During the past sixteen years, Travis Covington’s constant involvement in FIRST proves his commitment to changing lives. Travis effectively uses his communication skills to promote and foster a team environment that allows for individual success, and provides opportunities for students to maximize their potential.
Travis’ commitment to changing lives through FIRST is most evident through the success of the teams he has led over the years. Since graduating from Team 115, Travis has mentored Teams 968, 254, and 1868. While in college, Travis founded Team 968, RAWC in a socio-economically impacted neighborhood near Cal Poly Pomona. Within a few years, Team 968 developed a sustainable team structure that promotes success both on and off the field.
Since joining Team 254 in 2009, Travis has contributed greatly to the progression of the team. Participation across technical and non-technical aspects of the team has never been higher. Last season alone, all 100+ members contributed over 100 hours each over the build season. Travis’ ability to maintain high levels of participation and teamwork across all facets of such a large organization is testament to his incredible communication skills.
Travis’ attention to detail and commitment to excellence emerges in all aspects of the team. Rather than providing students with solutions to a problem, he encourages them to consult other students and work as a team. Travis is not afraid to say “nope, try again” to encourage the continuation of the iteration process so that students strive for the best possible results. While he may come across as critical, Travis’ push for excellence enables students to accomplish tasks that they previously thought impossible. This attention to detail helps students learn and grow, benefiting the team as a whole.
Travis goes the extra mile by committing himself to ensuring the success of students in all aspects of the team. For example, he helped to plan and manage both the first ever Chezy Champs FRC offseason event and Bellarmine VEX Tournaments, one of the largest VEX tournaments in California. Travis combines his technical knowledge, professional skills, and passion to inspire others by presenting at multiple local WRRF workshops to teach other teams about the effective use of CAD in the design process.
Over the past four years, Travis has taught me both technical and communication skills. My favorite part of the build season is always working with him to CAD the new drivetrain gearbox, as his “don’t give up, you’ll figure it out” teaching style makes me feel accomplished when I succeed. Thanks to him, I’ve become an effective communicator. I now present all news to students at team meetings, send out weekly newsletters to the students and parents, and maintain the technical build blog so everyone knows the status of our FRC robot. My life, like the lives of my teammates, has truly been changed by Travis’ shining example of leadership and commitment to technical excellence.