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Unread 04-20-2010, 11:03 AM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
If for the formative years of his life Andy Baker was told, "Manual labor is all you can do" we might all be spending a lot more time building gearboxes. Imagine what we would have lost just because we didn't encourage those who can do to do.
Your example of Andy Baker is an interesting one, I believe his greatest success was not as an engineer but as an entrepreneur. I believe that the FIRST community stresses engineering but falls short on entrepreneurship.

This fact is ironic too considering that entrepreneurial skills are the skills required to accomplish all of Dean's homework. However, in spite of this fact, the program still emphasizes engineering. I believe that entrepreneurship is a banner that would unite all those who support FIRST, from the manual laborer, to the engineer, to the politician.

FIREE anyone? (For Inspiration and Recognition of Engineering and Entrepreneurship )
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Unread 04-20-2010, 11:11 AM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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Your example of Andy Baker is an interesting one, I believe his greatest success was not as an engineer but as an entrepreneur. I believe that the FIRST community stresses engineering but I think it falls short on entrepreneurship.

This fact is ironic too considering that entrepreneurial skills are the skills required to accomplish all of Dean's homework. However, in spite of this fact, the program still emphasizes engineering. I believe that entrepreneurship is a banner that would unite all those who support FIRST, from the manual laborer, to the engineer, to the politician.

FIREE anyone? (For Inspiration and Recognition of Engineering and Entrepreneurship )
I have to agree and explain my choice of Andy Baker. I am making some assumptions. I do not know much about Mr Baker's formative years. He may have only been told that working as a line worker for GM was his only option. I HONESTLY don't know. He was chosen not because of his success with AndyMark but because of his sheer impact on FIRST.

(Does anyone have any good rules for remembering how to spell entrepreneurship? I really cannot spell that word without spell check.)
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Unread 04-20-2010, 11:16 AM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

I went to school to learn how to be a Professional Ford Auto Tech (fancy name for a educated mechanic who has Ford training) and i was a little offended. We need people doing jobs like fixing your cars, or fixing your plumbing, or building that bridge or house or whatever. I would most likely kill myself if I had a desk job staring at a computer, I do that enough at home. I'm not a smart person, but give me a car and some parts and I will make it go fast.............. or blow up they are both fine results to me. Not everyone can be an engineer making $100,000 a year.
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Unread 04-20-2010, 11:23 AM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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I went to school to learn how to be a Professional Ford Auto Tech (fancy name for a educated mechanic who has Ford training) and i was a little offended. We need people doing jobs like fixing your cars, or fixing your plumbing, or building that bridge or house or whatever. I would most likely kill myself if I had a desk job staring at a computer, I do that enough at home. I'm not a smart person, but give me a car and some parts and I will make it go fast.............. or blow up they are both fine results to me. Not everyone can be an engineer making $100,000 a year.

You are absolutely correct though, not everyone can be an engineer. Not everyone wants to be one either. I have a friend who, pardon the expression, is dumb as a brick when it comes to engineering but if you put an engine in front of him he knows exactly how it works and how to make it work better. He is passionate about cars and fixing them.

Perhaps the phrasing Dean should have used: "No one wants to do a job they are not passionate about." I know everyday I go to work dreading it, I am not passionate about what I do and I hate it. Perhaps FIRST shouldn't be encouraging STEM but should instead be encouraging passion while exposing students to new opportunities.
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Unread 04-20-2010, 11:25 AM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

I think Dean meant these words with no offense to anyone. I believe he meant no one wanted the old manual jobs that risks of losing a finger, hand, etc. were high. I want to be a skilled tradesman or a aviation maintanence technician. These are manual labor jobs but those risks are not as high as the older manual labor jobs. Who knows, maybe im wrong.
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Unread 04-20-2010, 11:41 AM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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Originally Posted by DarkFlame145 View Post
I went to school to learn how to be a Professional Ford Auto Tech (fancy name for a educated mechanic who has Ford training) and i was a little offended. We need people doing jobs like fixing your cars, or fixing your plumbing, or building that bridge or house or whatever. I would most likely kill myself if I had a desk job staring at a computer, I do that enough at home. I'm not a smart person, but give me a car and some parts and I will make it go fast.............. or blow up they are both fine results to me. Not everyone can be an engineer making $100,000 a year.
I wouldn't consider you a manual laborer - I would consider you a skilled tradesman or a technician.
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Unread 04-20-2010, 11:41 AM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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Originally Posted by web_master_dpep View Post
I think Dean meant these words with no offense to anyone. I believe he meant no one wanted the old manual jobs that risks of losing a finger, hand, etc. were high. I want to be a skilled tradesman or a aviation maintanence technician. These are manual labor jobs but those risks are not as high as the older manual labor jobs. Who knows, maybe im wrong.
With almost any manual job there are dangers, i couldn't count the number of burn i have from working in welding shops during the summers. Heck even while at trade school I saw a kid lose most of his hair thanks to a backfire that came out of a carburetor.
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Unread 04-20-2010, 11:53 AM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

I don't think anyone would argue that Dean meant to offend people. I think the discussion here is more with regards to the fact that he did, unintentionally, and the complication that arose due to it. I think the individuals behind this thread are simply trying to bring to light that when Dean misarticulates, it has ramifications.
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Unread 04-20-2010, 12:18 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

As someone who's been around FIRST since 2003, I think I'm justified in saying I've heard a good portion of Dean's speeches, and since 2003, there's been a few things I've noticed over the years, both in Dean's speeches, and those of John Abele, Woodie Flowers, Paul Gudonis, and Bill Miller too.

