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2020 Woodie Flowers Finalist Award
Posted on 06/03/2020
2020 Woodie Flowers Finalist AwardThroughout our team’s 24-year history in FIRST Robotics, many mentors have come and gone. Jim Thunes is a constant in the raging sea of time, having spent 17 years dedicating much of his time to the team. Jim puts in over 30 hours a week to inspire, teach, and share great experiences with the members of Team 93.

As a structural engineer, Mr. Thunes assists in the structural planning and 
analysis of our robots. His extensive knowledge of structural mechanics has consistently given us a deeper understanding of engineering concepts. He guides us away from unreliable and weak designs, and yet makes sure the students are leading the process. Jim encourages us to follow the design process, going from concept to sketch to a solution, while documenting everything.

Keeping track of how every subsystem fits together is a tall feat, but Jim manages it with ease. He 
plays a crucial role in ensuring that every spatial constraint is met on our robot. To do this, he demonstrates flawless skill in AutoCAD, assisting with space studies and layouts for every system in our robot. With a “get ‘er done” attitude and collected demeanor, Mr. Thunes keeps us from panicking when the backlog seems impossible to finish.

As a mentor and a vital resource for many functional groups, Jim provides a pivotal example of effective communication between functional groups for the team. When a member has a cross-functional group question, he will ensure they connect with the right student. Through working with members of other groups, they learn the impacts and difficulties of each group. Prototyping is the first experience new members get collaborating with the whole team. Mr. Thunes assists students in presentations of design ideas to boost their confidence and ease their fears of public speaking.

Jim has also been a fantastic example of how to balance fun with serious work and is known for 
his whimsical personality. Those who were present will never forget him belting the opening of Blue Suede's "Hooked on a Feeling" or dancing to “Stayin' Alive”. Mr. Thunes has encouraged a jocular atmosphere on our team and even agreed to dye his beard red– if we do well at competitions. He constantly reminds us that although it is fun to win, the most important thing to him is that all of us students get something out of it. It is not just about building a robot, but working effectively as a team and having fun doing it.

Jim Thunes is a mentor who changes lives for the better and 
believes that every student is worth taking time to help. He teaches the members of our team integrity, how to solve problems, how to have fun, and especially the importance of communication both on and off the team. The extensive time and effort Mr. Thunes puts into the FIRST community shows his unmatched dedication to the ideals of FIRST.

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