We are proud to announce that U.S. Engineering was recently awarded the 2023 FIRST Volunteer Partner of the Year. Rebecca David, Chief People Officer, and Kevin Sears, Midwest Metalworks Director of Manufacturing, accepted the recognition on behalf of the organization and spoke with students in robotics teams at the FIRST Robotics Competition Heartland Regional in Kansas City.
While accepting the award, Kevin acknowledged U.S. Engineering Holdings President Tim Moormeier’s support for FIRST Robotics and talked about how impactful it is to lead students on tours through our Lawrence facility and to partner with them to make parts for their robots. Rebecca highlighted the teamwork and leadership she sees in the FIRST Robotics program and how our own tagline—“Build. Solve. Evolve.” —aligns with what students in the program are accomplishing.
At the event, students from Team STEAM 5119, based in Lawrence, shared how U.S. Engineering helped make the metal arm for their robot, which contributes to extending reach and setting it apart in the competition. U.S. Engineering team members also contributed to a parts machine that helped with the bumpers and produced a belly pan. Team STEAM’s robot, A.N.D.Y., even sports our logo!
Martha McCabe, Executive Director of KC Stem Alliance, shared, “U.S. Engineering was on the ground floor of helping to bring FIRST to Kansas City. U.S. Engineering’s leadership has a presence on the KC STEM Alliance Advisory Board, the local organization responsible for delivering FIRST competitions in the area. Additionally, U.S. Engineering was instrumental in creating KC Engineering Zone, an urban build space for four high school FIRST Robotics Competition teams, making it possible for the teams to have access to a build space with equipment available to them in the evenings and on Saturdays. U.S. Engineering also provides individual FIRST team grants and has supported teams through mentorship. For these reasons and many more, U.S. Engineering was selected as the 2023 FIRST Volunteer Partner of the Year.”
“I love what FIRST Robotics brings to the students,” Moormeier said. “It’s incredible to see how the teams work like a business, creating and collaboration, beating real-world deadlines. And maybe more importantly, developing into real-world leaders.”
Talking more about how he got involved with FIRST Robotics, Moormeier recalled, “I volunteered as a mentor for one year but got hooked when I went to the end-of-the-year banquet and listened to what the seniors had to say about their experience. Many of them found a safe place to work alongside friends and compete, like a sports team does, but in this case on a STEM challenge. They felt they finally found a place to belong, be challenged and better themselves in a program that also prepared them for the next step in their lives. It nearly had me in tears as I listened to them. I knew then that I wanted to commit my time and energy long term.”
The FIRST Kansas City team operates under the KC Stem Alliance. They lead and support students in the region with opportunities in STEM education and mentorship. Each year the Greater Kansas City Regional Planning Committee reviews the current industry partners engaged in the FIRST community to determine levels of financial investment over time, employee engagement, leadership commitment and overall engagement with FIRST.