Senior Director, FIRST Tech Challenge
For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured afterschool programs. Boosted by a global support system of volunteers, educators, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, build, and showcase their achievements during annual challenges.
The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
An international not-for-profit organization (501(c)(3)) founded by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Alumni of FIRST programs gain access to exclusive scholarships, internships, and other opportunities that create connections and open pathways to a wide variety of careers.
The Senior Director of FIRST Tech Challenge is responsible for planning, scheduling, developing, and implementing all essential elements associated with the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) program. This includes identifying resource requirements, developing and implementing approved plans, developing and implementing program components to include all program logistics, developing and working within approved budgets, and managing relationships with other FIRST departments, programs, sponsors, and key volunteer groups supporting FIRST.
- Supervises a team of 8 staff, including 3 direct reports, representing the FTC engineering group and FTC program management.
- Identifies program requirements, assembles advisory groups, develops plans, identifies critical components, and manages relationships with other FIRST departments, commercial partners, sponsors, and key stakeholders to ensure the continued operational success and growth of FTC.
- P&L responsibility for FTC program including budgeting and working to ensure revenue streams from team registration, sales of team robot kit and game components via the FIRST storefront, and award / program sponsorships.
- Responsible for defining technology and material used in the FTC program from multiple perspectives including rookie adoption, coach/mentor capacities, cost and supply chain capacities, event hosting impact, and alignment with real-world and developing applications.
- Responsible for ensuring the FTC game design is completed successfully in all aspects to support the annual FTC season. Defines and manages engineering activities as necessary to coordinate and integrate game design, material procurement, and event support activities into event planning and execution.
- Leverages extensive technical in-kind and volunteer resources that contribute to program support including: Robot control system SDK (software development kit), scoring systems for both live and remote FTC game play, machine learning, and vision systems. This includes documentation and ensuring continuous support and evolution of these types of elements and others to follow.
- Represents FTC and FIRST with potential sponsors, commercial partners, and other groups. This includes existing and new venture development in-line with Program and FIRST goals. This ranges from individual meetings to large public addresses.
- Oversees the development of program specifications, quality standards, guidelines, and procedures for teams, volunteer groups, and support stakeholders.
- Works with key volunteers and FIRST staff to maintain the FTC judging, inspection, and referee processes to ensure global program and process consistency and quality throughout the entire competition season.
- Prepares annual operating plans and budgets for FTC. Manages the program by reviewing/approving purchase orders and monitoring spending to ensure operation within budgeted amount. Develop budgets for major vendor supplied cost items for events and the budget for the FTC portion of the Championship.
- Evaluates the effectiveness of FTC and works with the FIRST staff and advisory groups to continually adjust and improve the content of FTC to enhance customer satisfaction, consistency of experiences and achievement of the FIRST mission; and to increase program efficacy and long-term viability.
- Audits and monitors quality aspects of the event and overall effectiveness of the program. Ensures continuous process improvement by documenting and communicating best practices and lessons learned for benefit of following season.
- Acts as the overall supervisor of FTC Kickoff and FIRST Championship events for FTC.