[FRC Blog] New Co-Chiefs and more FIRST Positions Posted

Posted on the FRC Blog, 6/16/2022: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/2022-new-co-chiefs-and-more-first-positions-posted

New Co-Chiefs and more FIRST Positions Posted

2022 JUN 16 | Written by Frank Merrick, Director FIRST Robotics Competition

New Co-Chiefs

Many community members are aware that we identify volunteer co-chiefs for some of our key volunteer positions such as Robot Inspector and Volunteer Coordinator, along with others. These co-chiefs serve as sounding boards for FIRST Robotics Competition staff and do things such as support training. They are also a resource for volunteers in their areas of specialization, able to provide support and guidance when needed. They are a critical bridge between HQ staff and the key volunteers. When someone is asked to be a co-chief, it means FIRST HQ thinks that person is an outstanding role model for others in their area of specialization and demonstrates exceptional commitment to our Core Values.

Until now, we did not have Co-Chief FIRST Technical Advisors (FTAs). This has changed. I am pleased to announce that James Cerar and Mark McLeod have graciously accepted our invitations to become our first Co-Chief FTAs. Congratulations, James and Mark!

James has been volunteering for FIRST for 16 years in positions including Mentor, Head Ref, Lead Robot Inspector, FTA, Judge Advisor, and FIRST Tech Challenge Judge. He’s been an FTA for ten years and has been a FIRST Championship FTA eight times. He mentors FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1114 and is from Ontario, Canada

Mark has been volunteering for FIRST for 20 years in positions including Mentor, Local Mentor Coordinator, CSA, FTA, Field Assembly, and Regional Planning Committee Member. He’s been an FTA for 11 years and has been a FIRST Championship FTA nine times. He mentors FIRST Robotics Competition teams 358, 2347, 5659, 8267, and has mentored/coached FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge teams in the past. He is from New York, USA.

As you can see, James and Mark bring years of FIRST experience to their roles. Congratulations, again, James and Mark!

FIRST Positions Posted

Wake the kids and phone the neighbors! The Senior Director of FIRST Robotics Competition position has been posted!** Think this might be for you? Click the ‘Express Interest’ button on the page to start the process! We have two other senior-level positions posted as well, Chief Information Officer and Senior Director of Research and Evaluation. If you are interested, we encourage you to check out those position profiles also.

We are working with Koya Partners, an executive search firm that works exclusively with mission-driven clients, on these important searches. If you have potential candidates you would like to suggest for any of these positions, contact the Koya team directly at ereedy@koyapartners.com. And if you know those potential candidates personally, please send them a quick note about these openings.

FIRST Robotics Competition also has a new opening for a Systems Engineer. If you are interested, you should check that one out too!

These roles will be joining FIRST at an exciting time, as we start a new strategic planning process. What will FIRST look like in 10 years or more? The folks in these positions will help determine that!


  • As I noted in an earlier blog, the Senior Director is the only Director in FIRST Robotics Competition

I don’t know James but both of those additions sound amazing. Mark is always active here and extremely helpful.


Congratulations James and @Mark_McLeod!


Congrats James and Mark!
James served as the head FTA for several China off-season Championships and we have seen him several times at Canadian events, and a couple months ago on the Roebling Division. He’s very experienced and helpful to teams, always.
Mark is another great addition. Seen him at so many events over the years and always helpful as well. My favorite memory working with him was the 2017 Palmetto Regional Week 1. In the semis, I had brought up a concern about our driver stations being in the wrong place. He called headquarters, and all of a sudden, all of the Week 1 regionals were replaying matches! Our playoffs lasted roughly 7 hours. I heard Orlando (IIRC) had to replay matches after the Chairman’s Award was given out. They had missed that glitch during the Week 0 event. There was a semis round where the top seed had swept the 5th seed. Then had to replay and got swept by the 5th seed. They figured out that going for 4 rotors was a thing. Sorry, my bad.
Mark started his team probably the day before us in 1999 and we share the same birthday.

FIRST did good on this one!


James has been a driving member of Ontario’s volunteer force for a long time. He’s one of the main reasons we’ve been able to maintain such a team focused and friendly culture at our events, and continually presses us to find ways to improve. He’s been fantastic as our District Lead FTA, and the entire community will now benefit from his leadership of all the FTAs globally. I can’t think of a better person for the job.


James and Mark are excellent choice!


I’ve had the pleasure to work with @Mark_McLeod as a volunteer on a few occasions, as well as having been a mentor and coach for a team competing at both official and off-season events he’s FTA’ed. Unquestionably an excellent decision by HQ!

Congrats Mark!

Congratulations to James and Mark. I’ve worked with both of them and Mark is the reason I got into the scorekeeper role. Both of them are a an FTA’s FTA if that makes sense.

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Having scorekept under both Mark (Hopper Field 2015) and James (Tesla and Einstein Fields 2017), they’re both indeed the real deal. Well earned.

Congrats Mark
A well deserved Honor and great for FRC!!

James is awesome. Glad to see him in this role!

James is one of the core reasons that events are so well run in Canada, his passion and patience is unmatched. He always sets a great example for other volunteers, and he’s someone I personally look up to as a volunteer. A very wise choice FIRST!


James and Mark are two of the best FTAs in FIRST. I have worked with both of them on multiple occasions and always look forward to sharing events with them. Congratulations!

Mark is an amazing FTA who truly prioritizes the team experience. Congrats, Mark!

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RIP Mark’s CD account 2003-2022.

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I’ll just stick to the technical questions.


We had a great time with Mark as our FTA at 2022 Hopper Division. Congrats Mark!

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