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Unread 12-01-2005, 03:19 AM
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UFH: Steve Rourke

Thread created automatically to discuss UFH Honoree: Steve Rourke.



Name: Steve Rourke
Date Honored: 11-30-2005
Years involved w/FIRST: 4
FIRST Team(s): General Motors - St. Catharines Powertrain/Allied Marine and Industrial &, Governor Simcoe Secondary School (1114), General Motors - St. Catharines Powertrain &, OPG &, Westlane Secondary School (1503), EDS Canada &, Fort Erie Secondary School (1680)
Role: Executive Sponsor
Quote: “The best solution is the simplest one that works”, and “You don’t get what you don’t ask for”.
Bio: Steve Rourke is NiagaraFIRST's do-it-all executive sponsor, and serves as Engineering Director for General Motors of Canada – St. Catharines Powertrain. Working with all three teams, Steve helps to grow FIRST in the Niagara area. He described his role in the program for us: "I’m quite surprised (yet honored) by this selection, since my teams try to keep me away from the robots as part of their winning strategy. I tried to drive it once and crashed it into the wall. They prefer that I keep my sights set on intently growing FIRST in the Niagara Region of Ontario – with the objective of ensuring that these teams are working towards FIRST’s compelling vision, and that they have the highest caliber mentors and organizational support available. My function is akin to that of a chef – responsible for the ingredients of a successful organization. For me, success is about growth. But it must be winning growth. Not necessarily by winning on the field, but by winning within the team – by stirring in the critical ingredients, such as engaged and inspired students; motivated, determined, and capable mentors and teachers; highly organized team systems; objective based plans; relentless pursuit of goals; inter-personal harmony and teamwork. I’ve found that if you have these ingredients, then you will more than likely experience the benefit from another of my favorite quotes…..”The harder you work, the luckier you get”. Once you prepare a winning team with the winning ingredients, then you can grow that in another team – and then another, and another. We use collaboration as a growth strategy to add strong ingredients to a new team, share common expenses between teams to minimize costs, and share lessons learned and common standards to accelerate learning. That’s what we have for the vision of teams collaborating in NiagaraFIRST.org. As an executive with one of the major sponsors, my position affords me the opportunity to use FIRST as a leadership development opportunity for mentors – and I have been able to “recruit” some of the best professional talent. For those of you that know Derek, Karthik, Ian M., Matt, Stephanie, Kate, Tony, Dan, Co, Ian J., Christa, Lukasz, Curtis, Wayne (so sorry if I missed anyone), you’ll know what I mean. These outstanding mentors work with the teams in the foreground, while I applaud in the background."

Steve also had a very inspiring FIRST memory to share with us. "Watching the Canadian flag being paraded enthusiastically around the auditorium in Long Island New York as the students from FRC Team 1114 “Simbotics” frantically celebrated their victory at that regional event a few years ago. It was at that moment that I realized the 25 students we had engaged and inspired in the Niagara Region were hundreds too few. Something had to be done. And we set about doing it, with a lot of help from my fellow FIRST friends who shared the vision."

Steve also told us a little bit about NiagaraFIRST and its mission. "We’ve developed a support network called NiagaraFIRST.org that links teams together and affords the opportunity for regional collaboration for the purpose of growth and to leverage and share resources. We began in the fall of 2002 with one high school – Governor Simcoe’s Team 1114 “Simbotics” that included 25 students. Since then, we’ve grown to three Robotics Teams and have branched into FIRST LEGO League in an explosive fashion – growing FLL in Niagara from 2 teams to 14 teams in one year, and hosting the FLL Niagara Championship this year with 21 teams participating. Within three years, we’ve grown FIRST involvement in Niagara from 25 students to over 200 that are being inspired to be future science and technology heroes. And we’re not content to leave it at that. The Niagara Region still has room for growth, and we’ve initiated discussion with enthusiastic local school boards and trustees that have expressed interest in helping to facilitate that growth, with more teams for 2006."

Although we didn't need much convincing, Steve has a powerful pitch for people newly introduced to FIRST. "As I pitched FIRST recently to the trustees of the local school board, my presentation included the following slide text…..”FIRST offers THE BEST extra-curricular educational experiences available today for students to become inspired in mathematics, science, engineering, computer science, business, and leadership”."

Lastly, Steve gave us a few words to reflect upon: "Begin with the end in mind. Work hard, play hard, and get along with everybody while you work towards that end. If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, then change the way you think about it."

Congratulations to Steve Rourke, our 47th Unsung FIRST Hero.

Nominated By: Karthik

Last edited by Brandon Martus : 11-12-2013 at 09:02 PM.
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Unread 12-01-2005, 03:26 AM
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Re: UFH: Steve Rourke

When I try and describe Steve Rourke's role within our teams, the best parallel that I can use is to that of the owner of a pro-sports franchise. He's our Mark Cuban or Jerry Jones. He's the team "enabler". He provides every possible resource to make our teams successful. Whatever we ask for (within reason) he makes available for us. In 2004, I remember walking into Steve's office and saying, "Steve, we need to go to a 3rd regional, to give ourselves the best shot at qualifying for Atlanta." We sat down, Steve listened to me as I made my case and once I had, Steve agreed to make it happen.

