Build Season: Week 4

spartronics students

Subteam Updates:

Build Season marches on! Students are continuing their hard work, aiming to make the best robot they can.

The Mechanics subteam has moved on from design to manufacturing the various parts used in the robot’s subsystems. Once these parts have been manufactured, students will be able to begin assembling them into a functioning robot.

Members of the Electronics subteam have finished all electronics systems, including the final electronics board. This electronics board will be a part of the final robot and will contain its electronic systems. They’ve also completed a similar pneumatics board. For those who don’t know, pneumatic systems are those which utilize pressurized air.

Programming has also been very productive! They’ve finished writing code for all the robot’s major subsystems and will soon move on to testing this code on the testbed, which contains the circuits that will eventually be present on the actual robot.

Finally, Marketing has also been busy with its Build Season tasks. Most importantly, the subteam has begun preparations for upcoming All Robotics Open House. The event’s on Wednesday night, March 13, 5-7 PM and everybody is invited! Visitors will be able to meet Spartronics new robot and, hopefully, younger students from one of the Islands’ FLL teams.

We’re excited to see you there!

Marketing Lead, Chris Mentzer

Chris Mentzer, Co-Captain and Marketing Leader Becomes Spartronic’s First Driver from the Marketing subteam!

Drive Team:

Drive Team has been announced! Below is a list of everyone and their roles:

  • Kenneth Wiersema – Drive Coach

  • Chris Mentzer  – Driver

  • Cruz Strom  – Mechanism Controller

  • Ronan Bennett – Human Player

  • Jack Chapman – Primary Technician

  • Violet Advani – Backup Drive Coach

  • Ethan Rininger – Backup Driver

  • Peter Hall – Backup Mechanism Controller

  • Declan Freeman-Gleason – Backup Human Player

  • Lucas Nalley – Backup Technician


Mentor Riyadth Al-Kazily

Woodie Flowers Award

Riyadth Al-Kazily (Pictured Above) has been chosen by Spartronics students to be the team’s nominee for the 2019 Woodie Flowers Award.

The award celebrates effective communication in the art and science of engineering and design, recognizing mentors who lead, inspire and motivate students through communication excellence.

Riyadth encourages every student to participate, using his energy and creativity to explain often highly complex mathematical, scientific, and engineering concepts in a fun and interesting way. His enthusiasm for Science and Engineering is contagious and this makes Riyadth a perfect fit for the Woodie Flowers Award.

In his 6 years as a mentor, he’s brought his deep knowledge and energy to many areas of the team, inspiring and motivating scores of students.

We believe Riyadth is fully deserving of the award and wish him the best of luck!

Sears & Associates Logo

Sponsor Spotlight: Sears & Associates

Larry and Renee (Pictured Below) Sears established Sears & Associates in 1988 in an effort to use their experience with insurance to provide better coverage options to the community. As an independent insurance agency, the firm understands the importance of affordable coverage.

Here is a link to its website, where you can read more about the company and its mission. Sears & Associates is a Legacy Sponsor of Spartronics – supporting our team every year since our inception!

We asked Renee Sears a few questions about her company:

Spartronics: Can you tell us a little about Sears & Associates?

Renee: We are a local owned Independent Insurance Agency for Businesses, Home, Automobiles, Boats, etc. As an independent insurance agency and member of the community, we are equipped to recommend the policy best-suited to your needs. You can turn to us with confidence, knowing your interests come first.

Renee Sears

Spartronics: Why is Sears & Associates sponsoring Spartronics?

Renee: We think it is an exciting program and wished this type of leaning was available when we went to school!

Spartronics: Is there a way Spartronics fans can support Sears & Associates?

Renee: Like us on Facebook (the link is here).

Spartronics: Is there anything else you would like us to include in your Sponsor Spotlight newsletter feature?

Renee: People can contact me by email at, and our website is located at

Thank you for your support!

Build Season: Week 2

Spartronics students working

Subteam Updates

The brainstorming phase of Build Season is over! Spartronics has split up into its subteams, where everyone’s working hard together to construct a great robot.

