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Brandon Martus
Brandon Martus Name: Brandon Martus
Date Honored: 06-01-2004
Years involved w/FIRST: 7
FIRST Team(s): Delphi/DaimlerChrysler &, Pontiac Central High School (0047)
Role: Webmaster
Quote: ďThe only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." - Socrates
Bio: Brandon Martus is one of the behind-the-scenes FIRSTers, and by behind-the-scenes, we really mean 'behind the computer screens'. Brandon has been running ChiefDelphi.com for seven years, giving the FIRST community an invaluable service that many of us use religiously. Working as a programmer and developer for Chimes, Inc. in Troy, Michigan, Brandon has been working and developing CD since 1998.

Brandon recalls one of his first triumphant FIRST memories for us: "One memory I have of FIRST is way back in 1998 when I first started working on the website. The forums didnít work at all, and I remember working on trying to get the forums to do something for the longest time. Everything I tried failed; everything I found while searching for help failed. Then all of a sudden I stumbled upon the problem and was able to open a new thread. I was so happy that I had gotten something working; I jumped up and ran around the house yelling with excitement. I guess you could compare it to when you got your first robot moving, or won a regional or something." Brandon gives us this nugget of advice: "That memory is proof, to me at least, that you should never give up when things arenít going your way. Keep trying and eventually you will be successful."

Brandon's list of accomplishments and contributions to the FIRST community are anything but few. "I've maintained the Chief Delphi website for the past 7 years. I was asked to help finish up the forums when an engineer at Delphi didn't have time to finish them. I taught myself Perl and took on the task of making the forums work. And now 7 years later, I guess I'm still working on getting that done (and loving every minute of it). I think I've learned pretty much everything I know about website programming from working on chiefdelphi.com.

In the past seven years Iíve been the sole developer for the website, working on any new features as well as maintaining the existing forums and other features. In the beginning, I worked on adding features such as the ability to save usersí team, location and team role information, to make it easier to form an identity on the Chief Delphi forums.

From there, I worked on adding a section to the site where people could upload pictures of their robots, their competition experience, and other FIRST-related activities. The Who-Am-I gallery was created so that people could have their picture show up next to their posts. This was added so other users could see who was posting the ideas and views, and possibly recognize them easier at a competition.

I also developed a similar area to store white papers written by teams from all around FIRST. Teams could upload their technical and team-related documents and make them available to everybody via our website. To date, there have been nearly 200 documents stored in this system, accounting for nearly ľ million downloads. In the summer of 2002, I worked on developing a FIRST-related pari-mutual betting game, called the Chief Delphi Ventures System. The system was loosely modeled after the pari-mutual system used in horse racing. Users could bet points on the outcomes of events, in hopes of ending up with the most points at the end of the season.

In order to highlight some of the great discussions on the forums, I wrote a system in which people could spotlight their favorite quotes. If they saw a quote that was worthy of being remembered, they could suggest it to be spotlighted for all to see and remember.

Iíve worked with the Unsung FIRST Heroes committee and integrated their volunteer recognition system into the forums. A similar system has been created to honor the past Woodie Flowers Award winners, as well. Iíve written some custom features into the forums, which provide external content for other FIRST teamsí websites. Teams can show a random Chief Delphi Spotlight on their website, for instance. There is also a script available that will show recent Chief Delphi activity on external websites. Iíve also worked with Andrew Schenk from Team 201, and provided their scouting database with images straight from our image gallery on a team-by-team basis.

Iíve also volunteered some time this year, along with David Kelly of Cyber Blue (234), to provide FIRST with a website to collect the Woodie Flowers Award submissions. Teams can log in to nominate a mentor for the award. Judges can then log in and use the system to judge all of the entries. After viewing the WFA website, FIRST asked us to help write a system which allowed them to judge the Website Award. We developed a system where judges could log in and rate the websites on a regional scale."

Brandon was nominated four times by four different people (a UFH record, to date) and was our first to be nominated. Congratulations to Brandon Martus, our thirteenth Unsung FIRST Hero.

Nominated By: Joe Ross, Will Hanashiro, Mike Martus, miketwalker

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