Many of our volunteers put in countless hours of work behind the scenes to make certain that competitions are smooth, memorable, and fun for everyone. They are some of the first in and the last out, every day of an event. Tim Ehrlich is one such volunteer. He is a FIRST® Technical Advisor (FTA) for FIRST® Robotics Competition, has been a judge for FIRST® LEGO League, and is a newly minted FIRST® Tech Challenge referee. Over twelve years as a volunteer and mentor for FIRST® events and teams, Tim has worn nearly half a dozen different hats across all three program areas.
Tim began his volunteer career as a judge for FIRST® LEGO League events in Pennsylvania before finding himself in Texas. By then, he had been inspired by the students’ innovation, excitement, and success. He found himself moving through the FIRST® community, as a mentor for the now disbanded FIRST® Robotics Competition team 3552 and then later team 457. Tim began volunteering as one of a list of hobbies, including board games, cooking, playing the saxophone, and volunteering as a high school football referee. His first foray into the FIRST® Robotics Competition volunteer world was as a robot inspector, a role which lead quickly to FIRST® Technical Advisor Assistant (FTAA) and finally to his current role as an FTA.
The long hours in the spring are worth it, Tim says, because of the amazing payoff. From the relationships and friends he has developed of the years, to the impact on students he has “…yet to find another volunteer opportunity that is as much fun as FRC…”. The opportunity to see students fall in love with robotics and then go on to succeed in STEM careers is not unique to Tim. Many of our volunteers have the opportunity to watch the FIRST® in Texas community grow, to support the students, and watch them succeed. This experience, along with the network of dedicated volunteers makes the long hours and hard work worth it. Without the Tim and countless volunteers like him, these opportunities would be only a pleasant dream. Their dedication makes our events and programming possible, laying the groundwork for the success of our students across the state.
Our FIRST® in Texas volunteers are essential to making possible everything we do, and we want to do our part in thanking them for their hard work. Is there a volunteer in your community whose work deserves recognition? Don’t wait for an opportunity to thank them directly. Tell them how much they mean to you today.
Do you want to become a volunteer? Sign up today!