Woodie Flowers Finalists

Woodie Flowers, one of FIRST's founders, is an amazing teacher who has inspired thousands of youth to follow their passion. FIRST Washington is honored to recognize the following Woodie Flower's Finalists. Each year, students from FIRST Robotics Competition program nominate coaches/mentors for their outstanding job of motivating students to learn. Below are the individuals who are Woodie Flowers Finalists across Washington State and the Pacific Northwest FRC District. FIRST Washington's magic is through mentors and Woodie Flowers' Finalists are some of the finest!


Woodie Flowers Finalists List
Darren Collins
Woodie Flowers Winner 2015

Darren Collins is a physics teacher at Tahoma High School and the head coach of FRC 2046, Bear Metal. He started Bear Metal in 2007 at Tahoma with several interested students and a parent mentor. When he is not teaching or coaching, he likes to mountain bike, fish, climb and engage in other outdoor activies. Darren has two children who have both contributed as members of Bear Metal.

Mike Criner
Woodie Flowers Winner 2009

After 20 years in construction, Mike's knees gave out. As Mike searched for a new career that could use all the knowledge and experience Mike had acquired over the years, they hit upon a teaching career. Mike felt immediately that this is what God wanted me to do. Twenty years later, Mike cannot imagine any more rewarding, exciting career that he could have chosen. And FIRST Robotics has played a large part in keeping their career exciting. Mike introduced FIRST to Concrete High School in 2008 and Mount Vernon High School in 2011. In 2017, for the first time in Mike's career both the FTC and FRC teams made it to district finals. Along the way Mike has met some fantastic students and many selfless adult volunteers.
When Mike won the Woodie Flowers award as a rookie in 2009, he thought he had reached the pinnacle of their career. Then, in 2017 Mike was a Woodie Flowers finalist at the PNW District Championship. Mike wants to thank all of his students over the years and all the FIRST volunteers he has met since 2008 for fantastic years in education and robotics.

Donna Lew
Woodie Flowers Winner 2012

Donna took the reigns of FRC team #488 in 2003 and has grown the program offering year-round activities. Donna manages the FIRST teams: FRC #488, FTC 2939, FTC 3231, the Franklin HS Library MakerSpace and for the 2017-2018 school year: STEAM at the Beacon Hill Library. I established a 501c3 XBOT Robotics, the sustaining organization bringing STEM to the students of SE Seattle. Donna is retired from the IT industry: technical sales engineer, Director of Technology.

Madison Krass
Woodie Flowers Winner 2013

Madison has been involved with FIRST since 1999, joining the program as a student and becoming a mentor during college. She moved to Washington state in 2003 and is a long-time mentor of Team Xbot in Seattle, where she oversees mechanical design and coaches the team on the field. She spent over a decade as a mechanical design engineer before changing careers in 2012 and makes her living today as a back-end software engineer. Beyond robotics, she enjoys frequent trips to Disneyland, deejaying, karaoke and uncomfortable shoes.

Paul Roush
Woodie Flowers Winner 2004

Professional Mechanical Engineer. Paul's early career focused in automation in the manufacturing sector. From there Paul transitioned to a Nuclear Engineering position at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Laser Metrology soon became a favorite focus and I transitioned within PSNS to Combat Systems Alignment and subsequently achieved certification as a Level 1 Portable Coordinate Measuring Machine Metrologist by the CMSC, the first engineer for Washington State. Founding mentor of Team 360 and founding member of FIRST Washington and Machine Shop Lead Supervisor for our traveling shop trailers.

Robert Steele
Woodie Flowers Winner 2012

Robert has been around FIRST robotics for over 16 years, starting out in Indiana and coming out to Washington in 2006. He is the founder of team 1983, Skunk Works Robotics and is presently acting as Senior Mentor for FIRST in the state of Washington. When not working with kids, he likes woodworking, gardening and prop making. He is an active member of the 501st Legion, Vader's Fist, a Star Wars Costuming Group that does charity work in Washington. He and his partner Connie actively volunteer for FIRST. Together they have 3 grandchildren that are all in California.
Dale Yocum
Woodie Flowers Winner 2012

Dale Yocum is the founder and Head Coach of the Flaming Chickens, Team 1540 from Catlin Gabel School in Portland, OR. Founded in 2004, the Flaming Chickens have qualified for the world championships ten out of the last eleven years as much for their outreach as their student-designed and built robots.

Previously Dale spent 25 years in high tech management at companies like Atari, Xerox PARC, Symantec and Software Publishing, ultimately founding and selling his software company Clientele Software.