ND robotics honored by county executive L. Brooks Patterson

Notre Dame Prep School students from FIRST Robotics team #33 Killer Bees were recognized by L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive, for their outstanding 2011 season. The team also demonstrated their award-winning robot for Patterson and for the team’s key sponsor, TI Automotive’s President William Kozyra.

The Killer Bees earned the Michigan State Championship for FIRST Robotics in April 2011 and also won at the Indiana Invitational, which is a contest reserved for the best of the best teams. Patterson presented a formal proclamation to the students for a job well done. In his remarks, he highlighted how important these science and technology students are to the future of Oakland County, the state of Michigan and the country.
William Kozyra, president and CEO of TI Automotive, encouraged the students to enter into engineering careers and to come and work for TI Automotive when they’ve graduated from college. He commented on the high-tech education the students are receiving.
The team’s robot was operated by student programmer Andrew Pollardy while other members of the Bees described aspects of the robot build that were needed to meet last year’s challenging competitions. “Buzz 16,” as the robot is called, uses sophisticated electronics and programming, plus other engineering technologies.  Pneumatics are used on Buzz 16 extensively to manipulate the arms and lift its wheels off the ground in order to give it a better turning radius. It became readily apparent to those in attendance why the average robotics team member spends 150-200 hours in build season.
FIRST Robotics recently announced this year’s “game,” and the parameters each new robot must meet to play the game for 2012. The Killer Bees are indeed gearing up for the intensive six-week long period that is required to design, build, program and test this year’s robot.
Don Watza, the development mentor for the Killer Bees, gave special thanks to Patterson and Kozyra for calling attention to this important development program for young engineers. He also congratulated the Chrysler Foundation, TI Automotive and other sponsors who make this opportunity available to the students.
It’s important to remember, he said, that “companies benefit twice by taking advantage of a sponsorship; students become familiar with engineering firms at which they may someday work, and the students are better prepared for entry-level positions in engineering.”
For further information about the Killer Bees, or to discuss becoming a sponsor, contact Don Watza, mentor, at 248-881-3310. Or visit the team’s web site at www.killerbees33.com.