Employees in the Caterpillar Remanufacturing facilities in Mississippi recently worked with the next generation of potential employees in the Mississippi BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) robotics competition held in Starkville, Miss., on October 19.
Similar to the FIRST competition familiar to employees in the Peoria Ill. area, the BEST program is a national six-week robotics competition held each fall in the United States. The competition is designed to interest students in engineering, science and technology through participation in an exciting technology contest. Teams build a remote-controlled robot to accomplish a defined set of tasks within a competitive setting.
In addition to being a sponsor of the competition, the Caterpillar Reman facilities in Mississippi also mentored two area teams: Corinth High School and McNairy Central High School. Employees built a practice course for these teams and other area teams to use prior to the event. A group of employees from production, engineering and IT built a practice course for use by area teams and spent time with students throughout the challenge, helping to ensure safety, develop strategy and provide advice.
Caterpillar employees also attended the competition as judges and presented an award to the students who best demonstrated Caterpillar's Our Values In Action: Integrity, Excellence, Teamwork and Commitment.
"Seeing these kids smile and have the time of their life was worth every single minute and penny that I put into this competition," said volunteer Ryan Lawson, a technician at Caterpillar's Sawyer Road facility. "BEST is a great program because it challenges creativity, teamwork, problem solving and instills respect. It demonstrates Our Values in Action; it also pushes for results. But most of all, BEST creates smiles."
In just its third year of participation, the Corinth team placed fifth out of the 24 teams, despite a significant electronics glitch. McNairy Central placed second in its first year of competition and advanced to the regional competition in November. More importantly, the students demonstrated teamwork, supporting each other and enjoying a fun learning experience.