FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

New Co-Chiefs and more FIRST Positions Posted

Jun 16, 2022 Written by Frank Merrick, Director FIRST Robotics Competition




New Co-Chiefs

Many community members are aware that we identify volunteer co-chiefs for some of our key volunteer positions such as Robot Inspector and Volunteer Coordinator, along with others. These co-chiefs serve as sounding boards for FIRST Robotics Competition staff and do things such as support training. They are also a resource for volunteers in their areas of specialization, able to provide support and guidance when needed. They are a critical bridge between HQ staff and the key volunteers. When someone is asked to be a co-chief, it means FIRST HQ thinks that person is an outstanding role model for others in their area of specialization and demonstrates exceptional commitment to our Core Values.

Until now, we did not have Co-Chief FIRST Technical Advisors (FTAs). This has changed. I am pleased to announce that James Cerar and Mark McLeod have graciously accepted our invitations to become our first Co-Chief FTAs. Congratulations, James and Mark!

James has been volunteering for FIRST for 16 years in positions including Mentor, Head Ref, Lead Robot Inspector, FTA, Judge Advisor, and FIRST Tech Challenge Judge. He’s been an FTA for ten years and has been a FIRST Championship FTA eight times. He mentors FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1114 and is from Ontario, Canada

Mark has been volunteering for FIRST for 20 years in positions including Mentor, Local Mentor Coordinator, CSA, FTA, Field Assembly, and Regional Planning Committee Member. He’s been an FTA for 11 years and has been a FIRST Championship FTA nine times. He mentors FIRST Robotics Competition teams 358, 2347, 5659, 8267, and has mentored/coached FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge teams in the past. He is from New York, USA.

As you can see, James and Mark bring years of FIRST experience to their roles. Congratulations, again, James and Mark!

FIRST Positions Posted

Wake the kids and phone the neighbors! The Senior Director of FIRST Robotics Competition position has been posted!** Think this might be for you? Click the ‘Express Interest’ button on the page to start the process! We have two other senior-level positions posted as well, Chief Information Officer and Senior Director of Research and Evaluation. If you are interested, we encourage you to check out those position profiles also.

We are working with Koya Partners, an executive search firm that works exclusively with mission-driven clients, on these important searches. If you have potential candidates you would like to suggest for any of these positions, contact the Koya team directly at And if you know those potential candidates personally, please send them a quick note about these openings.

FIRST Robotics Competition also has a new opening for a Systems Engineer. If you are interested, you should check that one out too!

These roles will be joining FIRST at an exciting time, as we start a new strategic planning process. What will FIRST look like in 10 years or more? The folks in these positions will help determine that!


* As I noted in an earlier blog, the Senior Director is the only Director in FIRST Robotics Competition

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