FIRST Robotics stands apart from other competitions in STEM and sports due to the  FIRST Ethos of Gracious Professionalism, the concept of Coopertition, and the  commitment to the FIRST Core Values. The guiding force behind these principals was  Dr. Woodie Flowers. Dr. William Murphy, Jr., who was instrumental in creating the concept of FIRST with Dean Kamen, recognized the unique perspective, wisdom, and  communication style that Woodie brought to the FIRST Robotics Competition. 

In honor of Woodie, Dr. Murphy founded the Woodie Flowers Award in 1996. He recognized that the FIRST ethos would be carried forward by our FIRST mentors and  sought to celebrate those mentors who demonstrate the leadership, ethical behavior,  and communication skills exemplified by Woodie. Students are uniquely positioned to  share evidence of how their mentors have led their team through their knowledge,  dedication, and unwavering gracious support. In their own concisely written words,  students nominate a team mentor by their inspiring Woodie Flowers essays. With this award, we celebrate excellence in communication in the art and science of engineering  and design. 

Woodie believed “societies get the best of what they celebrate”. Being recognized by students, through nomination essays, makes this honor very meaningful to mentors. It is truly an honor for a mentor to be nominated this award. 

At Regional and District Championship events, mentors will receive the Woodie Flowers FINALIST Award. Then at the Championships in Houston, ONE mentor will be selected from re-nominated past Finalists to receive the 2023 Championship Woodie Flowers Award. 

You shared high praise for the accomplishments and dedication of your mentors and  your teams. Based on your input, we now recognize the outstanding contributions of ONE mentor to the FIRST experience. 

This mentor provides great inspiration, participation, and enthusiasm. He is helping his  team and the teams around to constantly improve through discomfort and success. His team says he leads by example through dedication, patience, and professionalism, and  provides an example that he encourages all students to pursue.  

Please join us in congratulating the 2023 Lake Superior Regional Woodie Flowers  FINALIST Award winner, Todd Kruse, from Team 8516!