Who’s Who at first



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FRC Program Staff

Frank Merrick
Director, FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST

I’ve been working for FIRST since 2008 as Deputy Director of FRC. In my career before FIRST, I worked in organizations including the United States Air Force and Rockwell Automation, and held positions including Engineering Manager, Production Manager, Quality Manager and Procurement Manager. I graduated in 1987 with a bachelor’s of science degree in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Several years later, I received my MBA from the University of New Hampshire. My introduction to FIRST came in 2002 with a call from Dave Kelso of Team 131 in Manchester, who was looking for a new build site. I mentored team 131 for 4 years, and have started two FIRST LEGO League teams, one of which I still coach, and several Jr.FLL teams. In 2011 I coordinated a Jr.FLL Expo at UNH, which was a great deal of fun. In direct on-the-ground support of FRC regional events, I’ve been FTA at the New York City, Philadelphia, and Seattle Regionals.



Wendy Trommer Program Coordinator

Kate Pilotte KOP Manager

Matt Pilotte, Electrical Engineer

Derek Foster, Engineering Project Manager

• Supervision of Engineering Technicians, Field Maintenance, and seasonal employees.


• Yearly design of playing field and transportation cases.
• Ensure that field mechanicals are ordered, manufactured, prepped and packed in time for competition season.

• Support GDC activities by building prototypes of field components and robots.

• Responsible for cost control within the FRC Field budget.
• Worked as a FIRST Technical Advisor at regional competitions. Instruct groups of volunteers in building and teardown of FRC field. Ensure that the competitions meet quality and schedule requirements.

Charlie Jacobs, Engineering Manager

Reports directly to the Director of FRC , and is responsible for managing a team of engineers and technicians that support game design, field fabrication, and test and verification of all components that comprise the field

Carla Proulx, International Coordinator, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)

This newly created position will provide support to our international contingent as FIRST looks to expand into other countries throughout the globe. In addition, Carla will continue to provide support to FRC Director Bill Miller, engineering management, and the entire FRC HQ team.

In her previous role as VP of Operations for Severn Trent Environmental Services, Carla saw firsthand the void of new engineers entering the environmental field. She shared the concern of her senior colleagues that more needed to be done to attract students to careers in engineering in order to meet the increasing industry demand. She worked on many initiatives with the New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA) and the NH Water Pollution Control Association (NHWPCA) to encourage an interest in the field through exposure and mentorships within the environmental community. High on that list was introducing female students to the many career opportunities available to them and how the industry had evolved over the years.

Leaving big corporate behind, Carla accepted a yearlong contract to help launch New Hampshire’s first middle/high school dedicated to students with an interest in math, science, and engineering. The Academy for Science and Design opened its doors in Merrimack, NH in the fall of 2007 and has doubled its student body in just one short year.

Carla joined FIRST in December of 2007 after hearing so much about the program from Academy students. She’s heard countless stories and sees the difference FIRST programs make in the lives of these students. “I see some great future engineers in these kids and THAT makes me very happy!”


Blair Hundertmark, Production Developer at FIRST

September 2008


New Faces at FIRST

As FIRST continues to grow at a rapid pace, we are pleased to welcome and introduce several new members of the FIRST Community who are helping us implement our programs around the globe and recruiting more young people, volunteers, and sponsors to FIRST.












FIRST Regional Directors… work collaboratively to create and maintain volunteer driven, self-sustaining, and growing FIRST programs in a named geographic area.

Connie Haynes, FIRST Regional Director for Georgia and Tennessee 

About ten years ago, I was introduced to FIRST by chance. My husband, daughters, and I had gone to Disney World for a dual purpose – a few days in the parks and to check out this new FIRST organization for possible sponsorship from my husband’s company. Naturally, the girls and I left work to my husband and we headed off to the park for another day of Mickey. When I received a call from my husband saying, “You have got to get over here and see this. You are going to be blown away!” Little did I know that the focus of my volunteer work was about to change. After learning that our current home state, Georgia, was poorly represented, we both vowed to change that. And that is exactly what we have been doing ever since. 

Being an educator for many years, I have seen the next best thing in education come and go many times. From the beginning of my involvement with FIRST, I saw something different – something that excites students with real-world application and fosters a ‘can do’ attitude from many who were simply coasting along. Not only does FIRST change attitudes about success in the areas of science and technology, it brings together a group of kids, at every level of FIRST, who develop a peer group that is so important in their educational career. I have been privy to many success stories. That is why I am still with FIRST and feel privileged to have the opportunity to take GeorgiaFIRST to the next level. My home state of Tennessee is poised to be one of the next growth areas for FIRST and I am excited to lead this charge as well.

I look forward to a long, productive relationship with FIRST and commit myself to bringing this program to as many of today’s youth as possible. Our future depends on the scientists, engineers, and leaders we develop today. FIRST’s future depends on us!  

