In 1999, General Motors engineer Ken Patton won the Woodie Flowers Award at the FIRST Championships in Orlando. At the time, Ken was the founder and team leader for the Huskie Brigade FRC team 65 from Pontiac Northern High School in Michigan. Ken has been an FRC mentor since 1997.
In 2009, when the Pontiac School District merged the two high schools into one, FRC47 Chief Delphi and FRC65 Huskie Brigade also merged, forming the Wings of Fire, FRC51. Ken was a co-founder and lead technical mentor for Wings of Fire. The team works out of the Pontiac International Technology Academy, a unique and award-winning K-12 program within the District.
Ken graduated from Michigan Technological University with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering, and from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering. Ken retired from General Motors after a 30 year career in the design and development of advanced technologies and new powertrain systems. He is the holder of two patents and the author of multiple technical publications.
Ken's involvement as a mentor in FRC covered the full range of activities including team organization, technical mentoring, design and strategizing, coaching on the field, inspecting, and scouting. In the earlier years, Ken gave yearly "Drive System Fundamentals" presentations at one of the original remote kickoffs. He was a long-time FLL judge at the Arkansas State Championship. He was the winner of the GM "Mentor of the Year" as well as the Tom Stephens Award given by General Motors to individuals involved in FIRST.
Here is a neat video profiling Ken Patton from the FIRST Championships in 1999.