Google and Boeing Leaders Appointed to FIRST Board of Directors

Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, and Boeing's W. James McNerney, Jr. Join Industry Captains to Oversee FIRST After-School Robotics Programs Serving Nearly 300,000 Youth Worldwide 

MANCHESTER, N.H., June 27, 2012 ― Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google, and W. James McNerney, Jr., Chairman, President and CEO, The Boeing Company, have been elected to the Board of Directors of FIRST ® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology.  FIRST currently serves nearly 300,000 youth worldwide through the commitment of over 100,000 adult Volunteers.

“Eric’s knowledge of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education and his expertise in building both the business and technical infrastructure of Google, combined with his enormous personal commitment in education, will be an invaluable resource for FIRST,” said Walt Havenstein, FIRST Chairman, adding, “Jim’s leadership of the world’s largest aerospace company uniquely positions him to understand and demonstrate the importance of motivating students to pursue high-tech careers that are critical to future innovation. We are pleased to welcome both to the FIRST Board of Directors.”

Schmidt is the Executive Chairman of Google responsible for the external matters of Google including building partnerships and broader business relationships, government outreach, and technology leadership. He served as CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011, overseeing a decade of dramatic growth.  Schmidt is a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in the U.S. and the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council in the U.K.

Google has provided funding for FIRST teams and FIRST Mentors since 2006. Google’s support has grown significantly, including funding regional robotics events, and providing a significant $3.0 million grant to fund the FIRST Green e-watt saver, a program where FIRST students raise funds to help support their teams by selling energy-efficient LED light bulbs.

McNerney leads Boeing, the Chicago-based, $68.7 billion aerospace company with more than 170,000 employees in the U.S. and operations in 70 countries. Boeing is a top U.S. exporter. McNerney chairs the President’s Export Council, which operates as a U.S. advisory committee on international trade. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Boeing has supported FIRST since 2001, including a recent multi-million dollar grant extending over four years. Over the years, Boeing has provided FIRST scholarships, and many employees have volunteered as mentors to guide students through building a robot. This year, Boeing supported nearly 200 teams that participated in robotics competitions across the country. Boeing also sponsored the FIRST Finale at the annual Championship in St. Louis, Mo.

The FIRST Founder’s Award is presented annually for exceptional service in advancing the ideals and mission of FIRST; Google received the award in 2012 and Boeing received the award in 2011.

“FIRST is very fortunate to receive the committed support of some of our country’s most celebrated and recognized corporations, from the world's largest aerospace manufacturer to an iconic Internet company that has fundamentally changed our way of life,” said Dean Kamen, President of  DEKA Research & Development Corp. and the founder of FIRST. “Boeing and Google are pioneers in their industries, and we are honored to welcome visionaries like Jim McNerney and Eric Schmidt to our Board of Directors.”

The four levels of the FIRST robotics program build upon each other, starting at age 6 and continuing through middle-school and high-school levels up to age 18. Young people can participate at any level in FIRST. Participants master skills and concepts to aid in learning science and technology through innovative projects and robots competitions, while gaining valuable career and life skills.

In the 2011/2012 season, FIRST had more than 22,000 robotics teams across the globe.


About FIRST®  
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and nearly $15 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to

FIRST®, the FIRST® logo, FIRST® Robotics Competition, FRC®, FIRST® Tech Challenge, FTC®, and Gracious Professionalism® are registered trademarks of the United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®). LEGO® and MINDSTORMS® are registered trademarks of The LEGO Group. FIRST® LEGO® League, FLL®, Junior FIRST® LEGO® League, and Jr.FLL® are jointly held trademarks of FIRST and The LEGO Group. ©2012 FIRST. All rights reserved.