View Full Version : UFH: Ian Mackenzie

10-16-2004, 01:19 PM
Thread created automatically to discuss UFH Honoree: Ian Mackenzie (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/ufh.php?action=honoreedetail&id=26/).

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/ufh/image/1097950782Mackenzie_jpg (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/ufh.php?action=honoreedetail&id=26)

Name: Ian Mackenzie
Date Honored: 10-14-2004
Years involved w/FIRST: 7
FIRST Team(s): Scotiabank/Bell Canada/Toronto District School Board &, Woburn Collegiate Institute (0188), General Motors - St. Catharines Powertrain/Allied Marine and Industrial &, Governor Simcoe Secondary School (1114)
Role: Lead Designer
Quote: “When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” -Buckminster Fuller
Bio: Ian Mackenzie is a driving force behind Canadian FIRST and Team 1114. Ian was involved with team 188, Woburn Robotics, while a student; later, he moved on to mentor team 1114, Simbotics. Ian shares a wealth of knowledge on FIRST programs and experiences.

Ian has a great memory to share with us: "Lots to choose from, but almost certainly the inaugural Canadian Regional in 2002. After several years of only having one or two other Canadian teams, suddenly we had 25 – finally there was a real Canadian FIRST community. I could actually walk around the arena and talk to people that I knew, both team members in the pits as well as volunteers (most of whom were Woburn Robotics alumni, friends, or family). It certainly helped that our robot did well…that year I was the strategy guy as well as one of the main builders, so I ran around like crazy for the whole weekend and then had to miss work because I collapsed Sunday evening and couldn’t get out of bed for a week. The second Canadian Regional was almost as good – I wasn’t on a team, but I knew even more people on even more teams and it was rewarding to see how many teams had implemented stuff that I’d talked about in my workshops the previous fall."

He also has an amazing list of FIRST accomplishments. "My FIRST experience started on Woburn Robotics (team 188), where I was the president of the original Canadian FIRST team and pushed for, designed, and implemented Woburn’s first real gearboxes. I came back and mentored for one year, and then spent four months in the fall running workshops for rookie teams, adding resources to firstcanadianregional.org, and helping to recruit teams across Canada (Vancouver, Calgary, all over Ontario, and one trip to Labrador City out in the middle of nowhere). I helped design and run Robovation competitions at the last couple of Canadian Kickoffs, and was fortunate enough to be on one of the Game Design teams for FIRST proper last year. More recently, I was one of two General Managers of Simbotics (team 1114), along with Karthik Kanagasabapathy, where we designed and built Canada’s first strafing/swerve/crab drive system. I’m currently a co-Volunteer Coordinator for the upcoming Waterloo Regional."

Ian also has a great bit of advice for FIRSTers: "FIRST is a fantastic place to learn teamwork (there’s no way to avoid it!) and to have the experience of working on a large, exciting project with a great group of people, but it would be a mistake to lose track of the excellent pure technical experience that FIRST can provide. My FIRST experience continues to pay off hugely at co-op jobs and during university projects. There’s plenty in FIRST for those not planning to become engineers, but for those who are, there are a lot of excellent lessons to be learned in how to quickly design and build something to do a given task, and do it reliably and well. So I would say yes, if you’re so inclined, a large part of FIRST really is about building robots."

Congratulations to Ian Mackenzie, our 23rd Unsung FIRST Heroes Award Winner.

Nominated By: Karthik

Amanda Morrison
10-16-2004, 01:20 PM
Congratulations to Ian Mackenzie, our 23rd Unsung FIRST Hero, and our second from Canada. :)

10-16-2004, 01:48 PM
Congratulations Ian! I don't know you, unfortunately, but from what I read you definitely seem to deserve this award. From Team 007, Congrats!

