East West

No one loves FIRST like Artur Ostrowski. He dedicates his life to inspiring the students on Team 469 to make the most of the opportunity they are given. Through this dedication, his technical expertise, and his formidable work ethic, Art has transformed the team into a powerhouse of mind and talent.

Art and his son Mike joined Team 469 during the 2001 season. From day one, team members began hearing his oft-repeated mantra: “Every student should take responsibility for some portion of the robot.” Responsibility Art teaches by example. “He spends every day with us until midnight working at the machine shop to design and prototype, then stays up until 2 or 3AM so he can bring more ideas to the table the following day. Art’s dedication is amazing!” says Melonie Flasher, a freshman new to the team this year. Following a team critique of his new drawings, Art looks for a student to head up the new system. Alex Golec, 469 team leader, is always willing to volunteer. “It’s great to know I played a huge role in designing and building the roller system,” comments Alex, who did so under Art’s guidance. “And it’s even more exciting when you finally get to see it run.”

Exceptional Technical Expertise
Art is one of the few mechanical engineers with an additional degree as a designer. “Do you know how lucky you are that your team has Artur?” asks Joe Johnson, Team 47 mentor and Art’s co-worker at Delphi. “The man is one of the finest engineers around. Team 47 would love to have him.” Joe and Art are quite competitive about their FIRST robots, though neither likes to admit it. Message to Joe: We know exactly how lucky we are.

Being a brilliant engineer, however, is not why we nominated Art for the Woodie Flowers Award. His willingness to impart that knowledge to us, is. “Art helped me understand what the numbers and graphs on the screen meant,” says Melonie, referring to an excel spreadsheet Art made to model a ball’s flight path. When she looked perplexed, he asked what she didn’t understand. When she replied “everything” he tossed a ball at her, then explained it’s motion and how this was illustrated on the graph. Even mentors enjoy learning from him. Don Wright, a 2005 regional Woodie Flowers Award winner with another team, is a perfect example. “When my job brought me into the area, I chose to join 469 to learn as much as I could from Art.” We could not possibly learn everything Art has to teach, even if we had 200 years.

Formidable Work Ethic
Art treats his commitment to robotics as if it’s the most important job in his life. When he walks through the door, the team gets down to business. “It’s hard for us to slack off when we see how hard Art is working,” says Matt Leung, a second year member. “He’s like a machine.” This formidable work ethic has students working beside him for hours and continuing to work even after the robotics meeting has ended. “An employer could not pick a better role model than Art to teach students how to pull their weight in the workplace,” says Gail Alpert, Team 469 manager. “Students rarely have the chance to learn this during high school. It will carry over into all aspects of their lives.”

From his dedication, to his technical expertise, to his superior work ethic, Art Ostrowski is a mentor anyone would be proud to have on their team. We are just fortunate he chose to join ours.