Congratulations to Mark Breadner, Championship WFA Winner

Mark Breadner has had an incredible impact on many, many people’s lives. Over the past 10 years, he has brought FIRST to thousands of Canadian students, while still managing to inspire those close to him on Team 188.

On a personal note, I have had the chance to talk to him at many FIRST events in Canada. He is a truly inspiring person.

Congratulations, Mark. This was truly deserved, and long overdue.

I believe Mark is now the first canadian to receive the WFA no?

Yes he is the first Canadian to receive the WFA, and so deserving he is. Mark was the driving force behind bringing (then) USFIRST to Canada, and its growth by starting the Greater Toronto Regional. The Breadner family live and breath FIRST, devoting countless hours behind the scenes to make FIRST in Canada run every year, and I don’t think I can thank them enough.

Congratulations Mark!

P.S. does anyone have video of the announcement?? hopefully SOAP will put it up.

Congratulations Mr. Breadner! FIRST in Canada has come a long way, but none of it would have been possible without you. This award may come as a surprise to some people because of how humble you are about all that you have done, but to those of us whose lives you have touched, it is an understatement to say this is long overdue.

The submission is included below.

(I had the privilege to be involved with the submission process this year, but the real credit goes to the students who wrote the submission: Jessica Aun, Diriye Hassan, and Oliver Mao. However, countless students, mentors, alumni, and members of the FIRST community in Canada played a role in how it all came together. Thank you to all of you.)

*Note that after the Waterloo Regional this year, Ian Mackenzie is now also a Woodie Flowers Finalist Award Winner.

“Pantyhose – we need a piece of pantyhose right across the top. That’ll fix everything.”

It takes a gifted communicator and an engineering visionary like Mr. Breadner to convince engineers and team members that the most effective solution to fix our robot is a woman’s undergarment.

It was this incredible ability to communicate and innovate that allowed him to bring FIRST to Canada. Ever since founding the original Canadian FIRST team in 1998, he has been an important figure in FIRST. Corporate presentations obtained the support of long-standing sponsors, which guaranteed the prosperity of the movement he started, well into the future. Mr. Breadner oversaw the creation of 73 FRC teams as the Regional Director of the Canadian Regional. Twenty-three of these teams were formed in 2002 when his efforts brought the first international regional to Canada. Every year the number of Canadian teams continues to grow making the Greater Toronto Regional (formerly the Canadian Regional) one of FIRST’s largest events.

Mr. Breadner continues to maintain his passion for the goal of FIRST: to transform the culture of our society to one that celebrates science, technology, and engineering. At Woburn Collegiate Institute, home of Team 188, he created and integrated the Science, Math, and Technology Program (SMT) into the school’s curriculum, aiming to enhance the education of math, physics, computer science, and technological studies. Using elements of FIRST, including Vex, SMT inspires students to challenge themselves and maximize their untapped potential.

Mr. Breadner sees possibilities that others do not, his pantyhose suggestion was just one example. Karthik Kanagasabapathy, Team 188 alumnus and the emcee at both the Waterloo and Greater Toronto Regionals, insists that Mr. Breadner is “the most effective leader [he has] ever met, [knowing] how to get the most out of people, and how to set up an organization to function at its best.”

For the past eleven years, Mr. Breadner has been an influential mentor for Team 188. With his degree in mathematics, he uses his expertise in analysis and strategy to help guide Team 188 in the right direction, always placing an emphasis on simplicity. His guidance has helped students remain focussed on the goals at hand, allowing them to fulfill their true potential. He inspires even the meekest to become leaders, who themselves go on to inspire others. His ability to ingrain a love for FIRST in everyone he meets has led many to attribute their continued involvement to his influence.

To see his impact, one has to look no further than any Canadian FIRST event, where alumni take on every volunteering role. Protégés, Karthik Kanagasabapathy and Shawn Lim, have gone on to win Regional Woodie Flowers Awards, while Ian Mackenzie, also a Team 188 alumnus, is the Committee Chair of the Waterloo Regional. Ian asserts that, “Mark Breadner has been a constant source of inspiration and guidance (and fun) from the start of my [freshman] year up to the present day, working on my Master’s degree in engineering. I can think of nobody else who has had such an extraordinary influence on who I am today.”

Today, Ian and Karthik are cornerstones of one of FIRST’s most successful teams, Team 1114, who like every team in Canada owe their existence to Mr. Breadner’s dream:

“FIRST – we need a piece of FIRST right across the country.”

The time and effort Mr. Breadner has put into building FIRST in Canada has made that dream a reality. He has demonstrated to others that hard work and passion are an unbeatable combination, one that has put Canada on FIRST’s map. This is why Mr. Breadner is FIRST in Canada.
Congratulations once again Mr. Breadner.

For those who know Mark Breadner, it was only a question of when… not if he would ever win this award.

What more can be said? FIRST in Canada is the house that Breadners built.

He communicated and sold FIRST’s ideals better than any other person I have met. It didn’t matter if you were a potential student, mentor, sponsor, or school board decision-maker - the time that you spent with Mark made you believe in everything good there is about FIRST.

As a result, those around him opened their hearts and minds (and wallets) to help make FIRST in Canada what it is today.

Congratulations to Mr. B, and the entire Breadner family. The Canadian FIRST community owes so much to all your efforts, and this award is a wonderful tribute to everything you have achieved.

Congratulations Mark, you are truly deserving of this prestigious award. Your dedication and passion for FIRST has been an inspiration to me. Also thanks for starting our team (781) 7 years ago.

edit: Funny thing this is post 188 for me

Truly amazing that Mark won after all he is the one who introduced me to FIRST. To be honest Mark lives FIRST, his family lives FIRST and even his friends. He is one that inspires all that he comes in contact with. The FIRST movement in Canada not only started with him but continues on its path with him continually giving it a push along.

What more can be said but that it was a long time coming but definitely deserving. Congratulations Mark!!!

Mr. Breadner is more than a vice-principal for the students of 188. He continues to inspire students to engineering. For example, he helped start the SMT program at woburn. There are several students in team 188 from SMT including my self. He is truly a great mentor. A very well respected one too. He has a great sense of humour and competetiveness. I can’t think of anyone more deserving. Once again, congradulations Mr.Breadner! This has made team 188’s best season ever!

Also, congradulations to especially Shankar, Diriye, Oliver, and Jessica for writing a great WFA winning essay! and to everyone else who had an input on the essay!!

Congratulations Mark on winning Championship WFA, and wow that award is heavy

Congratulations Mark. You should have said something today! I didn’t find out you won till now.

[edit] I just found out I was talking to the wrong Mark from woburn (lol)

Oh Canada…

Mr. Breadner, we’ve never met, but on behalf of Team 240 TEMPEST Robotics (just across Lake Erie in Monroe, MI), congratulations. You make Woodie Flowers happy.

Congratulations Mark Breadner. And thank you for bring FIRST into Canada.

Congratulations Mark! Your list of accomplishments is long but the impact on the students of Canada is obvious in all those who have been inspired by you.

Mr. Breadner’s win, made me ridiculously happy. It was well deserved. I was filled with so much happiness when I saw who won, I couldn’t even describe it. He has built a strong foundation for many many teams. Him and his team, Team 188 Blizzard are such amazing role models for FIRSTers and beyond.

What more indeed. Congratulations Mr. B, we’re all immensely proud of you.