View Full Version : UFH: Karthik Kanagasabapathy

01-31-2005, 11:02 PM
Thread created automatically to discuss UFH Honoree: Karthik Kanagasabapathy (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/ufh.php?action=honoreedetail&id=33/).

http://www.chiefdelphi.com/ufh/image/1107230659Karthik___UFH_jpg (http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/ufh.php?action=honoreedetail&id=33)

Name: Karthik Kanagasabapathy
Date Honored: 01-31-2005
Years involved w/FIRST: 8
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: Team Advisor/Consultant
Quote: "For me, winning isn't something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowds roar. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream." - Emmitt Smith
Bio: Karthik Kanagasabapathy is well known on the ChiefDelphi forums (and no, not just for that whopper of a name). Karthik, a member of the Waterloo Regional Committee and an active member of NiagaraFIRST, is becoming well known as a guiding voice and talented mentor in FIRST.

Karthik described his accomplishments for the community. "Some of my proudest accomplishments include being a member of the first ever Canadian team in FIRST (188 in 1998), leading Team 1114 to one of the most successful regional seasons in FIRST (One championship, Two Finalists, 4 Technical Awards, 1 Animation Award), being a part of the fabulous off-season event at Canada’s Wonderland, helping the development of FIRST in Niagara Region and being a part of the process of getting the new Waterloo Regional off the ground.

We’re working very hard these days north of the border to develop and nurture the flock of young teams we have. This past fall Ian Mackenzie and I ran a series of 6 workshops on various FIRST topics. I also helped plan, design and run the 2005 Robovation competition that was held at the Toronto remote kickoff. With all this guidance, we’re very hopeful that more Canadian teams will become forces to be reckoned with this season.

The accomplishment I pride myself on most, however, is getting people excited about FIRST who normally wouldn’t be. There’s a huge “nerd” stigma attached to FIRST and science and technology in general and, as adults, it’s easy to forget how much these stigmas mean to teenagers. As a result, many very bright individuals avoid technology because it’s “dorky”. I was one of those people when I was in high school, but luckily for me the excitement and energy of FIRST changed my view. As a result, I now work very hard to show students that FIRST isn’t just for “nerds”. You can still be interested in science and technology and be a cool kid, not a pariah. Bringing science and technology via FIRST to these kids who would have avoided it like the plague is more worthwhile to me than any trophy."

Karthik also told us a little bit about his favorite memory in FIRST. "Two moments stick out in my mind as my best memories of FIRST. The first would be nationals at EPCOT in 1998. It was my last year of high school and Mark Breadner and Roly Anderson had entered Woburn Robotics, Team 188, into the FIRST Robotics Competition. We had done a smaller scale competition in years past, so upon entering FIRST my expectations weren’t very high. All of that changed when we arrived at EPCOT. I walked into the Einstein Stadium and my jaw dropped; I saw a temporary stadium with seating for 10,000 + people which had been erected just for FIRST and immediately realized the magnitude of this event. This definitely wasn’t some sort of small-scale science fair. Over the course of the weekend, the high level of competition astonished me. The robots were awe-inspiring! Seeing those robots made me realize that one-day I wanted to make people’s jaws drop the same way mine had. That feeling of awe and excitement is a big reason why I’m still here today.

The second moment is the entire 2004 season. It had now been six years since that first trip to EPCOT, and things were coming full circle. Working with some amazing people at GM (most notably Ian Mackenzie, Derek Bessette and Steve Rourke) and some very keen and dedicated High School students, we created a very capable and complex robot, “Simbot Simon”. At every competition we attended, the crowd would “ooh” and “aah” during our first practice match when they caught a glimpse of our robot’s swerve drive and pneumatic wheel lifters in action. People were constantly coming up to me and saying, “That’s so cool, I want to be able to do that!” “Simon” became such a crowd favourite in Pittsburgh and Long Island that fans throughout the arenas were waving Canadian flags to cheer us on. I like to call that our “Rocky IV” moment. We put together an amazing season and won many awards, but none will top the gratification of knowing that I was partly responsible for exciting students about technology the way I had been years earlier."

Lastly, Karthik gave us a little bit of advice to heed. "As I see it, the main goal of FIRST is to affect a cultural change in society. This is no small task. To bring about this level of change, we must never lose sight of the goal; to change our culture, FIRST must create an awareness in as many people as possible. I see it as the responsibility of each and every one of us to make this happen. I’m not asking every one to go out and start a new team; it’s much simpler than that. Spread the word of FIRST. Invite your friends and parents friends to a competition. You all know as well as I do that once they see FIRST in action, they’ll be hooked. From there, we’ll be one step closer to accomplishing our goal."

