Detroit Volunteer of the Year

James Lockman. Game Announcer Extraordinaire.
You have no idea how he has changed the FIRST competition experience.

First, a little history.

Dave Vebrugge from Michigan is renowned for his encyclopedic knowledge of teams and their history (before we had 4 digits).

JonDarr from Western New York and Ohio is a genius with a silky smooth voice, who used to research every team before a competition. He would gather their history and records and incorporate this information into his commentary.

George Chen from California and Robot Bill (don’t ever think I learned his real name) from MAR created an Excel spreadsheet to incorporate this information.

I have been Game Announcing for many years. We used to get a sheet for every match (still do if we want) that listed the teams, their sponsors, and that was it.

The Excel spreadsheet required that you know how to work with Excel. If you didn’t, this resource was a non-starter. I had to bring my computer (needed a CPU) to every competition.
The week before each competition, I scrubbed the FIRST website to input all relevant history.
A lot of work, but worth it to make the game experience important and relevant to the students and mentors.

Enter James Lockman from Maine, Team 172, Northern Force and
He is truly dedicated to using FIRST as a tool to improve STEM education in his community.
He is an expert for Adobe and understands web based applications.

When I started Game Announcing with James, he was impressed with the work that went into the Excel program, but also saw its limitations in that it required a user to be expedient in Excel and also have the time and energy as a volunteer to devote to preparation and making it work.

Three years ago Mr. Lockman created “gatool”, a web based application that aggregated historical data and allowed Game Announcers to walk through the pits and add new information about teams prior to a competition.
If you are on a team, you may have met your Game Announcer asking you questions in your pits about your team and Robot name.

You may or not have noticed that the commentary during your matches has contained more details about your team than it ever has in the past. Next time you are at a competition, check out what your Game Announcer is using to announce you matches.
Yes, it is even designed to work for offseason competitions.
I used it last summer at WVROX and BattleCry.

If you are ever in the New England District, or on the field at the Detroit CMP (he worked Daly this year), shake his hand and thank him for making the FIRST experience so much better for all of us.


Robot Bill is Bill Aucoin. George, JonDarr and Bill are the germs of this wacky idea, and I was wacky enough not to thing it couldn’t be done. I’m so glad that I can help raise the quality of everyone’s FIRST experience via gatool, and thanks, Peter, for bringing so many great ideas to the table as we evolve the tool.


Bill Aucoin, yes, I should have remembered that.

PS. Thanks for the maple syrup at the NEDCMP.


And Robot Bill Aucoin is from the FIRST Chesapeake Districts, not MAR. Maryland-proud.


Thank you for the correction. I often confuse these two districts.
Seems that MARyland may be in the wrong district? :slight_smile:

It is confusing. Somehow Maryland is considered the mid-Atlantic for everyone - except in FIRST. MAR Districts nabbed the “Mid-Atlantic” naming - first.

MAR is now known as FMA. FIRST needs to come first!

FIRST can do whatever it wants, FIRSTPNW makes 0 sense and i will refuse to call it that if they try to go that route.

To the thread itself, congrats to James. Sounds like he deserves it.

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