Students, from left: Kyle Hoffman, James Bizjak, Jaiben Walker, Chloe Lippert, Wyatt Barzak, Landon Moore, Lance Axton. These seniors chose to design a new bot with a culmination of all they had learned through their high school years, working out of class, after school, and during Saturday work sessions to get it ready for competition.
MDNA member JBM Technologies has been supporting a local high school robotics team for more than a decade now, and the results are beginning to speak for themselves. Last year, one of their sponsored teams at Cochranton High School, “Bad Company,” seized both the first place and grand championship titles with their bot, Death Punch. The team also snagged an award for the best engineered bot in the nation.
Capturing these coveted honors is no small feat. According to the National Robotics League (NRL), “The competition featured the fiercest battles in NRL history to determine which school team built the meanest, strongest, most impenetrable, remote-controlled 15-pound robot in the nation.”
The arena-based competition tests students’ skills in one-on-one combat with robots designed to deliver total destruction. Unlike other types of robotics competitions, students competing in the National Robotics League design, machine, and code their robots from scratch and are judged based on innovation, engineering design, documentation, sportsmanship, and the “cool” factor.
According to JBM Technologies’ general manager, Steve Preston, “students work on three main components for their robot, including weapons, armor (protective materials), and mobility.” Those three components work together to form a final solution, one the teammates hope will enable them to emerge victorious at the end of each match.
But the program is designed to do more than produce an award-winning robot. “Our hope is to use the robotics program to engage students in hands-on experiences that could eventually lead to a career in manufacturing,” Preston said.
In other words, participation in robotics is designed to increase students’ exposure, engagement, enrollment (in a post-high school robotics program), and eventual employment in a manufacturing-related field. “Kids that come out of the NRL are very solid,” he said. Some have become engineers and physicists. Another went on to run machine shops.
“In our industry,” said Preston, “we run into hires who haven’t operated hand tools or torn things apart growing up, and it shows.” The robotics program gives students real, hands-on exposure and provides a start in a direction that leads students into manufacturing and engineering career paths.
The students at Cochranton High School, for instance, have gained exposure to 3-D modeling, benchtop CNC mills and lathes, robotic arms, a vision system, and a gripper. “Their advisor, Christopher Yost, has really advanced the program year over year,” said Preston. “Students definitely gain an understanding of what’s it like to be part of a team in the real-world business culture of manufacturing.”
JBM Technologies’ investment in the program offers a secondary benefit to the company as well. “One of the biggest things I hear from people is that they want to buy from companies who support the local community. When they see a company investing and standing with students in the pits, helping them set up and tear down, and serving as a technical advisor group, they really appreciate that commitment to the local community.”
Clearly, JBM Technologies is scoring a win-win with their sponsored, championship robotics team, investing in the future of the industry and offering a solid commitment to the local community at the same time.
Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) is observed annually on November 11th, honoring military veterans of the United States Armed Forces. This day was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the end of World War I. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
MDNA is privileged to celebrate the many veterans who have served this country. They deserve our highest praise. Today and always, we honor the men and women who serve or have served in our Armed Forces!
Over the last month, it has been our pleasure to pay homage to some of these MDNA heroes. Here is a recap of those spotlights:
John Conroy, Machinery International Corporation
Before John Conroy, long-time MDNA member and former MDNA president, became chairman of Machinery International Corporation, he served his country as a naval lieutenant. His service lasted four years, from 1973 to 1977.
During his time in the Navy, John served one tour of duty in Vietnam, where he was wounded in action. His sons recently honored him with a plaque commemorating his naval service aboard the USS Intrepid (now a museum). Mr. Conroy, on behalf of a grateful association and nation, we thank you for your service!
Gary Belter, Belter Machinery Co Inc.
Gary A. Belter, CEA, President Belter Machinery Co Inc., served in the Navy from 1968 to 1972 and in the Navy Reserves 1972 to 1974. Gary was a Fire Control Technician Second Class Petty Officer (FTG2), serving 37 months on the world’s first guided missile destroyer, the USS Charles F Adams (DDG2), based out of Mayport Naval Station, Florida.
Gary’s team operated and maintained the radar and fire control computers for the ship’s five-inch guns. His service included one six-month Mediterranean tour, one six-month NATO task force tour, and about ten short tours. He has visited over 35 foreign ports! Gary, it is an honor to have you in the MDNA family. Thank you for your service!
James Mills, KD Capital Equipment, LLC
Before James Mills made a name for himself in the machinery industry, he served seven years in the United States Marine Corps, from 1998 to 2005, which included multiple tours in Iraq. He earned the rank of sergeant and became a hand-to-hand combat instructor as well as a small arms weapons Instructor.
James is also an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) internal pilot. He is a recipient James McGuire Award, established in honor of Gunnery Sergeant James McGuire, the first enlisted Marine ordered to aviation. The award recognizes significant contribution to Marine aviation by an individual or squadron. James. today and always, we salute you and your service to this country. Semper Fidelis!
