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Ricky Quinones
Ricky Quinones Name: Ricky Quinones
Date Honored: 08-01-2006
Years involved w/FIRST: 5
FIRST Team(s): GE Volunteers/Pentair Water &, Oconomowoc High School (0269), FIRST / Other (0000)
Role: Field Coach, Leadership
Quote: "A good driver will always win over a good robot."
Bio: Ricky Quinones is one of those volunteers that wears many 'hats' throughout their FIRST career, assisting at many events and working with FIRST in many capacities. Ricky described his roles for us briefly. "I spent my sophomore through senior years of high school on #269 as a driver, electrical team member, electrical team lead, competition team lead and team leader. Pretty much from my junior year on I was the “man” if you needed anything to do with our FIRST team, I realized that I had little engineering aptitude and accepted almost all logistical and student leadership responsibility for the team. Now I am a college mentor and field coach for the team. I come back because I want to see FIRST survive and grow in Oconomowoc and in Wisconsin. I try to give as much advice as I can to the students from all of my experiences. I am a walking example of how FIRST can affect anyone, not just those wanting to do engineering."

Ricky also talked a little bit about some of his favorite FIRST memories. "If there is one question in my life that is impossible to answer it is the one of my favorite FIRST memory. Two of the better stories that stick out in my head are my first FIRST competition, the Motorola Midwest Regional in 2002. It was my first time seeing a regional on top of my first time driving a FIRST robot in a competition so I was a little over whelmed to say the least. Our team had won the regional the year before and we thought we had a pretty decent robot so expectations were high. Friday saw our team have a good day of matches and we ended up winning the Xerox Creativity Award. By the end of qualifications on Saturday we were seeded 3rd and went into the finals with teams 93 and 201. Our semi-final had us matched up against the legendary Team # 71 machine from 2002. We shocked them by upsetting them in the first semi-final match with :19 seconds left but went on to lose the last 2 matches and get eliminated. I was devastated and thrilled at the same time, I had just had the time of my life and gotten hooked on FIRST.

"My other favorite FIRST memory is one from IRI in 2004, as a graduating senior in high school I knew I had to drive in this event for my last competition ever. Planning for the event was full of hitches as all of our mentors had conflicts of one sort or another and the vehicle for transporting our robot broke down hours before we were supposed to leave for Indianapolis. We overcame all that and made it to IRI with only 8 students, we were determined and we got there. We ended up winning the event with teams 71 and 980. We had 4 students in the drivers station, 2 on the side of the field for the pit crew and 2 cheering loudly in the stands, it was a blast. I am forever grateful that I went out ‘on top’ by winning my last competition at IRI, amongst all my FIRST friends."

Ricky also has an impressive list of FIRST accomplishments. "I was part of teams that won the Midwest Regional and IRI in 2004 and the Boilermaker Regional in 2005. I helped organize the first Wisconsin Regional in 2006. Outside of competitions, I believe I helped our team realize that FIRST is more than just working with your team locally. I have made sure that we attend IRI every year and gotten our team name out there. #269 definitely has a bigger reputation now than ever, and I’m happy to say that I was a part of that."

When we asked Ricky to describe FIRST for an outsider, he gave us this gem: "FIRST is the ultimate real life experience that you can get in high school. You have to learn so many things and so many people have to come together to coordinate a successful effort in this program that it is hard to come away without learning at least one thing."

Last but not least, Ricky gave some advice to his fellow FIRST peers. "Follow your dreams and goals, no matter what they are. Always remember that there is someone that can help you, no matter what kind of situation you find yourself in. And value your friends, new and old, you never know when you are going to need them or when they will need you."

Congratulations to Ricky Quinones, our 56th Unsung FIRST Hero.

Nominated By: Karthik, Katie Reynolds

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