Ryan Luzar, a junior at , thinks his career will be in engineering, but he’s quick to add, “I’m not sure. This competition will help me decide on my career choice, whether I want to go into engineering like I think I want to.”
The competition he speaks of is the sparks-and-metal-flying Regional Robobot Competition held Saturday at Lakeland Community College.
Luzar is a member of the team Piston Pounders, which represents Mentor High. Other team members are Nate Palsa, Bill O’Donnell and team captain Staton Tatterson. The four bought a robot kit and then made modifications to their robot under the direction of their sponsoring company, Wiseco Performance Products.
Wiseco is located on Industrial Park in Mentor and is in the business of manufacturing high-performance pistons for race cars, motorcycles, boats, aircraft and snowmobile engines. As a company sponsor, Wiseco helped team Piston Pounders modify the robot for competition.
“This is just a part of a huge completion. It gives me the chance to learn what it’s like to work on things in a manufacturing setting and to learn how to make mechanical changes to things to improve performance,” Luzar said.
Luzar and his team members came to Wiseco twice a week for four months to work on their robot and prepare it for competition, said Joe Hughes, a Wiseco engineering manager.
“These kids worked real hard and it shows in the robot they have created. This is the first year for this competition and we can see ourselves returning. It has been a great experience for us.”
Wiseco employee John Holan brought his 34 years of experience designing and making tooling and manufacturing dies to the team.
“This is a great way for students to learn about manufacturing careers. With this competition they learned they could design something to do just about anything they want it to do.”
Mentor team Piston Pounders’ robot weighed about 14 pounds. Holan explains it is not designed for speed but rather for stability and durability.
Mentor’s robot fought its way into the semifinals but was beaten in a very close match by team Riverside High just prior to the final rounds.
Alliance For Working Together sponsored this first annual competition. The alliance formed is a partnership between educators and businesses. The purpose of it is to teach students about career choices they may want to consider in the manufacturing arena.
Nine schools from Cleveland Heights to Eastlake, including , participated in the event. The Mentor Rotary Club provided arena sponsorship.