Category Archives: Gracious Professionalism

Team Duct Tape Heads to Houston FIRST Championship!

That’s right – we did it! We earned the Connect Award at the Florida FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship, and a spot at the FIRST Tech Championship in Houston in April. We join six other Florida teams, all from Tampa Bay and Central Florida:

We’re one of the oldest teams in the bunch, at 11 years old, next to Gears of Fire.  But it’s been a while since our team has made it to the international Championship event,  so we’re super excited, and grateful for the opportunity to compete at the higher level, where we’ll face off against – and with – 160 of the best teams from around the world.  We’re especially excited to represent for our new home base, the Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center (AMRoC) Fab Lab, under development by our nonprofit sponsor, Foundation for Community Driven Innovation, at University Mall near the University of South Florida.

We’ve been building at our new location since the ROBOT League Championship, and have been able to connect with new mentors, as well enjoy easy access to everything from 3D printers to power tools. We’re the first of what will be four “house” teams at AMRoC, which will include programming for FIRST LEGO League Jr., FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Robotics Competition teams, as well as FIRST Tech Challenge.

Now it’s back to the workbench to refine our robot further, and do everything we can to be competitive at the international level.  And we’re inviting all the Championship-bound teams to a Scrimmage at AMRoC with us, on March 30 .  Additionally, AMRoC welcomes teams to use the FIRST Tech Challenge field and build space to meet and practice, in readiness for Houston.

Thank you to everyone, from our families to our mentors, for helping guide us to such a successful season this year!

Now we can use a little more help getting to Houston.  Please consider becoming a Team Duct Tape sponsor and helping us complete this final stage of Rover Ruckus season!

 

Celebrating TDT Super Mentor Paul Markun

Paul Markun with TDT Members in 2012

Paul Markun with TDT Members in 2012

While we love the robot build each year, FIRST  is about a lot more than robots, and nothing brings that home more than the countless people who dedicate their time and share their expertise with students on teams everywhere.

In our case, our most dedicated mentor is Mr. Paul Markun, of Tampa Technik, in St. Petersburg.  Every year we thank him profusely.  But it never seems enough for all he gives, which goes so far beyond mechanical engineering guidance.

When we first called on him out of the blue, in 2008, seeking help with our rookie team, we had no idea that was the start of a special relationship and a call to excellence that would last seven years!

This year, we decided to thank Mr. Markun by nominating him for the Compass Award. The Compass Award recognizes an adult Coach or Mentor who has provided outstanding guidance and support for a team throughout the year. There’s a lot of competition out there with great Compass Award nominees from teams with a lot of amazing people who give so much to so many youth in FIRST.  That’s what makes FIRST so wonderful!

But no one will ever compete for our gratitude, appreciation and respect for Mr. Paul Markun, Team Duct Tape’s Super Mentor since 2008, who will always be first in the minds and hearts of many team members and their families, whose lives he has touched, and continues to enrich, with his wisdom, insight and expertise.

Mr. Markun exemplifies Gracious Professionalism in all he does, and sets the bar high for Team Duct Members to follow his lead.  It is with great warmth, friendship and appreciation that we nominate Paul Markun for the Compass Award.

Competition Time!

IMG_2680by Jacob Canon

On December 20th, 2014 at 7 am, Team Duct Tape arrived at the competition to set up our pit area and talk to other teams and learn what changes they made since their last competition.

Opening ceremonies were at 9:30 and all teams where required to attend. Directly after the opening ceremonies the team competed in the first match where we experienced technical problems with our servo that allows us to grab onto the rolling goals and tow it behind us so we can score, where we can clearly see the balls. We competed three more times before lunch and lost two matches that morning.

Lunch was at about 11:30 and the team had a tail gate party instead of going out and ordering food. We had hamburgers, some homemade mac and cheese, snacks, and a lot more. Right after the meal we went back to competing for four more matches.

At the end of the day we took third place and won the Think award for having the best engineering note book.

We had a great day and we can’t wait till the next match.