He's 100% dedicated to the success of FIRST in the Niagara Region, and has worked tirelessly to make it happen. He started with one FRC team in 2003, now he's up to three FRC teams, 14 FLL teams and a regional FLL tournament. But, Steve won't stop here, he still has plenty of plans for growth, and I know for a fact that he'll make them a reality.
Beyond the impact Steve has made through NiagaraFIRST.org, is the impact that he's made on those who work with him. Steve's made a career out of getting the most out of people. He has an amazing knack for recognizing talent, and he knows how to match people up with their strengths.

I've learned a ridiculous amount working with Steve over the years. His quote of "You can't get what you don't ask for" has become my personal motto. He's one of those people who everyone stops to listen to, because he's always saying something of note.

Steve his the perfect UFH, because so many of his efforts are completely behind the scenes. It's great to see someone who does so much for FIRST get some well deserved recognition.

Congratulations Steve, and thanks for all the opportunities you've given me. Furthermore thanks for being a role model and a friend.
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:: Karthik Kanagasabapathy ::
"Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm" -- R.W. Emerson
My TEDx Talk - The Subtle Secrets of Success
Full disclosure: I work for IFI and VEX Robotics, and am the Chairman of the VEX Robotics and VEX IQ Game Design Committees
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Unread 12-01-2005, 07:22 AM
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Re: UFH: Steve Rourke

Not much left to say after Karthik's post. Steve is one of the nicest guys I've met in FIRST. Steve, congrats and keep up the great work. You deserve this honor.
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Unread 12-01-2005, 07:26 AM
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Re: UFH: Steve Rourke

Congratulations, Steve. It is obvious that the Canadian teams have become strong through your efforts. Keep up the good work.
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Unread 12-01-2005, 08:25 AM
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Re: UFH: Steve Rourke

Congratulations to Steve Rourke, our next Unsung FIRST Hero.
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Unread 12-01-2005, 11:14 AM
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Re: UFH: Steve Rourke

Steve is an absolutely incredible person. Since I have met him in Long Island 2004, he has continually impressed me.

To see him honored here is a great thing.

Steve,
Enjoy the spotlight and the recognition. You've earned it.
I've still got that signed bill; double or nothing in 2006?

John
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Unread 12-01-2005, 11:35 AM
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Re: UFH: Steve Rourke

Congrats to Mr. Rourke. Thank you for all that you do. You have touched so many lives.
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Unread 12-01-2005, 12:06 PM
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Re: UFH: Steve Rourke

Congratulations Steve! The things you guys have done in Canada has been a huge contributor to the growth and strength of FIRST. There's so many enthusiastic people involved. You guys are setting new high standards that the rest of us are learning from. I'm honored to have gotten a chance to meet you last year and to see your teams in action. I can't wait to get a closer look this year when we come to Toronto!

Ken
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Unread 12-01-2005, 01:30 PM
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Re: UFH: Steve Rourke

Like Karthik, it's been my pleasure to work with Steve as a part of the NiagaraFIRST family. I too must echo Karthik's kind comments; Steve has been instrumental in the rapid growth of FIRST-related activity in the Niagara region, and has been a strong supporter of all facets of engineering-related education, by introducing students to FLL in elementary school, introducing them to FRC in high school, hiring university students to co-op terms, and (for the many college-graduates-in-training at GM St. Catharines) starting them off on a career. Congratulations!
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Unread 12-01-2005, 01:47 PM
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Re: UFH: Steve Rourke

I don't think I could have said it any better than Karthik. Steve is a mentor, a role model, and an all around great guy. Without steve, I still wouldnt know the joys of FIRST. You really do deserve this honor.

Thank you, and Congratulations Mr. Rourke.
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Unread 12-01-2005, 03:54 PM
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Re: UFH: Steve Rourke

Congratulations Steve!

This is a well deserved award.

Three years ago Steve called me and asked if I'd be interested in mentoring a FIRST robotics team. That was the beginning of NiagaraFIRST.org, before it had a name. From that day forward Steve has been behind all of our teams success. He has challenged our group to be successfully in all parts of FIRST and enabled us to meet those challenges. He has been demanding and supportive. I have enjoyed the last three years and I hope to continue to help Steve grow FIRST in Niagara.

I've been there from the beginning and I can honestly say that without Steve there would be no NiagaraFIRST.org.

Steve, you should be very proud.

Thank you for giving me the chance to be a part of FIRST in Niagara.
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Unread 12-01-2005, 04:16 PM
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Re: UFH: Steve Rourke

Steve:

You probably have to deal with Karthik more than anyone else around. For maintaining your sanity alone, you are worthy of this award 10 times over!

Congratulations, and thank you for everything you've done to expand FIRST in the Niagara region. You oversee some truly wonderful teams and people we here in Warren, OH USA are fortunate to call our friends.
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