“Robotics is the combined effort of every individual. The design rooms and the machine shop floors are the great leveller. There are no ‘team leaders’, only workers and innovators.” - Shawn Lim (1999)
Since Shawn Lim’s pioneering days in 1996, he has been and continues to be an inspiration to our entire team. He is one of the few dedicated individuals to have completed the “FIRST cycle” – from team member to sponsor to mentor. His ten years of involvement in FIRST are filled with momentous personal and team-based accomplishments.
As a founding member of our team during highschool, Shawn helped to create a solid base to build our team on. His dedication and passion for FIRST earned him a full scholarship to Kettering University in Michigan, the first ever awarded to a Canadian student. While there, he and two other Woburn Robotics alumni formed their own company, Flatline Solutions Incorporated.
After graduating, Shawn returned to mentor Team 188 the first opportunity he got, replacing one of our most senior mentors. Not only did he fill the void, he expanded the role with extensive knowledge in mechanical and computer engineering and expertise in strategy and planning. Some of the students he mentored have now returned as mentors themselves, inspired by Shawn’s example. Two of them have even formed their own company, 05 Image Engineering. Beyond motivating and inspiring students, he has also been able to convert friends that had never been exposed to the FIRST program, into dedicated mentors. “I have little to no skills in engineering, but through Shawn’s passion for the team, I became more aware of what help I could offer in other areas of the team. I’m now a mentor for Team 188 and it’s a decision that I will never regret”, affirms Goldie Nguyen.
Shawn has made many contributions to our team as a student, yet his continued mentorship, coupled with Flatline’s sponsorship, continues to benefit our team on a much larger scale. He is involved with all aspects of the team; his calm demeanour, good humour and quick thinking has helped team members overcome obstacles and solve dilemmas. “In our signature team huddles, Shawn would always be ready with a joke or humorous observation to keep us calm and to prepare us for the match”, recalls alumnus Jeffrey Li.
This past summer, Flatline Solutions Inc. provided a grant to a graduating member, employing and providing him with corporate experience. They also opened their office to our team on several occasions, for business planning, working on the collaborative mecanum project with Team 4, and the Championship webcast.
Shawn’s selfless contributions extend well beyond the brick walls of Woburn into the FIRST community. He is one of several Woburn mentors that moderate the GTR website forum and run a program called ‘Ask the Experts’. This system allows users to ask questions and receive answers within 24 hours. Close friend and 2004 Regional Woodie Flowers Award Winner Karthik Kanagasabapathy asserts, “Shawn has always put his heart and soul into FIRST. He’s always looking for an opportunity to give back to the program that has given him so much.”
Although Shawn maintains that there are no ‘team leaders’, his continual involvement in FIRST has proven otherwise. Often we are inspired by individuals with first-hand experience, those who push the boundaries to become true leaders, challenging themselves and their team to be the best they can be. With this idea in mind and as he continues to lead by example and teach with innovation, Shawn Lim unequivocally represents the ideals and values of what FIRST is meant to be.