Though many of you will not know me I felt compelled recently to
connect with my 2169 roots and give all of you an insight as to the
impact of being involved the creative, challenging, and fun
organization of FIRST Robotics. I cannot overstate the effect that
this team has had on my life. The thrill of beating the tight
schedule, the challenge of solving new and complex problems with novel and useful solutions, the satisfaction of seeing ideas and concepts become a reality. Many of you think I have described FIRST Robotics, but I am actually describing my new occupation as a Nuclear Field Engineer for General Electric. The aspects of managing a crew to repair a nuclear reactor, and the aspects of being the lead engineer for 2169 so closely parallel each other.
You want schedule pressure?
Each day a nuclear plant stays shut down costs the customer an
additional million dollars. You want fast paced engineering? Every
time I hit the floor new issues arise with new equipment being used,
and my team and I scramble for a solution with limited parts and time.
You want a challenge?
Hair pulling stress, heart racing problems, and managing a dynamic groups all becomes worth it when we close up the reactor and complete a safe and timely outage.
You want fun?
Only 2169’s parties can compare to the after outage parties. You know what I mean….Volm! The experience I had with 2169 became lively and active talking points during interviews. That’s right! FIRST Robotics helped me get a job with GE. Not much in college could compare to the competitive, passionate, and enjoyable experience I had being a member of 2169.
Use this time with robotics as best you can. When 2169 began in my
barn, due mostly to the efforts of people besides me, I never knew
what to expect, and I surely didn’t think it would end up being
something I would keep on my resume and reference almost five years later. The dynamics of this club so perfectly reflect the inner
workings and challenges you will all be faced with in the future. The
leadership skills, communication abilities, and passionate drive are
things that college might not prepare you for. Every part of the team
becomes essential to the overall success of the program. The things
you do here matter! Put all you have into this program and I promise
you it will prepare you for the real world in an unparalleled way.
Keep your grades up obviously, but never forget the aspects of a
leader that might not show in a GPA. At the end of the day GPA gets you into the interview, real experience gets you the job.
I hope I am not coming off as saying you need to be all work. If you
ask Joe about me he will probably say what a headache I was half the time. I mean, I was the guy who jumped on the float this year.
Fun isn’t something that has been lost due to my new job. The importance of team cohesion and moral have remained a focus. I recently spent 30 days in Taipei Taiwan working at the Chinshan Nuclear Plant, and needless to say there was room for plenty of enjoyment. Project managers had kickoff parties (Sound Familiar?), would infrequently take the crew out to dinner , and my coworkers and I had many nights of exploring this exciting country. Much like robotics, my job gives me the chance to see other parts of the country, meet bright and dedicated people, and allows me to move up in the world while developing skills critical to my success. Never forget the extra effort put in by the leaders to make the work more enjoyable., and you will go far.
In conclusion I would like to personally thank Joe Passofaro and Mr.
Volm for dealing with the antics of a football player who wanted to
make robots. Your effort has not gone to waste, and I’ll try my best
to not end the world this year. The team you have started, the effort
you have put in, and the passion you have shown has touched the lives of so many, and inspired a generation of kids. Whether you are new this year or a veteran senior I implore you all to enjoy every
challenge, soak up the drive, and appreciate every effort both the
leaders and members of this program have to offer. You’re beginning a journey that will not end with graduation.
I wish you all the best, and good luck this coming year.