Meet Our Team! – Mentors

 

Name: Bob Vasko 

Employer/Occupation: MAHLE/Chief Engineer

Years involved in FIRST: 15

Years involved in the Warlocks:15

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. 

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: Last year at FLR – Seeing the lead mentor (Reese) from Team 340 GRR, and their lead scouting students, approaching us to ask if we wanted to partner and “Win this thing”. We replied, “We’d love to since we haven’t figured out how to beat you”. We went on to win the Regional.

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Name: Joel Yacono

Employer/Occupation: Baxter, Healthcare

Years involved in FIRST: 17

Years involved in the Warlocks: 21

Role/ area of expertise on the team: Project manager

Reason for getting involved: I enjoy seeing students develop new skills related to engineering and become excited about it.

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

   
 

Name: Alexander Kapaan

Employer/Occupation: Lume Strategies- CAD Designer

Years involved in FIRST: 14

Years involved in the Warlocks: 13 (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: Retired Skilled Trades Machine Repairman

Years involved in FIRST: 13

Years involved in the Warlocks: 13

Role/area of expertise on the team: Build team

Reason for getting involved:  I love working with the students.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: The look of pride on the students’ faces when they turn the robot on and it works and the realization that they built it.

 

Name: Sue Vasko

Employer/Occupation: Mahle Engineer

Years involved in FIRST: 15

Years involved in the Warlocks: 15

Role/area of expertise on the team: Engineering, Demo for Girl Power, 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: Winning Division finals as Alliance #6 Lead at 2009 World Championship- but mostly in helping the students develop into wonderful people! The spirit of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition amongst all the FIRST teams is both inspiring and refreshing. That combined with the appreciation from the students, kees me involved, long after my 2 sons graduated the program.

 

Name: Jeffery P. Rogowski

Employer/Occupation: Secondary Technology Educator

Years involved in FIRST: 21

Years involved in the Warlocks: 17

Role/area of expertise on the team: Vice President

Reason for getting involved: To help promote student interest in engineering and 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: Placing top 5 in the world at the championship.

 

Name: James P. Rogowski

Employer/Occupation: Secondary Technology Educator

Years involved in FIRST: 16

Years involved in the Warlocks: 14

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: General Motors/Information Architect

Years involved in FIRST: 8

Years involved in the Warlocks: 8

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

Reason for getting involved: I got involved to spend time with my children, 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: 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: General Motors/Industrial Electrician

Years involved in FIRST: 13

Years involved in the Warlocks: 11

Role/area of expertise on the team: Build team for the practice field, odds and ends, robot transport for outreach events

Reason for getting involved: I originally got involved because my son was on the team and I wanted to teach my skills to students and watch them evolve.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: In 2009 in the world finals at Atlanta, we blew two motors. In working with the pit crew, we were able to replace them quickly and get back into competition.

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Name: Kris Sielski

Employer/Occupation: Engineer at Sensorcon/Molex

Years involved in FIRST: 8

Years involved in the Warlocks: 5

Role/area of expertise on the team: Electron distribution and logistics

Reason for getting involved: Robots will eventually become our overlords so I wanted to get on their good side early.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: Every day is a new favorite memory. Mainly because, at my age, I can barely remember what I had for dinner last night.

 

Name: Adam Stockton

Employer/Occupation: Key Bank/ Software Developer

Years involved in FIRST: 14

Years involved in the Warlocks: 13

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 originally joined the Warlocks as a student back in 2009. After graduating in 2012, I decided to come back as a technical mentor for both our Scouting and Website sub-teams. My experiences on the team helped lead me to a career in Software Development, and I wanted to help give new students the same experiences and opportunities that I had as a student

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? Let’s 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: North Park Junior High/ Secondary Technology Educator

Years involved with FIRST: 15

Years involved in the Warlocks: 10

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

Reasons for getting involved: After being an FLL and FTC coach for years I was asked to help mentor the team create a mini-bot for Logomotion. After that year I was sold and have been team mentor ever since.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: My favorite robotic memory was getting redemption for canceling an FTC NY championship trip to Pace University due to an ice storm in 2014. This group of students never let me forget this and worked hard to win the Finger Lakes region FRC event in 2018. This win earned them a trip to the World Championships in Detroit.

 

Name: Michael Root

Employer/Occupation: Welder – Root’s Quality Welding

College Attended: Alfred State, Welding

Years involved in FIRST: 8 (1 as a student member).

Years involved in the Warlocks: 7

Role/area of expertise on the team: Welding instructor

Reason for getting involved: I am an alum of the program and I like to build things

Favorite Memory about Robotics: Crashing the robot at least once every year.

 

Name: Mike Stutz

Years involved in FIRST: 8

Years involved in the Warlocks:8

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

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Name: Michael Lieber

Employer: Lockport City School District

Years involved with FIRST: 13

Years involved in the Warlocks: 4

Role/area of expertise on the team: Maintain School district Representation, engage and involve students, do whatever needs to be done.

Reasons for getting involved: FIRST is the best thing to happen to public education since indoor plumbing.

Favorite Memory about Robotics: Playing FLL No Limits at The World Festival – Atlanta 2005.