UFH: Dan Green

Thread created automatically to discuss UFH Honoree: Dan Green.


Name: Dan Green
Date Honored: 02-28-2006
Years involved w/FIRST: 11
FIRST Team(s): Motorola &, Rolling Meadows High School &, Wheeling High School (0111)
Role: Team Leader
Quote: “Wisdom is knowing what is important.” - Albert Einstein
Bio: Dan Green, known affectionately by his teammates as “Mr. FIRST”, is truly just that. Dan lends his time and efforts to a variety of roles for both his team and the FIRST organization, serving as a widely-recognized announcer for many of the midwestern regionals. Dan described his team roles for us here, to clarify: “My function has evolved over the years. I began in 1996 as the Engineering team leader, and in 2000 became the overall team leader. In the early years, I was not only the Drive Team coach, but the Pit Crew Chief as well. Now - as management, I’m politely (ok, not always politely) asked to leave the Pit when I show up to “help”. I still get involved in conceptual discussions regarding the robot design and functionality, strategy, Chairman’s and more, but as my role with FIRST in other areas has expanded, I have spent more time in that capacity. I continue to work closely with our schools and keep things running for the team behind the scenes.”

Interestingly enough, Dan also gave us a great quote to put up: “Raul, you’re pathetic!”

Dan also had a few great FIRST memories to share with us. "In 1996, our rookie year, we went to the New Hampshire Regional (the only regional held at that time) for our first competition. We were clueless. We showed up without a cart for the robot, so we had to carry the robot back and forth between the Pits and the Playing Field. By the time we got from our pit to the Playing Field, bumping my shin on the field border was pretty much guaranteed due to exhaustion. There we no open gates to enter the field back then. Anyway, we designed our drive train with sprockets separated 1 – 2 inches from the wheels by shafts that were secured into place by pins. For the last 2 nights before leaving for the Regional (at that time you transported your robot with you to the competition), whenever we drove the robot, the drive pins would snap after about 30 seconds. We tried all types of different pins that we thought could handle the torque, and thought we had found a solution. When we got to New Hampshire, we got on the field for our first practice, and sure enough, we snapped the pins. At that point we held a caucus of the entire travel team, and discussed our options. We decided we needed some ideas, so our Base Design team went out in the Pits to talk to other teams and observe their designs. The team came back about 30 minutes later and passionately pitched the idea of mounting the sprockets directly on the wheels to alleviate the torque problem. We realized that this was a major redesign and undertaking, particularly since we were woefully under-stocked with tools. Knowing we would have to borrow tools from other teams, and use the Machine Shop supplied at the competition, I presented the situation to the team like this: “Well, we have two choices, either we take a chance with this major redesign, and risk it not being completed in time or not working, – or – we do nothing and take our chances by replacing pins every match.” The team took a vote and decided to go for it. We got it done in time, and never had another problem with our drive train.

"A second favorite memory is from 1999. We made it to Einstein at the Championship, and were partnered with the TechnoKats (45) and Chuck Pie (84). Our alliance leader was the TechnoKats lead by a young mentor with the initials AB, who was barely out of diapers. This was our first time up on the big stage, and we had a chance to win it all. During our discussions to determine who would play in each match, the young guy insisted that we rotate all three of the teams throughout each round. That year only two teams played at a time, and there was no rule requiring that all three teams play. This maturity, fairness, and grasp of what FIRST represents made an impression on me, particularly under all the stress of the situation. Also even though we “only” made it to Finalist and placed second, we felt like Champions because we finally beat Beatty (our arch rivals and buddies), who had beaten us mercilessly every time we went up against them previously.

“My third favorite memory is from last year at the Midwest Regional when we won the regional Chairman’s Award for the first time. Members of our team have put a lot of effort into this over the years, but last year’s effort in the submission was fantastic, and seeing the teary-eyed faces of our students that had put heart and sole into this was a moving moment for me.”

Dan also gave us a list of impressive FIRST accomplishments. “I was the Drive Team Coach for our first 7 years. In 2003, my first year NOT coaching, we won the Championship – hmm … Over the years I’ve helped in most aspects of the team, and started a 1st semester class with one of our teachers in 1997 that has evolved to become required for participation on the team. I’ve been involved on the Midwest Regional Planning Committee for many years, and last year became the Midwest Regional Chair. I also serve on the Illinois FLL Planning Committee, and Emcee the State Competition. For the last few years I have been a Play by Play Announcer at a number of the Regionals and the Championship. This has been enjoyable, and another opportunity to meet and work with different people in yet another environment.”

So when we asked Dan how he would explain FIRST to an outsider, we got a great answer. “FIRST is a robotics competition that partners high schools and corporations or universities in order to build robots that compete against each other in a sports-like environment. By participating in this program, students see that technology and hard work can be fun, and can be inspired to travel some roads in their lives that they may not have considered.”

The great Mr. FIRST also gave us a bit of friendly advice. "FIRST is about Inspiration. Our goal as mentors isn’t necessarily to teach you how to be engineers, but to inspire you to want to learn more and apply yourselves. Hopefully, by working together and giving you the opportunity to see how we apply things we’ve learned, how we interact, and how we dedicate ourselves to accomplishing tasks we’ve committed to do, this will inspire you to continue your education and commit yourselves to being the best you can be. The fact that many of us are energetic and excited about our jobs should give you hope that there are great careers you can aspire to. That we have fun working together on FIRST … well, who says work can’t be that way?

