Steven R. Chism

Vice President, Programs, FIRST

Steven Chism brings over 23 years of leadership and experience in technical programs for the U.S. Navy, and nearly 15 years of FIRST involvement, to his current role as Vice President of Programs. In 1998, while teaching in the Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering Department of the U.S. Naval Academy, Chism started and co-mentored FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 165, Das Goat. He subsequently volunteered to be an FRC Judge and Judge Advisor for several years, before becoming the Committee Chair of the Chesapeake Regional Planning Committee. In September 2003, after the successful inaugural FRC Chesapeake Regional at the U.S. Naval Academy, Chism joined FIRST as Senior Director of Programs.

In 2009, Chism was promoted to Vice President of Programs, assuming responsibility for oversight of the IT, OPS Support, and Procurement departments in addition to program budgets, planning, implementation, and logistics for all FIRST programs. Chism has worked tirelessly with each program director to establish a family of FIRST programs for K-12 and to oversee the tremendous growth in the FIRST mission through all FIRST programs: FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC); FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC); FIRST LEGO League (FLL); and Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL).

Chism earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Southern California; his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree and Degree of Mechanical Engineer at the Naval Postgraduate School; and his Master of Science in Engineering degree at Johns Hopkins University. Chism also earned a level III Program Management certification through acquisition courses at the Defense Management Systems College and work-related experiences in submarine industrial shipyards and systems acquisition in the U.S. Navy. In addition, he has successfully completed an Executive Education leadership development program at the Harvard Business School in Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management, focusing on the concepts and skills needed to lead and manage a nonprofit organization.