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8 Dec 2011
FTC Regional Champions
Our team competed in the Regional FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) at the Southwest Virginia Community College on Saturday, December 3, 2011. Team 4924 was in second place going into the semifinals and will now advance to the State Level robotics state championship. FIRST “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” encourages students to pursue math and science careers through sports-like robotics competitions, building enthusiasm for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields (STEM).

Team 4924 members, aka “Tuxedo Pandas” include: Ethan Bass, Alexis Marchand, and Kallista Winters of CMS; Austin Downs, Adrian Ruvalcaba, and Kent Anderson of BMS.
Team Photo
(left to right) Kent Anderson, Alexis Marchand, Kallista Winters, Adrian Ruvalcaba, Ethan Bass, Austin Downs

They also won the third place Inspiration Award and first place Motivate Award as well were finalists for the PTC Design and Rockwell Collins Innovate awards. Team 4924 Head Coach was Franky Marchand along with assistants, Henry Bass, Paco Ruvalcaba, Michelle Winters, Dean Downs and Eric Anderson. Over the last six months, Team 4924 learned to cut metal, use a milling machine, bandsaw, drill-press and pop-rivet gun. They also learned about programming in C, and prototyping their designs before building.

Their robot, “LuLu” is named for the parallelogram arm used to grab crates. Team member Ethan Bass said, “We didn’t have the chance in this competition to put LuLu to full use. There were 100 loose racquetballs on the field, plus 3 other robots, making for a lot of craziness! We plan to improve our arm so that we can put crates of balls on top of LuLu, then raise the crates with our four-foot scissor jack.” Coach Franky Marchand pointed out that his team was a rookie team, with five seventh-graders and one eighth-grader pitted against high-school students. “We’re ecstatic to have placed second in the qualifying round, as well as our Inspiration and Motivate awards, with such a new team. We attribute this to our experience in FIRST Lego League.” FIRST Lego League is a related tournament for ages 9-14 using Lego.

FTC is designed for students who want to compete head to head, using a sports model. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Team 4924 has been working under the mentorship of the the Montgomery County FRC (FIRST Robotics Team) Team 401 at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center since August to design, prototype, use tools to build and log all work effort into an engineering logbook.

The State FTC Championship will be held in Richmond, Virginia on March 3, 2012.

 
Family , General , STEM
posted by  henry at  12:17 | permalink | comments [9] | trackbacks [159]



10 Nov 2011
Encouraging Science and Technology Education
I've long been a fan of promoting education and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Folks who know our family know that we have coached many robotics teams , and we're active in the local technology council as well as military STEM promotion.

I enjoyed this article on falling STEM numbers in USA Today on my iPad while working out at the Christiansburg Recreation Center.
Best quote: There is a global brain race, and the U.S. has been unilaterally disarming for years [Paul Saffo].

It's not all gloom, though. There are some bright spots, and we certainly want to continue promoting science as something really cool!




Followup, 11/14/2011: Eric and I exhibited with Team 401 at the Grand opening of the VT Collaboratory . Virginia Tech is making inroads in becoming the leading university in STEM programs. Mighty good!
 
ACI , Family , Startups , STEM
posted by  henry at  13:37 | permalink | trackbacks [1649]



10 Oct 2011
Startup Competition

Tomorrow at 9am starts the 1 minute pitch competition for Distilled Intelligence 1.0. I’ve just learned that the event IS going to be live-streamed! I invite anyone interested to join us at ACI to watch the competition!

The Startup Pitch Event Schedule is here.

The BIG deal is 54 companies pitching in 60 seconds each, 9:15-10:30 am. Follow-on rounds for those down-selected are at 12:30 (3 minute pitches “Gong Show”), and the top 11 at 2:30pm! Guess what? A Startup Comic is scheduled for 2pm.

Finalists (She Chooses plus 4 others!) are presented at 4:30pm.

Want to watch the business concept competition live at your own workspace ? Well, be that way if you must.
(requires pre-registration, but no fee)

Best of luck to Anne and all of us on the She Chooses! Team .
 
ACI , General , Startups
posted by  henry at  10:27 | permalink | comments [10] | trackbacks [155]



8 Oct 2011
Business
ACI is proud to announce one of our first mobile applications as New River Mobile has just been published in the App Store!

Thought Full is an application for quick notes: : the people you met at a networking event, a voice memo while waiting in line, a new business idea!

 
ACI , General , Startups
posted by  henry at  10:38 | permalink | trackbacks [81814]



14 Dec 2009
Wrapping up the military experience
Looking back on the deployment as we wrap this up and move on with our lives in Christiansburg, we went through an incredible amount of positive change:
I helped transition Basra from British to US command, relocating a Division headquarters, transitioning first to 10th Mountain Division, then the 34th Infantry Division, all the while growing the Basra military infrastructure by about threefold. I left much better than I found it! In the course of this...
I was promoted from Major to Lieutenant Colonel.
Lisa was recognized as Cub Scouter of the Year
Henry was awarded a bronze star for work from 5 October to 15 September. The Overseas Service Bar for serving in the Centcom area of operations, the Iraqi Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal (2nd award), the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” device indicating I mobilized from the Army Reserve to deploy, the Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd award, since I previously served in Europe as a Lieutenant).
Lisa completed new landscaping, reshingled & repaired roof, and painted 3 rooms
Lisa and Henry became band parents: Eric is really sticking with the baritone!
Ethan advanced in Kempo and joined a Lego team that didn’t require Henry & Lisa-- winning regional tournement champion and competing at state level!
Henry got his weight down to 204 lbs.
Renewed my DoD credentials.
Certified Systems Engineering preparation (Passed the INCOSE CSEP exam this November)
Henry went from 3 pullups to 8 pullups.
Took our family to Germany
Henry participated regularly in a 4-month bible study
Lisa, Eric and Ethan attend church regularly. Ethan is an acolyte.
Eric has his first teenage girlfriend.
MatWeb was published as a successful case study in a Marketing book.
Laureen’s team built and fielded NextThreeDays.com
Eric and Ethan both are doing well in school, scouts and church.
Ethan competed at the 2008 State Lego tournament.
Both boys are frequently praised by outsiders for their excellent manors & behavior.
Successfully rehired Jim Wyers at ACI
Successfully found/hired Lisa Thompson for ACI

Certainly these are all great things, but this was an extremely challenging year. It was much harder than Lisa or I ever thought it would be, and has made a big change on both of our world-views and personal philosophies. God Bless those still deployed.
 
ACI , Army Deployment , Family , General
posted by  henry at  16:28 | permalink | trackbacks [54496]





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