Congratulations to Karthik Kanagasabapathy for being honored as our 29th Unsung FIRST Hero.

Nominated By: Holtzman

Amanda Morrison
01-31-2005, 11:02 PM
Congratulations to Karthik Kanagasabapathy for being honored as our next Unsung FIRST Hero.

... I believe you still owe me a serenade, dear sir. ;)
(I'll be sure to be sick that day.)

Bharat Nain
01-31-2005, 11:03 PM
Congratulations Karthik! Well deserved, a lot to learn from you especially when it comes to team management and actual game play. I hope to meet you at the cmp event :).

01-31-2005, 11:03 PM
Congratulations on winning, I hope to meet you at Nat's.

Steve W
01-31-2005, 11:06 PM
As if his head isn't swollen enough already.

You deseve it Karthik. I just wish that you were "Unsung". ;)

Katie Reynolds
01-31-2005, 11:06 PM
Way to go, Karthik!! :)

01-31-2005, 11:09 PM
Congratulations to a much deserving member of the FIRST community.

Bill Gold
01-31-2005, 11:10 PM
Congratulations Karthik. Even though you’re a new friend, I can tell you’re very deserving of this award. You’ve put in an incredible amount of quality time, sacrificed many things for this program, and have shared your knowledge with countless others. It’s also really fun to give you crap :p

Congrats and take it easy, buddy.


PS – Booya!

Tristan Lall
01-31-2005, 11:12 PM
Nice work Karthik....

(Not to (I should know better than to type the word I typed) him with faint praise (http://tinyurl.com/5bez5), of course!)

Edit: Is Ms. Morrison not familiar with that phrase? Actually, that silly auto-$#@%-thing is rather inappropriate for the intended term, since to the unfamiliar reader, it could easily have been construed as one of several other terms, which would hardly have been appropriate to the context of the post.

D.J. Fluck
01-31-2005, 11:16 PM
Karthik, my man.....congrats

This man is a miracle worker. Teams need someone like this in the front office, he knows how to make things happen, even though he comes from a "country" with play money as the currency. :D

Congrats again, buddy and hope to see you again in Atlanta. (If I can make it :ahh: )


01-31-2005, 11:22 PM
Congratulations Karthik ... I actually don't know what else to say except thank you for everything ... there are a few people who without their help I would have quit last year, and you are one of them ... Congratulations again ...

Arefin Bari
01-31-2005, 11:22 PM
I am little late...

Wow A guy that I was talking to at 11:59 shows up as the next UFH on the portal of chiefdelphi.

Karthik, I personally want to thank you for all the suggestions you made to me just not as a mentor but also as a good friend. You are one of the FIRSTers that I look up to. There are many things that you have offered to keep the FIRST inspiration going. Thanks for all your support man.


Jeremy Roberts
01-31-2005, 11:22 PM
Congrats Karthik. It was a pleasure meeting both your professional and non-professional side this past fall. :D Hope to see you in Atlanta and maybe in NH again. Later.

Beth Sweet
01-31-2005, 11:33 PM
Fantastic choice! When I went to try and start 1504, Karthik was one of the people that offered any help he possibly could. He's been there every step of the way for my team and me. He also seems to be a fantastic mentor to all of the teams "up north" (note, that's coming from a Michigander) and is just so fantastic and supportive of everyone who needs help. Congrats Karthik, well deserved!

02-01-2005, 12:31 AM

Booya! Congratulations, you are the man!

I opened my browser, and saw you staring back at me. First thing I thought (after wow, his hair is lookin a little down today) was "about time"!!!!!

FIRST in Canada, and everywhere else, would be much different without you, and not for the better.

02-01-2005, 02:34 AM
Congrats Karthik! I'm not going to even try spelling your last name without looking for reference......

02-01-2005, 05:23 AM
Congratulations! A well-deserved honor!

Al Skierkiewicz
02-01-2005, 07:29 AM
Congratulations! It is great to see someone who has worked so hard get recognized for the work they have done. Keep up the good work!

Erin Rapacki
02-01-2005, 07:43 AM
Congratulations Karthik!
(I wish I knew that much about you sooner, you rock!)

We so gotta hang out in Atlanta.

Andy Brockway
02-01-2005, 08:11 AM
Congratulations, much deserved!

