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Mentors

Some of our biggest fans and our most valuable resources are our mentors. Through the long hours and dedication, they are always with us.  We have learned so much about engineering, math, science and technology but more important we have learned about being better people. Their lessons have rubbed off on us as evidenced by our alumni who continue to give back to the FIRST program and to their local community. It can be seen in our team members who mentor FLL or reach out at competitions to help other teams. We can never thank them enough for all that has been given to us.  THANK YOU!

Randall Matthews

Profession: Project Manager

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 10

Why Mentor?: Youth are the future and anything we can do as adults to encourage their development and skills will improve their future. FIRST is the best youth oriented program that I have seen in that it develops leadership, teamwork, interpersonal skills, appreciation of diversity and technical skills. It gives the students an opportunity to utilize the skills they have been taught in school which helps to reinforce their educational experience. Lots of fun as well!

 

 

Mike Wenig

Profession: Attorney

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 9

Why Mentor?: Because it is fun and very rewarding. The opportunity to work with young people is a privilege and a responsibility.  It’s not about the robot for many of these students which gives us all hope for the future. 

 

Beyond that, Playtpi are cool.

 

Juan Chong

Profession: Electrical Engineer

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 4

Why Mentor?: Throughout my years of mentoring, I’ve had an opportunity to meet many incredible students and adults. When I first began mentoring, my motivation was very selfish; I had the opportunity to design and build robots alongside other mentors who, at the time, were upperclassmen. As the years went on, I kept track of the students who were graduating from our program. Most students chose engineering programs and qualified for scholarships. It was these opportunities that let them continue their education. These days, I mentor because I’ve seen firsthand how a powerful program such as FIRST can affect students lives. It isn’t all serious through, I really enjoy competitions!

 

Ken Zelenka

Profession: Engineering Supervisor

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 6

Why Mentor?: I enjoy projects with teams an working with kids. The FIRST robotics is a good combination with high school kids working to design and build a robot. I like teaching the kids what I’ve learned in engineering over several years. It’s great to see high school kids doing engineering activities that took me years to learn. I see that this experience gives the kids a great advantage over others that have not had this experience. Designing, problem solving and building the robot with the kids is very exciting, it;s great to see the kids working together and learning something valuable to their future and seeing that they enjoy it so much.

 

Kevin Behel

Profession: Electrical Engineer

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 3

Why Mentor?: I started because my son is on the team. I also enjoy technology and working with youth.

Kristen Chong

Profession: Electrical Engineer

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 3

Why Mentor?: I always wanted to to encourage high school students to consider pursuing a career in engineering. I find mentoring and FRC team as an ideal opportunity to get them interested in engieering.

 

Brandon Johnson

Profession: Engineer

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 3

Why Mentor?: The goal I have for this team is to learn as much as you possibly can, help as many people as you possibly can, and develop what comes from that.

 

Chas Frick

Profession: Electrical Engineer

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 2

Why Mentor?: Mentoring kids on the Platypi is a great opportunity to help inspire the next generation of engineers and entrepreneurs. All the kids on Platypi are willing to learn and grow through mentoring. Each kid also will teach you a thing or two on areas they are interested in, so it is a worthwhile opportunity. Everyone is also so excited to be there! The kids love working on the robot and competing, so there is always energy there.

 

Elizabeth Tomko

Profession: Electrical Engineer

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 2

Why Mentor?: 

 

Jerry Paul

Profession: Electrical Engineer

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 2

Why Mentor?: 

 

Darrell Holmes IV

Profession: Student

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 1

Why Mentor?: 

 

Vic Cranfil

Profession: Facilities Manager

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 2

Why Mentor?: I enjoy mechanical work and passing my skills on to the next generation. Traveling to competitions and mentoring during build season is a pleasure. Working alongside my son has been a great experience.

 

Retired Mentors

Don Davenport

Profession: Retired from Procter & Gamble

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 8

Why Mentor?:

John Bate

Profession: Electrical Engineer Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 3 Why Mentor?: [Student Description by Matthew Brewbaker] John Bate is an amazing mentor and engineer. Even with a full time job, he still managed to create lessons and teach us about the fundamentals of engineering. I still remember when he was teaching us how binary worked, the difference of AC and DC, and the purpose of saudering. Although he had to leave due to his job, we will not forget him and his talented teaching.

Deepak Kumar

kumar2012

Profession: Electrical Design Engineer

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 5

Why Mentor?: I always wanted to encourage high school students to consider pursuing a career in engineering. I find mentoring an FRC team as an ideal opportunity to get them interested in engineering.

Rose Bate

Profession: Math Tutor

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 4

Why Mentor?: There’s a phenomenon that occurs when you help others. It creates a domino effect – those people, in turn, help others. I mentor to show the students that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. We are building STEAM together and moving forward.

 

Eric Foehr

Profession: Volunteer/Retired Insurance Professional

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 1

Why Mentor?: One of the primary reasons I am a mentor is my son’s participation on the team, but that is not the only reason. After observing his first season with the team I became hooked with First Robotics. Also, the enthusiasm of the Flying Platypi is contagious. I may not be an engineer, but I have mechanical and organizational skills that I am able to contribute. I look forward to this season of competition and what the team is able to accomplish.

Alex Williams

Profession: Undergraduate in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 2

Why Mentor?: When I was a wee lad back in high school, I competed with Team 837.  We were a small team and really didn’t have much in the way of resources.  The reason we were even able to succeed at all was because we had mentors so dedicated to working with us. It has always left a lasting mark on me and is really what pushed me into engineering.  I didn’t realize the stretch of FIRST® until I went to Brazil and traded team shirts with a member of Team 1832.  If I can help out even just a fraction of what my mentors did for me, that’s really all I can ask for.

Jerry Hutchins

Profession: Retired from Procter & Gamble

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 8 Years

Why Mentor?: 

John Rosato

Profession: Senior Art Producer

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 1

Why Mentor?: Both my sons are members of the team and I felt led to help in the marketing area.

Brian Stewart

Profession: Software Engineer

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 1

Why Mentor?: Love helping young people learn technical skills, plus my daughter is on the team!

Abraham Cantwell

Profession: Electrical Engineer

Years mentoring The Flying Platypi: 2

Why Mentor?: Mentoring is an incredible opportunity to introduce and guide students as they expose the world of engineering.