“Rock stars, is there anything they don’t know?” -Homer Simpson Raul Olivera inspires students to participate by motivating them to work as a team. Raul has shown enthusiasm and inspiration throughout his thirteen years of WildStang. Through his dedication, Raul strives to complete every task at hand, making sure our team exhibits quality engineering while learning mechanical skills. Raul deserves this award because of his passion; he believes that young minds should have the opportunity to design the technology of the future.
As our lead engineer, Raul takes everyone’s input concerning the design of our robot. During our team’s brainstorming sessions, we provide ideas for the design of our robot. Raul not only makes sure that our team stays on task, but also makes sure that we have an exciting time. Throughout the sessions, Raul incorporates all the students’ ideas into one design. He always has a solution to every problem that we are faced with. Raul does not give the answer but makes the students think and figure out the solution in order to make us understand the mechanics of any problem. He explains the concept of engineering and how it applies to many things clearly, inspiring us to take interest in the concept learned. Raul graciously helps any team in need. Student Alan Mellovitz of Team 1525 stated, “We would specifically like to thank Raul Olivera for his assistance with our design and his help solving our drive shaft crisis and supplying crucial materials on a Sunday afternoon 48 hours before ship date.” Team 2047 needed specific parts but did not have the resources to make them. Raul worked hard to fabricate parts. During competitions, Raul never denies a team strategy and scouting information. Team 188 mentor remarked, “[Raul] single handedly challenged our strategy and helped turn it around for the better. We would have been crushed first round had [Raul] not done that.” Raul readily offers his time to help any team with any problem.
Raul takes his passion further as the drive coach for WildStang. He works with the students to improve and steady their drive skills, while teaching them the ever changing strategy of the game. He also takes in to account the student compiled strategy information. Jose Juarez says, “Raul is the heart of this team and if he were to leave, WildStang would lose not only a key leader, but also would lose morale and guidance.”
Raul goes beyond WildStang. He referees at regionals that WildStang does not attend. For the past three years at the Championship Event, Raul has presented during the mechanical seminar, in which he reaches out to all teams. In 2005, the FIRST community recognized Raul as an Unsung Hero on Chief Delphi. He is an inspiration to many, including his children, both of whom became WildStang mentors. Rich joined Team 111 as a student and, following his dad’s footsteps, became a Motorola engineer and helped start Team 2047.
Raul has not only taught us engineering skills, but also has taught us the importance of excellence and quality and how it can leave the playing field and be applied in our everyday lives. He has touched the lives of countless WildStang and FIRST students, inspiring them with his passion for engineering. By leaving a lasting impact on individuals on and off our team, Raul is a highly-respected mentor in FIRST. Ken Patton of Team 65 comments, “There
are some people, for some reason, that make me feel like a kid walking up to talk to a rock star. [Raul] is one of those people.”