Mentors and Coaches are individuals from all backgrounds and disciplines who work with students to share their knowledge and guide them through the season. Many Mentors contribute on a weekly basis during competition season, or support the team with subject matter expertise on an as needed basis. Teams may have additional or more specialized roles or a combination of roles as needed. In addition, Mentors help to foster the idea of Gracious Professionalism® and have the students do as much of the work as possible.
– Mentor and Coach Roles, USFIRST.org
Tom Karns is our head mentor and coach, founding the team in 2012. He is currently a PLTW Teacher at Worthington Kilbourne High School. He owns and operates his own lawn and landscaping service when he is not busy teaching or at robotics. He has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology from Salem College in West Virginia and a master’s degree in Teaching from Ashland University. In his free time, he enjoys fishing, cooking, and sledding.
Bill Kautz is our lead fabrication mentor. He has been with the team since 2014, graciously devoting his time and knowledge to our students and program. He is known as our “Bumper Extraordinaire”. Bill received his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology from Valley City State University in North Dakota. He is now retired, but he used to be an industrial arts teacher in the Columbus City School District. In his free time, he enjoys woodworking, long walks on the beach, and watching football.
Eric Francis is our lead programming mentor. He has been with the team since 2013 when his son joined the team. Without him, our autonomous programs would not be nearly as successful. He is currently employed at L3 Technologies and Aviation Products as a Senior Staff Engineer. Eric devotes much of his time after work to our program and we are extremely grateful for his dedication and expertise. In his free time, he enjoys flying planes.
Andy Zupfer is our business planning and scout team mentor. This is Andy’s first year (2020) as a mentor with the team. Andy leads the IT Automation and Innovation Center of Excellence at NiSource. He received his bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) from The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to serving as a mentor, Mr Zupfer is Assistant Scoutmaster and coaches baseball for the Worthington Nationals.
Cole Tucker is our programming mentor after serving as the lead programmer for The WorBots for 4 years. Cole is currently a Sophomore attending The Ohio State University. Cole is an Eagle Scout, enjoys camping and building robots in his free time .
Tom Strous is our media mentor, a marketing mentor, does our support services and has been an overall helper to the WorBots for two years. He has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State in recreation education and a master’s degree in classroom teaching. He teaches technology classes at Kilbourne Middle School. He says he likes many things but among them include historical reenactment, blacksmithing, and woodworking.