New FRC Job Posted, Chairman’s Award – Part II, District Team Registrations for Regionals, and More Love for our 2013 Volunteer of the Year

Blog Date: 
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 13:12

New FRC Job Posted

If you check out the employment area of the FIRST website - - and click on the ‘search’ button, you’ll see ‘Program Manager for FRC’ as one of the jobs listed.  This position is essentially the replacement for my prior position as FRC Deputy Director, with some tweaks.  This is a senior management position within FRC.  The individual selected for this position will be assisting me with critical tasks within FRC, and will have significant influence on the organization.  That’s the upside.  The downside is, you have to work for me. 

I encourage folks to review the job description and qualifications, and if you think this is a good fit for you, please apply.


Chairman’s Award -  Part II

Most of the feedback we’ve been receiving on the recent change to Chairman’s Award – opening it up for teams to apply at multiple events - has been positive.  Not all, but most.

I wanted to talk just briefly about the process we used to make this change.  Any substantial change we would consider making to Chairman’s Award is a big deal, so we sought lots of feedback, from the FRC Staff, other departments in FIRST, Senior Management at FIRST, Hall of Fame teams, Woodie Flowers Award winners, District Representatives, and Chief Judge Advisors.   To be clear, not all the feedback we received was in favor of the change.  The issues usually pointed out were the ones I mentioned in the original blog.  The bottom line is, this decision was a result of hours of work, over several months, by many people.  If there is credit to be assigned for this change, it should go to the group.  Blame should be directed at me.

Also, I want to add detail regarding eligibility for awards for District teams attending Regional events.   All teams, including District teams attending Regional events, are eligible for all team awards, including Chairman’s, at events they attend.  This decision was just made.  The ‘one win’ rule for Chairman’s Award applies across all events, District and Regional, so a team can’t win Chairman’s Award at more than one Regional, or more than one Regional/District combination.

In addition, if, for any reason, a team does not want to be considered for Chairman’s Award at a particular event, they can simply not sign up for an interview slot at the event.  No foul.    


District Team Registrations for Regionals

Last year, District teams were able to sign up for Regional events when Regional events opened for 2nd Event Registration.  As a practical matter, this meant that District teams, who are already guaranteed two events and would be going for their 3rd event at a Regional, could block access to popular events for Regional teams attempting to secure only their 2nd event.  District teams were not intentionally blocking Regional teams, of course, they were simply trying to get in an additional event, but I believe there is a fundamental unfairness here that needs to be corrected.  So, for the 2014 season, District teams will not be able to register for Regionals until Unrestricted Event Registration, which is after 2nd Event Registration. 

I recognize that for some District teams this will mean they are unlikely to be able to attend Regional events they have traditionally attended for years.  This will be painful, and I’m sorry.  However, I believe this is the best course of action for FRC at this time.


More Love for our 2013 Volunteer of the Year

Check out this article about Al Skierkiewicz, our 2013 FRC Volunteer of the Year:

More recognition for Al, in the form of the Motorola Solutions School-Business-Community Partnership Award!


I’ll blog again soon.



My question is that all teams including rookie teams can apply to Chairmans award?

Sorry, I should have mentioned that restriction. The Chairman's Award has a multi-year focus, so it's not possible for a Rookie team to win. Therefore, Rookie teams are still not eligible - no change from prior years on this point.

Rookie Teams do not apply for the Chairman's award, they are considered for another award exclusive to Rookie Teams called the Rookie All-Star Award, which is also gives that team a ticket to the World Championships.

Yes, all rookie teams can and should apply for a Chairman's award. The preparation and interview process will inform the team what FIRST values and looks for in an outstanding team. Go for it, Sergio.

Districts are not equal to regionals. Regionals are grand events in large venues where you get a chance to qualify for championship. Districts are smaller events in undersized venues where winning does not guarantee moving on to championship. The trade off was we (district teams) get two smaller districts instead of one regional. Our 2 districts equate to 1 regional. Therefore when regional teams register for their second regional, districts should be able to register for their "second regional". Their first "regional" being their 2 districts.

I have contended, from the very inception of the district model, that teams should be allowed to choose where to spend their money. FIRST has squelched this from the start. If the district model is as fabulous as those espousing it believe, then there should be no threat at all in giving EVERY team the opportunity to choose whether they'd like to spend their money at districts or regionals. I would GLADLY leave the district model to compete at regionals, but FIRST has never allowed this. Basically, this tells me that my team's money does not buy the same product that other teams enjoy.

I would also note that district teams do not have the option to attend a regional or the two district events. FIRST has made it mandatory to apply the fee to two district events first. Regionals are always at an additional cost to district teams.

I happen to agree with the change to the rule. Technically, district teams get two full events. They lose out on a practice day, but last I checked. they still get a full day of competition and full finals for the event. It is unfar that district teams get three events before the non district teams get two, I think this change will allow more teams to go to 2 regionals without worrying about a district team taking a regional spot when they have 2 district events already. Either that or open the districts to all teams, and make them stay in the district for the year.

A district event does not compare to a regional event. After you attend a district event then you will understand why District teams still want to be able to attend a Regional Event. The venues are too small many times with standing room only. The pits are cramped and students are missing the experience of FIRST on a grander scale. Having to wait until the end to sign up for a Regional once again feels like a punishment for being in an area on the district model. Let's get all teams on the same model so everyone is treated the same.

Looking at the number of openings at the districts and the regionals. It appears many of the regionals have fewer opening (slots) for teams than some districts. Some of the Regionals only have 30 teams at them. With 3 winners, Chairman, EI, Rookie Inspiration. This allows 6 teams to go to St Louis. With the new rule in place, let's increase the openings at Regionals to allow for more teams. If 40 can fit in a high school for a district then a Regional venue should have a minimum opening of at least 50 openings.

If a team was to register for events in the following schedule:
Week 1 - District
Week 3 - Regional
Week 5 - District
it might still be to a team's advantage not to sign up for a chairman's interview at the district event week 1 because if they win at the district week 1, they are ineligible at the regional week 3, where they could have won a slot directly to the World Championship. Their win week 1 would only move them onto their district championship. The problem of shopping around still exists even with the rule change. It actually helps those strong teams put their eggs in all baskets.

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