A recurring theme I see in the speeches of these leaders is references to "this country", and "America". This is HIGHLY offensive to those of us who come from Canada, Brazil, Israel, Australia, Germany, Turkey, Great Britain, and more. Frankly, we have no intent of helping the United States of America by participating in FIRST, though it may be a side effect. This goes hand in hand with the "It's not Nationals, its Championships" argument.

It was offensive to me, because we had travelled thousands of miles to compete, and were made to feel as though we were not even there in some cases, as though FIRST was a purely American phenomenon. If you want to grow the program such that every student on the planet has the chance to participate, you have to start THINKING with a world-centric mindset.

International teams are NOT exactly a small group at Championships. Of the 344 teams that attended championships this year, 23 of them hailed from somewhere other than the USA. Thats more than 6% of the teams there.
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Unread 04-20-2010, 12:30 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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A recurring theme I see in the speeches of these leaders is references to "this country", and "America".
Also the fact that the site the FIRST is hosted at is still usfirst.org
I mean at least they scrapped the US in the name, but I definitely agree with you, that this program is not a US program anymore, but now is an international program.
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Unread 04-20-2010, 12:30 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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His comment about how 'nobody wants a manual labor job' was not well-received by the general contractor who has been helping our team with electrical work, fabrication, and assembly for six years, nor by the farmer who gave us his time as well as over two thousand dollars (and has only ever wanted to be a farmer, and loves his job and his life), nor by the owner of the woodworking company that has given us thousands of dollars over the past several years.
General Contracting, Farming, Woodworking are absolutely positively not in the manual labor category. Yes it takes a lot of sweat but those are tough careers that require a lot of thinking, forward planning, risk management, personnel skills, and a fair amount of intestinal fortitude to create and operate successfully especially in any economy especially the current economy.

Each of these careers have a high "internal locus of control". Each of these individuals are their own man or woman. And each of them would prefer to be in charge of their own affairs instead of someone else running their lives. They are risk taking entrepreneurs.

In the past 3 weeks I have met with both Dean and Woodie, separately and up close and personal. I talked with Dean specifically on the issue careers choices that FIRST students make. By no stretch of the imagination does Dean expect all FIRST alumni to enter STEM fields. NO stretch at all. Dean wants what we all want and that is for students to get passionate about something, and take charge of their lives and excel at something. The reason the subject even came up was because one of my team members, Dean, and I were talking specifically about this issue because a student on my team is part of the Miss America's Pageant system and is the current Miss Teen Georgia. And no she is not going into STEM careers since we are talking about it. I was never planning on bringing up the Miss Georgia thing on Chief Delphi (because we do not want to exploit it) but it helps explain what I'm talking about. And yes ! she thinks FIRST is cool !!

Being a General Contractor, Farmer, or Woodworker requires someone that is clearly in charge of their destiny.

Woodie's discussed his childhood and how tough and dirt poor his family was. About how he learned to work with his hands and had NO plans to attend the university. He talked about education he got with his hands and how that gave him comparative advantage as a university student relative to those that have never had the opportunity to work with their hands and the sweat of their brow.

I can easily see how someone (that works that hard as the three careers listed above) can get worked up about Dean's comment. I understand that. I am from that world.

But based on up close and personal discussions with both Dean and Woodie (in the past 3 weeks) I am quite certain there was no slight intended by Dean but it was a careless choice of words.

Having said all of that Dean needs to address this in one of his future events. And I think it would be cool to get Mike Rowe on board.

Ed
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Unread 04-20-2010, 12:31 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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If you want to grow the program such that every student on the planet has the chance to participate, you have to start THINKING with a world-centric mindset.
*standing ovation!*

Awesome comment.

Jane
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Unread 04-20-2010, 01:19 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

I would like to be clear that I am absolutely certain that Dean did not intend his comment to be callous and insulting.
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Unread 04-20-2010, 02:08 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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Originally Posted by pfreivald View Post
... His comment about how 'nobody wants a manual labor job' was not well-received by the general contractor who has been helping our team with electrical work, fabrication, and assembly for six years, nor by the farmer who gave us his time as well as over two thousand dollars (and has only ever wanted to be a farmer, and loves his job and his life), nor by the owner of the woodworking company that has given us thousands of dollars over the past several years. ...
Given FIRST's mission to change culture and inspire youth to pursue careers and education in science and technology, I assume team sponsors intend to help with that mission and agree that it's desirable to change culture in that direction. To compete economically in the international arena will require much more than just manual labor.
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Unread 04-20-2010, 02:25 PM
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Re: Dean Kamen, Manual Laborers, and You

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I would like to be clear that I am absolutely certain that Dean did not intend his comment to be callous and insulting.
I totally get what you are saying. I for one am not misunderstanding the comment.

Back in the little town I grew up in the large majority of people had a lot of grease and dirt on their hands. There were few people that had clean indoor jobs. One of them was the president, later chairman of the local bank.

With a great deal of pride he would jump at the chance to shake a dirty hand, make a connection with the people in the community and move the affairs of the town forward. It wasn't a phoney connection but the real deal.

He was a great role model growing up.
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