Lego and FIRST







I have 14 years of FIRST LEGO League( under my belt, including experience with FIRST Contact at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. The following highlights my FLL experience. I competed in FLL for 5 years – Volcanic Panic through No Limits. The final year of competition was 2004/2005 No Limits. I was Team Captain that year for Team CODE of Illinois. We earned the Illinois Director’s Award and represented Illinois at the World Festival. At the World Festival, CODE earned the Gracious Professionalism Award, Third Place for Innovative Research Solutions,and an Honorable Mention for the Innovative Robot Design Award. After No Limits, I mentored four teams. Two of the four teams also earned their way as Illinois State Champions one per year to the World Festival. I have Technical Judged at the Illinois State Competition five times: Ocean Odyssey, Nano Quest, Power Puzzle, Body Forward, Food Factor, Senior Solutions, and Nature’s Fury. I have also Judged at the World Festival four times: Body Forward , Food Factor, Senior Solutions, and Nature’s Fury. Throughout the years I have also been a Technical Judge at several regional competitions around Illinois. For Climate Connections and Smart Move, I was the table announcer at the Illinois State Competition. I called teams in from to pits, introduced them before the run, started the match: “3,2,1, LEGO!”, announced time milestones e.g. “1 minute remaining” , and made general administrative announcements. Also, I was part of the think tank team in Manchester, New Hampshire that helped design the Body Forward FLL competition. I was on a panel composed of experts from the field of medicine, FIRST employees, and FLL mentors and coaches. Another FLL connection I have is that I beta test products for the LEGO MINDSTORMS. I am what is known as a MINDSTORMS Community Partner: MCP. MCPs are not LEGO employees, but they work closely with LEGO to improve the robotics platform. Some notable MCPs are Steve Hassenplug, and Bryan Bonahoom. Many MCPs also go to various LEGO conventions year round. One of the conventions I attend annually is Brickworld ( There are other conventions on the east and west coast in the United States. Europe also has many conventions. I have attended National Instruments Week in Texas, representing LEGO Group. In addition, I was invited, and attended, MINDSTORMS tenth Anniversary workshop and celebration in Denmark in November 2008. Another LEGO related activity I do is write for the Brickjournal  ( The Brickjournal is a magazine published by Joe Meno, a very avid fan in the LEGO community. He publishes articles about all sorts of things; one of which is LEGO MINDSTORMS robotics. I have published in the journal a few times, and I continue to write articles for the journal. A summary in chart form can be seen here.