Paul 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, and 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 watch 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 kindness, 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!
Our 7th season brought our 7th Florida FTC State Championship opportunity, and while we had challenges on the field, our teamwork was solid, and our robot proved reliable and robust, without a single mechanical problem throughout a hard day of competition.
Our design and quality engineering spoke for itself, earning TDT the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award for an “Innovative and Creative Robot design solution” that featured “elegant design, robustness and ‘out of the box’ thinking with regard to design” that was well documented in our Engineering Notebook.
Team member Ryder Fitzpatrick was a Dean’s List sem-finalist, a new award this year recognizing “the leadership and dedication of FIRST’s most outstanding secondary school students.”
And our very favorite part of the State Championship, hands down, was our Super Mentor Paul Markun being given the Compass Award. The Compass Award recognizes an adult Coach or Mentor who has provided outstanding guidance and support for an FTC Team throughout the year. Mr. Markun has done just that for the last 7 years, and we’re so glad he was recognized for being the exemplary human being that he is!
The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award earned us a spot at the FTC South Super Regional in San Antonio in March, which is a great honor, but we’re not sure yet whether we’ll attend.
It’s been a full, exciting and successful season, and we’re very grateful to all our wonderful supporters, mentors, family and friends who make it all possible, year after year! You’re what FIRST is all about!
Thank you from the bottom of our duct tape hearts!
Hearty congratulations to all the great teams who made it to the State Championship, and best wishes to those moving on to the Super Regional:
- Inspire Award Winner, Team 6433 Neutrinos
- Inspire Award 2nd place, Team 5070 N.U.T.S.
- Winning Alliance, 1st team selected Team 5257 Eagles Robotics Xperience
- Inspire Award 3rd place, Team 7477 Super 7
- Winning Alliance, 2nd team selected Team 8909 Robo Mojo
- Finalist Alliance Captain Team, 4997 Masquerade
- Connect Award Winner Team, 5937 Renaissance Robotics
- Finalist Alliance, 1st team selected Team 6451 Tarpon Robotics
- Finalist Alliance, 2nd team selected Team 6323 The Pink Team
- Motivate Award Winner, Team 3888 Greased Lightning
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.