Team 1675 would like to nominate Jon Anderson for the 2010 Woodie Flowers award. Jon is an influential member inside and outside of the FIRST community. In his eight years with FIRST Jon mentored four different teams, founded a FIRST support group, created an engineering competition, worked the regional circuit, and is key to our partnership with Rockwell Automation.
After learning about FIRST Jon founded a team, FRC1064, in South Milwaukee, WI in 2003. Despite being a freshman in college, Jon commuted to his old high school every day during the build season to give the students an opportunity that he never had. That same year, he was one of three founders of the Milwaukee FIRST Support Organization (MFSO), which works with the regional planning committee to organize various activities surrounding the local regional. The MFSO was responsible for recruiting mentors, inspiring students, sponsoring FIRST competitions and starting a scholarship for FIRST graduates.
Jon has been with us, FRC1675, since our conception in 2005. Jon helps with team organization and award submissions, implementing an “Engineering Notebook” system to reinforce engineering concepts. He also teaches our programming team C++, a programming language he chose because of its real-world practicality. Jon is noted as a brave individual to pick C++ over languages like Java; one of his students explained “teaching C++ to high school students is like trying to drink from a fire hose” but then adding, “the languages we’ve programmed in are hard to master but are the main languages in the working world.” Students and mentors alike on the team admire Jon for his flexibility, as he is also shop-savvy, and helps to build various components for the robot.
During the fall after the 2005 season, Jon helped establish an off-season VEX-based robot competition for local teams. The competition emulated a FIRST event, and gave rookie members a taste of the FRC season. Area teams use the weekly league nights to test ideas and bond with the FIRST community. In five years, the program has greatly expanded to three different leagues, bringing together the southeastern Wisconsin FIRST community.
FRC1675’s second year was a rebuild year. Jon stepped up to plate, teaching a new programming team, and offering to teach the programming team for rookie team FRC1714. Like a doctor making home-visits, Jon helps other local teams when needed. As a chairman for Project Lead the Way in Cedarburg, Jon helped form two FIRST Tech Competition teams which, this year, evolved into a rookie team, FRC3197. Jon works closely with the new team while still maintaining his partnership with us.
Jon played many roles in regards to regionals. He, a former member of the Wisconsin Regional Planning Committee as webmaster, volunteers at regionals fulfilling roles from inspector to field scoring. Jon is the go-to guy at regionals when any software issues come about.
FRC1675’s strong partnership with Rockwell Automation has Jon to thank. Jon has arranged various “in-house” demos for FRC1675 at Rockwell, and is the link between the two. He is one of the first members of the Rockwell Automation FIRST group, and is the “FTC go-to guy”. Jon helped design the AutoFlex program which allows teams to simply create an autonomous mode by driving the desired path. Jon has been featured in several magazines about AutoFlex and mentoring in FIRST
Jon influences the community as well as the team. His impact is evident in all he touches: support groups, competitions, and teams; at any given time he spends at least 10 hours a week on FIRST related activities, reaching 40+ hours during the build season. As one student recalls, “I always saw Jon as a prime example of what an engineer should be. Jon is the type of guy who strives to figure out a problem and evaluate the solution to ensure it works… he embodies the type of engineer I would like to be when I graduate; reliable, hard working, and as we all remember, he brought the funny.”