Woodie Flowers 2015

Woodie Flowers Finalist Award Essay

 

Tyrone Schwenk, Head Mentor

Tyrone Schwenk, Head Mentor

“If you want somebody who’s going to get the job done, hire a veteran,” President Obama said in State of the Union speech. We at AZE are very fortunate to have an American hero and Vietnam Veteran as our nominee. Mentor Tyrone Schwenk loves passing on his vast experience to the eager and willing, young minds on the team.  He is very devoted to our FIRST team and the education of our students. From his early education, through his time in the military and up to his current position as lead mentor of our team, Ty has applied his experiences in many ways to get  the job done. All the students on this team love the way Ty  adds to the learning experience of  FIRST.

As a child, Ty wanted to be an inventor, and he was always building and fixing things, which helped him develop skills for his future career. It became his passion. After high school, Ty pursued a double major of mechanical engineering and alternative energy systems at the University of Minnesota. After graduating from the University of Minnesota he still wanted to learn more, So he took courses at Hopkins University and obtained two more degrees in systems engineering and program management. After college, Ty took the opportunity to go to Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) School and volunteered to go to Vietnam. Ty went to advance training in artillery at the NCO school, but was injured in the last week. He was in the hospital for 3 months and after he recovered, he went to Vietnam. After the war, he did design engineering for Motorola and finally moved to Maryland to work for Bendix. Bendix eventually was restructured into Raytheon where Ty still works, testing equipment using a CAD program called Pro-Engineering, the predecessor of PTC Creo.

Ty first heard about CREO through a commercial and wanted to find out more. He then learned about FIRST Robotics through our team’s three day PTC Creo workshop, which is open to the public. Throughout the workshop, Ty was amazed by our team’s creativity and energy. This sparked his interest and led him to volunteer as a mentor. That season’s head mentor, coach Tim Mermagen, one of the teams founding mentors, said his first impressions of Ty were that he “was a great leader,” “took charge,” and “had lots of inspirational ideas.”
Ty isn’t just focused on the team having a working robot, but also on making sure we understand why and how it works. He keeps our team focused and working together in numerous ways. One way he achieves this is by having a daily meeting during which all subteams report what was accomplished that day and on goals for future meetings. He also uses his real world experience to aid in the creation of new, innovative solutions to robot design challenges. Ty has many experiences in many fields and he loves being able to help and to teach the students about STEM. His main goal is to leave a legacy of experience and knowledge that will leave a lasting impression on AZE students.

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Mentor Ty grinding away on the bot

 

Head Mentor Ty demonstrating bin lifting techniques

Head Mentor Ty demonstrating bin lifting techniques

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