Arefin Bari
10-16-2004, 01:56 PM
"FIRST is a fantastic place to learn teamwork (there’s no way to avoid it!) and to have the experience of working on a large, exciting project with a great group of people, but it would be a mistake to lose track of the excellent pure technical experience that FIRST can provide." - Ian Mackenzie

Very True Ian. Even though i dont know you, but after reading your nomination i realize that you are very well deserved for this honor. Serving FIRST as student, volunteer, and mentor for the past 7 years is a long time. but when you are busy with soemthing that you love to do, time passes by very fast. Congrats Ian. we are happy to have someone like you in our FIRST community... :)

J Flex 188
10-16-2004, 02:07 PM
Ian is one of the nicest and most gracious people you will ever meet in the FIRST family. It's always fun to stop by the simbotics pit and joke around with him and the team about our matches, and as I'm sure everyone else is aware, the ribbing doesnt stop at all. But at the same time, he's always ready to help out, with materials, and the workshops in his profile. We just wish we could steal him and Karthik back for the 2005 season =P

10-16-2004, 02:19 PM
Congratulations! You're the man!

Let me tell a (not so short) story about my experiences with this GREAT guy:

I first met Ian back in 2002 at the Toronto Regional.
229 and 188 ended up working together for a qualification match.

I think we ended up winning, but that doesn't really matter.
See, Ian was the 188 coach, while I was coaching 229.
What I distinctly remember was how much fun it was working with Ian.
We had a great time! It is one of the only qualification matches from my 5 years in FIRST that still sticks out in my mind as being a ton of fun.

We chatted a bit after the match, and then ended up going to the Team Social and hanging out.
(See, those crazy Canadians were trying to make us American teams feel at home. Something they go out of their way to do.)

Ian and I discussed FIRST philosophy a little bit, but mostly we just talked gearboxes. I remember he showed me 188's 6 motor drive, which impressed me to no end. They were one of the first teams to implement the "Tim Allen" solution to drivetrain (More power! *grunt grunt grunt*).

Later on, we ended up partnered together for the finals!
229 and 188 ended up on an alliance run by our friends Delphi E.L.I.T.E.

This was quite the experience...
Eric O'Brien was the 229 coach for the finals, but I got the chance to participate in the strategy meetings. What I remember is how sharp Ian was. He truly is a great strategist, and a fine coach.
We ended up getting eliminated in the semi-finals, but it was still a great time.

Cut to later that summer and into the next year:
I decided I needed to learn more about Mechanical Design to help out 229.
During my search for information, I came across some of the work Ian developed for some of the Canadian teams. This was the first time I began to understand exactly how involved Ian was, and some of the incredible things he (and others) were doing up north to promote and strengthen FIRST.

This past season, Ian and I ended up at the same competition again in Long Island. 229 and 1114 were both competing.
He was now lead designer for 1114 (and my... what a pretty robot did he help produce!) It was like Canada all over again. 1114 and 229 became close immediately. When we allied together in the finals, it seemed meant to be.

Again, working with Ian (and this new character named Karthik) was a GREAT time. It's always a pleasure.

So seriously... I'm rambling.
The point of this is that Ian is (another) one of the most professional, sharp people I've had the pleasure of working with. The incredible things he does to support FIRST and FIRST in Canada are almost beyond comprehension. I am in awe of some of the Mechanical Designs he has done. I have been told that 90% of the technology team 188 uses in their much touted 6 motor shifting gearbox was developed by Ian. He is probably the best Mechanical Designer from our age group, and one of the better designers in the FIRST competition.

For all the above reasons; I respect him a great deal, and so should you.

Again, congratulations Ian. You truly deserve this recognition and honour. Enjoy it.

Your Friend,

PS - Props to Karthik for nominating Ian. Thank you, K-man.

jonathan lall
10-16-2004, 02:27 PM
My first year in FIRST saw Ian coming to meetings almost as frequently as I, to contribute to our robot's function and showing up halfway through the build season with two ridiculously complex gearboxes he'd built in the background, with six motors (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2552) each. What?!

For those of you who don't know Ian, he lives FIRST. Not only has it totally shaped his career path and education, but he even has his parents into it. He's known to throw parties for others in the FIRST family. The amount of work Ian has put into 188's development (and don't forget 1114's monstrosity last year, for which Ian is largely responsible) is nothing short of staggering. He's a major factor behind 188's and 1114's success in Canada.

Ian so deserves this. Congratulations.

Steve W
10-16-2004, 02:36 PM
Ian, what can I say. All that I hear at Team 188 is Ian this and Ian that. He is definitely FIRST at its best. If I can make 1/10 of the impact that he has made I would be honoured.

