Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Alex Cormier - This Is How I Work

Alex Cormier was one of the founding members of team 1126 and since then, he has been on several other FIRST teams. He designs and makes items such as trophies, custom graphics, etched glass, and other creative custom projects on his website: www.TwoPencilDesigns.com.
In this edition he tells us the story of how he got interested in FIRST and why he chose to stick with it. 

[Responses from June 1, 2014]

Name: Alex Cormier
CD Username: Alex Cormier
Current Gig/Job: Machine Builder
Alma Mater/Degree: Alfred State College; Electro-Mech; Ass.
Current Team(s): 1405
Former Team(s): 229, 1126, 1930, 2228, 3181
Location: Rochester, NY
Hobbies: Robots, Darts, Bon Fires

I want to thank Team 3847 for the opportunity for me to participate in this great initiative. The opportunity to learn about other people in the FRC community is great.

What inspired you to do what you do?
The truth is FIRST inspired me to be and do what I am about nowadays. Back in my youth I was playing football and wrestling. One evening during wrestling practice, I was on the mat and couldn’t raise my left leg more than 3”. I went to see the doctor the next day. I needed surgery for a dislocated hip and wasn’t allowed to play any more physical sports. That same year, I was at home watching tv when I noticed these robot competitions on ESPN. I looked over to my mom in the kitchen and told her I want to do that some day. Amazingly enough, when school started back up the next year, there was an informational meeting for a team in my high school, SparX out of Webster, NY team 1126. Back in 2003, was our first year and it was amazing, so I have been hooked ever since.

What is your day job, and how’d you get there?
In this day and age, one income is just not enough to get me by with all my toys. J
During the day, I am a machine builder. I wire and fabricate equipment for automated machines. I build anything from small enclosures to giant 140’ 4 line conveyor systems to assemble fuel injectors.

At night, I have my own business; Two Pencil Designs. We like to design items to help contribute to the robotics community. The other half of the business is glass etching, where we go to a few local festivals and sell our wonderful glassware.  
Here's a link to my website: http://twopencildesigns.com/wp/

What is your favorite story to tell about robotics?
My favorite story comes from my very first competition. After we won the competition at buckeye (thanks to 27 and 540), the driver came running over to me and in the process of going crazy, we knocked over the huge section of pipe and drape. Celebrate at all costs, right?

What's your favorite robot that you didn't help build?
Team 67’s 2004 machine. I had the liberty to see and compete with that machine for 1 regional victory and 1 divisional victory. That was a beastly machine and so good looking. Vinyl flames make everything look better.

What do you listen to while you work?
There’s usually a radio or two on in the shop at work. Just the local stations like oldies, rock, and country.

What’s your schedule like during build season?
Robotics is my favorite when it comes to winter. (Our local NHL hockey team isn’t that great anymore…) So I will go to as many meetings as possible. I can easily say that I have been to robotics 90% of the days from kick off to bag day. That also includes voluntary days.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I always like to think of things that I can make money on. I would walk to through stores, look at items and see what I can do to make them better and sell them.

What's the best advice you've ever received?
Nothing ever gets done, without first trying.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Currently it is Darts. I have joined a few local leagues. It’s a great time and lets me keep that competitiveness when robotics isn't going on.

Fill in the blank. I'd love to see ________answer these same questions.
Dustin Benedict.

Anything else you want people to know about you?
If you need any vinyl graphics, team awards, and, pretty much anything else, contact me! Alex@TwoPencilDesigns.com I love to get creative and build things!

I have been doing FRC since 2003 and was a student from 03-05. From 2006 to present day, I have been in the following roles: lead mechanical mentor, coach, Lead FLL mentor, a volunteer at many regional and championships, an off-season competition committee member, and business owner. 

“There’s only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything. I do, and I demand that my players do.” – Vince Lombardi

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