Who do you emulate?

The Woodie Flowers Award Winners and Unsung FIRST Heroes highlight the people in our community who are shining examples of the spirit of FIRST. What traits do people have that inspire you? Who do you want to be more similar to? You don’t always have to agree with them, heck you don’t even have to like them, but you have to admit, everyone has at least one trait which you find admirable.

Here are the rules

  • Pick someone that inspires you, and pick 1
    and only 1 trait that person has that you admire. The point is not to write long essays on everything that person has done, if you feel so inclined write those essays and nominate them for an Unsung FIRST Hero award. Perhaps this thread will motivate someone to volunteer to judge those essays again.
  • You must actually know the person. I don’t want celebrities, and I don’t want an overabundance of “Dean Kamen’s” “Woodie Flowers” “Dave Laverie’s” and “Bill Miller’s”. However, it doesn’t have to be someone you work closely with all of the time. I am going to draw the line at this: If you both were in a large crowd of people, the person would recognize you as someone he/she has had an in person conversation with before, and would know your name.
  • If you see someone mention something about you, you are obligated to post a trait you admire in someone else. It can be, but is not required to be, the person who posted about you.
  • If a trait is posted about someone who is not a member of the Chiefdelphi community, we want to meet him/her! Send them an e-mail with a link to these rules and their admirable trait, and may the powers of gracious professionalism compell them to join our community so they can honor the above rule. Exemptions for this rule are allowed for traits in loving memory of the deceased, or any other instances that would require an act of voodoo that would enable someone to join the Chiefdelphi community

Since I’m involved with all three levels of FIRST, I’d like to highlight someone for each. They are names you may not know, but I encourage that if you don’t, you should. Here are the people (and yes I like all of them) who have traits I would like to embody.

Brian Walters (FRC)- Cool-headed diplomatic management- Brian was the 2012 FRC lead of Exploding Bacon. Whenever you work with a large group of people, there will be differing opinions, arguments, politics, and undesired behaviors. Whoever is in the lead role has to deal with it, and often times catch the fire. I’ve heard it said that you don’t know someone’s true colors until you’ve seen them under the gun, stressed with time, and sleep deprived. Brian took an entire week vacation to help during Week 6 of build season, and I can say this, I have never heard anyone utter one negative word about Brian Walters. There are some things no one receives a medal for, but I doubt he knows how large of an accomplishment that is.

Michael Coleman (FTC)- Full-life dedication- He packs up his minivan with the FTC field, and drives it to a different location to hold a qualifying event every weekend for about 2 months. He donates his personal funds to support the Florida FTC program, and its volunteers. I could go on for a long time here, but I’d break my own rule about long essays, I’ll leave it at this… if you’ve ever dreamed of retiring from your job to live a life dedicated to inspiring the world through FIRST, you may still only come close to being Michael Coleman.

Jason Lovelace (FLL) –Nonstop positive energy– I have had the pleasure of working with many emcee’s and game announcers, but Jason is hands down the best in the entire world at FLL, which is why he was the emcee in St. Louis in 2012. I have been at a dozen events that Jason has emceed, often I am coaching an FLL team, or serving as a judge, but I watch and learn as his playful, entertaining, and fun attitude insures a good time for all ages. This past May Jason and I were able to co-emcee together for the first time at the FLL World Invitational Open, which turned out to be the hottest most physically draining event I have ever volunteered for, and it occurred not even a full week after St. Louis. He had the same amount of energy at 8 AM, as he did at 10PM when we were finishing up the dance party on the 2nd day. At the closing ceremony on the 3rd day, I told him “I use your routines all the time when emceeing other events” and he responded “Dude, I’m totally using your roller coasterat every event I do from now on.” How cool.

The Austin Family/The Grajales Family (team 1902)–Warm and Welcoming- This goes to any family willing to host official team meetings or build robots inside their home during build season. This is an entire family commitment which there is no escape; none of them can say “I’m tired, I think I’ll skip tonight’s meeting.” To invite everyone over every day, even though things may get broken or messy, and to do it with a warm welcoming smile is a true act of grace.

