Congrats to FLL Winners!

RoBobs celebrate 1st place at the Hood River event.

Twenty-seven teams of students ages 9 to 14 competed at the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) robotics tournament over the last two Saturdays: December 7 at the Hood River Middle School and December 14 at The Dalles Middle School. Teams from as far as Heppner and Irrigon joined local teams from Hood River, The Dalles, Goldendale, Mosier, Odell, Klickitat, Trout Lake and Stevenson. The top eleven teams were chosen to advance to the state competition in January in Hillsboro.

Snackateers celebrate 1st place at The Dalles event.

FIRST LEGO League teams work over several months to design and program robots and complete a research project, this year on the theme of space. At the Gorge tournaments, teams demonstrate their robot’s capabilities on the competition table, are interviewed by a robot design panel, present their research project and are assessed on teamwork skills.

The Gorge events are held by the Gorge Technology Alliance with support from Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program, North Wasco County School District 21 and Hood River County School District. Top local sponsors include Google and Insitu.

Organizers congratulate all the teams who competed and honored these top award winners from the two events:

  • Overall 1st Place Champions: RoBobs from Hood River; The Snackateers from Wildwood Academy.
  • Overall 2nd Place Champions: Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun! from Wy’east Middle; Gear Spinners from Goldendale Middle School.
  • These additional top teams advanced to the state tournament: 256 Block Limit from Hood River Middle; City Sisters from Wy’east Middle; Wizards of Laser Forks from Hood River Middle; Fire Breathing Ducks from Wasco County 4-H; Finer Things Club and Sunshine Shapers from Klickitat School; Astro Boys from Wy’east Middle; MACS Robotics Team!
    MACS Robotics from the Gorge is also going to state!

Additional top awards were given to a number of teams for their outstanding performances in specific areas of the competition:

  • Core Values Award: City Sisters from Wy’east Middle; Sunshine Shapers from Klickitat School.
  • Project Award: Wizards of Laser Forks from Hood River Middle; Fire Breathing Ducks from Wasco County 4-H.
  • Robot Design Award: 256 Block Limit from Hood River Middle; The A-Team from Klickitat School.
  • Robot Performance Award: S256 Block Limit from Hood River Middle; Astro Boys from Wy’east Middle.
  • Rising Star Award: Robotic Rats from Trout Lake School; Cookie Monsters from Wasco County 4-H.

 

Mark Zanmiller, Patrick Getchis Honored as Gorge Tech Leader, STEM Education Leader of the Year

Mark Zanmiller and Patrick Getchis with their awards.

The Gorge Technology Alliance held its seventh annual awards program on December 10, 2019, recognizing the Tech Leader and STEM Education Leader of the Year and honoring all finalists for the two awards. Mark Zanmiller received the GTA’s 2019 Technology Leader of the Year award for his legacy of leadership in Gorge tech businesses and the community. Mark is currently Business Development Director for Sightline Applications but has held key roles at four different early-stage Gorge tech companies. He has also volunteered innumerable hours on community boards and committees, including years as a Hood River City Councilor, and as an integral part of the Hood River County Christmas Project.

Patrick Getchis, STEM Teacher at Wy’east Middle School, received the 2019 STEM Education Leader of the Year award for his years of excellence in STEM education. Patrick has led middle-school robotics teams to World Competitions several times. He has an impressive and innovative maker lab, and classes that have opened opportunities especially for Latino students. His classroom is a place where all students are welcome and where all can see himself or herself as tech and STEM leaders. The GTA donates $1000 to the program of the STEM education award winner.

Additional finalists honored included Rob Gilchrist of Trillium Engineering and Jeff Knapp of Insitu for Tech Leader, and STEM educators Jeff Hawkins of Pacific Crest Innovation Academy, Jocelyn Paris of Wahtonka Community School, Dezirah Remington from Dufur School and Robert Wells-Clark of The Dalles High School.

The GTA’s annual awards program recognizes and thanks the many companies, organizations and individuals working to advance the tech industry and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in the Columbia River Gorge. The GTA Technology Leader and STEM Education Leader of the Year awards are presented to the individual or organization who made the largest positive impact on the technology and STEM education community of the Columbia River Gorge. Nominations are accepted from across the Gorge and all finalists are celebrated at the annual Winter Party for their leadership and hard work. Learn more here.