Students in the Mechanics subteam have finished prototyping, and are moving on to finalizing various mechanism designs. They’ve also split up into five groups who, aided by students working on CAD and Electronics, are working on various elements of the robot’s design. The subteam hopes that they’ll be able to begin building within the next few days!

The Electronics subteam is helping all but one of the aforementioned groups in the Mechanics subteam with the electronics in their designs. They’ve also managed to secure space in the overall robot’s design for electronics.

Programming has also been keeping busy. They’ve done some initial coding, but are waiting until more details of the robot’s hardware are finalized to do more. Additionally, they’ve also got a camera working. This provides an additional option for this year’s Sandstorm phase.

The Sandstorm phase takes the place of the usual autonomous phase, taking up the first 15 seconds of each game. In it, robot driver’s view of the field is obscured. Robots can either be programmed to run autonomously or be driven with the aid of cameras. While we don’t know what method we’ll be using, Spartronics is excited to see how we’ll perform during this novel game phase!  [Watch this year’s Game Video from FIRST to see the Sandstorm phase.]

After the conclusion of a very successful fundraising season, with a record 33 Sponsors, the Marketing subteam has made a smooth transition into Build Season. They’ve started the process of updating some of our outdated website pages and have finished this years’ new sponsor banner, which can be found at the bottom of this newsletter. Finally, they’ve also completed this year’s Team Shirts and other cool Spartronics swag, including an all-new jacket.riven with the aid of cameras. While we don’t know what method we’ll be using, Spartronics is excited to see how we’ll perform during this novel game phase!  [Watch this year’s Game Video from FIRST to see the Sandstorm phase.]

Hab station

NEW! Spartronics Joins the Peninsula Alliance
Spartronics is excited to announce its membership in the Peninsula Alliance. The Peninsula Alliance is a new organization which is coordinating the efforts of six participating teams in order to construct a practice field for this year’s game at Central Kitsap High. The six teams are Spartronics (Team 4915), ROCK (Team 3223), Roboctopi (Team 4918), SRF (Team 3826), Bremertron (Team 3049) and Aldernating Current (Team 5295).

Having a practice field will allow Alliance members to better prepare and practice for “Destination Deep Space” this year’s game. Spartronics Co-Captain Cruz Strom will be leading our field elements team in building a Habitation Platform (CAD illustration above). The HAB is Spartronics’ contribution to the practice field. But that’s not the only noteworthy thing about Cruz Strom…

FIRST logo

Spartronics Team Captains

Dean’s List Nominees
Co-Captains Cruz Strom (left) and Declan Freeman-Gleason (right) have been named by the team’s professional mentors and Coach Chee as the team’s nominees for the 2019 Dean’s List Award.

Sponsored by the Kamen family, the award aims to recognize students with exceptional leadership, creative or technical abilities who best represent FIRST’s values. Finalists will be chosen at the regional or state level and winners will be selected at the World Championship.

Cruz, the Mechanical subteam lead, and Declan, the Programming subteam lead, both said that they were “honored” to be nominees. We wish them both the best of luck!

Jason Shutt Logo

Jason Shutt

Sponsor Spotlight:
Jason Shutt, REALTOR

Jason Shutt is a leading real estate broker on Bainbridge Island recently joined the island’s leading brokerage firm, Windermere Real Estate. Jason specializes in “waterfront neighborhoods” on Bainbridge, and is website — — uniquely features profiles of the 10 waterfront neighborhoods he’s identified for Bainbridge Island, including a breathtaking aerial tour video.

Students may know him as “Mr. Shutt,” a former well-known science teacher at Woodward. Today he’s also a prominent community leader and a perennial Spartronics Sponsor.

We asked Jason to tell us about his business and support of Spartronics:
Spartronics: Can you give us a brief description of what you do?
Jason: I am a Realtor on Bainbridge Island who helps people make well informed and strategic real estate decisions. For people selling a home, I help reduce their stress and work to put them in the best position to maximize the return on their investment. For those who are buying a home, I acutely listen to assess their needs and understand the lifestyle they are seeking to help them find the home on the island that’s just right for them. When people are both buying, and selling, I work to ensure the timelines of the two transactions are well thought out so the process is as smooth as possible.

