Press Release: Bishop-Wisecarver Group Promotes Importance of STEM Education as Diamond Supplier of FIRST Robotics Competition

Commitment of Funds, Products for Nine Consecutive Years Provides Job Skills and Life-Changing Opportunities for Students

Pittsburg, Calif. – March 8, 2016 – Bishop-Wisecarver Group, a WBENC-certified, woman-owned family of companies that offer guidance solutions, contract specialty manufacturing and mechatronic-based engineering services, is promoting the ongoing importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education as a Diamond Supplier for the 2016 FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®). With nine years of sponsoring the FIRST program, Bishop-Wisecarver Group (BWG) has helped thousands of students learn vital academic and technical skills, as well as needed job requirements such as critical thinking, cooperation, leadership and time management.

As one of the select Diamond Suppliers, BWG has donated between $150,000-$250,000 for the 2016 FRC competition. This includes in-kind donations of DualVee® Linear Guide Track, part of the DualVee product line, which is a group of simple components used for linear and rotary guided motion applications. It also includes MadeWell wheels that allow students to use vee groove wheel bearings on 90-degree vee track to create high load capacity linear guides. These products are offered to all teams who then have six weeks to transform a box of various parts into a working robot that performs specific tasks.

“Our 2015 team used Bishop-Wisecarver vee groove wheels to help us make a smooth functioning mechanism on our robot,” said Doug Holly, mentor of FRC Team 2632, The Theoreticals, of Amherst, Ohio. “Due to our recent success and the easy set up and reliability of the BWG MadeWell wheels, we look forward to incorporating BWG MadeWell wheels in future robot designs.”

FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people and now includes several different competitions for various age groups and interests. Last year’s FIRST programs included 360,000 youth and 190,000 volunteers from more than 80 countries.

“The FIRST competition allows students to gain hands-on, technical knowledge, but it also teaches them how to solve challenges that have real-world implications,” said Peter Strawn, coach of Team 692, The Fembots, of St. Francis Catholic High School in Sacramento, Calif. “Our robot is only functional and successful to the extent that students can collaborate, communicate, and create as a team. The process of brainstorming strategies for this year's game has helped students develop critical thinking skills, but, more importantly, it has shown students at an all-girls school that careers in STEM are as much for them as for anyone else.” In addition to being a Diamond Supplier, BWG is sponsoring four California-based FIRST® teams to help fund their projects and travel to regional competitions:

  • FRC Team 692 – The Fembots – St. Francis Catholic High School, Sacramento, CA
  • FRC Team 1458 – Red Tie Robotics – Monte Vista High School, Danville, CA
  • FRC Team 5430 – Pirate Robolution Crew – Pittsburg High School, Pittsburg, CA
  • FTC Team 7593 – The TigerBots – Notre Dame High School, Belmont, CA

“We place a corporate-wide emphasis on STEM education throughout the year and get excited when we can help students acquire skills needed for success in both their education and careers,” said Pamela Kan, President of Bishop-Wisecarver Group. “One of our sponsored teams for 2016 is a group we met when they toured our facility during National Manufacturing Day last year. These students and teachers walked over a mile to our location and, we were so impressed with their interest and dedication, we wanted to partner with them in their FIRST endeavors as well. Our commitment to STEM education is a long-term one and it’s encouraging to see the impact this is having on the students in our community and state.”

FIRST teams participate in numerous competitions that require students to meet afterschool, as well as many weekends, to brainstorm, design, redesign, try, fail, fix and complete the project. Students spend several months learning different programming languages, electronics and how to work with power tools before any robot building begins.

“FIRST has given me the skills as a manager to step back from a design, look at the big picture, admit when I’m wrong and recognize how and when a direction shift is needed,” said Alex Ferguson, co-president of FRC Team 1458, The Red Tie Robotics, from Monte Vista High School in Danville, Calif. “These are skills I would have only learned through far worse failures in the job market or slowly, through lots of studying in college.”

“One of my favorite aspects of the FIRST program is the emphasis given to respecting each other and mentoring across the teams so we are all working together,” said Eden Grown-Haeberli, co-captain of FTC Team 7593, The TigerBots, of Notre Dame High School in Belmont, Calif. “We don’t hide anything. We share strategies with other teams, answer each other’s questions and work together to solve problems. It’s not like a normal competition. We all want to win, but we also want to help each other get there.”

About the Bishop-Wisecarver Group
Bishop-Wisecarver Group (BWG) is a woman-owned family of WBENC-certified companies that works with manufacturers to engineer, manufacture, and build linear and rotary motion solutions, custom complex assemblies, and optimal embedded intelligence systems. Through the integration of mechanical, electrical, software, control and systems design engineering expertise, 65+ years of experience and 20,000+ unique clients, BWG continues to provide a single point of service that results in custom designs, increased efficiencies and accelerated time to market.


Photo Tagline: Student members of the FIRST® Robotics Competition Team 5430 from Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Calif., Kemaiya Bishop (17) and Andrea Zarate (16), working on details for their robot. FRC Teams have six weeks to design and program a robot for the 2016 FIRST contests that provide real-world business experience, college scholarships and bragging rights. Bishop-Wisecarver Group is a proud sponsor of this team and a Diamond Supplier for the 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition, having provided funding and in-kind donations of their DualVee® Linear Guide Track and MadeWell wheels totaling between $150,000-$250,000.