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Richard Wong
Richard Wong Name: Richard Wong
Date Honored: 08-15-2004
Years involved w/FIRST: 5
FIRST Team(s): Brooklyn Tech. Alumni Assoc./ConEd/SIAC &, Brooklyn Tech. H.S. (0334), Bloomberg/New York City College of Technology/Verizon Corporation &, George Westinghouse High School (0354), Verizon/Credit Suisse/MTA-NYC Transit &, University Neighborhood High School (1237), Con Edison/JAHS Parent's Association &, John Adams High School (1340)
Role: FIRST Advisor, Engineering Advisor, Team Organization Advisor, NYC FIRST and FLL Planning Committee
Quote: "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." -Sir Winston Churchill
Bio: Rich Wong is an integral part of New York's FIRST community and a great asset to FIRST. In his fifth year of volunteering, Rich is involved in both the FRC and FLL planning and organizing aspects of this program. Rich has heavy team involvement and is working hard on the new 2004 NYC team roster.

Rich describes his favorite FIRST memory very vividly. "At the start of the 2004 FIRST season, we were informed that Regional Event Coordinators have to take on a more active role in running their event. Reluctantly I accepted the position of field supervisor. Field supervisor is one of the most difficult tasks in a regional because the field must be up and running at all cost. The job requires many hours of training, hours of reviewing documents, and time-off from work to work 4 days straight. After working almost to midnight on the Wednesday setup day, then working 14 hours straight on my feet on Thursdayís practice day, and 12+ hours Friday. I was voiceless, fatigued, wasted, and disappointed by the pool of rookie volunteers assigned to the field operations. Fortunately, it could have been worst if it was not for a couple of CD/FIRSTer volunteers who traveled several hundred miles just to help. On Saturday, I was hoped for one or two more experienced volunteers from CD/FIRST community to drop by. When I walked into the volunteer lounge Saturday morning, I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by six CD/FIRSTers. They were experienced, committed, and extremely dependable and they came through for NYCFIRST. Being a member of the CD/FIRST Community is one of the best reasons why I enjoy FIRST. Where else can I chat and make new friends across the country or with international teams on a wide range of topics? Itís a professional community that prides on the sharing of ideas, stories, advise, photos, and sometimes-passionate debates. Nowhere else can you get advice from NASA engineers and chat with California FIRST gurus!"

Rich has quite a list of accomplishments under his belt. Working with 12 different FIRST teams over the course of five years, Rich has surely left his mark. "Usually I enjoy working with the Rookie teams. They have the most energy and the craziest ideas. My best accomplishment is becoming a a member of the NYC-FIRST Planning Committee and helping to elevating the NYC Robotics and LEGO League to a higher level every year. NYC-FIRST started with Ĺ dozen teams six years ago. For 2005, we will have 26+ FRC teams and 120+ LEGO League teams. "

Rich offers his fellow FIRSTers a bit of advice. "Go with the Flow! - Donít focus too much on the trophies (yes, they are nice to have) but focus more on the FIRST experience you and your team are participating in. It may not be immediately apparent to everyone the long term benefits of FIRST and itís ability to change the culture in this country. Give it a chance and remember that FIRST is a dynamic volunteer program. It does not try to be perfect or flawless, thatís part of the challenge and excitement of FIRST. Be an active contributor to FIRST, not a passive complainer. Lastly, give back to the program when you become an alumnus of FIRST by volunteering and helping others that are following in your foot steps. (Notice that at no time with the word R(obot) mentioned!)"

Rich is very deserving of this award. Congratulations to Rich Wong, our 18th Unsung FIRST Hero.

Nominated By: Matt_Kaplan1902

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