Jenny “Robomom” Beatty, Kathie Kentfield, Cynette, Jane Young, Libby, Cassie Beck – Big Picture point of view – To me These are the people who “get it” and are able to communicate it to others best. They are also the people I consider myself blessed if our paths cross twice in a single year. When I come across one of their posts, I slow down, and read every word. Heck I even skim though tons of other posts until I find one of theirs. There are specific threads where one of their nuggets of wisdom made me completely stop, and revaluate my own thinking. Because of their well thought out positions, I can say there are topics where I have changed some of my own opinions, and that is not easy to get people to do.

These are the people I want to emulate. The Pro’s in FIRST are role-models, real role-models. Who are yours?

Disclaimer: It is not possible for me to emulate Andy Baker, because I was not born on the planet Krypton. Just isn’t a fair standard to try to live up to.

This is tough, since many of the people I really want to be like I haven’t officially met IRL face to face.

So the one person I can think of I’ve met face to face is the California FRC director, Jim Beck.

Jim has many traits I admire, but the one trait I really look up to him for is his dedication to FRC and the FRC community. If there is a robot event, Jim is there. Whether it’s a regional, an offseason event, or even a small pre-season workshop put on by a local team to help the close by teams, Mr. Beck is there and ready to share his knowledge. His life passion is to better FRC, and make it a great place, and he’s spent all of his time in FIRST doing exactly that. He worked hard to get a regional in Central Valley this year, as well as a few new regionals in the coming years. When faced with the challenge of accommodating all of the new teams in California, he went right to work, wasting no second to do anything but help the teams. He’s always available to talk, and will always put aside something he’s working on to answer your question about which teams to talk to to learn a lot from.

I apologize for the near long essay, but Jim is just that awesome.

Marc Braun (3176).
Easily the most gregarious, easygoing person I’ve met. He’ll not only stop you in your tracks and talk your ears off about his latest interest, but get you excited about it as well. His ability to network, to gain and retain friends, is unparalleled. Not afraid to ask for everything, and he usually got it. Boundless energy, and heart to match. A powerful warrior to have on your side.
Those are the qualities I choose to remember about Marc. Rest in Peace, my friend.

Disclaimer: It is not possible for me to emulate Andy Baker, because I was not born on the planet Krypton. Just isn’t a fair standard to try to live up to.

This is interesting because the one person in FIRST who I look to for confidence, inspiration, direction, and feedback - is Andy Baker.

It’s ok to set the bar that high because I’m comfortable with the fact that I strive each day to reach that bar but not necessarily attain it. But that’s just me. Striving rocks. It doesn’t make Andy superhuman to me, it just makes him a magnificent role model and someone I want to be more like.

Thanks for this thread, Barry. I’ll add another person who inspires me and makes me wish I was more like him after I’ve had some time to think about my words.

The second person who inspires me and makes me strive to improve each day no matter how hard the struggle or daunting the task - is “Fredi”](http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/member.php?u=5621). I connect the dots from Andy Baker to Fredi as a direct link of respectful networking because… Andy took the time/made the time/carved out a special moment of time to introduce me to Fredi so that we could begin to see how many mutual values we shared. We could also reach across distance and experience and share encouragement, awareness, appreciation, and support in incredible ways that have enriched my life and strengthened my mentoring skills. I saw Fredi in the Pits at the Championship Event this spring and there was just so much joy in our presence. It was the joy of achievement, success, staying the course, powering through the tough stuff, and celebrating the awareness of the impact of STEM initiatives and FIRST on those whose lives we celebrate and respect so very much.

Because of these two men, I am a better woman and a wiser mentor. And I am grateful.


I’m having a hard time picking one person. There are a lot of people in FIRST whom I try to emulate, like Justin Montois (from 340), Koko Ed, Andy Baker, JVN and especially Karthik (though I haven’t personally met JVN yet). But if I were to pick one person in FIRST I most try to emulate, it would have to be my long-time friend and mentor from 1126, Dylan Gramlich.

