouTube, and has published technical guides; Kat has published a series of three children’s books (Kira and Lulu Visit the Sun, Planets and Milky Way)!

We hope to bring the same spirit of community and enthusiasm for space to the Observer Ranch Campground & Learning Center! We live in Colorado Springs with our three kids and Yorkie. 

Team Members

As progress on the ranch is moving along, we invite you to meet the team members making Observer Ranch possible! Together, we are tackling every aspect of creating this idea into a reality!


Rocky Paflias recently joined the Observer Ranch team as our Account Manager! His experience is in systems, energy efficiency and high level project management – he currently manages our fleet of trailers. When he is not working, you can find him grilling (he makes a mean burger!), exploring new places with his family, or working on his Big Burb retrofit (he is the creator behind the Big Burb YouTube channel). He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, three sons, English Bulldog and Boston Terrier.

Lesley & Derek

Husband and Wife team, Derek and Lesley True, own and operate True North Construction in Colorado and have been working to develop Observer Ranch for the last two years. Affectionately dubbed the “rugged Chip and Joanna,” Observer Ranch wouldn’t be possible without this team! They enjoy spending their spare time with their sons, and fishing!


Bailey has worked with Ben and Kat for three years and has been an Observer since 2012. She assists primarily with social media, newsletters, and content creation. She has her Master’s in Science Journalism and enjoys yoga, skiing, and producing her podcast, Introspectively Living!