Monday, October 6, 2014

Glenn Lee - This Is How I Work

This week we are featuring a revered mentor who’s been with his team since their inception, Glenn Lee. He’s led his team to become a Hall of Fame team, IRI champions, and winners of many regional competitions. There isn't an FRC team out there who doesn't recognize the Hawaiian Kids in their signature flower patterned shirts. He helps the robotics community, by holding grant writing workshops to help teams fund their programs. He also raises thousands of dollars for his team every year, so that his team can travel to regionals. Recently, he had an appearance on Behind the Lines, which is a new show from the makers of GameSense and FIRST.

[Responses from Aug 13, 2014]

Name: Glenn S. Lee       
CD Username: waialua359 (formerly a student’s account which I took over during the 2005 season).
Current Gig/Job: Waialua High & Intermediate School STEM Learning Center Coordinator, Career-Technical Education (CTE) Coordinator, Robotics and Design Technology Instructor.
Alma Mater/Degree: Leilehua High School, University of Hawaii @ Manoa B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Minor in Math, Master’s in Business Administration.
Current Team(s): Team 359-The Hawaiian Kids since inception in 1999.
Former Team(s): N/A
Location: Waialua, HI
Hobbies: Hiking, Bike Riding, Golf, Collecting Memorabilia, Traveling, Fantasy Sports, Old School Toyota Cruises and Family Time.

What inspired you to do what you do? Tell us a story.

Team 254 just finished their rookie season in 1999. Mark Leon, a member of the Cheesy Poofs with NASA Ames, had ties with Art Kimura, a STEM leader in Hawaii. Mark and Art arranged for members of the Poofs from Broadway HS to come and showcase their robot and explain what FIRST was all about. Jason Morella of the REC Foundation, was the lead teacher of the Poofs at the time. From my understanding, they approached both us and Team 368 because of our involvement and successes with racing Electric Vehicles since 1996. I can still recollect my first impression of what I saw when I stepped into the library where the demo took place. I was totally amazed, excited, and reluctant all at the same time. I never could have imagined that over 15+ years later, I am still heavily involved.

What is your day job, and how’d you get there?

I worked briefly as an intern Electrical Engineer at Hawaiian Electric Company and the State of Hawaii as a Quality Control Engineer. I quit both jobs to pursue a career in Education as a Science/Math teacher at Waialua High & Intermediate School in 1994.

What is your favorite story to tell about robotics?

2010 was one of the worst build seasons our team ever had. Our robot didn’t work very well when it was time to pack and ship our robot to our Week 1 Event. After shipping our robot, it gave us very little time to prepare for both a Week 1: San Diego and Week 2: Arizona events in the Mainland. When we arrived in San Diego, one of our students realized he forgot the driver station laptop at home in Hawaii! Luckily we were able to get it as a check in luggage the next day because we knew someone from Hawaiian Airlines. Of all the FRC events we ever attended, this was the only event where we didn’t get inspected on the practice day because our robot had too many issues and because we had to pick up our driver station at the airport that day.
Ironically, we went on to have the best season ever winning 3 FRC regional events and IRI that year. Our robot during the entire season still could not kick a soccer ball nor could it climb a pole for the end game points consistently. Better to be lucky sometimes than good!

What's your favorite robot that you didn't help build?

Definitely Poi Pounder XV this 2014 Season. Our new equipment, a Flow Waterjet, did most of the work. J It was easily the least amount of construction our team had to ever do during build season.
What apps/software/tools can't you live without? (Work/Robotics/Home) IPhone and IPad.
What's your workspace setup like? (Work/Robotics/Home) *see pics.

What's your workspace setup like? (Work/Robotics/Home)

What do you listen to while you work?

I’m a total 80’s music fan listening to both Soft Pop and Hard Rock during that era.
What’s your schedule like during build season? I used to spend the most hours at school during build season 7 days a week, till almost midnight. With a family now and our program with much better facilities, equipment and mentor support, we normally work no later than 8-9pm on most days with a few Sundays off.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

I enjoy Grant Writing and raising money for our Robotics Program. Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours learning how to best utilize our limited resources in acquiring more of it, so that our students have ample opportunities to experience STEM via Robotics Competitions.

What's the best advice you've ever received?

Life is short. Live each day like it’s your last. **Words I’ve lived by for sure.**

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Spending money on useless things. I’m a sucker for items on Craigslist, Ebay and Amazon.

Fill in the blank. I'd love to see    Paul Copioli     answer these same questions.

Anything else you want people to know about you?

I’ve worked part-time at the Honolulu Country Club as a Banquet Waiter the past 25 years.

“Everything in life should be parallel and perpendicular” –Unknown 

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