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Name: Joe Ross
Date Honored: 02-28-2005
Years involved w/FIRST: 9
FIRST Team(s): J&,F Machine/NASA-JPL/Raytheon &, Hope Chapel Academy (0330), Bausch &, Lomb Incorporated &, Churchville-Chili High School (0340), Bausch &, Lomb Incorporated/Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Inc. &, Edison School of Engineering &, Manufacturing High School (0073), Hoselton/OCM Technical Services, Inc./Crosby-Brownlie, Inc. &, The Charles Finney High School (1405)
Quote: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Bio: Joe Ross was a college mentor extraordinare, and made the rest of us look good. Involved with many teams throughout his nine years, Joe is well known in the FIRST community as well as here on the ChiefDelphi Forums.
Unlike many of the memories that are recalled by winners, Joe mentioned, "I have two favorite FIRST memories, both occurring when I wasn't there." Though it sounds odd, Joe had great stories to share with us. "During my years as a student on 330, I had always thought we had a chance at winning the chairmans award. However, I never had the time, creativity or writing ability to pull it off. Two years after I left for college, they decided to do a chairmans entry. The last weekend consisted of a late night technical support session where I hacked into their computer from across the country to retrieve the entry. At the competition then, I talked to my mom after the elimination rounds (like she always does) and she told me about getting eliminated in the semis and the great battle in the championship matches. However, several hours later, she called to say they won the chairmans award. To see the years of “Putting Others FIRST” finally be recognized was absolutely amazing.
"Last year I was mentoring 1405 (Finney Falcons), and couldn’t attend the Annapolis regional because of all the work I had to complete on my senior design project. I really like the group of students, teachers, and parents, and that was probably my hardest event I ever skipped). Friday I got a call after the first or second match about how the ball herder wasn’t really working that well, but I was too busy that day to follow closely. Imagine my surprise to Friday night check the FIRST site and see that we were undefeated and seeded 4th. Saturday I had a little more free time and no matter how quickly the FIRST site was updated with information, it wasn’t fast enough. I was chatting at the same time with a friend from another team there who couldn’t make it, and we’d pass information back and forth as we got it. As it got closer to alliance selection, the information both of us got diminished drastically. Imagine my surprise when I got the call that we finished undefeated, seeded 2nd, picked team 16, and set the highest score to date in the 2nd round. After that, it was the longest hour of my life to hear back that we won the regional. I was so very proud of all the hard work that the Finney students, parents and teachers put it that I welled up in tears."
After his long tenure in FIRST, Joe had a few words to say about accomplishments. "The biggest accomplishment is graduating with a BSEE while staying actively involved in FIRST throughout college. It took a lot of long nights, a lot of lost sleep, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The teams that I have been on have accomplished a whole lot, but those aren’t my accomplishments. The most I ever did was provide the push in the right direction, without amazing teams, my signature wouldn’t exist."
Finally, Joe shared some advice for all of us to heed: "Broaden your horizons. It’s amazing how much more you can learn when you are forced to work outside your comfort zone. I became a much better mentor after switching teams. I’ve worked with small private schools and big inner city public schools. It takes a completely different method to reach the students at each, but that experience helps with everyone."
Congratulations to Joe Ross, recipient of the next Unsung FIRST Heroes Award.
Nominated By: Greg Needel
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