UFH: Stephen Florence

Thread created automatically to discuss UFH Honoree: Stephen Florence.


Name: Stephen Florence
Date Honored: 02-14-2005
Years involved w/FIRST: 5
FIRST Team(s): Purdue FIRST Programs &, West Lafayette Jr/Sr High School (0461)
Role: Lead Teacher
Quote: “Make it happen.”
Bio: Stephen ‘Flo’ Florence is a well-known force behind the revered Westside Boiler Invasion Team #461, and an active member in FIRST in the state of Indiana. Steve has helped start rookies all over the state, offering his team’s resources and his own personal guidance for their success. A technology teacher and a great mentor, Steve is known throughout the state for his knack for teaching and his dedication for the FIRST program.

We asked Steve a little about his accomplishments in FIRST. He told us, “Our team has been rewarded in many ways through awards, community recognition and support. Throughout the past five years we have won many different awards at competition as well as a Chairman’s Award in 2003. We measure our success as a team by the accomplishment we are able to start in our community. We currently have grown our FLL program to 8 teams, hosting a FLL Regional and now we are going to host a FRIST Robotics Regional in the spring of 2005. Purdue University has seen the value of FIRST and is willing to support our efforts to bring FIRST to the community.”

Steve also mentioned his favorite memory in his FIRST history. “My favorite memory about FIRST is during our 1st year the 2000 season. We struggled with many of the aspects of design, building, and the financial support. To our rescue were three teams (45, 68 and 71) that gave us support in all these areas. Without them we would have not had the great experience that FIRST is all about. These teams helped us the confidence to achieve the Rookie All-Star at the Midwest Regional. Team 68 also helped us to go to Nationals with finical support. The experience at Nationals gave all of us the desire and passion to achieve. This opened all of our eyes to the see how great the FIRST program is and how important it is to share this message.”

Flo also gave us some great advice: “Find a goods mentoring team and have faith that things will work out of the best. The community in which you live will rise to support the students in the quest. FIRST is an outstanding program with the ability to change the lives of so many.”

Congratulations to Stephen Florence for being honored as our next Unsung FIRST Hero.

Nominated By: Josh Hambright

Congrats to Steve Florence for being honored as our next Unsung FIRST Hero.

Truly a hero in Indiana’s FIRST involvement and a great source of advice. :slight_smile:

Congratulations Flo. This is a much deserved honor for all of the time and effort you have put into our team over the past years.

So I am so excited that Flo has been picked to be honored as a Unsung FIRST Hero, since the first time i heard about UFH I thought that Flo was a perfect example of an Unsung FIRST hero, more often the not he is behind the scenes doing what he does, and being an amazing force and inspiration. Several of my hero’s have received this award already and i have found several more because of this award, but Steve Florence is the reason I am involved in robotics.

When i was a freshman in high school, Mr. Florence had Andy Baker bring a robot to our school so that we could see one, i was fascinated by it, i joined the team and was on my way to robotics history, except i quit the team because i had other stuff going on. However i was back on the team the next year and on my way to where i am today. Flo was the reason i got involved. He is the reason i have been able to accomplish much of what i have in my young life. His guidance has taken me through good times and bad. He constantly pushes me to my limits and forces me to give my all to every aspect of my life. When i was in school i looked forward to Flo’s classes every day, and they gave me an opportunity to learn and do thing hands on while still having fun and learning at the same time.

Without him, we wouldn’t be having a boiler maker regional, his determination to get a regional in West Lafayette was the driving force behind that achievement. Without him there would be no 461. Because through him we have all gained strength and insight, he is the man behind Boiler Invasion. Without him i wouldn’t be in robotics, and for that he is my hero. No longer Unsung, as now everyone can see how awesome Flo is and what a great force he is.

I’m sure this post makes no sense, as i am to overcome with praise and admiration for this man that i call a mentor, a friend and a colleague. I could ramble for pages about how great he is. But i will cut myself off.

Congratulations Flo, you truely are my Hero!


Way to go Flo!!!

It has been an honor and a pleasure working with you over the past five years; first as a high school student and now along side you as a mentor. You and Josh are probably the only two people who actually love 461 more than I do! Hanging around you for all those years, I’ve definitely learned some of the Flo tricks for fabricating robots. Year after year you make it look easy. Thanks also to Mrs. Florence, who puts up with your many long days and late nights. WBI is Flo and there is no way we could do it without you. Here’s to making it happen.


Congrads!! I hear you do great things which is wonderful. Great mentors are hard to find.

Congrads again and have a great day!!

It is easy to see that guys like Josh are excited and passionate about what they do and now we have someone to blame. This is a great honor, keep up the good work.

Congratulations Flo!

Mr. Florence made my first season on the team, 2004, absolutely phenomenal. There is no count for how many peoples’ lives he has affected. Thanks for everything Flo :smiley:

  • Eugenia Gabrielov

Congrats Flo!

It’s real cool when a guy you “kind of” know win’s something like this…what can I say??? Flo’s the man!

I have never met or talked to you Flo … but I know you must be an amazing mentor just from reading your biography and Josh’s post. Congratulations!

