Category Archives: Learning & Education

TDT Launches YouCaring Campaign for Mentor Paul Markun

Paul groupPaul Markun, who recently received the Compass Award at the Florida FTC State Championship for his support of our community based FIRST youth robotics team for more than seven years, has come into financial difficulties and is in danger of losing his workshop. He’s given so much to us over the years, that we want to do something for him, and we’ve launched a YouCaring Campaign fundraiser to help him keep his doors open.

Paul spent hundreds of hours after work and on weekends showing students the finer aspects of metrology (the science of measurement), elegant engineering design and build practices, andlearning about the lathe proper tool use, as well as providing invaluable training and experience in the use of large and sophisticated machine tools to which students would otherwise never have had access.

Paul never said no to our team members – not when business was good and he was very busy, and not when business fell off. He never said no when he felt well, and could have been off doing other things, nor when he broke his shoulder and had other health problems and could have used some peace and quiet. Always he was there for our youth, in person, on the phone and by email. He came to events to cutting carefullywatch them compete and watched Livestreams when they traveled for competitions.

Throughout all this time, Paul never once asked for help for anything, not even when things got really bad. So we have stepped forward to offer it.  We want to give back to Paul for all his years and hundreds of hours of Paulkindness, support and guidance, and we are asking you to help us help our friend and mentor.

Please visit our YouCaring page to learn more and Pay It Forward For Paul!

Thank you for helping us help a great mentor!


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.

Girl Power!

by Marissa Schiereck

Guess what we did this month?  On Tuesday December 16th Team Duct Tape (TDT) could be found at Sickles High School. There we met the “Girls Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Club”. TDT demonstrated this year’s robot for the club and spread the love of robotics.
Team Duct Tape had a blast demonstrating our robot completing tasks and field elements to the girls. Thanks to TDT’s own Daniele Mendez, a Sickles student and the vice president of the Girls STEM Club, this exhibition was able to happen. This was originally an outreach for the club, BUT many other students and teachers were interested in our robot. For one of the STEM club members, it was her first time driving a robot and she enjoyed driving it up and down the hall.
Team Duct Tape was even able to meet the president of the Girls STEM Club and learn that a few of the members plan to work in the robotics field. There was one member, Alyssa, who seem very interested in FTC. We invited her to our next competition, and hope to see her soon!

We want to thanks Sickles High School, and the Girls Stem Club for hosting us and letting us share the JOY of FTC robotics with other teens.