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Name: Bill Gold
Date Honored: 07-31-2005
Years involved w/FIRST: 6
FIRST Team(s): The Sea Dawgs (0258), NASA Ames Research Center &, Bellarmine College Prep (0254)
Role: Fabrication, Mentor
Quote: ďLife goes by so fast. You only want to do what you think is right. Close your eyes and itís past. Itís the story of my life.Ē ĖStory of My Life by Social Distortion
Bio: Bill Gold has had an impressive six years in FIRST, serving on teams 254 (Cheesy Poofs) and 258 (The Sea Dawgs) in a number of different roles and positions. Bill sums up his beginnings in FIRST to us as "the son of two practicing attorneys (of which one had been an Electrical Engineer for a short period of time before turning to law). Throughout school I enjoyed learning about math and science, sadly, due to the shortcomings of the local school districts, this was mostly done outside of school. I never really thought about becoming an engineer; I thought I didnít have the proper mindset or the intelligence to do that job well. So I joined 258 as a junior in high school to be the team ďlawyerĒ and to help with administrative tasks. Thanks to my family upbringing I seemed to naturally take a leadership role on the team, and began to learn about all aspects of the team. By the end of the build period I had cut / drilled / filed part of almost every part that was on our robot that year. Every year since Iíve taken an active role in strategy, design, fabrication, teaching, and coaching."
Bill has a great number of accomplishments, but he can't chalk them all up to himself. "The things that Iím most proud of in FIRST are things that I didnít do alone. I owe so many people in and outside of FIRST so much. Some people think that I was the mastermind behind the wonderful designs of 258ís 2002-2004 robots with very little money, but this really isnít the case. I was lucky to have amazing people like Alex Ko and Roy Nangoy of Applied Materials, along with Mark Whitehouse and my brother Jim to help design, delegate the work on, and build those robots. If any of them hadnít been present, 258 wouldnít have been able to compete those years, despite the money I had personally put into the team.
"Iím very proud to have worked with the incredible Ken Leung on off-season projects like workshops, school presentations, and FIRST events; as well as working for him at his Cal Gamesí.
"Iím proud to have been of service to many FIRST teams from all over the country over the years. I enjoy giving other teams suggestions during the build period and off-season, as well as helping others with their strategizing, fundraising, designing, and fabricating. It helps everyone evolve when you bounce ideas off of other people or when you work together on revising ideas.
"Iím proud that, through just my FIRST experiences, I was able to intern with the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives last summer, and that I was able to understand many issues integral to the committee better than some people who had worked there for a while. In the same vein, Iím proud that my family and our political connections were able to help rekindle FIRSTís chance at acquiring federal funding.
"Iím proud of the students Iíve mentored who have accomplished so many amazing things in FIRST, and who are now either pursuing engineering degrees, going to pursue an engineering degree, or who are pursuing other degrees in college.
"One of the things that Iím forever thankful to FIRST for is bringing my brother and myself closer. Weíve always been very friendly with each other, but working together on a team and otherwise in FIRST weíve gained so much more respect for each other than we would have had otherwise. We cherish our time a lot more, and I miss working with him as closely as we had on 258."
Bill also had a brave and touching favorite FIRST memory to share. "Itís hard to come up with a favorite FIRST memory. Iíve been really lucky with my experiences on teams, volunteering, and working to promote FIRST. Iíd probably have to say that one of my favorite FIRST memories took place at the then 2000 Western Regional (later renamed the Silicon Valley Regional). Before my first FIRST event I had felt like an outsider, without much potential for my future. I hated school, I skipped school, and I did extremely poorly in school. It was there where I became totally hooked on FIRST as a competition and its ideals. I was totally blown away at the A/V setup, the competition, and the people in general. I was expecting the normal tradeshow mixed with the inwardly focused teams that you see in sports events, but what I found was more awing than any hockey event I had ever participated in. Whatís more is that I found an incredible camaraderie between almost all of the participants (students, teachers, parents, engineers, etc) that I had thought I could never be a part of. It has really been a startling turn of events for me to be accepted by most and respected / looked up to by anyone, period. I was just lucky enough to be exposed to what I believe is one of the most worthwhile causes on the planet, which also happens to be something I love to be a part of. Another great memory I have is of writing my first letter of recommendation for a student as their robotics coach back in 2003. It was a bizarre yet very touching feeling for me to be asked for a letter of recommendation, being just a college student myself."
Lastly, Bill gave us a bit of advice. "FIRST is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It can be a teaching tool, a learning experience, a sporting event, a networking tool, a way to challenge yourself, and any number of combinations of these things. Itís really hard to give advice to other members of FIRST since there are so many different personalities in this program. All I can say is echo statements made by so many other people, that our participation in this program and our volunteering efforts are very worthwhile not just for ourselves but for the entire community and if we play our cards right for the country and the world. I guess what I would suggest is that people (if they arenít doing this already) try to get to know as many people as possible in this program. There is a wealth of very intelligent and extremely nice people who participate in this program. I could list names of examples of these people until the cows come home, but I think itíd be a better learning experience and networking exercise if everyone tried to find them on their own."
Congratulations to Bill Gold for being our next Unsung FIRST Hero.
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