It comes with a heavy heart that no words can express the pain we feel at the loss of our mentor, Brandon Padgett.
Brandon was known for his effortless ability to create an environment that encouraged us to challenge and explore the world around us. His witty, charismatic personality lit a match in the room, radiating positivity and a sense of inclusiveness.
Brandon’s passion and drive inspired us to push ourselves and understand the value of hard work that contributes to success. Whether that success be on or off the game field, we could always count on Brandon to bring a smile to our faces.
Nevertheless, we will never forget the monumental impact Brandon has had on our team. His legacy will live on, manifesting in each of us to reach for the stars.
Team 2992 sends its condolences to Team 16, his family, and all who knew and loved him. We are deeply saddened to hear about this. Brandon was the type of mentor who inspired me to try and be better every time I talked with him.
I had a couple of nice if brief chats with Brandon at Arkansas Regional, and thought briefly of him just yesterday after posting 16 on Collatz Counting. Personable, passionate, and playful - he pulled me into a bit of a practical joke on Andy Marts, also a Bomb Squad mentor, and the LRI of the event. He is missed. My prayers go out to him and his family and friends.
In the 2000s, I would sweep the Bomb Squad out of the pits in St. Louis on Thursday nights. (Big Al will have similar stories, from Chicago.) Brandon was always one of the last to leave. He would talk technical details with anyone, any time. Generations of FRC16 students learned, by his example, how an engineer can think and communicate using his hands.
Thanks for posting this. I started to make a post on Monday when we got the news, and couldn’t make it through.
Brandon was my boss for several years and good friend for a lot more. I can’t think of anybody I spent more time with (outside of my family) over the last 10 years.
His mechanical designs over the last 2 decades are what has made Bomb Squad robots what they are. Now I really hope that we get to play some next year. Our 2020 robot feels like the what all of his designs led to. It’s the most “Bomb Squad” robot we’ve ever built.
I started with the team as a controls mentor and and took over for him as drive coach a few years ago. A large part of what drove me personally to work hard for the team was to not let Brandon down. He’d worked his tail off designing and building, now it was our job to bring home some blue banners.
His passion for teaching and inspiring students was incredible. There is a generation of Team 16 alumni that learned how to dedicate yourself to a project and execute.
I’ve never seen anybody get more out of the years they had on this earth. His years got cut short, but that guy was a heck of an father, friend, mentor, engineer, and man.
Sorry for the rambling, but it felt good to write it.
I had the chance to work with Brandon to help a rookie team rebuild their bot from the ground up at one of the Arkansas Regionals a few years back. He was such a great guy. His skill, patience, and kindness stood out even among FRC mentors (a skillful, patient, kind peer group for sure). The FIRST community has lost a great one.
For our friends from FRC 16, we send you our most sincere condolences. Brandon will be missed, but his memory and legacy will live on in all the lives he impacted over the years.
This has been a hard week for me. Brandon was a great friend and always a joy to see at events. He showed a dedication that many mentors show in this great organization. He went further in helping out troubled teams, nurturing students to learn more about their robot and assisting when needed to insure that all teams were able to enjoy a competition with a functional robot.
The true success of an LRI is knowing who you can turn to when a team needs a lot of help. Some teams at each event need that extra help. Brandon was one of those people on my list. I never had to worry about him turning me down. It was always “what can I do for you, Al?” and always with a smile. I sometimes hated to ask, knowing he was busy with the Bomb Squad robot. But when I desperately needed help, I knew I could depend on Brandon to get the job done. I remember with great sadness the times we have talked over the years. He would sometimes give me a hard time, then wink and smile. I enjoyed his laugh as we relived some tough times and his double take when we kidded each other about inspections. Bomb Squad had a prominent position in Chicago as they were the lowest number team and therefore first in the pit.
As Rich Wallace pointed out above, yes Brandon was one of the last to leave the pit at night. But, it was usually him checking with teams to be sure they were ready to go the next day.
To all who knew him, my sincere sympathy. We will never again feel his hand on our shoulder or see him smile and laugh. I will never see him with his hands in a robot or holding a tool. I can’t help shedding a tear in his memory and hope to see him again in the future. Good bye, my friend.