Trade Show Grants Help Your Business Grow Exports

Both Oregon and Washington offer a matching grant program that helps businesses engage in export activities. The grants are paired with expertise from agency staff to help navigate the path to exporting. The federal funding comes from the US Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program to offset some of the costs associated with entering new markets such as trade show participation, travel costs, website localization, or consulting. These can even be used for some conferences in the US if they target international markets. Learn more: Oregon businesses or Washington businesses.

2019 Award Finalists Announced

The GTA’s annual awards program recognizes and thanks the many companies, organizations and individuals working to advance the tech industry and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in the Columbia River Gorge. The GTA Technology Leader and STEM Education Leader of the Year awards were presented to the individual or organization who made the largest positive impact on the technology and STEM education community of the Columbia River Gorge. Nominations were accepted from across the Gorge and all finalists are celebrated at the annual Winter Party for their leadership and hard work. The GTA Board is pleased to announce our lineup of amazing finalists: 

2019 Tech Leader of the Year Finalists:

  • Rob Gilchrist, Trillium Engineering
  • Jeff Knapp, Insitu
  • Mark Zanmiller, Sightline Applications

2019 STEM Education Leader of the Year Finalists: 

  • Patrick Getchis, Wy’east Middle School
  • Jeff Hawkins, Pacific Crest Innovation Academy
  • Jocelyn Paris, Wahtonka Community School
  • Dezirah Remington, Dufur School
  • Robert Wells-Clark, The Dalles High School

The two winners will be announced on Dec. 10, 2019 at the Winter Party and Awards Ceremony. A press release will be issued with the winner as well.

Youth Robotics Events

Winter means the busy time of the year for FIRST youth robotics programs in the Gorge. Watch or volunteer at these fun events:
  • December 7 at Hood River Middle School and December 14 at The Dalles Middle School: watch FIRST LEGO League competitions for students in grades 4-8! The best viewing times are roughly 9:30am to 2pm. These events are hosted by the GTA and supported by those that sponsor our robotics program. 
  • January 18 and February 8 at Hood River Valley High School: Many volunteers are needed to support these two big FIRST Tech Challenge competitions for robotics students in grades 6-12. Contact Kate if you can help!

End-of-the-Year Giving for STEM Dreams

Almost five years ago, the Gorge Tech Alliance started our college scholarship to support high school seniors in the five-county Gorge region pursuing a degree in a science, tech, engineering or math-related field. In 2016, Connor Abbott (left) from Goldendale with Mechanical Engineering dreams was our first-ever recipient. As you consider your end-of-the-year giving, thank you for remembering our college scholarship fund. Named in memory of Gorge innovator Corwin Hardham, our fund is housed at the Gorge Community Foundation and all contributions are tax-deductible. Click here to contribute and select “Corwin Hardham Memorial Scholarship Fund” as the fund for your contribution.  

Nominations Open for 2019 GTA Annual Awards

The GTA’s annual awards program is now open for nominations! The two annual awards categories are:

  1. Tech Leader of the Year recognizing the outstanding achievement over the last year on the part of an individual or company that principally provides technology products, services, or support in the Columbia River Gorge. Our 2018 winner was Maza Brady. Access the 2019 Tech Leader nomination application form here.
  2. STEM Education Leader of the Year recognizing an individual for outstanding contributions to STEM (science, tech, engineering and math) education in the Columbia River Gorge over the last year. Our 2018 winner was Lu Seapy. The winner of this category receives a $1000 contribution from the GTA to their STEM education program. Access the 2019 STEM Education Leader nomination application form here.

Nominations must be received by 5pm on November 8 to be considered. The winners will be announced at the GTA’s Winter Party and Awards Ceremony on December 10 at Solstice Pizza. Contact Jessica with questions. 

Busy Week of Events

A number of partners are hosting events this week of interest to the Gorge tech community! 

Oct 2: NW Electronics Design & Manufacturing Expo The premier trade show and networking event for members of the high-tech industry in the Pacific Northwest. 
 
Oct 2-3: AUVSI Fall Symposium | Drones & Droids: Unmanned Systems on the Range  The future of unmanned systems is taking shape right here in the Pacific Northwest!
 
Oct 3: Free Webinar on Federal Grants for R&D
Each year, Federal agencies with extramural research and development (R&D) budgets that exceed $100 million are required to allocate 3.2% to SBIR and STTR programs. This translates to over $3.2B annually distributed to grant funds to high risk technology with commercialization potential. VertueLab hosts this free LIVE webinar on October 3 at noon to cover SBIR/STTR basics such as eligibility requirements, size and ownership rules, the difference between SBIR and STTR, and contracts vs. grants. View details and register here.