Sean Reid, KD Capital Equipment, LLC
Sean Reid served in the United States Army for two years and then another four years in the
Army Reserves. He served first with the 55th Military Police (MP) Company in Bupyeong, Korea,
in 1982. As part of his service Sean worked security for Vice President H.W. Bush‘s Airforce 2 at
Kimpo International Airport.
Sean finished out his service with the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California. He then used the GI Bill to earn a degree in International Business from San Jose State University. Sean, thank you for your service. You and your fellow MDNA Veterans help make the MDNA a better association.
It is a pleasure to honor Colonel Richard R. Robinson, US Army Retired, deceased, father of MDNA Executive Vice President Mark Robinson. Richard served in the United States Army and the Army Reserve for many years. Commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation from Georgetown University and its ROTC program, Richard served as a Military Policeman (MP) throughout his service.
Richard was stationed throughout the United States at bases such as Ft. McLellan and Ft. Meade, and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Mr. Robinson was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors, after a long, full life of service to God, family and country.
John Bouley, Furnace Brokers International
Long before John Bouley knew the heat of an industrial furnace, he experienced the heat of combat. John served in the United States Marine Corps from 1967 to 1971 and was deployed in Vietnam for nearly two years as a door gunner on a “Huey” Gunship (nickname for a Bell UH-1 Iroquois military helicopter).
John flew 572 combat missions and, in his words, “lived to get out.” He went to college on the GI bill and earned a degree in Business Administration. He launched Furnace Brokers International in 1983. John still remains close to several fellow soldiers and recently attended a reunion in Sparks, NV, for USMC Helicopter Combat Air Crews. Semper Fidelis!
Julius Feinstein, Universal Metalworking Equipment
Everyone knows June 6, 1945, as “D-Day.” But for Michael Feinstein of Universal Metalworking Equipment, that date means just a little bit more. It was on this date at H-Hour Plus One on a beach code named “Utah” that Michael’s father, Julius Feinstein, landed in France as a member of the Army’s 449 MP 1st AMPHIB (Military Police Company).
Julius distinguished himself on that fateful day by leaving cover, running to a seriously
wounded soldier, and exposing himself to relentless enemy fire. For this heroic action, Corporal Feinstein was awarded the Bronze Star. Once in Germany, Julius’ unit (by then assigned to the U.S. 7th Army) liberated the forced labor camp known as The Landsberg.
Julius later launched Universal Metalworking Equipment in Houston, Texas. Michael, thank you for sharing about your father and giving us just one more reason to be proud of this organization and our rich past.
John enlisted in the Army the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He served in the Army from 1941 until VE Day in 1945 as a combat engineer often going behind German lines to demolish bridges to prevent the advancement of German reinforcements. Serving under General Patton he was part of the invasions in North Africa and Sicily. He fought in Italy throughout the war and took part in the major battles of Anzio and Monte Cassino.
After the war, John became a draftsman at Seymour Manufacturing with a specialty in rolling mills. He was hired by Austin Lucas and worked for many years with Austin. When Austin retired John bought his company and renamed it McMillan Machinery. It subsequently became Machinery International. John was a longtime member of the MDNA and served on the Locator Board of Directors.
Crist Wheeler, founder of Wheeler Machinery Sales and father of Dan Wheeler, MDNA 2nd vice president, served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, from 1965 to 1967. He was always very proud of his military service, choosing the Navy out of his love of boating and the sea. Crist enlisted rather than waiting for the draft, which allowed him to control his own destiny.
It was a perfect fit. Shortly after his training in ship and boiler repair, Christ was deployed to Manila Bay, Philippines, where many ships were repaired or prepared for war. When he returned to the states. Crist went to work for Doug Wilson (uncle of the Beach Boys) and launched Wheeler Machinery Sales a few years later.
Crist’s love for boating remained with him his entire life, and he later owned a 35-foot cabin cruiser that he sailed out of Huntington Beach, Ca. He passed away on January 19, 2012. Crist was an amazing man who used a lot of his Naval training to repair machine tools and run his business.
Maurice “Moe” Alvin Lashin,
Prior to becoming the loving father of Terry and Paul Lashin of MDNA-member Prestige Equipment, Maurice served in the United States Army during WWII. Moe entered the Service in 1943, serving in the 101st Airborne before being injured during paratrooper training. He was then reassigned to the 42nd Infantry and 542nd Field Artillery Battalion before volunteering for medical school and becoming a surgical technician at Fort Sam Houston’s Brook Army Hospital.
Moe then volunteered to help open a POW hospital in Okmulgee, OK, reached the rank of Sergeant, and was honorably discharged to the Active Reserves in April 1946. Along with his father, Milton, and eventually his wife, Helen, Moe would go on to own a d operate Lashin’s Market in Hartford, CT, for many years. Maurice Passed away on February 5, 2014. It is clear to all who know Terry and Paul that their father, Maurice Lashin, instilled in both his courage and fortitude learned in the army, along with his business skills acquired and honed operating Lashin’s Market.