Dan Holzmiller, Assistant Regional Director for Wisconsin


Dan will be working with FIRST Regional Director, Susan Lawrence. He brings 10 years of FIRST experience with him and a wealth of knowledge of FIRST in the state of Wisconsin. In addition, he has been a Chemistry teacher which will be a great help in his new role recruiting teams, teacher/mentors, and building FIRST programs.

Stan Toney, FIRST Regional Director for Maryland



Stan has spent his career in high technology and is currently teaching Physics and Chemistry in the state. Stan will be a team member in the "Capital Region" which includes the FRC Regional events at Chesapeake, Washington, DC (new) and NASA VCU, working with Regional Director, Pattie Cook.

FIRST Senior Mentors... "Make Magic Happen” by seeking out, recruiting, and fully supporting Team Mentors and Event Volunteers for FIRST programs and other initiatives in the geographic area in which they reside. 

Denise Lewis, Senior Mentor, Washington, DC

Denise is a dedicated educator, consultant, and community volunteer extraordinaire. She holds both a BA degree in Economics and a MS degree in Education. She is a veteran FIRST Coach and Mentor. Currently, she serves as leader of the Robotics Ministry at the Mount Airy Baptist church in DC.

 

 



 

Sally Sylvester, Senior Mentor, Virginia

Sally, a former BCBS Training & Development Professional, has begun her Senior Mentor career in grand style by hosting FLL Coach Orientation & training calls. She is a 4-year veteran FLL Coach and parent volunteer with an FRC Team.

 

 




Jane Young, Senior Mentor, SE Texas
(no longer)

When she’s isn’t busy running the Legal Services office at the University of Texas, Austin, Jane keeps busy as a FIRST Senior Mentor. After 6 years as a team mentor for the FRC Team 418 “LASA Robotics,” she still continues taking “breaks” by volunteering at FIRST events or running NEMO workshops.

 

FIRST Americorps*VISTAs… work to create awareness of FIRST in their community, focusing particularly on the needs of the underserved initiative, while seeking sponsors, mentors, and volunteers for FIRST programs.

Clinton Clegg, AmeriCorps*VISTA, Pittsburgh

Indiana University of Pennsylvania grad, a background in Computer Technology, and a talented song writer/musician, Clinton is well equipped to inspire students about FIRST.

 

James Conlon, AmeriCorps*VISTA, Philadelphia



Bucknell U. Grad, Roller Hockey – Team Founder & Coach, Boxer, Guitar Instructor, and now a FIRST VISTA. And… he’s just warming up! 

 

 



 




Joshua Dallaire, AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader, New Hampshire

Josh has just completed his inaugural and successful term in Maine as a FIRST AmeriCorps*VISTA. He enters his second season wearing a new hat: “VISTA Leader.”  We congratulate Josh on his accomplishments and look forward to a spectacular season with our FIRST VISTAs and Senior Mentors.

 

 


 

Eileen Phillips, AmeriCorps*VISTA, Massachusetts 

Eileen begins her FIRST VISTA service with a tool bag full of degrees, experience, skill, and a deep passion and commitment for helping youth to realize their goals. Look out Massachusetts… Eileen is not shy about having her way…

 

 

Adrianna Lynn Saar, AmeriCorps*Vista, New Jersey/New York City



Adrianna is a recent graduate from Rutgers University in Business Management. A lady of many talents, she will be guiding the Media and communications support for underserved organizations in New Jersey and NYC. Welcome to FIRST, Adrianna!

 

 




Nathan Smith, AmeriCorps*VISTA, Maine

Nate is highly skilled in Computer Technology. Nate has also logged more than 10 years in FIRST beginning as a FRC team member & mentor to a career of providing outstanding service as a Field Support volunteer. Welcome home, Nate!

 

 

 



FIRST International Coordinator… supports our international contingent as FIRST looks to expand into other countries throughout the globe.

Carla Proulx, International Coordinator, FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)

This newly created position will provide support to our international contingent as FIRST looks to expand into other countries throughout the globe. In addition, Carla will continue to provide support to FRC Director Bill Miller, engineering management, and the entire FRC HQ team.

In her previous role as VP of Operations for Severn Trent Environmental Services, Carla saw firsthand the void of new engineers entering the environmental field. She shared the concern of her senior colleagues that more needed to be done to attract students to careers in engineering in order to meet the increasing industry demand. She worked on many initiatives with the New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA) and the NH Water Pollution Control Association (NHWPCA) to encourage an interest in the field through exposure and mentorships within the environmental community. High on that list was introducing female students to the many career opportunities available to them and how the industry had evolved over the years.

Leaving big corporate behind, Carla accepted a yearlong contract to help launch New Hampshire’s first middle/high school dedicated to students with an interest in math, science, and engineering. The Academy for Science and Design opened its doors in Merrimack, NH in the fall of 2007 and has doubled its student body in just one short year.

Carla joined FIRST in December of 2007 after hearing so much about the program from Academy students. She’s heard countless stories and sees the difference FIRST programs make in the lives of these students. “I see some great future engineers in these kids and THAT makes me very happy!”





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