Mentors are the people that provide the team some experience considering various things that we haven’t dealt with yet in life. Now the LakerBots have grown in mentors since 2016, so we now have, Spence Hollinger, Fred Burkert, Lori Rothauge, Pam Alley and our coach Darrel Rothauge, and they all have each been with us for a number of years.

Darrel Rothauge, our team coach and co-creator of team 5085, has been with us since the start. Although he mostly majors in woodworking and construction, that doesn’t stop him from being a part of it all. His unique skill set actually gives us an advantage when it comes to prototyping, planning, and building, which gives us an idea of what we need to do and how to do it as well. He is also a very encouraging and positive force for all of us students to work hard and make quality robots, and a quote from the man himself, “Do it right the first time so there is no second time.”

Lori, was brought on to the team by her husband Darrel in 2017, and has, since then, been a valuable mentor to us all.  She is constantly helping us find new sponsors, organizing the teams schedules and helps mentor the PR team. Additionally she is very good at organizing our money and if we ever needed to buy something, she’s got our backs.

Spence was invited to join our ranks by Fred in 2013, and ever since, he has been an interactive and helpful adviser for us. Before joining us, Spence had no previous experience that was quite like robotics. His background is that of a mechanic, as he was always interested in electronics and such. So it was only natural that he was interested in joining. Save for the fact that he didn’t know anything about coding. As we were moving into the 2014 season, we had no one coding the robot, as we had no one to teach any of our members. With that, Spence stepped in and began to learn code. He ended up spending a lot of time watching YouTube. But in the end, Spence pulled through and we were able to develop some code for the season, though it was basic. From there, he’s only improved and has taken on several pupils to pass on what he’s learned. He currently is instructing two members, both of which are advancing quickly. Spence is an incredible addition to our team and is absolutely invaluable.

As for Fred, he too as a mechanical and engineering related background. He’s worked for 50 years in his field and has worked in construction, tool designing, and injection molds. He is a firmed supporter in programs that get students involved in STEM activities, this being part of the reason that he is one of our mentors. To quote him, he says, “Team-designing, through brain-storming, is [a] significant skill for functioning in today’s rapidly advancing world of automation.”  He offers us advice related to the building of our robot when we need it or ask for it. With his assistance, we can make a better robot as he has more experience with such. Fred is an wonderful addition and we look forward to having for many more years to come.

Pam Alley is another one of our great mentors, although she does not involve herself directly with the robots we build, she teaches in ways we would not survive without it. One of the things this involves is the making of the pits, decorations, and team shirts. Other aspects she mentors in is our scouting, team spirit and organizing our team. We would never be a team without Pam.