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New Executive Director Announced

A Letter to the NE FIRST Community March 2021

Dear NE FIRST community,

I hope everyone is having a great start to 2021.

By now, you should have all received your MiniBot for the NE FIRST MiniBot challenges, presented by BAE Systems. BAE Systems has been a long time supporter of FIRST and NE FIRST, and we are extremely grateful to them for helping us launch this novel experience for our NE FIRST Robotics Competition teams.

I also want to thank the volunteers who worked tirelessly to develop and deploy, including: Jim Gorham, Frank Grossman, Scott Heaton, James Lockman, Brad Miller, Paige Patz and Kim Pita.

We are very excited to hear what you think about it, so keep track of what you like and what we could do better – we will be sending a survey toward the end of the season.

Speaking of season… We were all disappointed with the announcement that the 2021 in-person district event season was cancelled. However, we believe this was the right decision, as the health and safety of our teams, students, mentors, volunteers and staff are of the utmost importance.

I mentioned back in my December letter that we were getting ready to start the search process to find a new full-time Executive Director to lead the overall operations and growth of our organization. We posted the position in late December, and within two weeks we had over 100 applicants. We were extremely excited by the experience and quality of the applicants. Our Board of Directors reviewed every application, and completed interviews with the most qualified candidates.

We are excited to welcome Michael Fantom as our new Executive Director. Michael is a highly experienced non-profit leader, who joins us after a distinguished career leading the Ronald McDonald House Charities of New England as their Chief Executive Officer. Michael has a background in education and non-profit management, and has spent his career leading youth-based non-profit organizations.

Michael will be spending the next month or two becoming familiar with ingenuityNE / NE FIRST and working with Kim Pita, our current interim Executive Director, in the transition. As he settles in, we hope to start scheduling a series of virtual town hall events, where you can meet Michael, get to know him, and share your experiences and ideas. We are all looking forward to being able to do in-person events (meet and greets, town halls, listening sessions, and of course, competitions) as soon as it is safe to do so.

As we transition the Executive Director responsibilities to Michael, I wanted to again thank Kim for everything she has done to help keep us going, especially during the last year of craziness as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Kim has tackled all of the Executive Director responsibilities (and more), head-on, and helped us get through some difficult challenges. We are extremely grateful to Kim, and everything she has done for ingenuityNE / NE FIRST and our community.

That’s all for now. As Michael gets settled into his new role, you will be hearing more from him – especially as we start scheduling the virtual town halls.

Please stay safe. Make smart decisions. Challenge yourself. And be Gracious Professionals in all of your actions and activities.

Sincerely, John Bugeau President & Chairman ingenuityNE / NE FIRST



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