He started by mentoring FIRST Robotics Competition Team 696, but because his job developing new technology for entry, descent and landing (EDL) for future multi-ton Mars rovers takes up much of his time, he needed a volunteer opportunity that offered more flexibility. That's when he found FTC.
His first role as an FTC volunteer was as Lead Queuer during the "Get Over It!" season. He was soon invited to join the LA FTC Planning Committee and he is now in charge of creating what he calls TinaB, or Tournament in a Box, which was funded by a generous grant from the official FTC Program Sponsor, Rockwell Collins.
Working with his girlfriend Maggie, who is the LA FTC Regional Tournament Director and also a JPL employee, Mike put over 200 volunteer hours into creating and implementing the master plan for TinaB, which is a trailer designed to hold everything an event organizer needs to host a qualifying tournament.
"Mike took my vision for a tournament in a box and made it a reality," said Liberty Naud, the FTC Affiliate Partner in the region. "Along with Maggie and Chris Naud, Mike created, cataloged, organized and developed a system for managing everything a Qualifying Event Manager would need to run a successful event. EV-ER-Y-THING!"
|Mike organizing items for TinaB|
"Things are breaking, teams are improvising with materials they have, strangers at the beginning of the day become friends and teams help to solve each others problems," he said.
Mike says it can be hard to find time to volunteer with FTC, but says the flexibility offered by the many opportunities makes that part easier.
"There are so many types of things to do. You can help if you can contribute eight hours every day, or as little as a couple of hours, one day a year," he said.
Editors note: This is the first in a series of weekly blog posts highlighting outstanding FTC Volunteers. FIRST and FTC rely on the tireless effort of thousands of Volunteers every year and we wouldn't be the program we are without them. Thank you Volunteers!