Why do Chairmans

Now my team is under a major crisis. We are thinking to remove our chairman’s team because we don’t have enough members. Instead we are thinking to focus those members onto fundraising. Now I am a huge advocate on chairmans, but I’ve presented all my information and still am short. So I guess my question is why do chairmans? Thank you.

There’s a great thread on a very similar subject that you can find here. I’d recommend reading through it a bit.

I’ll put my thoughts on the subject down in a little bit.

Even if you don’t think you can win this year, the feedback you’ll get from the judges can be very useful food for thought that can hopefully help you to get a Chairman’s Award in a future year.

Also, the Chairman’s Award is largely about positive impact on the world around you. If you help and inspire lots of people, and if you generally have a hugely positive impact in your community, then you’ve done something worthwhile that you ought to be very proud of even if you don’t quite get that blue banner.

I understand that your team has only limited time and resources and other competing demands, but I think that pursuing the Chairman’s Award is a really good idea even if you don’t get it.

Edit: also, in the long run, pursuing the Chairman’s Award can help your fundraising. The greater your team’s positive impact and the better you are at demonstrating that impact (e.g. through the Chairman’s video), the easier you’ll find it to convince potential sponsors to support you. Generally, sponsors are looking to make a positive impact with their sponsorship dollars, and showing that you have a good track record of creating positive impact will help show them that money given to your team is money well spent.

The documentation that results from creating a Chairman’s Award submission can be extremely useful as information for potential sponsors.

The presentation can be adapted to showcase why a sponsor should donate to your team.

The video can be shown as evidence of how your team is using the skills learned in the shop and applying them to the real world.

Some sponsors even require teams to submit a Chairman’s Award, because of how valuable it is as a tool to continue improving your team.

Carolyn made some great points, the documentation serves as a great synopsis for sponsors and other partners.

The Chairman’s Award serves as a great point of reference for planning and evaluating what your team is doing. In my opinion, one of the most important things to remember here is that you need to only judge the progress of your own plan and not compare it to others. So plan with the team members you have and make the goal achievable for a team your size and the time you have available. If that means focusing on fundraising then do it, but I wouldn’t drop out of submitting for the Chairman’s.

There is a plethora other good things that come out of doing it, besides what has already been said.

In doing that community outreach teams can grow a lot closer. I came from a team that had a massive focus on Chairmen’s for the longest time. So we did a lot of different demos and what not, I know this brought me a lot closer to the other students on my old team. Most of whom I still keep in touch with.

Also even if you don’t have a large Chairmen’s team, I know I have been a part of a 5 man one as a student, you still make an impact. Three or four people on your team who care about it can do a lot, even if you don’t win anything. Also helping your community is one of the things FIRST wants teams to do since it helps make well rounded people, which I view as one of the organization’s goals.

Hope this insight helps!

Some of these points have already been made, but this is an excerpt from our Chairman’s Guide:


  1. It is documentation of everything you have done that year. If nothing else, your Chairman’s Award submission is an excellent way to document your team’s growth and accomplishments each year. The Chairman’s video is also a great way to get your team and FIRST out there for potential sponsors and community members.

  2. It will allow your team to analyze the program you have in place. You might be disappointed by the numbers, but you may also be very surprised. The Chairman’s Award submission is also a good tool when it comes to setting team goals.

  3. It will change your team and your community for the better. If your team has traditionally only been a “robot” or “build season” team, submitting your first Chairman’s Award is a huge step in advancing your team towards becoming a “Chairman’s Team” and leaving an impact on your community. The award submission introduces videography, writing skills, public speaking, and more, thus pulling in more students who may not have been interested in robotics before.

  4. It refocuses your team on the values and messages of FIRST. It can be easy for teams to forget that the real reason FIRST exists is not to build a robot, but to inspire others to pursue and appreciate STEM. Applying for the Chairman’s Award steers teams back to the core values of FIRST because in the process you have to explain why your team embodies FIRST’s core values. The more you look at and embrace these values, the easier it will be for your team to embody them.

  5. It allows your team to teach itself your mission and history. When you create a Chairman’s submission, you are forced to look at almost everything you have done as a team. This usually means going back pretty far in the history as well as figuring out what your current mission is. Team history and a team mission are two things every team member should know.

  6. In general, Chairman’s teams seem to perform better on the field and at competitions. The reason Chairman’s teams do so well is two main reasons: a) When you have a strong, sustainable program with lots of partnerships (like many Chairman’s teams have) you gain more mentors, funding, build space, machines, team members and many things that contribute to a better robot on the field. b) Chairman’s teams understand and embody FIRST. They are quality teams and understand that FIRST isn’t just a competition, but also a celebration. There are many examples of Regional and Championship Chairman’s Award winning teams doing well in both aspects of competition. Annually, in division finals, 1/3 of teams are Engineering Inspiration or Chairman’s Award winning teams. In 2005 The Hot Team won Championship Chairman’s and on Einstein. 7 out of the past 10 Championship Chairman’s Award winning teams have made appearances on Einstein; many of these teams have even won on Einstein. It is no coincidence that these teams are successful in so many areas; it’s because they have incredibly strong partnerships in their community that gives them access to the tools they need to succeed.

Why can’t your fundraising team do that and Chairman’s? Are they fundraising 24/7? Safiq, I know you do a lot already but why can’t you do Chairman’s? I’m sure you have a little bit of free time between now and next February. I’m kidding a little bit but it truly comes down to priorities. There a ton of reasons to submit for the Chairman’s Award and the number one reason is that it reminds you and your entire team that what we are doing has a greater purpose. Culture change doesn’t just come from building one robot every year it take a lot of work. Truly ask yourself and your teammates what type of team they want to be. I hope you would start listing some of the qualities that the Chairman’s judges are looking for and if you are going to work towards becoming that team why not use the Chairman’s Award as I nice benchmark for knowing you are on the right track.