Spartronics: Why are you supporting Spartronics?

Jason: When I was a science teacher at Woodward Middle School, my goal was always to get kids out of their seats and actively engaged in problem-solving activities where they built confidence by finding success under their own determination. What I see in Spartronics is just that: an opportunity for students to collaborate in teams and pursue their own ideas for the ultimate problems solving, engineering. The successes I see on the kids’ faces, and in the program itself, tell me it’s a “teaching style” that I favor. Except, instead of some elemental understanding of Newton’s Laws or plate tectonics, the outcome of Spartronics is experiential learning in the values of teamwork and goal accomplishment; those are preparing you all for life in much grander ways. 

Spartronics: How can Spartronics fans support you?

Jason: For any adults who are interested in an analysis of the island’s real estate market, they can view my 99-second infographic here, and sign up for monthly delivery. Liking my Facebook Page and Instagram profile is always appreciated as well.

Thank you Jason Shutt! We greatly appreciate your support! Also check out his website that features some super-cool videos (shot by a team that includes a Spartronics’ alumni) and a GREAT list of the Public Beach Access Points across Bainbridge Island.

Build Season is Ramping Up! Week 1!

Spartronics students working

Team Update

The team’s had a very productive first week of Build Season! Remember, all 3,700 FRC teams worldwide have just six weeks to build a robot for the new “Destination: Deep Space” 2019 game.

We continued the brainstorming process started at Kickoff by coming up with a multitude of innovative ideas for mechanisms. The best of these ideas were grouped together into one of three cohesive robot concepts. The whole team then voted on its favorite of these concepts. Using the team’s input, the leadership team and our amazing mentors made a final decision. We will soon announce the final decision, but we are all looking forward to a successful Competition Season!

Soon students will split up into Spartronics various subteams: Mechanics, Electronics, Programming and Marketing. Every subteam makes contributions that help ensure that our six-week Build Season will go as smoothly as possible.

Spartronics students building the field

Field Elements Group

Several members of Spartronics have been going above and beyond for the team. These students are part of the Field Elements Group, which has been meeting outside of our usual meeting hours. Their job? The Field Elements Group has built several important field elements used in this year’s game, such as the Rocket Ship. This will allow for better prototyping, robot testing, and eventual drive team practice.

It was a flash from the past as during Kickoff several Spartronics alumni turned out to show their continued support and encouragement of 4915!

Professional options logo

Sponsor Spotlight: Professional Options

Doña Keating is President and CEO. Professional Options LLC, a new Spartronics sponsor this year. But more importantly, Doña is also a professional Mentor of our team and our Community Ambassador. She believes strongly in the power of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and its ability to impact the future.

We asked Doña to talk about her company:

Spartronics: Can you tell us a little bit about Professional Options?

Doña: Professional Options is a leadership and management consulting firm. We advise NGOs (non-governmental agencies) Fortune 100, governments, and non-profits on best practices so their C-Suite leaders and organisations can improve their strategies, teams, and missions. We also provide facilitation of executive board retreats and meetings, and public policy advocacy on a wide range of issues such as digital privacy, telecommunications, education, technology innovation, economic development, and entrepreneurship.

Spartronics: Why is Professional Options sponsoring Spartronics?

Doña: As a decades-long supporter, practitioner, and leader of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) initiatives, I consider computer programming a necessary life component in the 21st Century and beyond. Spartronics advances knowledge of this international second language and its implementation via robotics, but it also hones critical-thinking, promotes collaborative teamwork, enhances communications  – and other invaluable skills which will prepare our students. The emotional intelligence of the team members, coach, and mentors is both electrifying and inspirational. I can’t imagine living or working on Bainbridge Island and not supporting Spartronics, particularly if one has a child in the school or on the team.

Spartronics: Is there a way Spartronics fans can support Professional Options?

Doña: The community is free to like our Facebook Page (, but I’d prefer they spread the word and recruit more to like and follow Spartronics on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Spartronics: Is there anything else we should let our readers know about?

Doña: Our company URL is, but again, my preference is that they support and engage Spartronics!

Thank you Professional Options and thank you Doña Keating for all of your support!