Congrats and a tip of my hat to you Ian.

10-16-2004, 02:42 PM
Also, props on the picture choice.

Now whenever I open up the portal in the next 15 days I get to see that beautiful robot. ;)

Tristan Lall
10-16-2004, 03:59 PM
It's nice to see Ian congratulated by the people of ChiefDelphi; I've had the opportunity to work with him for several years (since 1999, I guess...) with Woburn, and to help him with some of the Canadian Regional kickoff activities.

As it turns out, I learned all about gearboxes by playing with Woburn's first 3-motor examples, designed and built by Ian. He even invited me to his house to learn Pro/ENGINEER, and to give me some tips on designing my own.

He's definitely deserving of our recognition.

I can think of at least one better picture for this, though: how about a shot of Ian dancing to that 'NSync song (Bye Bye Bye?) beside the playing field at the Nationals, circa 2001...I wonder if we still have that photo?

10-16-2004, 05:58 PM
Congratulations Ian... This is well - deserved ...

Vince lau
10-16-2004, 07:17 PM
Congratulations Ian

10-16-2004, 08:14 PM
What can I say about Ian? I've worked with Ian for the past seven years. We began as high school students in 1998 (I was in grade 13, Ian a lowly grade 10). As one of the team veterans, I was always tentative to let go, and trust younger students with important jobs. Ian changed my outlook on this. His mechanical genius (yes, i do mean genius) was to bright to ignore. It was obvious that Ian was going to become a star. Over the years, Ian was responsible for many of the most creative (four big balls in 2001) and efficient designs, not only in Canada, but in all of FIRST. In 2002 he was responsible for the 6 drive motor monstrosity that was blizzard 3. He came up with this revolutionary design as a college freshmen!

Ian is by far the most gifted designer that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. When I realized that both Ian and I had been hired by GM, to lead Team 1114, I jumped nearly 40 inches in the air. Once I knew Ian was on board, success was inevitable. Everything he touches seems to turn to gold.

While working with Team 1114, Ian and I lived together. During the initial design of SimSwerve, our 2004 drive system, Ian went a period of 38 hours without sleep. He stationed himself at his dual monitor terminal, and designed, and designed. I tried to stay up with him, but to no avail. Eventually I had to leave, because he repeatedly threatened my life. (All in good fun) Having the chance to run a team with Ian was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The four months which made up the 2004 Season will never be forgotten.

Ian's involvement in FIRST is not just restricted to Robot Design. He is an amazing recruiter, which can be seen by the successes achieved by himself in Mark Breadner in helping the Canadian Regional grow. We are currently working together to extend this success to the Waterloo Regional.

Despite Ian's overwhelming genius, he has one quality that's even stronger. Ian is the most dedicated person I know. Ian let's nothing come between himself and his priorities. This does not only apply to FIRST, but academics and his friends. Ian is the kind of person who will always go out of his way to help someone. I consider myself lucky to have him as a roommate, a colleague, a teammate and most of all a friend.

I could go on for hours with stories about Ian, but I'll leave it at this. Congratulations Ian, on a well deserved honour.

Your friend,

10-16-2004, 08:52 PM
Let me tell you about the first time i met Ian. I was one of two students from 1114 attending a seminar mobility systems. I walked in and remembered thinking to myself "What a dork". My opinion Ian soon changed though. It was our rookie year, and i hadn't really been exposed to FIRST at all. I didn't even know what gracious professionalism was. Ian changed all that. Of all the mentors I had, I think Ian taught me the most, not just about robot design(which was alot), but also what it means to be FIRST. I can't thank him enough for all he did for me and for 1114.

One thing I remember clearly from that first seminar I attended. He showed a video of Wildstangs 2002 robot, and its strafing system, and I remember him saying how very difficult it was to construct a strafing system. Then one year later and 6 weeks later, we shipped the first Canadian strafing robot. And I don't care what anybody says, 6 motors is cool and all, but not as cool as going sideways. Ironically enough, Ian designed the two coolest drive systems in FIRST Canadian history.
(188's hexadrive and 1114's simswerve)

10-16-2004, 09:36 PM
Congrats Ian, though I prefer the pic Karthnik posted to the UFH one above ;)

Greg Perkins
10-17-2004, 07:39 PM
Hey congrats Ian!!!

