Team Hierarchy
T3 is led by two students called “Project Managers” and Sub-Team Leaders who are nominated by mentors and voted on by students. Starting in 2017, Truck Town Thunder will have Team Co-Leaders.  Gary Fenn is a Test Engineer and Manager for General Motors.  This will be Gary's twelfth year with the team.  Debbie Davis has a degree in Elementary Education and a background in Medical Billing.  This is Debbie's second year on the team. The team leader is supported by several senior advisers, comprised of engineers, teachers, and business leaders. Additional leadership is provided by mentors, made up of parents and interested professionals, and college student team alumni.

The team is reshuffled several times during a season. The season starts out with team building and new students learning their way around the Truck Town work-space.

Student Training and Leadership

In October, training is started where new and returning students are exposed to the basic skills in all the following areas: robot build, CAD design, scouting,  safety, business responsibilities, and Chairman’s Award. These students work directly with mentors and students to make sure deadlines are being met and problems that arise are brought to the attention of mentors, and the advisory board if needed.

Students interested in applying for a sub-leader position must submit a resume and follow-up with an interview with the advisory board. The students sign a Duties and Responsibilities Agreement stating they understand the commitment involve with this position. T3 feels that students should have an opportunity to experience as many operations of a business as they are able to fit in during a season. Project Managers work with sub-team leaders to make sure deadlines are being met and team members are accomplishing their groups’ responsibilities.


Chassis The chassis group designs the frame and transmissions of the robot. Their main accomplishment this year is the Thunder Box, which is a custom-made transmission. Members of the Chassis group are trained to use the lathe, mill parts, and weld, as well as be able to use all shop tools. Many Chassis members can also use CAD software. Manipulator (1, 2, and 3) The manipulator groups are designated to make as many mechanical attachments that are required for the robot that will accomplish a specific subtask. This subtask varies from year to year and can range from the construction of the whole robot. Members will use metalworking and design skills to develop the specified assembly the six weeks season. Traditionally, the team only has two manipulator groups; a third was added due to the increasing complexity and number of tasks that needed to be accomplished in the FIRST games. This year manipulator 1 is responsible for building the ramp, manipulator 2 is responsible for building the intake, and manipulator 3 is responsible for building the lift. Electrical Working mostly with the programmers, the electrical group orchestrates the electrical wiring of the robot motors, actuators, and sensors. The group organizes the layout of physical objects such as the battery, main circuit breaker, and other electrical components. The group is also responsible for the inventory and organization of electrical components and pneumatic solenoid valves. Programming Programming is the group that is responsible for converting the rules of the game and the abilities of the robot into a game-winning strategy. The group has to take human rules, strategies, and ideas and convert them into a form that the robot can understand. Programming works with every technical group to ensure that their requirements are implemented in the finished robot. Field Build (Field, Bumpers, Driver Station, Decals) The Field Build, Bumpers, Driver Station, and Decals(FBBDSD) group is in charge of building the important field components in the first few weeks of build season. This sub team also creates the robot’s control panel and driver’s station. When nearing the end of build season, they then build the bumpers of the robot and the decals for the team trailer.


The awards group is in charge of writing the Woodie Flowers award, which credits an inspirational mentor on the team. The awards group is also in charge of the Chairman’s award, which includes an essay, a video, and a presentation. The entrepreneurship group gathers information that is needed for a weekly blog post. Then the group organizes the information to give to the Media group. Sometimes, the group has to find sponsors for the team and write them thank-you notes. The group organizes events to get publicity. For example, the group organizes a science fair for the elementary school. Another example is Desert Angels, which is a program where volunteers send care packages for soldiers that are serving across the ocean. The group also keeps track of time during the build season to monitor build progress. This group is responsible for making continuous improvement on the Business Plan.

  Health & Safety The main goal of the safety group is to make the team as safe as possible. This includes constantly reminding team members about always taking safety precautions when in the shop, forming a safety plan, and placing safety related posters in as many places as possible in the environment. Scouting Strategy The scouting and strategy group is mainly in charge of the team’s data. During the team’s competitions, this sub-team is responsible for recording every match’s data. This includes filling out the excel spreadsheet and making match sheets for the drive team (so they can prepare for upcoming matches). The scouting sub-team is in charge of coming up with a game winning strategy and introducing it to the team. With this system everyone can be included before competitions and during the build season. Media Media manages the team’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, plans and executes the production of videos, as well as takes photographs of the team’s activities Website the website group maintains the website through editing and creating timely updates. Design Integration The design group develops ideas and drawings to construct the robot. These drawings are not only used for fabrication, but are also used for to show the judges how the mechanical components of the robot move.


The promotion of the ideas and values of the FIRST organization are the foundation to Truck Town Thunder, FIRST Team 68’s stated mission to inspire student growth in science, engineering and technology.

The team’s Media Mission statement is to brand T3 as a team that leads, discovers information, and creates content that is relevant to the growth of students and the FIRST Organization.  In order to successfully implement our mission we have an evolving plan for a strategy, content, and engagement to be used in the digital and print worlds.


Truck Town Thunder utilizes numerous different social media sources to help promote the team as well as spread Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to the masses. Social Media has been a catalyst to share the team with the world and to inspire people to be apart of something bigger than themselves. FIRST is an amazing organization and awareness needs to brought to people everywhere. Truck Town Thunder strives to focus it’s energy to spread the word of FIRST at all times in any means necessary. Truck Town Thunder has been promoting FIRST on Facebook for many years now. We have found it an excellent tool for updating the community on events the team is involved with as well as spread our passions with the world. Truck town Thunder has began promoting FIRST and the team on Twitter this year. It has been an excellent way to communicate with other teams and the FIRST community. YouTube has been instrumental in bringing FIRST competition to everyone’s living room, classroom, and mobile device. In 2012, we began uploading our matches online for the community to see and examine. This platform is not only a way to investigate and replay matches, it is a way to reevaluate and share first hand, the achievements the team has made. There has been a huge explosion for students on Google Plus. With many schools allowing students to use Google plus, this has opened up a great avenue for students to connect with the FIRST community and to spread their excitement for STEM initiatives. In 2013, Truck Town has began creating boards on Pinterest to highlight STEM related photos to inspire our audience to think outside of the box and to show their creative spirit in such great community


How we get noticed?  Truck Town Thunder forms partnerships with local media outlets. The team utilizes these media outlets to get the word out about the team and keep the community informed on team accomplishments and to give recognition to the team. By forming these partnerships, the team has been able to strengthen their community presence. The team has been able to keep relationships with both Brandon and Holly local newspapers as well the county newspaper.

Truck Town Thunder has formed a partnership with county newspaper, The Oakland Press. This relationship has allowed the team to bring awareness to the team as well as FIRST Robotics.

Newspaper Website

Truck Town Thunder has formed a partnership with local news station, ABC 12. This relationship has allowed the team to bring awareness to the team as well as FIRST Robotics.

View the Kettering District Competition Interview

Truck Town Thunder has been working with the local newspaper, The Citizen. The Citizen serves the local area with an award winning local newspaper. This relationship has given the team an outlet to give recognition to team members.

Newspaper Website

Truck Town Thunder has been working with the local newspaper, The Holly Express. The Holly Express serves the local area with an award winning local newspaper. This relationship has given the team an outlet to give recognition to team members.

Newspaper website

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