Friday, October 7, 2016

Jonathan Bryant - This Is How I Work

In this week’s How I Work, we are going to look a little bit into the life of a familiar face from FIRST HQ. You might remember him as the guy who says “Bring out the dead!” in the FRC Stronghold Game reveal: Jonathan Bryant. When Jonathan joined FRC, he instantly became mesmerized by the regional atmosphere and years later became a FRC Kit of Parts Engineer. In this article, you can find out more about the amazing stories and advice Jonathan has to offer!

[Responses from September 21, 2016]

Name: Jonathan Bryant (JB)
CD Username: JB
Current Gig/Job: FRC Kit of Parts Engineer
Alma Mater/Degree: Drexel University BS in Mechanical Engineering
Current Team(s): 238 (2016-present)
Former Team(s): 1403 (2008-2014)
Location: Manchester, NH
Hobbies: Food, video games, sports, robotics, and spending time on the water. 

What inspired you to do what you do? Tell us a story.
FIRST® inspired me to do what I do. I know that sounds cheesy. My technology teacher, Mr. Leicht, convinced me to join the team during my junior year at high school. I will never forget the first time I walked into an official competition, it was the 2008 NJ regional and the game was Overdrive, it was like some kind of high. The buzz in the air, the scale of the competition, the elegance of the machines, I knew I was home. That was the defining moment when I said to myself, okay I want to keep doing this and I want to be an engineer. Without a mentor leading the way for me, I would not be an engineer, I would not be in my dream job working at FIRST, and I would not be trying to give the same experience to the students on the team I mentor.    

What is your day job, and how’d you get there?
I work for FIRST as the FIRST Robotics Competition Kit of Parts Engineer. Being the Kit of Parts engineer is a very interesting job and my roles and responsibilities are always changing, which I love. During the build season I work on team updates, q and a’s, and I also oversee the LRI and RI program here at FIRST. During the competition season I go out to events and FTA as well as LRI. During the off season I get to work on game design, manual development, and most importantly the kit of parts, which includes sourcing parts, logistics planning, testing items, and working with suppliers. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I get to hang out with amazing people while working. 

                                     (apparently I really like making that face)

What is your favorite story to tell about robotics?
I love to tell the story of the buttons that 238 brought to Asheville this year. The whole team is standing outside in the cold waiting for the doors to open for the first day of the competition. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not the most alert person in the wee hours of the morning. Eventually I notice that some of the students are giggling and looking at me. I start to think do I have something on my face? Am I wearing the wrong outfit? What does my hair look like? Eventually I notice a button that one of the students is wearing.

For those of you who don’t get the joke, I am the bring out your dead guy. The entire team was wearing them, mentors, students, parents. It was kind of perfect. The team gave these buttons out at the event so they were everywhere. I would walk around and see my face everywhere it was very funny.

                                              What's your favorite robot that you didn't help build?
Barrage (254-2014) – The detail that went into every aspect of that robot, along with the simplicity and effectiveness of it, was astounding. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication and like all magnificent things, it was very simple. Plus, it was fun to bring some skeleton of it to HQ.

What apps/software/tools can't you live without? (Work/Robotics/Home)
My cell phone. Everything I do is on my Nexus. Recently my phone stopped working for a day while I was traveling and I felt completely lost. I also use google applications extensively for home and robotics. In the robotics lab there is a locked cabinet, that the students do not have access to, with a complete multi tool set and a complete drill set that comes in handy during very stressful times. I really like to walk to and from work while listening to music and my QC35’s allows me to really wind up or shut down. The other tool that we use extensively in the robotics shop is post its. I am a very big fan of tracking progress via post-its. I feel that it really allows people to take ownership of projects while ensuring everything gets done. 

What's your workspace setup like? (Work/Robotics/Home)
All my workspaces are basically the same, computer with two big monitors and ample desk space so that I can clutter it up. I am obsessed with my Logitech mx master and have at least one at every workspace.

What do you listen to while you work?
Usually nothing, but when I do it is alternative rock (Blink-182, etc.)

What’s your schedule like during build season?
Work from 0900 to 1800, then robotics with the team from 1800 to 2200ish, Monday to Friday. Saturdays are typically 0900 to 1600 with the team and Sundays are typical down time until about week 4, when the team will meet for a few hours.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I do not think I am better than anyone else at some everyday thing. There are almost 7.5 billion people on this planet, it would be absurd to think I am better at something then every one of those 7.5 billion people. Although who knows, maybe I am the best at hitting snooze on my alarm clock.
With that being said I think I excel at handling pressure, dealing with problems, and coordinating chaos.

What's the best advice you've ever received?
The only truly finite resource that we have is time, so ask yourself at the end of every day, did I use my time wisely?

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Cooking. The reason it is a guilty pleasure is because I spend way too much time and money on it. I will spend hours researching what I am going to cook, ensuring I have the best possible cooking apparatus, procuring the best possible ingredients, and prepping the meal, all for this short 30-minute experience. Basically every time I cook I try to make it the best meal I have ever had. 9 times out of 10 it is not the best but it is that 1 time that keeps me addicted.   

Fill in the blank. I'd love to see Adrienne Emerson 148  answer these same questions.

Anything else you want people to know about you?
I am always available to answer questions, provide feedback, or work through problems with people.

You can contact Jonathan at

“You may delay, but time will not.” - Benjamin Franklin

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