People to meet at the IRI

I’ve not been very active on here lately but am probably going to try to swing by IRI. Last year I was only able to be there for an hour, but it was great. I got lucky enough to meet the ever-thoughtful Jane Young that I’ve long respected. I recall at the end of the conversation, I told her I was going to go look for other people on my way out from CD. She asked who I wanted to find so she could point me in the right direction. That is when I realized that I didn’t know. That is the point of this thread.

Who is worth tracking down and meeting? It can be people from your team or others. The idea being that they have a little time to talk(not necessarily a long chat) and often leave an impression on those they meet. I’m aware that there are lots of people like this that are a part of CD, IRI, or FIRST in general…but I just thought this would be a great way for people to recognize those that inspire them while introducing them to new acquaintances that they may inspire. Feel free to mention anyone and if its a name we don’t all know a quick little paragraph or something about them. Please be sure to get their permission before setting 50 people searching for them and if they don’t mind a little bit of info on how to find/recognize them would be nice as well.

EDIT: Just wanted to add the note that I met many wonderful people in addition to Jane. She actually introduced me to the rest of the people while I was sitting there talking to her. I still bring up some of the stories I heard in that 30 minute conversation.

I’ll get the party started! And I’ll make this first suggestion without asking permission first, because I can… read on to find out why! :wink:

Try to meet - Foster Schucker - “Foster” here on CD.

Foster will be a first time attendee at IRI, coming with Team 1640, Sab-BOT-age, and boy is he excited! Why should you want to meet Foster? He and his STEMRobotics partner, Steve, were selected as the VEX Robotics Mentors of the Year! He has been working on using robotics as the focus for STEM programs in the greater Philadelphia. If you have any questions on what it takes to organize a community wide robotics program, he would be a great resource!

How will you find Foster? Hmmm, he may be with the team (1640) which is bringing a very small contingent out to compete (gold shirts with blue sleeves), or he may be found where the VEX robots are playing. He has a beard and will be wearing safety glasses! :stuck_out_tongue: He often wears a fishing vest, with the pockets filled with virtually anything!

And back to the beginning… why can I suggest Foster without asking permission? Because he is my brother, and it is essential in our brother -sister relationship that I find ways to possibly annoy him! I think it is very cool that he got involved in FIRST after hearing about my FIRST addiction and has gone on to make a great impact in his community! He is definitely someone worth meeting!

I know it’s not possible for you, but one of the best experiences at last year’s IRI was being on the drive team and being able to meet some of the fabulous drivers and coaches on the elite teams. Interacting with teams I’d never played before, but only heard of on Chief Delphi and seen perform at Championship, like 47, 217, 67, 469, 1771, 179, 2753, and 68 was a wonderful experience, and for some reason a lot of elite teams have their most inspirational mentors and most knowledgeable students on their drive teams.

As a rule of thumb, other than the drive team work, I just went to teams and asked them questions about things. Usually that would just result in me running into inspirational, “famous”, or otherwise really cool people without making an effort to do so. There are many people in FIRST who are inspirational that you can’t exactly name off the top of your head. For a biased example, 1714 has some FANTASTIC mentors; still some people I’m honored to have learned from even for the short time I was a student on the team. I highly doubt you’ve heard of them, but if you went to the pits and asked a few questions, maybe you’d stumble upon someone really inspiring. I’m sure a ton of teams have mentors like this, that you talk to for 30 seconds and walk away going “…wow”. Walk around, ask questions, see what happens. The open discussion of design at competition is one of the greatest aspects of FIRST and Gracious Professionalism. You won’t regret it.

Great question, I’ve actually been considering the same thing. I don’t know any of the big wigs personally–except for Foster, which I wholeheartedly second* (despite also not having his permission :P). I’d recommend taking a look at the WFA/WFFA winners that will be there, though. There are quite a few from this year alone, and it seems like a reasonable place to start. Also keep an eye out for memorable pit numbers and cool designs, of which there will be plenty.

In the end, though, remember there’s no shortage of inspirational people at IRI. (In fact, did you hear Inspiration Lives tHere?;)) You never know who you might run into if you just look around!

*Find a gold shirt with blue sleeves, we’ll help send you in the right direction.

Thank you for sharing that memory and for starting this thread. One thought that I would love to add to yours is to suggest that sometimes shyness can get in the way of wanting to meet people that you would like to. I’m not suggesting in any way that anyone interrupt a meeting or barge into a discussion, but I am suggesting that students (or anyone, really) try to overcome your shyness enough to be able to say hi and introduce yourself. If it is really hard to do, your mentor or a parent on your team could help you out or put in a quiet word for you. This can happen at any event and IRI is a gathering place for many teams and many people who celebrate robotics and team spirit - the type of team spirit that celebrates being a part of something bigger than the team. It celebrates inspiration. I’m glad to see that the IRI committee decided to go with one of the tag-lines, ‘Inspiration Lives Here’, that Mike Taylor suggested. He knows and understands what that means. If you have been to IRI, you do, too. If this is your first visit to IRI, you will soon understand.

I would also suggest that everyone take the time to look around and explore all of the opportunities that IRI offers to us. It’s well worth your while.

Jason, thank you again and I hope to see you there.


I’m looking forward to meeting the West Coast and Mid-west robots that don’t make it out my way for competitions. I’m excited to see all of the robots that I read about here on CD. At the regionals it’s very cool how teams will take the time to explain (for the 1000th time) how their robot works, how they got the design ideas, things they tried and failed at, etc. I spend very little time in the stands, I’m back prowling the pits for ideas that we can use.

For specific people, I’ll try to find Jane Young, since my sister is always talking about her and Jane and I’ve exchanged some interesting emails. Chris Fultz to talk about event planning and try to get some tips on how he manages big events. Of course JVN, a rock star in both the FIRST and VEX world. Just to name a few …

I’m expecting that all the meet and greet will really cut into the robot competition time. :rolleyes: I hope that our robot continues to hang together across the two days.

I like the idea of wearing a badge with the CD names on them, it will make identifying people much easier.

18 days to go!

I’m looking forward to seeing teams outside of MI. I haven’t been in the presence of non-MI/Canada robots since 2008 in Pittsburgh, and there are so many different designs and pits that I want to oooh and ahhh over when I have the time.

I, personally, have a long list of names of people that I have talked to throughout this past season, and I’m really excited to finally be able to match bodies to names and profile pictures/WAIs. I actually will have to write a list to make sure that I do make a point of seeing everyone, because as hard as I try, I know that I will always forget somebody. They are all people who have overwhelmed me with advice, knowledge, and friendship throughout the year.