Dylan was a Senior on 1126 just as I entered as a Freshman (in 2008). He was the Coach at the time (his third year doing so). My earliest memory of Dylan was helping him lift the shelves we use into our back storage. My first SIGNIFICANT memory of Dylan is him leading the 2008 strategy session. He was so knowledgeable about… Well… Everything I would ask about! We became fast friends and we’re friends to this very day (5+ years later).

There are so many qualities I try to learn from Dylan. He first inspired me with his strategic knowledge of FIRST, but I’d go on to admire him for his cool-headedness (when not on the field, as least :wink: ), his fairness and his laid back nature. But what I admire most about Dylan is his leadership. Dylan is, in my eyes, a natural born leader (and, by extension, coach). Dylan was the one who inspired me to pursue leadership roles on 1126, and to eventually try out for the drive team (though I never attained my coveted goal of Coach). His natural tact and ability to control a situation always inspired me. Dylan has taught me so much over the years, and he is a true inspiration to me. When I had to write a college essay about a person who inspired me most, Dylan was a no brainer. Well… Okay, it was a toss-up between Dylan and Rocky… But I like Dylan better.

I’m not sure how much Dylan is on CD nowadays (getting ready for his wedding and all :slight_smile: ), but if he sees this, I hope he decides to set up some DnD :smiley:

Two people who I’ve been able to meet a few times in person, and have been working with for a while now, are Richard Sisk (2493) and Ranjit Chahal (1323). The quality that both of these people have which I try to emulate is selflessness. Rich is a FIRST Senior Mentor in California and RC is the lead technical mentor on 1323. Both of these people are well known and respected in California because they will go out of their way to help another team out or to teach someone something new. Rich acts as a very crucial organizational adviser for myself and 3929 out here on the east coast, and RC acts as a very crucial technical adviser. Both of these guys deserve recognition of what they do for others, and I am thankful for being able to work with them on many different things in FIRST. Both are incredibly hard workers and always strive to learn more and become better.

Sorry to double post, but I would hate to see a thread like this die in a lonely corner.

Andy Baker … need I say more?

Yes. You Do. Andy has a TON of great qualities, it wouldn’t be too difficult to see the next few pages being posters picking a trait of his. Which one reason did you choose?

You all are very kind. Thank you. I am gonna try to change the subject a bit and attention to someone else.

This will be rolled out with the qualities I admire and then I’ll name the person at the bottom of the post.

Attention to Detail

I’ve known this person for about 10 years, and he has always been a quiet but steady influence within the FIRST community. If you are a long-time mentor, you most likely know him or you have used his work. This person is one of the most detailed-oriented people I know. This attention to detail is what I admire most about him, although he is also kind and hilarious. He is a fantastic pilot, and even trains other pilots. He is the best drummer I have ever met, and works hard to make sure his buddies look good, even when they are making fools of themselves. He also is a very good control systems engineer, and a valuable mentor on team 51. His Drive Train Basics paper is one of the best resource for any FRC designer.

Chris Hibner is definitely a man of many talents, but his attention to detail is something that inspires me.

Andy B.

I know you said to only pick one person, but with two fantastic mentors (well, more than two, but these two stand out a little bit) I have to give both mentions here. Mike Pettingill Sr. Is the head mentor of our team, an he has put more time, money, and heart into a team then I have seen from anyone else. He is extremely knowledgeable, knows when to crack a joke or be serious, and is a great teacher of things beyond the robot. Whenever there is an outside problem or a moral problem, he is someone that anyone on our team can go to talk to. In the one year that I’ve known him, he has been a huge inspiration on my life. The other I must mention is Bob Bonham, a long time FIRST veteran, who is one of the nicest, funniest, and most laid-back people I know. He is able to take things very slow when you don’t understand, and knows all about engineering. I’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy his presence. Both of these men are wonderful teachers and role models, and are really what FIRST is all about.

I will post my story

There is a certain individual with an influence that can’t be measured, a heart of gold, and a will of steel. His fiery passion for FIRST and FRC was instilled in nearly everyone whom he befriended, with me being no exception. He was a pioneer on our team, allowing us to go to places far beyond where we were before. Most importantly, he was a brotherly figure to many of us. He was recognized by FIRST as a Dean’s List winner in '10 for his outstanding work towards spreading FIRST’s values and his positive influence on the people in his community. It is true, for I have not yet seen anyone with a more positive influence on myself and I have not seen anyone put as much work into FIRST (as a student) than he has.