Derek Bessette
02-01-2005, 08:17 AM
Congratulation Karthik,

For those who haven't had the privilege to see Karthik in action, it is a wonderful site. The excitement and energy he brings in to the students makes them love him as well as the FIRST experience. Your hard work and dedication make you a model for the rest of us.

Thanks for all of your help.

02-01-2005, 09:34 AM
I've never seen anyone with so much energy in FIRST or anywhere else!

Well deserved honour! Congrats :D

Pat Fairbank
02-01-2005, 09:42 AM
Congratulations Karthik!
I have been in awe of you and your team's professionalism and skill ever since the Canadian Regional last year (where your alliance completely and utterly destroyed mine in the semis!).
Keep it up!


Mr. Lim
02-01-2005, 10:03 AM
Congratulations K-Man!!!

Definitely well-deserved!

As a student many years ago on Team 188, Karthik actually slept at the school during build season. It was surreal... We worked on that robot morning, day and night. When he simply couldn't remain concious any more, he passed out on the couch in the yearbook office, and then rolled off it the next morning for his first class... (or more likely skipped his classes, and worked on the robot instead). :D

That kind of dedication speaks for itself, but he wouldn't have done it if it wasn't FUN... and that's what makes this man special. He will never lose sight of how much fun FIRST is supposed to be, and he's not reluctant to spread that enjoyment around.



Ryan Albright
02-01-2005, 10:33 AM
Congrads and well-deserved

Definitely a asset to CD and the whole FIRST community

jonathan lall
02-01-2005, 12:25 PM
Congratulations Mr. Kanagasabapathy.

Seeing as I am really late on this one, let me just say that you have no life and it shows in the eyes of the students you help and in the robots you build. You are quite the character in FIRST and come up with some of the most off-kilter ideas I've ever seen. And I mean that all in a good way. You deserve this honour.

J Flex 188
02-01-2005, 12:33 PM
*echoes everyone*

Just looking at the names of the people who have posted in admiration of Karthik should be enough to convince anyone that hasn't met him yet of his complete and utter regard for the ideals of FIRST and how the game is meant to be played. You can always depend on Karthik to show the spirit of competition at a FIRST event.

Glad to be on the same team you once were on buddy,

Brandon Martus
02-01-2005, 12:38 PM
Congrats Karthik. After seeing your posts for years on the forums, I finally got the chance to meet you in Atlanta last year, and see you in action (oh, so entertaining) at the Canada's Wonderland off-season. Your energy and dedication toward the success of FIRST are amazing. Keep up the great work.

Vince lau
02-01-2005, 12:38 PM
Congrats Karthik, well deserved honour

Just no more singing please haha

The Paco
02-01-2005, 01:49 PM
Congratulations Karthik!!!

this is a well deserved honoUr!! it has been my pleasure to have gotten to know you and the awesome Simbotics team through perhaps one of the most unlikely happenings in my FIRST career.

you do great things man, KEEP IT UP!!

Andy Baker
02-01-2005, 01:57 PM

It was great to finally meet the legendary Karthik in Atlanta last year, as that was one of my highlights of my year. ... or was it good to see Karthik's highlights in his hair? Definitely, both are true. You are a good man, Karthik.

You have done much for not just FIRST in Canada, but the entire FIRST community.

Keep up the singing, and keep doing your math.

Andy Baker

Travis Hoffman
02-01-2005, 02:54 PM
You deseve it Karthik. I just wish that you were "Unsung". ;)

HAHAHAHAHA you beat me to it, Steve.....

Everybody now! Snap your fingers and sway back and forth with me!

"You never shut your mouth, anymore, when we're in the pits.
All you ever do is talk, and it really gives me fits.
You're trying hard to annoy me
But K-man....you just end up inspirin' me.

You've got that ment'rin' feelin'.
Whooooooooa that ment'rin' feelin'.
You've got that ment'rin' feelin'
And while you still can't sing
Your love of FIRST's the thing

Congrats, buddy.

Amanda Morrison
02-01-2005, 03:06 PM
This is probably my favorite Karthik story.
Somehow or another, although I was dead broke and had never been to Canada before, Karthik enticed me (after only meeting him once!) into coming up to Wonderland. I drove the four hours to Detroit, then hopped in a truck for the next four hours with Brandon Martus and made our way to Toronto.

Brandon and I didn't know what to expect when we came to Wonderland, but it turned out absolutely AWESOME. A robot competition in a theme park? Who'da thunk?

