Meet Robert Dumler, MCC-Business & Technology’s own Mr. Roboto

MCC-Business & Technology Early College Program coordinator and instructor Robert Dumler, middle wearing shorts, is the regional director of the KC FIRST Robotics Competition.
MCC-Business & Technology Early College Program coordinator and instructor Robert Dumler (wearing shorts) is the regional director of the KC FIRST Robotics Competition. Dumler has been a key figure in the organization for 11 years.

The volunteers for Kansas City For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (KC FIRST) often say there is no exit strategy for leaving the organization. Robert Dumler clearly has embraced that philosophy.

Dumler’s volunteer work with KC FIRST began as a coach 10 years ago. In the decade since, he has been a coach, mentor, head referee and senior mentor. In his current role as regional director, he joined the team of KC STEM Alliance, a nonprofit that leads FIRST and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) efforts in the region.

“I just love it. I love seeing the students inspired,” said Dumler, engineering technology instructor and Early College Program coordinator at Metropolitan Community College-Business & Technology. “There’s something about seeing that light bulb go off when you’re working with kids.”

Dumler is the lead organizer of the 2017 Greater KC FIRST Robotics Competition March 16-18 at MCC-BT. At the event, teams of high school students from several states and countries will compete for a spot in the FIRST Worlds Championship in April.

Teams began working in January and had six weeks to build a robot to participate in the event. At the end of the six-week period, they bagged and sealed the robot, but could withhold 30 pounds of the machine to continue working on that section.

“The goal is to get students engaged in science and technology,” Dumler said. “It is extremely competitive, but it’s not all about winning. It’s about the investment they put into it.”

The top six teams advance to the Worlds Championship, the Super Bowl of the FIRST season, Dumler said. In addition, participants will vie for several awards, including for spirit, gracious professionalism, safety and engineering inspiration.

“It doesn’t take long for the kids to be hooked,” Dumler said. “It makes all the work worth it to see a kid go from thinking this isn’t for them to really getting into it.”

Several current students in MCC-BT’s Early College Program are members of teams competing, and they do much of their work on the robots in the campus’s Fab Lab, which houses a number of tools such as mill and lathe machines.

MORE ABOUT ROBERT DUMLER

Title: ETEC instructor, Early College Program coordinator, KC FIRST regional director
High School: Attended Lee’s Summit High School
College: Two bachelor degrees and a master’s degree from University of Central Missouri
Career: Taught industrial technology and engineering at Lee’s Summit West High School
Family: Married with a daughter and son

QUOTABLE

“The great thing is the kids definitely get real-world experience in this competition. They learn about setting deadlines and meeting deadlines, as well as seeing an idea go from an idea to a finished product.”

BT BUTTONS

The MCC-Business & Technology campus is giving away buttons to commemorate the event on Thursday and Friday in Exhibit Hall B.

To receive a button, visit the MCC-Business & Technology table on scholarship row, the tournament’s college fair.

MCC-BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY AT THE COMPETITION

Thursday, March 16

  • 10-10:30 a.m.: Financial aid presentation. Room TC 233
  • 11 a.m.-noon: Campus tour, meet in pit area in Exhibit Hall A.
  • Noon- 5 p.m.: Booth on scholarship row. Stop by and pick up your special events button commemorating the competition in Exhibit Hall B.
  • 1-2 p.m.: Campus tour, meet in pit area in Exhibit Hall A.
  • 2-2:30 p.m.: College readiness presentation. Room TC 233
  • 3-4 p.m.: Campus tour, meet in pit area in Exhibit Hall A.

Friday, March 17

  • 9 a.m.-5 p.m: Booth on scholarship row. Stop by and pick up your special events button commemorating the competition in Exhibit Hall B.
  • 10-10:30 a.m.: Financial aid presentation. Room TC 233
  • 11 a.m.-noon: Campus tour, meet in pit area in Exhibit Hall A.
  • 1-2 p.m.: Campus tour, meet in pit area in Exhibit Hall A.
  • 2-2:30 p.m.: College readiness presentation. Room TC 233
  • 3-4 p.m.: meet in pit area in Exhibit Hall A.

NOTE: Keep an eye on the video board in Exhibit Hall A for more information about MCC-Business & Technology during the event.

ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Hashtags: #omgrobots, #FIRSTChamp, #makeitloud, #STEMKC, #GirlsinTechKC