He left his mark on all of us. I emulated his fiery passion for FRC and FIRST. I wanted to spread the values and ideals of FIRST because this individual showed me why these values are important. He showed me why we should be competitive, and how in order to change the culture, we had to change our own. I was hooked. I didn’t see FRC as a club anymore, I saw it as a sport, where everyone could go pro. Before, I just did programming for our FRC robot when at build meetings. Now, I constantly read material online. I went from being an electrical monkey to an engineer. From someone who just does what he is told to someone who actively designs the systems. I went from being able to only program to being able to CAD, evaluate mechanical designs, and write complex threading software. This change was brought about because of that individual’s influence. His unwavering philosophy of FRC reminded me of Mohandas Ghandhi’s quote “be the change you wish to see in the world”. He was the living context of the quote, and to this day, continues to inspire others in his community, and continues to work towards FIRST’s goals.

This individual’s name is Kyle Fender, and on CD, he is known as ghostmachine360. The trait that I choose is his Passion.

I could go on about Kyle, but i don’t want to take up too much space. I posted what’s most important about him and why I try to emulate him.

I have my nomination. Enjoy.

The first is someone that’s been with me since my sophomore year. His tenacity has to be the trait that I highlight.


  1. highly retentive: a tenacious memory.
  2. pertinacious, persistent, stubborn, or obstinate.
  3. holding together; cohesive; not easily pulled asunder

All of these pretty much apply to him; usually at the same time. And they’ve always worked out to be something great within him.

It was his dominant trait that ultimately fueled me to keep going during the hard times working on my team. Going into my sophomore year, where we just went through a class gap my freshman year (3 freshmen going/staying in robotics compared to 30 freshman from the previous year), I was discouraged on the continuing legacy of our team. He came into the fold, fresh from FLL. Went and became immersed in the program itself; not just the robot, but all aspects of the organization. Administration, leadership, outreach, and competitive efforts; he had his hand in all (in a large way majority of the time) to make it successful. It wasn’t just the tasks either. In cases where some of the leadership of the organization faltered and failed in upholding the values of FIRST, he remembered what & who mattered and held fast to his beliefs; never wavering. Whenever I was ready to leave FIRST behind from discouragement from some mentors or teammates, he was the reason I stayed. Because he represented the product of a positive FIRST impact. For most of what I was able to do in my years as a student leader at my alma mater, he was the prominent force behind my success. Through my experiences as a member, leader, alumni, volunteer, Dean’s List member, and member of GeorgiaFIRST, he always pushed me to strive for excellence within my work and efforts.

He pushed me to become better in everything I worked & believed in.

He is a comrade, a friend, and a brother to me.

His name is Anupam Goli, aka Noops, or Wing here on CD. Now going off to college to make an even larger splash within the FIRST world as a FRC mentor & emcee. Thanks, bro, for the nomination. The phrase “thank you” can’t even begin to describe my gratitude to you for the past 4 years of being there for me. :smiley:

For me it is Becky Knetter, she was the original coach of our team. Her passion for us as students is why the team exists today. 1 student was unable to take AP Physics because of a lack of interest from the student body so she created the team as something for him to do. That passion is what I emulate, I want the world for my students and I try to help them achieve their dreams.

Jim Zondag: Work ethic.

(This is less than an emulation, but more of an admiration). I am fairly certain the first time he sleeps after kick-off is the plane ride home from the championship.

I’ll come back and add to this when I have the time, but I just wanted to say this is a truly wonderful thread. Rock on, FIRSTers.

I’ve bee lazy with this, and since I haven’t resurrected a thread in a while, I thought this was a good one to revive. Barry messaged me when this thread was still young that we could have multiple people. So, to resurrect this thread, I’m going to give a portion of the (extremely long) list of people I try to emulate in FIRST.

Justin Montois, 340 - I admire Justin most for his love of the program and FIRST. Justin, a mentor of a team who has one numerous Chairman’s awards in a row, consistently shows me his love of FIRST through at-competition work, CD involvement, and his hosting of FRCTop25, Mike and Justin ITM. I’m proud to call Justin a good friend, in addition to a role model.