So finally, after sitting around for a bit (and having Steve W. publicly introduce Brandon and I when we were sitting in the seats watching competition), we made our way down to the field during a break. We talked to Karthik and Steve for a bit. THEN, randomly, we laugh about Karthik having to sing to me. The next thing I know, Karthik switches on his microphone and starts singing. Everyone in the bleachers is watching, and you can hear the speakers clearly throughout that end of the park.

I melted into a puddle of embarrassment into the pavement.

That's just the kind of guy Karthik is. He loves Seabiscuit (mentioned it no less than 80 times during announcing), likes embarrassing me, and loves doing math. He's a great guy, and well deserving of this award.

02-01-2005, 03:10 PM
Congrads!!! You deserve this award since you are so great. Congrads again!

Josh Hambright
02-01-2005, 03:10 PM
I will forgive the extra 'u's and say congrats karthik. Your an amazing resource to FIRST in Canada and the entire FIRST community around the globe. Thanks for everything you've done, and i hope to eventualy get to meet you.

Vince lau
02-01-2005, 03:21 PM
So finally, after sitting around for a bit (and having Steve W. publicly introduce Brandon and I when we were sitting in the seats watching competition), we made our way down to the field during a break. We talked to Karthik and Steve for a bit. THEN, randomly, we laugh about Karthik having to sing to me. The next thing I know, Karthik switches on his microphone and starts singing. Everyone in the bleachers is watching, and you can hear the speakers clearly throughout that end of the park.

I melted into a puddle of embarrassment into the pavement.

I think I remember that part, now what was that song he was singing hmmm.

anyways congrats again Karthik, see you at Mississauga and maybe Waterloo if i can make it

02-01-2005, 03:26 PM
First of all, as Karthik's Friend and nominator, I feel it is both my duty, honour, and privilege to tell some ridiculously embarrassing stories. So gather around, its story time!

(authors note: most of the good stories are far too graphic and explicit for a public forum, so I'll keep it pg-13)

Karthik Kanagasabapathy AKA Caption Beauty Sleep, is not your average mentor. You'll rarely see him with a tool in his hand, and if you do, watch out! You see, last year, when the rest of us were building a robot, he was either supervising, or working on his "strategy" in the office. I've never met someone who could strategize so well laying on the couch with his eyes closed, and snoring. The story doesn't end there though.

We're at the Pittsburgh regional. Its Thursday night, and 1114's extended family is sitting in the hotel room discussing Thursdays practise matches and strategy for Friday. After about an hour of talk, everybody's pretty tired, and out of the blue, Karthik puts on the theme from Rudy. And starts going on about how this second year team, in their 3rd regional ever, had a shot at winning this regional. After that speech, there wasn't a doubt in my mind that we could do it.(We ended up finalist in Pittsburgh, but went on to win the Long Island Regional the following weekend) It was one of the most inspirational speeches I've ever heard, even if it was one of the corniest at the same time.

Look forward to a new funny Karthik story every couple of days while hes being honoured as UFH. Congratulations Karthik, you deserve every bit of this award.

P.S. could we get Kanagasabapathy added to the spell check? or will it not handle words that big? :)

Andy Grady
02-01-2005, 06:14 PM
If some year there is a FIRST "dream team". Karthik would be number one on my list to do strategy. Not only does he have amazing knowledge of the game year after year, as well as knowledge in the history of FIRST, he knows how to sell his robot and is a true gamer...not to mention one of the strangest yet most fun people I have met in all my years of FIRST! Keep up the good work man.

-Andy Grady

P.S. Karthik, you were awsome when you made your cameo appearance in "Mean Girls"! (for those of you who have never seen it, pick it up and watch it...tell me that dude on the math team isn't Karthik!)

Jay Trzaskos
02-01-2005, 06:50 PM
Congrats Karthik. You definetly deserve this.
You may not like this but i have to tell my funny story also.

Last year in Atlanta we(229) invited both Andy Baker and Karthik to a Clarkson dinner that was being held after the pits had closed. I remember Karthik sitting in awe hanging on to every word Andy said, as every one at the table was doing. The funny part of the story was that Karthikcould barely talk from yelling through competition. so there we all were Listening to Andy talk and Karthik is sitting with a pad of paper and a pen writing down questions and scribbling them out and then writing down another.

karthik, i advise you to bring some chloreseptic drops to competition this year. ;)

Kyle Love
02-01-2005, 07:04 PM
Congrats Karthik, keep representing FIRST well in Canada.