Some qoutes from Flo or about Flo:

“Anything you can do… Flo can do better” Nikhil

“If all else fails, use a bigger hammer” Flo

Congrats Flo,

Mr. Florence is truly deserving of this award. For the past two and a half years I have been a college mentor on WBI. I remember when I first joined the team I was really intimidated. I thought that Flo would be intimidating, but it was exactly the opposite. Flo made the transition from a high school student to a college mentor really smooth. He is one of those people that when you just don’t know what to do, he is there to listen and give you advice. He is a phenomenal teacher. Everytime I walk into that high school I am totally amazed by how he is revered by his students. Not just that, but every single college mentor on our team holds him to the highest regard. Flo has opened up his entire life to us and is just like family to so many of us. He watches over us, takes care of us, and teaches us.
I will never forget this past 2004 season. As far as winning rounds and placing well at competition, this was our best season. At nationals I was on the coach on the field with the 3 high student field team and Flo was one of our allowed helpers on the field. Back to back rounds during Curie finals, he was always able to keep us all calm before we charged out on the field. The look on his face when we advanced to the finals of Curie was priceless. This is the firthest we have ever advanced. That was one of my greatest FIRST moments with Flo.
Flo is an amazing teacher, an amazing person, a great mentor, and a great friend. He has really been able to " Make things Happen" CONGRATS FLO!!! Seeya at the Boilermaker Regional!

I have known Mr. Florence for 5 years, both as a teacher and as the head advisor on Team 461, and of all the things he is good at, he is great at one of them: Inspiring people to have a passion for something. For me that passion was robotics, and he did everything he could to help my passion for engineering grow stronger.
Flo is a great engineer, both because he knows the answers (and offers helpful suggestions and tips) to all of my questions and ideas and because he does not talk to you in numbers. He does not carry a TI-89 with him and have you look at the answer; he goes beyond that. Flo tells you, after glancing at the inventor file, part, or drawing, whether or not something works, and how to “make it work” better. Flo knows his lab (the tech lab where we build the robot), and always offers suggestions for improving parts that don’t require additional trips to the ME Machine Shop or to Ace’s.
Flo himself brings a huge passion for Robotics and a love for the team. He always wishes for the best, both for the team and for every team member. I used to have social problems as an 8th grader (in his class) and as a freshman and sophmore, and he helped me through those problems, and even helped me become friends with my former enemies.
Flo definitely deserves this award because he is passionate, he is a great engineer, and an excellent person.

Congratulations to Mr. Florence, who always makes it happen. :smiley:

Mr. Florence is truly an amazing person. He’s been actively involved with team 461, who has no professional engineers, only college students who are involved in technology or engineering.

Westside Boiler Invasion has an incredibly active program, and he’s always been very devoted to making sure that things go well, but more importantly, Flo is an incredible individual because he genuinely cares. He’s one of those people that will ask you, “How are things going?” and you know that he’s not asking about a robot design, he’s asking how things are going with your family, school, and life.

One of the other things that makes Flo such an outstanding person is the fact that he’s always the optimist, a big picture thinker and a ‘get up and do it’ kind of guy. It’s this sort of character that makes him a man I’m glad to call a personal role model in a world with so few true men.



Steve -


It has been great reading the stories above and learning what an influence you have had on some many young people.

It is great working with you for the Boiler Regional -

Good luck in the 2005 season, but it seems to me you are already a success.

Chris -

Steve Florence is an amazing guy. He is the type of lead teacher who can inspire everyone on the team and also keep them in line. He is passionate about FIRST, and sees the impact it has on kids he has in class.

Steve is one of those people who can preach about FIRST and get people excited to be a part of it. The amazing thing is that Flo also does many more things for his school besides FIRST. He is a wrestling coach at the same time the FIRST season is taking place. Flo is a good guy and a dependable friend.

Here’s to Steve Florence!

Andy B.

Just though I would give this a bump to let everyone know about the video the 2004 seniors made for Mr. Florence. Here is the write-up for it:

The class of 2004 was Westside Boiler Invasion’s largest graduating class in its 5 year history. Almost all of the seniors had been on the team for 3 or 4 years, and many had known Mr. Florence for even longer. To some, Mr. Florence was like a second father. At the end of the year, one student had the idea to do something special for Flo, something that would show the appreciation they all had. They came up with idea of making a DVD with testimonials from all of the seniors. Here is a video of the main portion of the DVD.

Here is a link to download the file (it’s large - 64 megs):

It’s down at the bottom of the page.

My goal in producing the video was to make Flo cry, and all of seniors presented it to him at our team banquet. He didn’t cry, but he was speechless. ANd for those of you who know Flo, that is a feat in and of itself. I think the video gives a good idea how much Mr. Florence means to Team 461, the sentiments we share in the video were and are shared by eveyone in Purdue FIRST Programs.

This man surely deserves this award. Congrats to Stephan Florence. It’s great to hear how much he has done. People still continue to amaze me. I can only hope to be as good as a mentor as all of the UFHs.

Congratulation flo!!!