Changes in FIRST Management

Posted here on the FIRST website:


April 30, 2010

To: The FIRST® Community

From: Walt Havenstein, FIRST Chairman of the Board

Subject: Management Transition

I would like to offer my genuine thanks to you all for another successful FIRST® season. All of FIRST’s four programs enjoyed another year of strong growth, despite a very difficult world economy. People seem to know what is important, even in difficult financial times.

FIRST President Paul Gudonis has led the organization through five, very successful seasons. FIRST teams have grown from 8,000 to 19,000 world wide. Two new programs have been introduced and new initiatives have made FIRST’s flagship program, the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®), more cost-effective. Paul has decided that he has accomplished many of his initial objectives and that this is a good time to transition to new management at FIRST. Accordingly, he recently submitted his resignation to the Board of Directors, effective July 1, 2010.

The Board will quickly engage in a search for a worthy successor. As needed, Bob Tuttle, Board Vice Chairman and Treasurer, will be available to assist in any transition.

Please join me in thanking Paul for his dedicated and successful efforts in advancing the cause of FIRST.


Holy smokes, this is BIG news!

I wish Paul well in his future endeavors and thank him for his service to FIRST.

Thanks for the heads up, Dave.

Andy B.

John Abele’s retirement was announced in Atlanta. I was just getting used to that idea and didn’t know about this resignation until Dave posted it here. Wow.

Best wishes and many many thanks,

Thanks for all your work for FIRST Paul!

We are going to miss you.

I thought this was going to be another complaint thread calling for new management. I was sure surprised to find out what the thread really is.

Thanks for the great years. Hope they get a good replacement. Good luck to whomever it may be.

Good luck to you Paul. Thank you for helping so many students. Marie


Thank you for your service. Your leadership and communication skills have been one of the main reasons FIRST has grown and become what it is today.

Feel free to drop in occasionally.

The certainly is news! I’m looking forward to seeing what direction Walt and the Board take in finding a successor.

I will miss both Paul and John Abele. They both did a lot for FIRST. I looked forward to seeing them at the regionals. I hope they both will remain somewhat involved.
I’m curious as to the direction FIRST will pursue in the future.

Wow. Thanks Dave, for all you’ve done, and good luck in your future endeavors! I’m sure they’ll be just as successful as you’ve helped make FIRST. Good luck to Bob Tuttle in the transition and to the Board in picking someone to fill these shoes. I look forward to the next step!