WOW District Mentor of the Year Award Submission
Since entering FIRST alongside Team #3266 “Robots-R-Us” in 2010, Bob Unruh has become a staple of the FIRST Robotics community. For the past 10 years, he has not only been a mentor to our team, he has been a role model and a great friend. When starting the team in 2010 he opened his computer business’s doors to the team and helped provide the resources to build our first ever robot. Ever since his first year in FIRST, Bob has been there to lend a hand to anybody, helping build the community in many different ways. In 2013, his business helped sponsor the very first field for Ohio State Champs. Since then Ohio State Champs has evolved into WOW Champs, and while he no longer holds the position of event chair on the WOW FIRST Board, he still consistently volunteers his time at competitions.
One such way he does this is by working with event organizers to bring in his own A/V equipment and setup a broadcast for countless robotics competitions all across the area. These are including districts and championship events for both FTC and FLL events, and many off-season and regular season FRC events.
Bob’s mentorship didn’t just begin with FIRST, he was also largely involved in our local community before robotics came into his life. In 1996, he started a successful small computer business that has evolved into a cornerstone IT helpdesk for the greater Dayton area. Every year at Christmas time, with the help of the robotics team he holds a public holiday light show at his business for the entire community, highlighting robotics in Preble county. Thousands of cars visit the parking lot each year to watch the holiday show.
Throughout the years, Bob has grown with the team as a mentor. If students ever need help, Bob’s extensive knowledge is always there to help guide his team. He is a wonderful communicator with students, he is able to effectively elaborate ideas and guide the team, all while keeping a hands-off approach for the students to innovate on their own. This process doesn’t always lead to students building the best robot, but they end up having a one-of-a-kind experience of learning and growing as a team. His enthusiasm for FIRST has helped create something much bigger than his team or his business, he has helped shape OhioFIRST and the WOW community into what it is today.