Heres to you from all of your friends, soon-to-be-friends, and admirerers from New Hampshire!!!!!

What an awesome accomplishment!!!


Josh Hambright
10-18-2004, 11:02 AM
Congrats Ian, I dont know you personally but from your nomination says, you sure do deserve this.

Derek Bessette
10-18-2004, 11:22 AM
Congrats Ian!!

It's nice to see that your amazing and commitment doesn't go unrecognized.

I also met Ian for the first time in 2002 during a seminar he was putting on for the 2003 season. I don't remember all the questions I had asked him that day, but I know he had an answer for all of them. The seminars that he put on that year (which are available on the GTR website) helped Simbotics have a successfully rookie season. We were so impressed that we decided to hire him for a co-op term here at GM in St. Catharines. I had the opportunity to work with Ian during the 2004 season as he and Karthik led our team to a record breaking year.

Ian is a great example for students and mentors to follow. His design skills speak for themselves, but what really puts Ian head and shoulders above so many (other than his height) is his effort in everything he does. Whether it be helping out other teams, working on a design, or just trying to be the best person he can.

Ian works very hard to represent FIRST and it's values.

Congratulations and good luck!!

I see a Woodie Flower's Award in your future. Especially if you find yourself a team and stick with them for a while!!! I nominate 1114!

Ken Patton
10-18-2004, 12:06 PM
Mr. Ian Mackenzie....

Congratulations! You are one of the great examples of why FIRST is important to corporations in the U.S. and Canada. Where else can the companies come to events where there are thousands of motivated engineers-to-be, meet them, see their work, and get to know them? When a student (like you!) shows year after year a high level of creativity, strategic thinking, hard work, results, and graciousness, it is possible to say (as a bunch of others have done in this thread) that we *know* you are going to continue to be an incredible success.

Its been an honor to know you these past several years. Way to go!


10-18-2004, 05:15 PM
Yes, I agree this is WELL deserved. The entire team 1114 were extremely gracious and nice. We had the privilege of playing with and against them at the SBPLI Long Island regionals. We had a great time being your partner for 1 match (even though we lost X_x). You guys were also one of the teams who go us through the entire competition. They helped us fix our robots arm after they accidentally flipped us off the ramp, and were always there for us if we got in a jam. You guys deserve all the recognition that you get!

Maybe see you guys in March at the next SBPLI regional.

Al Skierkiewicz
10-19-2004, 06:37 AM
Congratulations! It is a pleasure to know that students like yourself are involved and helping make a better world. Keep up the good work.

Mr. Lim
10-19-2004, 08:20 AM

I've known you since 1998, and never once did I doubt that you were THE BEST!


And don't get too comfortable, because I'm sure this is just the beginning of even more great things to come.


P.S. You're making Karthik and I feel old... hahaha

10-20-2004, 10:21 AM
Well, I like to think I can spot talent. Looks like I might have been right about this guy. Congratulations Ian! When I look into my crystal ball, I can see a bright future for you. Definitely a future Woodie Flowers Award Winner. And with his engineering skill and intellectual capacity, I think he's also a future Woodie Flowers.

Rich Wong
10-20-2004, 11:50 AM
Congratulations Ian!

Canada High Schools and FIRST is very lucky to have someone like you. :cool:

Best wishes.

The Paco
10-20-2004, 02:15 PM
i am honored to have traded team shirts with such an amazing FIRSTer! Ian has done great work with 188 and 1114, your contribution to the FIRST community is truly invaluable. your impact has indeed been felt all over north america.

thanks again for being such a great guy!!

Andrew Rosselet
10-24-2004, 11:29 AM
Congrats Ian!
I have seen you involved with robotics since before grade 9, but never knew you were this comitted.

Justin 188
03-21-2005, 02:39 PM
Wow, I'm terribly late on this.

I can say with complete resolve that the entire body of FIRST in Canada would not be where it is without Ian. Along with Mark Breadner, Roly Anderson, and a number of others who have already been credited for their amazing efforts, Ian has been a forerunner for so many of us growing up with FIRST in Canada.

How he keeps up with both school and FIRST simultaneously to the degree that he does is beyond me :D

Congrats Ian!