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Gary Dillard
Gary Dillard Name: Gary Dillard
Date Honored: 06-01-2005
Years involved w/FIRST: 8
FIRST Team(s): UTC/Pratt &, Whitney LSP/Manufacturers Round Table &, South Fork High School &, Martin County High School &, Jensen Beach High School &, Clark Advanced Learning Center (0180)
Role: Mentor
Quote: Engineering is the art of modeling materials we do not wholly understand, into shapes we cannot precisely analyze so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess, in such a way that the public has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance. - Dr A. R. Dykes, British Institution of Structural Engineers, 1976
Bio: Gary Dillard is a longtime FIRST mentor from SPAM, Team #180. Gary's involvement on the team has ranged from mechanical engineer to Chairman's and website mentoring, and in the process, he has touched many lives. He is a positive person, always willing to explain mechanical concepts to the SPAM students, and always willing to help other teams with their problems, too. He's also pretty talented at doing the SPAM dance, as was noted.

Gary has a long history in FIRST, and a wide range of accomplishments. However, this one stuck out. "I got to work with Cindy Abrams at FIRST Place as engineering advisor to some wonderful teachers (Kyle Hughes of RUSH, Chuck Nystrom of RAGE, to name a couple) a few years ago developing curriculum for engineering related to robotics. What a blast that was, but boy did it leave me feeling inadequate compared to these people who just breathe inspiration to their students. Every time I start to feel self-pride at my contributions, I remember them and kick myself in the butt to do more."

While many people have a favorite memory that involves their team members or fellow mentors, Gary's favorite was a moment that struck home. "The summer before his senior year of high school, my son Dan decided that instead of majoring in Christian Music he was going to major in engineering, and he chose to participate in S.P.A.M to get a taste of what engineering was about. He came to me Saturday afternoon of the National Competition and said, ďIf I had known engineering was this much fun, I would have done it a long time agoĒ. THATís the message I want to get out, that engineering is fun. Ask any student on our team if Iím having fun; I donít keep it a secret."

Gary offered us a bit of advice on how to handle competition in FIRST, too. "Donít be jealous of teams who have lots of money and full-time engineers and/or machine shops dedicated to FIRST during build season, but be very envious. Decide what your resource limits are, donít work beyond them, but work to increase them every year."

Congratulations to Gary Dillard, our 35th Unsung FIRST Hero.

Nominated By: Arefin Bari

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