FIRST Team 2655, The Flying Platypi is excited to announce that North Carolina will be the first state to have its own FIRST Robotics vanity license plate! This news has been making its rounds in the FIRST Community and we wanted to set up a place where general questions could be answered. I figure the easiest way to go about this is by creating a CD thread explaining the process the Flying Platypi went though while getting their plate. I’d like to preface all of this by saying we would LOVE to help other teams get vanity plates in their states and we’d be glad to help in anyway possible. North Carolina teams - we would still appreciate your help as we work towards out 300 signature goal! If you’re from North Carolina and are interested in getting a FIRST license plate, please contact me.
During the 2012 off-season, The Flying Platypi began researching the possibility of creating a North Carolina FIRST Robotics license plate. We discovered that while there was a lot of work involved in getting a “vanity plate” it would be completely doable if we started early. We would have to ask FIRST for permission to use their logo on a license plate, design the plate based of the specifications they gave us, get a bill introduced and a law passed by the North Carolina state legislature and signed by our governor approving the plate, and then get signatures and deposits from 300 people agreeing to purchase the FIRST plate before it could be printed and issued.
The Flying Platypi decided that our first step toward getting the plate should
be two-fold: we needed to contact FIRST to ask for approval and we needed to establish a relationship with a local politician to get our bill introduced into the state legislature. This first step is very important as FIRST obviously owns the intellectual property rights to its logo so it can’t be used without permission (this step is also important later). We accomplished both of these things with great results. FIRST gladly gave us permission to use their logo on a license plate and we successfully contacted Sen. Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore of the NC Senate. (Thank you again Senator Berger!)
We met with Sen. Berger and he agreed to assist us in getting our bill drafted, introduced and passed in the NC Senate. We worked closely with his staff to put together the final design that was submitted to the NC Division of Motor Vehicles as part of the bill introduced in the Senate. As part of that process we had to verify that FIRST had given its permission to use the logo (which is why we recommend asking FIRST first).
In January of 2013, the team was invited to demonstrate our robot at the NC Legislature on February 27, 2013 in conjunction and invitation extended to NC FIRST to participate in Tech Day at the Legislature sponsored by the North Carolina Technology Association. After we accepted the invitation, NC FIRST Regional Director Marie Hopper asked us to invite representatives to Tech Day and tell them about the license plate project. We emailed all 119 Representatives in the NC House telling them about FIRST and our license plate as well as inviting them to Tech Day. We received a lot of positive feedback, including emails and calls from representatives who were interested in the project. One representative was so interested in FIRST that he offered to handle to bill for us in the house. This response gave the Platypi a lot of encouragement as we moved forward with the project.
While we were at the Legislature, Senator Berger and his staff visited our table and gave us a metal mock-up of the plate. The Platypi were extremely excited to receive the mock-up and we immediately set to use it to market our project.
On that same day February 27th, 2013 our bill, Senate Bill #143 was submitted to the North Carolina Legislature. The bill entitled NC FIRST Robotics Special Plate is an act to authorize the division of motor vehicles to issue a special registration plate for NC FIRST Robotics. A copy of the bill should be up on team2655.org in the near future.
For the plate to be manufactured in North Carolina, we must have 300 signatures from people willing to purchase the plate. We are well on our way to reaching that number. While we were at the North Carolina Regional this year, we signed up over 100 interested drivers and we aim to reach our goal this summer. So far, the Platypi have already been approached by multiple teams who are interested in creating a plate in their state.
For every FIRST plate that the DMV sells, The Flying Platypi receives a portion of the purchase price goes to support NC FIRST, specifically for the funding of the North Carolina Regional. As a team, the Platypi want to ensure that there is always a regional in North Carolina.
As a team, we would encourage everyone to look into getting a FIRST vanity plate in your state. If there’s absolutely anything the Platypi can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask.
- Annalise Wenig
Team 2655 The Flying Platypi