Bios

Paul Copioli is, to put it mildly, a force to be reckoned with.

Paul got his start with competitive robotics in 2000 as a mentor for FRC team 217, the ThunderChickens, based out of Sterling Heights, Michigan. Though his background was in aerospace engineering, his experience at FANUC Robotics as the Director of Product Development made him a natural fit for the program. Paul’s expertise led the team to two world championships, six appearances on the Einstein field, and in 2005 was named a national Woodie Flowers Award recipient in honor of his efforts.

In 2010, Paul accepted a position as President of VEX Robotics. In three short years, Paul has overseen a massive overhaul of the VEXpro line of FRC-related products, introduced an all-new VEX IQ platform for the younger generation, and grown the global reach of VEX Robotics by leaps and bounds. Much of the team he has assembled for the 2014 Build Blitz is made up of engineers that he has worked with on these projects, leading to a team dynamic that is both familiar and energized.

Paul is by no means all work with no play – for his dream vacation, Paul would love a week in Fiji with his wife, and if he were to perform in a circus, the former varsity swimmer elects a position as a trapeze artist. However, perhaps most pertinent to note is the personal importance that Build Blitz 2014 holds for Paul and his team. For the first time in 16 years, the robotics veteran is taking the season off from FRC mentoring. “This is my build season. For me, it really is six weeks in 72 hours.”

MEET THE TEAM: TEAM COPIOLI
Team Copioli James
Tonthat
Art Dutra IV Alex Zettler Jessi Knerr Connor “Princess” Mulkey Jason “Lucky” Weihman Karthik
Kanagasa-
bapathy
Glamour Shot James Tonthat Art Dutra IV Alex Zettler Jessi Knerr Connor Mulkey Jason Weihman Karthik Kanagasabapathy
Occupation Mechanical Engineer, RackSolutions Robotics Engineer, VEX Robotics Intern, VEX Robotics; Student, Michigan State University Intern, VEX Robotics; Student, Kettering University Intern, VEX Robotics; Student, University of Texas at Austin Intern, Innovation First Labs; Student, Kettering University Regional Manager, Innovation First International, Canada Inc.
Build Blitz Role CAD, Prototyping CAD, Prototyping CAD, Peanut Gallery Prototyping, Design Strategy Prototyping, Design Strategy Prototyping, Machining, Antagonizing Team JVN Sideline Reporter
FRC Experience 6 years
Team 1477
11 years
Teams 228, 148
4 years
Team 217
4 years
Teams 118, 148
4 years
Team 148
5 years
Teams 226, 1506
16 years
Teams 188, 1114
Favorite
FRC Game
Triple Play (2005) FIRST Frenzy (2004) Logomotion (2011) Logomotion (2011) Ultimate Ascent (2013) Aim High (2006) Overdrive (2008)
If you were a superhero, who would you be? “Iron Man” “Iron Man, the ultimate engineer” “Zuperman” “Black Widow in the cinematic universe, or Psylocke” “Do villains apply? I’ve always been a Magneto fan.” “I am the Batman.” “Michael Jordan. I don’t care if he’s not from a comic book.”
Misc. What is your one-week dream vacation?“A cave with a box of scraps.” What would your circus performer specialty be?“The guy who launches other people out of the cannon.” What would you do with a million dollars?“Buy my mom a gift. She’s standing over my shoulder.” If you could become one cereal box character, who would it be?“The Cinnamon Toast Crunch pieces.” If you could become one cereal box character, who would it be?“Cap’n Crunch, of course! He’s the most distinguished of all cereal box characters.” What would you do with a million dollars?“Start a wave of reverse pick pocketing.” What’s one little-known fact that others would be surprised to learn about you?“Despite living in Canada for almost my entire life, I was actually born in Columbus, Ohio and still hold American citizenship.”