John Novak was the 2009 recipient of the Championship Woodie Flowers Award. He has been a mentor on FRC Hall of Fame team 16, the Bomb Squad, since 1995. The Bomb Squad team has been incredibly strong in their competitiveness within FIRST, but equally supportive to their fellow teams during these many years. This combination of helpfulness and on-field success is rare in a FIRST team. Under John’s leadership, the Bomb Squad inspires their fellow FIRST teams with their innovative designs, but yet is often seen helping other teams become more competitive.
John recently retired from a long and successful career as a senior principal engineer at Baxter Healthcare in Mountain Home, Arkansas.
During his time as a FIRST mentor, John has created and developed a strong FIRST community within Arkansas and the surrounding region. With the help of his wife, Meredith, and family, they have hosted a hugely successful FIRST Lego League tournament, off-season FRC events, and now the popular Arkansas FRC Rock City Regional.
We find John at FIRST events working with students on his team and often helping other teams get their robots working to their potential. If there is a team in need in the pits at an FRC Regional, we often see John helping to get their robot to pass inspection and become the best they can be for that event. This consistent and patient action by John inspires his fellow mentors and makes huge impacts on the students who are fortunate to work with him.