Jon Dudas Appointment

FIRST News Release

Former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent Office Named President of FIRST ® 

Jon Dudas brings innovation management expertise to the leadership of FIRST

MANCHESTER, N.H., June 14, 2010 - FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in sciJon Dudasence and technology, has announced the appointment of Jon Dudas as President of FIRST. The appointment was announced today by FIRST Chairman of the Board of Directors Walt Havenstein and FIRST Founder Dean Kamen and is effective July 5.

Jon’s notable fourteen years of service to the U.S. Government culminated with his role as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) from 2004 to 2009. As the head of the USPTO, Jon led a performance-based government agency with 9,000 employees and a $2 billion annual budget. During his tenure, the USPTO achieved a four-fold increase in meeting key annual objectives. He also personally spearheaded an unprecedented number of patent cooperation and development missions with China, India, Europe, Brazil, and several other countries to improve IP systems globally and help inventors establish and enforce IP rights throughout the world.

"Jon’s demonstrated management prowess in leading a major technology-oriented organization, combined with a keen respect for the value of technology in today’s society, make him an ideal leader for FIRST," said Havenstein. "We are excited to gain his innovative leadership as we endeavor to deliver a truly impactful FIRST experience to more and more young people."

Dudas is currently a partner with the law firm Foley & Lardner LLC, specializing in intellectual property strategy and policy. Prior to his Under Secretary role, Jon held several senior staff positions for the House of Representatives. He started his career in private legal practice in Chicago. He received his law degree, with honors, from the University of Chicago and a bachelors degree in finance, summa cum laude, from the University of Illinois.

"Working for FIRST is the opportunity of a lifetime," said Jon Dudas. "I can think of no more effective way to promote explosive growth of innovation than to invest in FIRST on behalf of every student."

With the support of 90,000 volunteers and sponsors, more than 210,000 young people, ages six to 18, participated in four programs during the 2009/10 FIRST season.

"Over the years, Jon has come to numerous FIRST events and seen first-hand the motivational impact FIRST has on all its participants," said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder. "Now Jon is bringing his very relevant experience and great energy to help FIRST expand its impact on today’s students and help re-orient our culture."

Jon and his wife, Nicole, have four children ranging from 7 to 16 years old. They will be relocating from Virginia to New Hampshire.

About FIRST®

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and more than $12 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S. and Canada) and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLLT) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious ProfessionalismT is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to

Media Contacts:

Cheryl Walsh  
603-666-3906 ext. 460