My Journey to FIRST World Championships in Detroit

Team 525 - Swartdogs at the FIRST World Championships

My initial exposure to FIRST robotics came when my son joined the Cedar Falls High School robotics team as a sophomore back in 2012. At that time, I thought it would be a fun little activity for him to be involved with. I really had no idea what being a part of a FIRST team meant. Boy, have I come a long way.

Now, seven years later, I do know what it means. As it turns out, there is nothing “little” about it. It is the most....

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DISTek Supports FIRST Iowa Regional Competition

Mike Weno, Dillon Glissmann, & Shawn Pezley are all decked out for their day at FIRST Iowa Regional.

DISTek has been supporting FIRST® programs for many years through donations of time and financial support. This past March, DISTek was a sponsor of the Iowa Regional, which featured FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams, and took place on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. The four day competition featured robot matches where two teams of three robots navigate a field to test each robot's engineering prowess.

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DISTek Judges at FIRST Robotics Competition

Judge Shawn Pezley, Mentor Mike Weno, Judge Dillon Glissmann, & Judge Paul Mueller

Along with two other employees at DISTek, I received the privilege to be a judge at the Iowa regional FIRST Robotics Competition. The theme this year was steampunk and teams needed to work cooperatively to power a Victorian era steam powered airship.

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Life Skills from FIRST

FIRST Championship competition in St. Louis.
FIRST Championship competition in St. Louis.

I am a champion/advocate/passionate believer in STEM and the value of the FIRST® programs. I have written multiple blogs on the subject and shared what I view as the value of the FIRST programs. My involvement started with FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) over six years ago primarily because my daughter was old enough to join FLL (and who doesn’t like LEGOs?). Today, my whole family is actively involved not just during the season, but off-season as well. Instead of giving my perspective again, I would like to share a team member’s perspective, namely, my daughter, Megan, who is part of a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team that competed at the FIRST Championship competition in St. Louis this past season.

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DISTek Supports FIRST Iowa Regionals

CFHS Robot w Logo
The CFHS team’s robot displaying the DISTek logo

Recently, the Cedar Valley hosted the first Iowa Regional for FIRST® Robotics Challenge (FRC®) on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa. This was an effort of many years by many who have seen the value of the FIRST programs. DISTek® has been a sponsor of the Cedar Falls High School Swartdogs (team 525) since 200? and sponsored many other FIRST teams financially and/or through coaching or mentoring.

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