Meet Our Team! – Mentors

 

Name: Bob Vasko 

Employer/Occupation: MAHLE/Chief Engineer

Years involved in FIRST: 11

Years involved in the Warlocks:11

Role/Area of expertise of the team:Lead technical mentor. I work with all sub-teams to manage interfaces so the assembled robot meets the team strategy objectives. I also coach the drive team at competition events.

Reason for getting involved:I originally joined the Warlocks in the middle of the Aim High build season at the request of my son who was concerned that the team did not have enough technical mentor support. I learned a great deal in 3 weeks! I have stayed with the team because I enjoy working with the students and mentors and I really enjoy the challenge of creating a new robot each year. The concepts of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition fit well with my core values and I try to be a positive role model for the team.

Favorite memory about Robotics:My favorite memory is the feeling of walking onto Einstein to compete for the Championship after we had won the Newton Division in 2009 Lunacy. All of the Newton playoff matches had been close. The semi-finals and finals had gone to the 3rd match and our margin of victory was less than six points. We did not win the Championship that year but the experience was incredible.

 

Name: Al Gritzmacher

Employer/Occupation: Retired

Years involved in FIRST: 13

Years involved in the Warlocks: 13

Role/area of expertise on the team: Electrical, Programming, Web Team

Reason for getting involved: My son joined the team while it was still a joint Newfane/Lockport team and when we got our own team number, I came along. He graduated, but I didn’t! I enjoy learning along with our team members as we tackle the challenges of each years game. Working with young people keeps me feeling young.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: My favorite memories are all our competitions. Traveling on the road with the team to competitions. My work as a FIRST volunteer and Senior Mentor. Helping our sister teams in the area. But the most rewarding memory is all the students I’ve worked with over the years. I get a lot of pleasure in seeing them grow and mature during their time with the team and then go on through college and into careers. I am proud of each and every one of them.

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Name: Joel Yacono

Employer/Occupation: Engineer, Delphi

Years involved in FIRST: 16

Years involved in the Warlocks: 9

Reason for getting involved: To help promote engineering with high school students

Favorite Memory about Robotics: Watching a student learn & grow over the years with the team.

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Name: Gary Caudill

Employer/Occupation: Technology Teacher

Years involved in FIRST: 15

Years involved in the Warlocks: 13

Role/area of expertise on the team:Planning, organization, paying the bills.

Reason for getting involved: To give our High School students an opportunity to experience real world engineering and business practices that they might not otherwise explore.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: Competing on Einstein field as a rookie. Watching our students evolve from nerdy little freshman to confident young adults ready to take on the world.

 

Name: Alexander Kapaan

Employer/Occupation:Superior Design – CAD Designer

Years involved in FIRST: 11

Years involved in the Warlocks: 11 (Student 2004-2007)

Role/area of expertise on the team: I am the lead CAD mentor for the CAD group. My job is to train the students in Inventor to a level that they’re capable of operating on their own in designing the robot by working directly with the build group. After they’ve achieved that level, my main role is just to provide support for any questions they may have.

Reason for getting involved:I rejoined The Warlocks as a mentor to try and give back everything the program had given to me when I was in high school. It was because of FIRST that I went on to become a CAD Designer thanks to everything I was taught from the Mentors and even other students. The Warlocks have always lacked a dedicated CAD mentor, so I consider it an honor to have been welcomed back to help a new generation the same way I was assisted all those years ago.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: It’s a bittersweet memory, but I have to say my favorite memory comes from our Rookie year at the inaugural Fingerlakes Regional at RIT. We were doing better than I ever believed a rookie team possible. Everywhere we were getting high fives from students, mentors, even some of the audience members. We were the darling of that regional. It so happened that we were beaten in the third and final match of the finals and took home the silver, but it was just such an incredible experience, through all the incredible highs and the final low. It’s an experience I won’t soon forget.

 

Name: Steve Barnes

Employer/Occupation: G.M. / Delphi

Years involved in FIRST: 10

Years involved in the Warlocks: 10

Role/area of expertise on the team: Build team

Reason for getting involved: Enjoy being with the students and watching their ideas and work become a reality

Favorite Memory about Robotics: Every time someone’s idea comes to life.

 

Name: Sue Vasko

Employer/Occupation: Delphi Engineer

Years involved in FIRST: 12

Years involved in the Warlocks: 12

Role/area of expertise on the team: Bumper Queen, Team Mom

Reason for getting involved: I initially got involved because my oldest son, Ryan, was on the team, and the team was short on mentors. I also worked for Delphi Thermal, the team’s major sponsor. Being involved in FIRST Robotics reminds me of why I wanted to be an engineer and is an opportunity to use and further develop my skills. I stay involved because the students really seem to appreciate it, and it has such a positive impact on many of their lives.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: Although winning our division at the 2009 Championships was very exciting, my favorite thing about Robotics is the camaraderie among the mentors and students and watching the students grow up while they are on the team.

 

Name: Jeffery P. Rogowski

Employer/Occupation: Technology Teacher LHS

Years involved in FIRST: 14

Years involved in the Warlocks: 12

Role/area of expertise on the team: Vice President

Reason for getting involved: To bring in real life engineers to work side by side with young students in route of creating a robot. Ultimately, to build a brighter tomorrow, by opening student minds to and interest of STEAM and the many avenues of engineering available.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: Watching our timid young students grow into active competent adults as it relates to engineering and life as a whole, regardless of winning the game. Dean Kenan said it best, that the game itself will always be just that, a game. It is what the students will walk away with that really matters.

