Mike Wherley is a beloved mentor to Team 116, and has been a massive asset to our continued success, innovation, and learning. He has an amazing ability to teach students engineering ideas. His skills at keeping us working until the very end are remarkable. Even while teaching, he always remembers to keep safety first priority. Mike deserves the Woodie Flowers Award because of his outstanding ability to teach, inspire and spread the enthusiasm, and energy of engineering and FIRST.
Mike helps the students understand difficult engineering concepts that many would not otherwise understand. “Mike asks simple questions to help us understand problems” (Andrew Schmitt, freshman). Through questions, many students analyze and then understand difficult concepts and design issues in their own ways, rather than just through memorizing information. Whenever possible, he will pair new students with veteran members in order to not only help the newer students understand the concepts, but also to help the veteran members expand their abilities through teaching others. “Mike always knows who to ask to help solve your problems.” (Robbie Smith, sophomore).
Mike possesses outstanding inspirational abilities, and is great at keeping students inspired and dedicated until the end. “Mike adds humor to serious information. It really helps keep stress down.” (Peter Schulke, Junior). Humor keeps people sane during the build season, and Mike really knows how to keep the pressure down. He never looses sight of the goal and is sure to keep the team working towards that goal. “Wherley was supportive of me even when I was in doubt of my capabilities” (David Theurer, Senior). Mike believes in the students until the end. He always makes sure to keep us smiling and thinking positively, while still keeping us aware of our deadlines.
“Wherley makes sure we are always staying safe and doesn’t allow any horseplay on his watch” (Richie Powers, Senior). Mike always makes sure that we have our shop glasses. He always checks to ensure that members are using the right tool for the right job; Mike also keeps his watchful eyes moving constantly to keep us from getting hurt. Never one to waste time, Mike makes sure no one else wastes it either. “Wherley is always looking out for our best interest, especially when concerning safety and tools” (Sean Lavery, Junior). Mike always wants to see the job done safely and effectively. He never lets us get away with doing something dangerous. He is so diligent that he has earned the nickname “Sheriff Wherley.”
Peter Schulke recalls that when he was first elected captain of FIRST Vex Team 18 (a sister organization of FRC 116), Wherley sat down and talked to him about being an effective leader. “Wherley and I talked for some time about my growing role on the team and being a leader. He gave me a bunch of great advice, which I value highly, and I will keep it in mind for a great time. He helped the challenges facing me seem much smaller, and I doubt that I would have been able to deal with them nearly as well as I did without him.”
Michael Wherley is one of the biggest reasons that Team 116 has continued to learn and enjoy the FIRST experience year-round. He inspires the students and keeps us working throughout the entire year. Wherley is always concerned with our safety, especially in the shop. Mike is an amazing Woodie Flowers Award candidate because of these qualities, which give him the outstanding inspirational ability, for which Team 116 appreciates and adores him.