East West

“There is a solution, I know you can figure it out” is what Code Orange students hear daily from  our four year engineering mentor Andrew Hedge. 

Andrew introduced himself to our team at the San Diego Regional our rookie year just as we  were losing our main engineering mentors. 

Since then, we have been honored with a regional victory, multiple engineering awards, multiple division and Chairman’s wins, and more. These accomplishments result from Andrew’s  influence and direction. 

Andrew has been involved with FIRST since 2001, starting as a core student on FRC 980, then  as a mentor for FRC 968 while attending college at Cal Poly Pomona. He is now an Automation  Manager at Applied Medical- a cutting-edge medical device company. Although he has plenty of knowledge and experience, he believes in the value of the program to students rather than for  

himself, and teaches us how to arrive at a solution, rather than telling us the answer. 

He knows FIRST’s value and has donated time to give back to the program that has made him  successful. He is involved in all aspects of FIRST, for example, he is consistently the head ref  and our FLL QT. He finds this program to be life changing and wants to further inspire us to  have the same experience he had. 

Realizing that it is important to maintain sustainability, he has worked with students to create  machining and electronic videos that have gained close to 10k views. He teaches those same  tutorials at many workshops as well as training students on the 10 step design process. 

In addition to the countless hours he puts into our students, Andrew also trains our first and  second year mentors new to their positions on the team, and is a great role model to the high  school FLL mentors on 3476 to be effective mentors for their own teams. Team 3476 alumni  says, “Andrew helped me develop and improve my engineering and leadership skills that are  now recognized in my engineering job today.” 

He advocates for us furthering our FIRST experience outside of the program itself. He assures  that every committed individual who applies receives an internship at Applied Medical, which  resulted in almost 1/3 of our students receiving positions. 

Last year we had a difficult time with communication on our team. Facilitating communication  between students from 18 different schools was a challenge we had to overcome at the fast  pace in which we were growing. Working with students, he set up a blogging system in which  students can convey messages and assign tasks to one another, to prevent the same issue  from arising. He is quick to respond to issues and solves problems, encouraging effective  communication throughout our team. 

With his 14 years of experience in FIRST, he enjoys the challenges of FRC but it is clear that he believes in the value of the program to us students rather than for himself. Andrew continues to  inspire people of all ages about the magic of engineering through his never ending dedication to 3476 and the FIRST program as a whole.