Our Mentors

We thank all our mentors for being amazing people, as well as all the support they have given us!

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Karl Ruff

HEAD COACH

This will be updated once Karl writes a bio for this website.

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John Leutke

HEAD COACH & SOFTWARE MENTOR

I participated in FiRST Robotics during my high school years as a member of Team 1097, Site 3 Engineering and helped found the Iron Riders in 2011, after moving to Seattle. I primarily mentor the software aspect of the Iron Riders as well as leadership skills. I studied Computer Science at Marquette University and Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington.

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Andrew Fitz Gibbon

SOFTWARE MENTOR

Having gone to a high school with no robotics team, I find the whole FIRST experience an amazing way to get people interested in technology. I received my undergraduate Computer Science degree from a small liberal arts college in Indiana, which has led me to appreciate FIRST’s “More than Robotics” slogan. Since 2013, I’ve helped mentor the Iron Riders in Software, leadership, business, and general “being a member of a technical team.”

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Andy Davidson

SOFTWARE MENTOR

The prior CS teacher in Room 317 at RHS (and co-founder of the Iron Riders), I am now a professor at the UW, teaching in the department of Human Centered Design and Engineering. My contribution to the team these days is just hosting the annual kickoff event in January on the UW campus.

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Thea Flowers

SOFTWARE MENTOR

I am a maker and open-source software advocate. I work as an engineer at Google and I’m deeply involvement in the Python programming community. I’m here to help mentor the Iron Riders on all aspects of being ideas to life – software, electronics, prototyping, and a little bit of magic.

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Phil Fritzsche

SOFTWARE MENTOR

This will be updated once Phil writes his bio for the website.

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Jordan Macias

ENGINEERING & SOFTWARE MENTOR

I’m a recent engineering graduate from the University of Washington with a variety of knowledge in electronics, prototyping, computer programming and shop work. I had the privilege of being a student for 4180’s inaugural year, and now am back to help the team in any way I can!

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Jacob Erickson

ENGINEERING MENTOR

Graduated UW Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering 2013. I have spent my professional career in startups gaining a jack-of-all-trades master-of-none type experience. I’ve worked in the medical device industry the past few years. I am a Bear Metal 2046 alum and have been with the Iron Riders since the 2016 season.

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Daniel Zhu

ENGINEERING MENTOR

I am a full-time sophomore in Pre-Engineering at the UW, with an intent to major in mechanical engineering. My skill set is mainly centered around hardware and design; I am proficient in using most basic hand tools (drills, saws, files, etc.) as well as some more complex machinery, including but not limited to: manual and CNC vertical mills, manual lathes, manual and CNC plasma arc cutters, drill presses, and horizontal and vertical bandsaws. On the design side, I know how to use Solidworks ca. 2013-2015 in conjunction with Mastercam for CNC use, and I am slowly and somewhat painfully learning Autodesk Inventor 2016. Additionally, I am versed in Microsoft Word and more importantly Microsoft Excel for use in game analysis and FMEA, which is risk analysis. I can also help with project management shenanigans, it’d depend on the situation.

I am originally from Corvallis, OR. This is my 7th year in FIRST; 2 years in FLL, and 4 years on FRC Team 997, Spartan Robotics. I’ve done some odd-end volunteering for FLL and FTC events, and have mentored 4 FLL teams in the past. Simultaneously. It was interesting. On the rare occasion where I am not loaded with homework, I enjoy taking strolls around the UW campus, exploring Seattle in general, playing the violin, and practicing archery at the UW IMA.

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Marisa Shewmaker

ENGINEERING MENTOR

This will be updated once Marisa writes her bio for the website.

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James Gladden

ENGINEERING MENTOR

This will be updated once James writes his bio for the website.