Issues with BAE Sponsorhip

This message goes out to all of the BAE teams out there. I am wondering if there are any other teams that are having issues with their BAE sponsorship. Last season, we picked up BAE, and they came through in a big way. The local manager pushed really hard to continue the support this year, however it is now being held up at the higher corporate level. I was told there is a new President and CEO and they have dramatically changed the emphasis on FIRST throughout BAE.

Has anyone else heard of this, or had any similar issues? If so, were they resolved?

If that’s true it’s rather unfortunate. You can’t throw a stick in upstate New York without hitting a team sponsored by BAE. I’m pretty sure my team is the only one - we’ve been denied awardship because we get a grant from NASA and BAE is interested in helping teams who need it more than we do.

I did notice it was particularly difficult to get information from BAE this fall, for what it’s worth.

Our BAE sponsorship came through this year; last year was our first year with BAE and we received the same grant this year as we did last year. They have been very supportive - it took a little longer to find out but that seemed to be the case for many of the grants this year.

Ditto, the check is already in the bank

Our funding from BAE has gone great. Of course, our team has a very close relationship with BAE, but if they say they will sponsor you this year, I am sure they will come through with the money.
As far as I know, BAE has scaled back funding a bit this year, but this is primarily due to the economy, not because Walt Havnestein resigned as CEO.


I’m a mentor with team 1610 in Franklin,Va. I’m also a BAE systems
employee. Perhaps I can say a little about this. As many know
former BAE CEO Walt Havenstein was a big supporter of FIRST.
Walt retired and Linda Hudson was named CEO (CEO for BAE Systems
N.A.) Ian King is the CEO for BAE Systems PLC which is based out of
London,U.K. and is in charge of BAE Systems worldwide. He is in turn Ms.
Hudson’s boss. But Ms. Hudson over sees what goes on in the U.S.

At the local level I work for BAE Systems Norfolk ship repair which is
part of BAE Systems Ship Repair and BAE Systems Support Solutions. (S2).
Ship repair sponsors some 10-12 local teams. We were the first team
ever sponsored by ship repair because at the time BAE took over what had been
formerly Norshipco (aka Norfolk Ship building and Drydock Corp.) We were
sponsored by Norshipco.

Some teams sponsored by BAE have been simply able to ask or be offered
BAE sponsorship thru a local company contact in the past. Some teams
had to be concidered before even being given BAE sponsorship. Some teams
had to be sponsored by the same operating group as other local teams depending on which BAE
location you went thru to get sponsorship (in the past…I.E. E.I&S, Customer Solutions,etc.)
(we were part of Customer Solutions at one time and could’nt get sponsorship thru E.I&S)
Also some teams had paperwork to fill out in the past for sponsorship. Some did’nt. At one time
all we had to do was ask…and they cut a check for us. Since Walt
Havenstein has retired…they have…like any responsible corporation
does…decided to tighten up a little on the way they do sponsorships.
In the past for some teams and local BAE offices there was’nt much in
the way of a paper trail when it came to matters of sponsorship. Now
when you are sponsored by them…The team lead has to fill out a form
(or forms) for sponsorship. While often continuing to sponsor “legacy”
teams (those who they have sponsored in the past) they also look for
teams whos needs are greater than others. Lets say a one team is sponsored
by NASA and in the past BAE…and another team
has no sponsor…theywill depending on need…drop
sponsorship of a partly sponsored team and support another team that
has no sponsor…this is’nt a general rule…and
team sponsorship varies.

While Ms. Hudson supports FIRST…she is’nt as big on FIRST as Mr. Havenstein was.
From what I know…they have decided to continue the
same level of support and sponsorship as it was under Mr. Havenstein,
but for the time being may not expand on it. As already mentioned they have also
decided to tighten up on the way they do sponsorships. Some of this is the
leadership change…some is the economy. BAE has also gone thru a somewhat
heady expansion here in the US the past few years so for all I know this could
partly also be a result of them taking a moment and looking back and seeing where
they stand now. We are lucky to have
BAE as a sponsor and for all they do for the FIRST program as a whole.
A word of caution here…While you can ask BAE for sponsorship…don’t
ask for TOO much. They have limits.

I hope this helps.

Thank you everyone for all the replies - this helps a lot. Our BAE sponsor is part of the Geophysics group. They have a new VP and President and that is where things seem to be held up.

Best regards,
Nathan Pell

Anytime there is a change in top leadership there is often an accompanying delay in continuing support of programs like this, and many other things.

The new leader is usually assessing all the places that money leaves the building and is performing due diligence in the re-evaluation. Ditto for everything else that happens in the company.

A request - all BAE teams should let Ms. Hudson know how important the sponsorship is to you, your school, your country. Send her a personal thank you note.

A few months ago a delegation from our team went to Washington and gave a Congressional Briefing on the importance of FIRST type things to national security and other things.

