Ted Berry teams with Spruce Mountain robotics
By Cindy Gilpatrick LIVERMORE — Ted Berry Company has teamed up with the SMART program at Spruce Mountain Schools. A locally owned and operated business for more than forty years. “The primary goal is to employ local people and provide them with rewarding careers that allow them to grow and succeed both personally and professionally in their community,” according to Matt Timberlake, Vice President of Ted Berry Company.
The Ted Berry Company provides robotic pipeline inspections and trenchless technologies for industrial and municipalities throughout the state.
Working hand in hand, with the Spruce Mountain Robotics Team and their coach, Dan Lemieux, students are provided with hands on demonstrations, financial assistance to continue the program, and internships for two students several times each year.
The internships provide one on one interaction with Ted Berry staff where students receive robotic basics, safety, general orientation, field experience with the robotics team from Ted Berry as well as operation, maintenance and more. The Robotics team began in 2012 and have since been to the world competition twice with their FLL team and once each with the FRC (First Robotic Challenge, and Vex teams. All teams are sponsored by community members, small businesses, the school district and the students themselves who work to raise funds to compete. Students do more than thirty hours of fund-raising during the fall and put in approximately one hundred and fifty hours designing and building their robot starting in January.
Coach Lemieux referred to SMART as, “A varsity sport for the mind.” It combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. The competition challenges student teams using strict rules, limited time and resources to build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. “It’s as close to real world engineering as a student can get.”
SMART had a very successful season last year. They received seven major awards and competed in three robotic events. They were awarded the Engineering Inspiration Award from Worcester Polytechnic Institute District as well as the Industrial Safety Award. At the Pine Tree District they were finalists in the matches, received the Industrial Safety Award as well as the Entrepreneurship Award. At the New England Championships held in Boston they were once again presented the Industrial Safety Award as well as the Imagery Award.
“At Spruce Mountain High School we are trying to change the community in which we live. The communities that make up RSU 73 schools are mill towns. Two local paper mills have been the major employers in our communities. The last decade has seen one mill close, but the other continues as a model facility. Thirty years ago, other industries in our community existed. These companies employed students right out of high school and put them to work stitching shoes, making wool cloth, or manufacturing wooden pieces and parts. Thousands of jobs existed within a reasonable commute of our towns. These industries have closed and gone to other locations around the world. The jobs that are left are low paid or highly skilled. With our programs we are trying to prove that our students can become the next generation of highly skilled workers that can rebuild our communities.”