"Remember, this is our chance to make a difference. By our participation in FIRST, we have the opportunity to change the education system, and even society.

“In the 1960’s, the goal of most college students was to make a contribution. In the 1980’s, the goal of most college students was to make money. Now it’s the 2000’s – what will your goal be?”

Congratulations to Dan “Mr. FIRST” Green, our next Unsung FIRST Hero.

Nominated By: Raul, Al Skierkiewicz

Congrats to Dan Green on being our next recipient of the Unsung FIRST Heroes Award.

Congrats Dan for inspiring today’s youth! Rock ON!

Congratulations Dan!

You’re one of the great ones …
What else can I say ?? …

Congrats Dan.

Thanks for being someone that we all can look up to.

Way to go, buddy. I want to share some stories.

One of my favorites about Dan goes like this:

It was the day of shipping, 2003.

Me, on a phone, with a hick-ish accent: “err… hello is a Dan Green there?”
Dan: “yeah, this is Dan”
me: “this is Ted from FedEx, are you the guy who is responsible for a Motorola FIRST team?”
Dan: “yeah, that is me”
me: “well… we have some trouble. Our driver picked up your robot and then got in a wreck. Your robot crate has been damaged pretty good.”
Dan: “what!!! what the… HEY… who is this?”
me: “Ted… I mean Andy”


IRI 2002. Dan pleaded with Scott Ritchie and I to let him be the announcer. For some reason, we agreed. I think it was Scott’s fault. Man, was he dry. He made Ben Stein look like Dick Vitale. Well, he got better. By the end of the event, he got OK. Then, he gets a gig (somehow… who nominated him for this?) as the announcer for the St. Louis Regional in 2003, where Blair was the m/c. Dan was the man. While Raul and the Wildstangs build their winged wonder, Dan must’ve went to Al Michaels’ school of announcing. Of course, Blair was unstoppable. Dan raised up to Blair’s level. Dan’s naming of the tetherball robot as “Wilson” was a classic announcer moment. Who would’ve thought he he would be so good at this?

And… Dan is a great father. This past summer, we got to hang out at Bill Beatty’s beachhouse (a memorable day), and it was neat to see his daughter and my kids hangin’ out together. These fathering skills come in handy while Dan is leading some of the younger Wildstang engineers through the season (psst… for a good time, ask Dan about team seating at the Midwest regional while he is in front of the other engineers on Wildstang. That discussion provided me with over an hour of entertainment at a Chicago eatery last year).

FIRST is about many things. One of the main “side affects” FIRST brings is strong friendships. Dan is a great friend to many of us, and he is well-appreciated in FIRST. Way to go, buddy.

Ted the FedEx guy.

Congratulations, Dan. Wildstang has always been a team that I’ve looked up to, partly because of people like you. Now you just need to bring your team to Canada. :wink:

Congrats Dan. I think what Baker wrote is a tribute, but I’m not sure ;). I do love the FedEx story. The few times we’ve interacted directly have been highlights for me, Dan and I’m absolutely thrilled to see you honored this way (even if it was the brainchild of two of the WORST dancers I’ve ever seen). If all mentors in FIRST had your passion and vision, we’d already be in every school in the country.

Congrats Dan :slight_smile:

I had the pleasure of learning to announce from “Mr. FIRST” on three occasions last season at Boilermaker, Chicago, and IRI. (Hopefully he didn’t think the same things about me that Andy thought about him…). He was a great teacher, and gave a kid with no experience the chance to get on a mic.

I have a few good memories of Dan.

3.) The “belly-checks” at IRI 2003.

2.) Dan and Blair at BMR '05, then Dan and Paul at MWR and IRI '05. Some of the greatest announcers in FIRST IMO.

1.) Dan handing me the mic in Chicago because his daughter was there with her girlscout troop, and he was showing them around the competition. This is what solidified him as a true “good guy” in FIRST for me.

Thank you Dan Green, for being another amazing role model.

What can I say? Dan is amazing. A true role model for us young, up-and-coming team leaders. I still haven’t really gotten to know Dan very well, yet, however I am hoping to change that in Milwaukee this year.

Congrats, Dan. An honor WELL deserved!


Having met Dan one time (Archimedes 2004), I might not have the best stories to tell. But I think anyone around that year will agree: Dan is the man.

“They are gonna cap that blue movable goal, with the doubler. They are saying ‘I am up for that challenge, I AM JVN!’”

Congratulations, Dan!

Congratulations, Dan!

Although I have not had the honor of meeting you, Wildstangs Robots and Wildstang in general has always been an inspiration to me. I look forward to meeting you at IRI this year.


It’s about time! You deserve this recognition, buddy. I look forward to working with you at Milwaukee this year.


It has been a great time working with you over the years. In a small way this award recognizes the huge commitment you have to FIRST, to students and to our team. I have learned a lot working with you, thanks for pushing me to help when I can. You are one of those people who will change the face of history by molding young lives and showing by example the way to live one’s life. Thanks for everything you do. Congratulations!

Congrats Dan - you deserve this honor so much. You really have evolved into a great announcer.

And, that Fed-Ex (is it Ted or Tom?) doesn’t know the half of it.

Well, that about sums it up for me.

Dan Green is all over this UFH like Bill Beatty with cheap perfume! (or something like that)

Congrats Dan!!! You’re awesome!!!

Congrats Dan!! :smiley: