UFH: Gary Dillard

Thread created automatically to discuss UFH Honoree: Gary Dillard.


Name: Gary Dillard
Date Honored: 05-31-2005
Years involved w/FIRST: 8
FIRST Team(s): UTC/Pratt &, Whitney LSP/Manufacturers Round Table &, South Fork High School &, Martin County High School &, Jensen Beach High School &, Clark Advanced Learning Center (0180)
Role: Mentor
Quote: Engineering is the art of modeling materials we do not wholly understand, into shapes we cannot precisely analyze so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess, in such a way that the public has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance. - Dr A. R. Dykes, British Institution of Structural Engineers, 1976
Bio: Gary Dillard is a longtime FIRST mentor from SPAM, Team #180. Gary’s involvement on the team has ranged from mechanical engineer to Chairman’s and website mentoring, and in the process, he has touched many lives. He is a positive person, always willing to explain mechanical concepts to the SPAM students, and always willing to help other teams with their problems, too. He’s also pretty talented at doing the SPAM dance, as was noted.

Gary has a long history in FIRST, and a wide range of accomplishments. However, this one stuck out. “I got to work with Cindy Abrams at FIRST Place as engineering advisor to some wonderful teachers (Kyle Hughes of RUSH, Chuck Nystrom of RAGE, to name a couple) a few years ago developing curriculum for engineering related to robotics. What a blast that was, but boy did it leave me feeling inadequate compared to these people who just breathe inspiration to their students. Every time I start to feel self-pride at my contributions, I remember them and kick myself in the butt to do more.”

While many people have a favorite memory that involves their team members or fellow mentors, Gary’s favorite was a moment that struck home. “The summer before his senior year of high school, my son Dan decided that instead of majoring in Christian Music he was going to major in engineering, and he chose to participate in S.P.A.M to get a taste of what engineering was about. He came to me Saturday afternoon of the National Competition and said, “If I had known engineering was this much fun, I would have done it a long time ago”. THAT’s the message I want to get out, that engineering is fun. Ask any student on our team if I’m having fun; I don’t keep it a secret.”

Gary offered us a bit of advice on how to handle competition in FIRST, too. “Don’t be jealous of teams who have lots of money and full-time engineers and/or machine shops dedicated to FIRST during build season, but be very envious. Decide what your resource limits are, don’t work beyond them, but work to increase them every year.”

Congratulations to Gary Dillard, our 35th Unsung FIRST Hero.

Nominated By: Arefin Bari

GREAT JOB MR GARY DILLARD! You are in the elite of the elite now in FIRST! Great job teaching kids about the newest technology! Keep it up you make us all proud! :smiley:

Congratulations Mr. Dillard. Great going - keep it up.

DILLARD!!! congrats! i’ve worked with you the past 6 years. when i entered s.p.a.m. as high school student finally you were the mentor that i worked with first on Fluffy’s other arms that we never used but that’s okay. you are an amazing mentor and friend. thanks for writing my recommendation letter and always supporting me and the team. S.P.A.M. is more fun for sure with you around. keep on dancing!!! Long live S.P.A.M.!!!

Congrats again!!!

Congrats Gary, I was trying to stalk gary at Palemtto so i could give him a bear hug, but he wasnt there, but i got to meet him at Nats and had a nice long conversation about years past and random stuff in atlanta

and on another note, congrats to fluffy, for being one of the only robots that could toss us around like a rag doll in 2002

I have known Gary since 2002 Robot Rodeo. I went over to their pit to check out their transmission, while Gary gave me a brief overview of Fluffy (S.P.A.M.'s 2002 roobt). Right away I knew that this man had something to offer to me, a lot of knowledge. He is one of the mentors in FIRST I definitely look up to. He is very inspiring as well as a very good friend. Not only that he had few good discussions with me about engineering, he also helped my team…

… 2004 UCF regional, Thursday evening, team 108’s robot was 138 pounds, few of us from the team stayed back in the pit to work on the robot. One man that was still there who didn’t have any reason to stick around but just to show gracious professionalism. Yes, Gary Dillard was there standing right behind us, supplying us tools, screws, drills, power (whatever we needed). I salute him for who he is, a great guy who knows the true meaning of FIRST.

Not only that he is a great inspiring mentor on S.P.A.M. he is also a very good friend of mine. I met him through his wonderful daughter who is also a part of S.P.A.M., April Dillard. I have realized why I am still in FIRST, it is because I still have mentors and friends like Gary Dillard who takes time out of their hand to show and tell us about things we want to learn about.

Gary, you truly deserve this honor, Congratulation man.

Congrats to you Gary!! You have always inspired me, great to see you got recognition.

First of all, I worked most closely with Gary this past year with the team’s website. Ironically, in that page with the quote and bio and stuff about Gary as the UFH, the link to our team’s website is wrong. It is
I am sure it is just a mistake so if someone could fix that, it would be great.

Congrats to Gary. I am glad someone like him was there to help with the website through a ruff year of inexperienced people trying to make a good one and we won the Website Excellence Award at the Palmetto Regional. Gary also helped a lot with the Chairman’s Award essay. I know this because my mom was the awards team mentor and she kept talking about how much Gary was helping with it. After he helped with it, we won the Judges Award at UCF for coming very close to winning the Chairman’s Award there. Those are the two major awards that I remember that we won this year and both were, in large part, due to Gary. Thanks!

WOW, Congratulations Gary!!!

SPAM is so lucky to have someone like you.
:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Ya, alright. Go Gary. You Rock. thank’s for telling me 5/8"-18 existed. Let’s all go To IRI and celebrate

Congrats Gary Dillard! I was proud to know who you were right when I met you at UCF. I was even more proud when you knew who I was before I introduced myself. You have a great bunch of students and one of my absolute favorite teams. Great teams derive from great mentors. Congratulations again.

Edit: I just recalled my first memory of Gary Dillard before I actually knew who he was… I was in the stands at the 2004 Championship event hanging out with some of my SPAM buddies. They had just won their match and I was laughing at my friends who were doing the peculiar SPAM cheer. As I turned around and looked up I noticed the parents and the mentors (Mr. Dillard was right behind me) were also singing and kicking their legs up as well. Now THAT is a spirited bunch! I was stunned, my team (1390 after their rookie year) complained about having hats with ears attached to them, and here SPAM had students constantly cheering and singing. I loved the atmosphere and vowed to do what I could to try to make whatever team I became a part of more like SPAM.

Congratulations Gary! :slight_smile:

Congratulations, Gary! :smiley:
(If there were an actual award associated with this, I can picture Gary clutching it saying, “Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.”!!!)

Congrats Gary! It was a true pleasure to finally meet you in person it Atlanta. You dedication and spirit are true assets to the FIRST community.

Congratulations, Gary.
It is always nice to see someone who works so well with students get recognition. A great guy from a great team, keep up the good work.

Congrats to Gary Dillard. I was able to meet him in Atlanta because he was looking for Heidi and her Dave buttons.

Congratulations Gary!!! I had the opportunity to work for Gary during my internship several summers ago. He’s great at his job, a wonderful father to his children, and a great and caring mentor. Congratulations again Gary.

Dude!!! Congrats, man.

I think I’ve known Gary longer than most of the Chief Delphi members have been around.

It’s been a pleasure and an honor to work with you both on the job and with Team SPAM.

Congrats, Gary!!

I first met Gary at the 2004 Robot Rodeo, after dealing with him for a while here on CD. If it weren’t for him, I think I might still be in Orlando helping the crew get the matches in. He got the brilliant idea to cut the matches down to four, and move around the right teams. Then, once it turned out that TacOps didn’t like our scheme, he was right in there cranking out rankings. (I only take credit for the bad handwriting on the white board.)

Gary’s a great guy–now we just have to get him up to Palmetto sometime!

<edit>By the way, I think you have the wrong picture up there. Supposedly there’s a far better picture somewhere, but every time I ask about it, I’m told I’m not supposed to see it. :wink: </edit>

Congratulations to Gary Dillard, our next Unsung Hero. This honor is well deserved.