(My favorite Karthik quote: "Silly rabbit, tix are for kids....and Karthik." :]


02-01-2005, 10:19 PM
Though I only met you last year I feel like I've known you forever. You're probably one of the most talented strategists in FIRST. Going into Long Island last year, I told my kids: "we want to work with THEM". That entire weekend was a great experience, which wouldn't have been the same without you.

Basically... NOTHING has been the same since I met you.
You change the FIRST experience. All those who know you, understand what I mean. The countless individuals you've touched through this program, lining up to sing your praise is an example of this.

The true reason Karthik is as amazing as he is, is his incredible energy and enthusiasm. It is truly contagious.

Congratulations buddy. You truly deserve this.

Your friend,

PS - Chicks dig the UFH. It's hard to keep the ladies off. ;) Really.

02-01-2005, 11:57 PM
Congratulations Karthik,

You truly deserve this award, I've never dealt with a team that was as helpful and friendly as the Simbots are and Karthik i know was/is a huge part of that.

Thanks for making FIRST great.

Congratulations Again,
Chris C

Mike Schroeder
02-02-2005, 12:08 AM
Way to go Karthik :)

It was an honor to crush you at atlanta ;p

Ian Mackenzie
02-08-2005, 07:12 PM
Wow...there's late, and then there's LATE, and I most definitely fall into the latter category. Not only was I on Karthik's team in high school, and had the honour of being co-General Manager of Simbotics (1114) last year with him, I've lived with the guy for the last half year at university.

I think my sentiments most closely match Andy Grady's comment about the "dream team"...it's now hard to imagine being on a FIRST team without Karthik, and if it ever happened, I would be very, very afraid of meeting his team in competition. (I'll be honest, though - it would be sort of fun, too).

That being said, I'm continually impressed with Karthik's complete dedication to FIRST, whether it's long-distance mentorship through Chief Delphi or MSN, running around to local teams, or organizing stuff for the Waterloo Regional. He's truly an asset to FIRST, and I hope I have the privilege of continuing to work with him in the future.

As for stories, I remember Karthik quite well from my early years on Woburn Robotics (188), where he frequently took the time to talk to me and inspire me to be more and more involved in the team, and to keep raising the bar.

And Jay, if you think the writing on notes was funny, you should have seen our strategy session in the hotel that night. Karthik installed a text-to-speech engine on his laptop...priceless. I'm laughing right now just thinking about it.

Congratulations again Karthik!

P.S. If anyone wants to hear a genuine recording of Karthik singing (he didn't know I was recording this - PDAs are handy):


02-12-2005, 12:18 PM
As I tell the story, I tell people that I met Karthik by accident. As fate would have it, of the 5,000+ people that were in attendance at the 2003 Canadian Regional Finals, I just happened to sit down beside Karthik while I was waiting for our rookie team 1114 GM/Simbotics to compete. Karthik was discussing the ins-and-outs of the competition with a friend of his. What immediately struck me was that Karthik seemed to know everything about everything in FIRST. And I mean that in a humble way. It was clear after listening to the conversation for a couple of minutes, that here was a very unique, talented, intelligent, and passionate individual. We struck up a conversation, and a friendship began that has taken us down some pretty exciting paths. The growth of FIRST in the Niagara Region has its roots in Karthik's leadership and inspiration of students and mentors during the 2004 season. And it continues today. Congratulations Karthik. Well deserved recognition!!!

Steve Rourke
Director of Engineering
GM Canada - St. Catharines

Rich Wong
02-14-2005, 07:52 PM
CONGRATS KARTHIK! CANADA FIRST is very lucky to have someone like you.


02-21-2005, 02:47 PM
Congratulations, Karthik! And...thanks for all your hard work on the Waterloo Committee!


Justin 188
03-21-2005, 02:48 PM
Man, what can I say. I login to catch up on practically the entire season, and BAM two guys I have the honour of knowing personally are named as CD Unsung Heroes.

Karthik was the crazy gr. 13 bad-boy when I was a niner, and I remember when we were down in florida he was screaming his head off and turning heads everywhere we went as a crowd. It totally blew my mind; hell, I wanted to be like Karthik! To this day he represents FIRST's Canadian spirit in my mind. Karthik: you succeeded in your mission even before you knew it ;)

Props and congrats man, you deserve it.

03-23-2005, 05:14 PM

I've only met you once... at Jillians after River Rage, but I've heard enough stories about you from Johnny-V , Carnie and EOB to understand that you've made an awesome impact on the FIRST world! Having teammates I respect that much speak so highly of another college student impressed me greatly. Not only did you impress 229's mentor's but you made an impact on our students, so keep up the good work!