 

Name: James P. Rogowski

Employer/Occupation: Technology Teacher LHS

Years involved in FIRST: 14

Years involved in the Warlocks: 12

Role/area of expertise on the team: Reason for getting involved: To provide educational opportunities to local and Lockport High School students to interact with professionals in the fields of math, science, and technology. We have done this through Confucius Model “Learn By Doing.” Having our team members perform the various functions of a corporation. Students work with engineers, machinist, electricians, welders, programmers, financial personnel, and public relations staff to experience a wide range of corporate responsibility. Our team mentors and students must also perform charitable community services as a requirement for participation in our company. Building a robot is just the vehicle used to provide these experiences. In short, to see our students work to build a better future for all.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: Starting Lockport Robotics Inc. The Warlocks Team 1507 together with my brother Jeff and Gary in 2005. Working with mentors and students to build a family for success and watch the family grow! Most importantly, is seeing the joy and laughter and the tears and crying as we work together. I love each and every Warlock!

 

Name: Tim Brounscheidel

Employer/Occupation: GM/Information Architect

Years involved in FIRST: 5

Years involved in the Warlocks: 5

Role/area of expertise on the team: Programming Mentor 

Reason for getting involved: I got involved to spend time with my son, which has proven very satisfying. I never imagined how the whole FIRST experience could suck me in and become a passion.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: The most satisfying experiences are the “Ah Hah” moments when a student finally grasps a concept that you’ve been teaching and you can almost see the light bulb go on over their head. My favorite memory comes from competition in Arial Assist at the Fingerlake Regional in 2014. We entered elimination rounds as the top seed, and made it to the finals on a very strong performance by our drive team. In the finals, we lost the first match when our partner, the Rocketeers was overturned by a collision with a ball in a charging 3015 robot. We won the second, and In the rubber match, our driver, Mike Primerano made a fantastic maneuver ever after referred to as the “Spin Move” to evade tight defense from team 340 and score high to seal the win. You can watch at the link below. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1vU9ET72nygVmhPZFpVTklCQlk/view?usp=sharing

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Name: William (Willie) Santos

Employer/Occupation: GMCH Industrial Electrician

Years involved in FIRST: 10

Years involved in the Warlocks: 8

Role/area of expertise on the team:Practice field, Teach students how to work with tools properly.

Reason for getting involved: Wanted to get involved, wanted to teach my skills to students and watch them evolve.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: 2009 Blew two motors. Working with pit crew was able to replace them quickly and get back into competition.

 

Name: Kenneth R. Handley III

Employer/Occupation: New York Power Authority

Years involved in FIRST: 9

Years involved in the Warlocks: 9

Role/area of expertise on the team: Programming and Electrical

Reason for getting involved: I was asked to mentor and to get back to why I got interested in engineering in the first place.  Plus I was able to include my 4 kids.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: I don’t really have one favorite memory as much as I have a general experience.  There’s nothing like working with kids and watching them come to that “ah-ha” moment and say “oh I get it”.  Then to step back and watch them thrive in what they’ve just learned.  Life doesn’t get better than that.

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Name: Kris Sielski

Employer/Occupation:

Years involved in FIRST:

Years involved in the Warlocks:

Role/area of expertise on the team:

Reason for getting involved:

Favorite Memory about Robotics:

 

Name: Adam Stockton

Employer/Occupation: Key Bank

Years involved in FIRST: 11

Years involved in the Warlocks: 9

Role/area of expertise on the team: I am the lead scouting mentor and webmaster for the team. My role on the team is to work with students to design and program our award winning scouting app and train our scouts on how to use it. I also help administer our website and content management system along with a small group of students.

Reason for getting involved:I first started on the team as a student in the 2009 season. I have since graduated, and continue to help out the team with both the Scouting and Web Team.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: My favorite memory comes from one of our regional events I attended as a student. At the Pittsburgh Regional in 2011, I had rounded up a few other students to help get some totes and equipment out of my hotel room. Once we got in the elevator, the doors shut, and the car moved up an inch and then stopped. When the announcement was made on the bus that a few students were stuck in an elevator, our drive coach mentor said “are any of them on the drive team? No, lets go.” We were stuck in there for about 45 minutes, although no one on the outside noticed the tool to open the doors hanging next to the elevator.

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Name: Noah Raymond

Employer/Occupation: Teacher, North Park Middle School

Years involved with FIRST: 11

Years involved in the Warlocks: 7

Role/area of expertise on the team:Thinking outside the box.

Reasons for getting involved: FIRST gives students an opportunity to explore STEM careers through a challenge each year that is designed to mimic real world challenges

Favorite Memory about Robotics:My favorite memory was watching our FTC team comprised of all 8th graders, competing against high school seniors and finding success.

 

Name: Mike Root

Employer/Occupation: Welder – Root’s Welding

College Attended: Alfred State, Welding

Years involved in FIRST: 5 (1 as student member).

Years involved in the Warlocks: 4

Role/area of expertise on the team:Welding, Build team

Reason for getting involved: I like to build things

Favorite Memory about Robotics: Crashing the robot.

 

Name: Mike Stutz

Years involved in FIRST: 6

Years involved in the Warlocks: 6

Role/area of expertise on the team: Mentor, Mechanic, Machinist

 


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