Mentor Profile – Alan Skierkiewicz
Alan Skierkiewicz, or Al, as he’s known to students, has been a WildStang mentor for 24 years. He decided to join the team after his son joined in 1996. Al serves as an Electrical Mentor for WildStang, and has also worked with FLL, FTC, and VEX teams. Despite never having been on an FRC team himself, Al says that FIRST has taught him out of the box thinking and provided him with too many good memories to list. Al is a Bradley University Alumni and retired WTTW employee. While he worked at Channel 11, he installed and maintained everything for the audio of the TV station and radio. Al was there when WTTW changed to digital, and he converted everything to ethernet cables.
Al is known to the extended FIRST community as Big Al. He is a Lead Robot Inspector and leads a team of 10-15 people yearly that checks out robots for both local events and the FIRST World Championship. After continuing his work for FIRST through recovery from major surgery, Al won the Championship Volunteer of the Year award in 2013. He says he never expected to win the award.
Al understands how much students love FRC and recognizes the importance of education and getting a job you love. He loved his job at WTTW and wished he still worked there. He says that working with FIRST has made him better at his job. His decision making is faster and more efficient, thanks to FIRST’s limited build season. Al says, “In FIRST robotics, everyone can go pro,” even if you don’t want to get an engineering degree. He is proud of all alumni of FRC and is excited to continue working with WildStang.
In his free time, He enjoys ham radio and spending time with his grandchildren. He is “so proud of our students.” When asked why he continues to work with FIRST for so long, he simply says he “can’t say no to students.” He knows how much students enjoy FRC and recognizes the importance of education and getting a job one enjoys. He says when you love your job, getting paid is merely a bonus.