At some point every year, we get the pleasure of speaking with the Orlando Regional Director, to get insight into the event, which is one of the longest continuously-running FIRST Robotics Competition competitions. This year, the event celebrates its 20th anniversary and welcomes a new Director to oversee the proceedings: Wendy Austin.
Wendy has been involved in FIRST for many years, having been directly involved with an FIRST Robotics Competition team, and then volunteering at events, including the Orlando Regional, for several years. This year, she has the honor of being the Regional Director, though she does admit that there is some nervousness involved with taking over for the anniversary. Luckily, there is a committee that works together to plan the event. In fact, a lot of the details were in-place before Wendy even took the job.
Wendy is very excited about a number of the exciting plans for the regional. For example, there is a social gathering, which will allow the students from the various teams to interact with one another without the hustle and bustle of either the field or pits behind them. There is also a first-of-its-kind coin that will be available, which is a tradition taken from the upper ranks of the military. The Regional also plans on hosting several special guests from FIRST HQ, including Michelle Long, who oversees Alumni Programs for the organization.
While it might be a scary time to take the reigns, it seems Wendy has it in-hand.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Daniele is a student at Florida Polytechnic University who is studying Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security. In High School, she was introduced to the science and technology world through the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), a robotics foundation where students of varying ages can compete through tasks that their robots perform. With help from mentors she met through FIRST, she became interested in programming and developing. Today, Daniele is a special events host for F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and PLuGHiTz Live Special Events and a co-host for both The New Product Launchpad and FIRST Looks.