Yesterday a news article hit the AP about the relationship between the education system and military recruiting. And about the failure of NCLB to improve ASVAB scores.

This morning NY Times columnist, (and Pulitzer Prize winning author) Thomas Friedman was being interviewed on the Imus in the Morning Show. He was talking about a new book he is writing. In the discussion he said that the hottest beat a new journalist could cover in Washington during the 1980’s was the State Department / Foreign Affairs.

Agree with him or not, he asserts that today the hottest beat in Washington is covering Education. It is because of the critical necessity in providing a great education to students so that we can remain competitive economically, militarily, and otherwise in in a global economy.

In the upcoming 112th Congress there will be a move to re-examine the Federal Budget. Two things that were identified was 200+ job re-education programs and 100+ STEM education initiative programs. Questioning this is perfectly valid. Why so many programs, and which ones are providing value to the country ?

Make sure that your politicians and your sponsors know that FIRST and VEX type programs are valuable to this country.

In the fall we had to re-apply for Sponsorhip from BAE. We were accepted making this the 3rd year they have sponsored us. Then after a couple months I received an email stating that there was a delay in getting the checks sent to FIRST, but not to worry and the funds would be sent soon. No word since and our Regional is still listed as unpaid.

Not Trying to totally change the thread, but I don’t understand why you would be trying to prove the unimportance of First to Nat. Security (or why it would affect it either way at all)?

Nor do I. Let’s hope they didn’t make a compelling case. :o

Maybe a typo? :confused:

I have little doubt that’s the case – couldn’t pass up the humor opportunity though.
Ed was extraordinarily gracious and kind to my young son last year at CMP.
He has, and rightfully deserves, my respect and gratitude.

Hi, how/what is the process in which you applied? We were sponsored because the director of our local BAE office heard about FIRST and wanted to sponsor us. He even remarked how easy it was to get the approval last year. This year, it is a completely different story and he has pretty much been told to forget about it.

Maybe different locations of BAE have different procedures in picking the teams they work with?

We are the ONLY team in Brevard County, FL that does not have a corporate sponsor. This is not due to a lazy effort, but mostly because every high school in the county has a team - thus there aren’t many companies left to reach out to. We aren’t giving up - just trying to get our bearings.


Apologies to everyone. I was trying to make a serious point and made a stunningly bad typo. No humor intended.

So yeah… always proofread your writings. Otherwise you wind up looking like a goofball.


Hi Dave,

That is a great question and it deserves a serious answer. Most people think the military is just a bunch of soldiers but it is much more than that. And it takes some of the best engineering around.

There is so much stuff that goes on I can hardly describe it. You are probably using a computer that is using a wi-fi connection. That stuff was developed for the military and until 20 years ago was top secret. Other things like GPS, jet propulsion, integrated circuits came out of military research also.

The military uses robots by the hundreds, I guess thousands now. High advanced radio communication systems, leading to things like your cellphone, hdtv, and many more things. The Air Force is looking to replace combat flights with robotic controlled flights.

Cryptography, electronic intelligence gathering, material science, and the list goes on and on. It takes tens of thousands of highly skilled engineers employed by the military as officers, civilians, and civilian contractors to keep our troops up to date with the tools they need.

If you are feeling really ambitious go read this

It was my first job out of college. I didn’t even know it existed but it turned out the be the best engineering experience I ever had.


As the FIRST champion for BAE Systems, I’d like to introduce myself and let readers of this thread know that BAE Systems remains committed to FIRST as our cornerstone STEM program that is part of our strategic approach to developing our future work force. As was noted in a previous entry, there has been a leadership change and an organizational restructuring which provided an appropriate time to look at all of our philanthropic and educational outreach efforts and determine if they were fit for purpose. It has meant changes to our processes and procedures but no change to our support of FIRST. Readers should know that we put a priority on supporting teams that are near our facilities so that our employees can be involved in mentoring. We also look to support teams that are in underserved communities. We had instituted this year a grant application process to streamline and standardize our review of and approval of grants so that next year it should be much more efficient. I hope that answers your questions. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about BAE System’s support for FIRST. We remain committed to FIRST and look forward to seeing you at the regionals or championship. doug

Dr. Coffey,

Thank you for your response and reassurance. It’s great having companies like BAE Systems participate in FIRST.

Thanks again,

Ed Barker

As Doug posted in his response, my local contact sent us an application with no guarantees. The person also stated that their division was going to sponsored 6 or so teams in the various locations that they are in. We were one of the fortunate teams.

I’m not sure why your contact would have written it off. Sounds like you should contact Doug Coffey about that.

BAE has an enormous FRC impact. I count 204 individual FRC teams listing BAE as a team sponsor. That’s almost 10% of all teams. My team is among those sponsored and we thank you.

In addition, BAE sponsors many FRC events, both Championship and Regionals. The most obvious being the BAE Granite State Region in the home of FIRST, Manchester, NH.

Thanks BAE!