“Koko” Ed Patterson, 191 - I try to emulate (though it’s a near impossible feat) Ed’s dedication to FIRST. Ed is known as a serial volunteer, and for good reason. This list of events he volunteers at (usually as Head Queue) is insurmountable. And not only regionals and champs, but off-season events, including IRI and Ruckus. Another person I’m proud to call my friend, Ed is a continuous role-model to me. Whether he’s volunteering at an event or running a Fantasy FIRST Draft.

Andy Baker, 3940 - What I try to emulate most about Andy is his contributions to the program. Like Ed, Andy is dedicated to the program. And, as a Woodie Flowers Award winner, he has found ways to contribute in so many ways. His most notable contribution is founding, alongside Mark Koors, AndyMark, a company that sponsors FIRST with the Kit of Parts, and sells equipment to FIRST team. Another thing I admire about Andy that tells me he is a great mentor is his team mentorship. He mentored 45 for years, but left for CyberTooth when his daughter was of age. It’s tough, to leave a well established team for a less well off one (I’m kinda of doing it now, except the new team isn’t a rookie), but Andy did it.

Karthik Kanagasabapathy, 1114 - I like to consider Karthik a friend, though we don’t interact very much. What I try to emulate most about Karthik is his laid back nature. When (if) I grow up, I want to be like Karthik (in a way). I don’t want to be a crazy old coot who locks himself in his basement and makes robots all day. Karthik takes FRC seriously, but not to the point of obsession. He’s cool. Laid back. He’s just an awesome guy in general. There are a lot of things I like about Karthik. He’s an amazing MC, committed member of CanadaFIRST, and someone who truly loves FIRST, his team, and every other team. He’s a guy I want to be like in the future.

I hope to emulate a lot of people. I feel like whenever I walk into a FIRST event, its a bunch of my childhood heroes gathered together in one space. For right now, I’ll pick one person (who isn’t on my team) who I find awesome.

John Larock, aka Mr. MOE for helpfulness / gracious professionalism. I have, like every other FIRSTer, always looked up to 365 MOE because their work is incredible. I was happy to see Mr. Larock win the Woodie Flowers Award at 2011 CMP. After having given my team’s RCA presentation, my fellow presenter and I rushed to the Chairmans chat to hear from MOE (represented by Mr Larock and I believe a student) and the other HoF teams and to ask them as many questions as possible. Later the next day my team was leaving the Black Eyed Peas concert and my friend (same one) and I spotted Mr. Larock halfway down the street in front of us. Logically, we sprinted to catch up with him to say something along the lines of “You are awesome, congratulations on WFA, can we email you to soak up your awesomeness?”

Of course he said yes and as soon as a slept a little from CMP I proceed to email my questions. I’m on a team that is really working hard to expand our outreach capabilities and Mr. Larock provided me with some great insight, particularly on organizing your outreach plan into focused programs. Before the judges at the 2012 Bayou Regional called our team to accept its 3rd Chairmans Award (in a row) they listed some of our accomplishments. One of the first things they said was that we had “well organized and energetic groups focused on mentoring, outreaching, partnership, and volunteering.” They were referring to the programs we has thought up after having been inspired by MOE and using Mr. Larock’s kind words of wisdom. He probably didn’t even realize that his one email helped transform my team.

Just to add onto this - He is one of the most kind-hearted and generous people I have ever met in FIRST. In our area, we are lucky to have him and Al Ostrow from 341 to learn from. Both exceptional people.

Both are amazing people and shows the morals of F.I.R.S.T to the T! They volunteer and help with team organization. He has helped me with the Software Help Desk with Moose since 2010 and is completely dedicated to making sure that students come first. Also, if a team doesnt know how to do something, he comes over and helps out the best he can. If he cant fix it, he gets someone else that can. She is the same way, completely dedicated to FIRST and to her team. Volunteers and makes the day sweeter. Both of these people have touched my heart and I am honored to call them mentors.

Ken and Kat Gardner