FIRST Newsletter - September, 2011 - Carl Lewis

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Early Mentor Remembers Initial Competition and Visit from President Bush

President George H.W. Bush talks to students at the inaugural FRC competition in 1992

Dean Kamen, President George H.W. Bush, and Dr. Woodie Flowers talk to students at the 1992 FIRST Robotics Competition event

Carl Lewis FRC Mentor
Carl Lewis says he was introduced to FIRST in 1992 when he was working as an engineer at Xerox Corporation in Webster, New York. Lewis says the details of the program were sketchy, but recalls an initial meeting in the cafeteria that migrated to an old three-car garage on property owned by Xerox. 

Students from Wilson High School in Rochester, New York, joined the engineers and, soon after, Team X-Cats was meeting then-President George Bush at the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) in New Hampshire.

“My initial role with the X-Cats was as a mechanical designer. I helped design and build the front end of our robot that now sits in FIRST Place at FIRST headquarters. Through the years my role has evolved into a big picture one — mainly because I was adept at Computer Aided Design (CAD). 

Lewis says his fondest memory is winning the Chairman’s Award: once in 1992 and again in 1994. The engineer/Mentor says he remains involved with FIRST because “learning is a two-way street. Being able to mentor students and also students mentoring me — seeing their faces light up when they finally ‘get it’ — is very fulfilling.”

Although Lewis says it’s difficult to point to just one memorable moment, he does admit to feeling extremely gratified when he heard about a former X-Cat who was able to “wow” her college classmates with a CAD project, thanks to her FIRST Mentor, Carl Lewis.

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