[Poll]: Chairman's vs Engineering Inspiration

Simple, unscientific poll to satisfy my curiosity.

Which award would you rather win?

  • The Chairman’s Award
  • The Engineering Inspiration Award

0 voters

Vote and discuss! (Or ignore, that’s cool too.)


I think a couple of the votes so far have been influenced by some of the recent threads on here, that being said I don’t have any solid evidence, and even if I did I don’t think that would really mean anything. Also there have barely been any votes so at this point I’m just being dumb but it’s whatever.

It would also be interesting to see what people thought of each award, for example which one they would choose if there was no difference between the two in terms of reward and prestige.


I’m good.


Regional - EI so my champs registration is covered. Champs - Chairmans so I can come back to champs in the future.


I put down Chairman’s, but that’s just because it’s a more prestigious award and is on the path to getting into the Hall of Fame. With my interpretation of the judging of each award, my team has a very low chance of Chairman’s – we do VEX IQ/VRC and no FLL/FTC in non-Coronavirus years, because we believe these programs are better and help our community more.

If I got to do nothing different from what we’re currently doing, and just pick an award, I’d take Chairman’s, but given the state of the awards now, I would try more for EI than Chairman’s.


I can’t quote this enough. Given the champs registration payment for regional wins of EI, I’ll take that. RCA if that isn’t a thing. I’d love a CCA but that’s going to be a long while.


Best deal ever: we won a Chairman’s this year AND we didn’t have to pay the championship registration fee!

Edit: we’ve been fortunate to have a sponsor who has paid our full Championship entry fee the last two years but I voted for EI because that NASA entry fee grant is a massive help to most teams, including us the one year we won it. I don’t know if we could have scraped together the entry fee that year. I am not sure they would have paid it this year.


This one is tough for me. I am a founding mentor of two FRC teams that are still active.

2002-2010: St. Louis, Missouri – FRC 931 Perpetual Chaos [nineteen seasons]

  • Six CMP appearances
  • Four RCA, Two REI, Two WFFA, Two Blue Banners (both as a second pick)
  • One Dean’s List Award, Two Deans’s List Finalist Awards
  • Seven judged Awards, three of them technical

2011-now: St. Joseph, Michigan – FRC 3620 Average Joes [ten seasons]

  • Nine DCMP appearances, Six CMP appearances
  • Two REI, Five Blue Banners (Rookie season as a second pick, the others as AC or 1st pick)
  • Ten judged Awards, six of them technical

Both teams have inspired the growth of FIRST in their respective areas. 931 is more outreach-focused, while 3620 is more competitive. Neither is exclusively one or the other.

Neither team is particularly focused on CA or EI. They really have the same goals: inspiring the next generation of informed, creative thinkers.

Bottom line: present, not voting.


If Chairman’s consistently reflected a team’s sustained efforts to make a real difference in their community through the power of engineering, using FIRST as a vehicle, then I would think of it as FIRST’s highest honor. As it has instead evolved into a salesmanship award, I am happy for the winners, but am not terribly interested in it. EI may be more short term in terms of duration of the impact that is being judged, but I think the judging criteria there does a better job of reflecting the difference teams are really making in the world.


Honestly, though, trying for those awards is fine, but I have zero expectation of ever winning them. If it happens, great, but we’ll keep doing outreach/community-building things and having kids present their work because it (a) builds great kids who are passionate about sharing what they do, (b) is fun, and © it is how we try to make the world a better place. If you put too much importance on the award itself then you WILL be disappointed because the judging system isn’t perfect and there are teams that do more than you (no matter how much you do) and they might be at your competition. That goes for both EI and Chairman’s - I have very small expectations of winning either.

Our goal is to make a better robot every year and to also always do things that connect the kids to the community in some way that serves the greater good. To me, that part of it just as valuable, if not more so, than getting them excited about STEM careers.

(Now, if we could get that robot-based blue banner for once, that’s our current goal… this year was going to be the year! Oops, maybe next year.)


sorry i only speak safety award :triumph:


I’m curious to know the breakdown of foreign teams versus US teams opinions on this, since EI doesn’t mean you get free champs from events outside of the U.S.


I’ve been on teams that have won both (as both a student and as a mentor)

The CA wins felt bigger but I think with the current CA guidelines (from the awards section of the manual) I believe that EI is an award more in line with my personal understanding of FIRST’s mission as a mentor.

CA feels more like it is in line with FIRST’s accounting department.


Winning money > Not winning money


Point of fact, HoF winners may select one of it’s junior or senior students to receive the Allaire Medal

The Allaire Medal - Leadership Exemplified

The Allaire Medal recognizes leadership exemplified and is awarded to an individual student on the team selected as the Chairman’s Award team.

Named in honor of Paul A. Allaire, a long-serving FIRST Chairman of the Board, the Allaire Medal is given to the student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership on his/her FIRST team, within his/her school and community and whose personal character best embodies the spirit of FIRST .

The team earning The Chairman’s Award at the Championship will select the Allaire Medal recipient. The adult and student team members of the Chairman’s Award team determine the recipient. The recipient must be a high school junior or senior who has been accepted into a four (4) year degree program at a college or university. The Allaire Medalist receives the Allaire medallion and up to $10,000 in total scholarship support for undergraduate tuition, room/board and fees/books at his or her intended university or college.


Didn’t know that, cool! For the average team, though…


For district teams Chairman’s gets you to compete at DCMP. EI lets you only present at DCMP. Neither cover registration for DCMP. Both are desirable awards (and I believe EI does a better job of rewarding teams who help their communities more but that’s a different discussion for a different thread) but don’t get me wrong, given the choice I’m taking the one that gets my team to the next level of competition. (If the question is about DCMP EI or CA, give me EI for that money printer going brr)


Wow, a lot of people really don’t like chairman’s in here. I agree with Mr. Noble’s take (as usual), but I think people have been reading this as “what award do you like more”. Sure, Chairman’s is a FIRST-centric, but I’d much rather have an amazing, long-lived effort based around FIRST than one year of solid outreach. Methinks the chief groupthink has clouded the vision of the community too much for this to be a fair representation of FRC as a whole :thinking:. Heck, I’m pretty sure most of this is a contrived VRC vs FTC proxy war.


I’d rather win multiple years of EI, because the outreach that’s most impactful in my area is often not FIRST related(i.e. we already have an established VEX IQ program in our middle schools, and it’s more impactful to provide support there than try to get them all to switch to FLL), and our goal is to provide access to STEM experiences, not FIRST experiences. In my experience a lot of the culture in FIRST is focused around building FIRST as an organization, when we (IMO) would be making more of an impact by integrating the FIRST core values with whichever program is the best fit for the community (often FIRST, but not always).


In ISR I’m not really sure, though I think I would prefer EI. In ISR, 90% of chairman’s winners are from (relatively small) periphery or low socioeconomic areas. EI is more balanced, and if your team isn’t from a periphery or low-socioeconomic-level area, you have a better chance to get EI than Chairman’s. The VEX/FIRST issue doesn’t really exist here as VEX didn’t spread to here.