I just found out that a good friend and supporter of FIRST, Joe Hering, lost a long hard-fought battle with lung cancer last July. While Joe was well known at SVR, the wider FIRST community is probably unaware of the huge contribution Joe made. Joe was the contractor program manager for NASA’s Robotics Alliance Project (reporting to Mark Leon and Dave Lavery), which started as the Robotics Education Project in 1997. Joe was responsible for making sure many rookie teams got their start, including the Cheesy Poofs, amongst many others. If you ever saw the cool NASA portable machine shop, well the art on the side was Joe’s project, as well as the initial design and content that went into the RAP web site.
Joe was also instrumental in the development of webcasting. You all can get webcasts on your smart phones now, but Joe was figuring out how to support webcasting the kickoff from New Hampshire back in 99. I worked closely with Joe from 1999 - 2005. Whenever he became frustrated over an obstacle or with bureaucracy, he’d remind himself - “I am doing this for the kids.” The best way to sum-up Joe his the tag line on his business card: “Mountains Moved.”
There used to be something called FIRST unsung heroes on Chief Delphi, but I can’t find it any more. Of all the unsung heroes, I can’t think of anyone more deserving than Joseph Hering.
The Image attached is a poster I made for Joe’s birthday in 2007.