FIRST Robotics

Our support of programs like FIRST Robotics gets students excited about careers in science and technology. It also helps to strengthen ties in our communities.

An Unusual Competition

It's May 2005, and hundreds of fans pour into Detroit's Wayne State University gym for the big competition. High school bands, cheerleaders, teachers and proud parents wait in anticipation as the unlikely competitors take the stage. This is a varsity competition unlike any other. It's unique. It's smart. It's robotics.

With clever team names like the Bionic Bulldogs and the Robowizards, high school students from around the country participate in FIRST Robotics. Inventor Dean Kamen created this program to give students an opportunity to build robots and send them into competition.

Supporting Student Teams

We support more than a dozen of the 1,000 national FIRST Robotics teams. The teams can count on dedicated Ford volunteers to mentor them in every area-from the business plan to the building of an actual robot.

Ford Volunteers Make a Difference

Ford engineer John Vukovich began volunteering with the FIRST Robotics teams in 1998. Today he serves as operations manager to all Ford FIRST Robotics teams and acts as lead engineer to the Fordson High School team.

Vukovich, who dedicates more than 1,000 hours a year to the Ford FIRST teams, loves coaching the students. His dedication to his Ford FIRST Robotics team has paved the way for other Ford volunteers, including Ford alumnus Bob Koehl. Koehl, who retired in 2001 after 25 years with Ford, was honored with the Southeast Michigan Volunteer of the Year Award at this year's FIRST Robotics kickoff event.


In 2005, Vukovich and Ford colleague Dave Hatch received the FIRST Robotics Recognition of Excellence Award for their work with Team Ford FIRST, and later went on to receive Ford's Worklife and Diversity Award last fall.