Commitment is a big part of being a FIRST mentor. No engineer is more dedicated to the success of Team Hammond than Darrell Noble. He has been mentoring Team Hammond since their inception in 1996. Employed at Beatty Machine for 39 years, Mr. Noble got involved with FIRST through his employer, Bill Beatty. Once he got involved with high school students in the FIRST program, he was completely hooked and hasn’t lost his enthusiasm.
Mr. Noble is our electrical and mechanical engineer. If a situation arises with the machine, all one needs to do is call out “electrical” and he comes to the rescue. Mr. Noble’s determination and commitment has inspired his student workers to speak up during meetings and actively participate in designing, building and maintaining award-winning robots.
While communication often drives the success of a team, Mr. Noble fuels that drive on team Hammond. He takes the time to explain complicated engineering concepts to both the rookies as well as the veterans to make sure everyone is on the same page. There is always something that needs to be done and Mr. Noble is there to take charge, assign tasks and be sure everyone understands their job.
As the build season progresses and the tension mounts, Mr. Noble, who engineered bridges during combat in the Vietnam War, is unnerved under pressure. His calm demeanor and unique sense of humor keeps the team on track while often providing much needed comic relief. This is obvious when there is a lull in the action, a student may be told to go find a “wire stretcher”, although mankind has yet to invent such a tool.
Mr. Noble is well respected among peers within Team Hammond and from those throughout the robotics community. For many years, he has made and maintained friendships with fellow mentors, engineers and students. In addition to Team Hammond, Mr. Noble has helped numerous other teams. He is the definition of Gracious Professionalism. He makes an effort to talk to the teams face-to-face and is the first to lend them spare parts. He generously shares expert knowledge and often volunteers to help other teams repair their robot, all to the benefit of the robotics community.
The adult mentors have become a close knit group. When they go out wearing Team Hammond shirts, people regularly stop and ask about our robotics program. Mr. Noble becomes the spokesman of the group and answers questions about FIRST and invites them to competitions, team events and the FIRST website. He has also worked at all the team fund-raisers, regardless of when they are. Mr. Noble believes the robotics season runs from Kick-off to the day before the next Kick-off. There are no off days when it comes to robotics.
Mr. Noble contributes to Team Hammond every year, not because of self-recognition, but because he enjoys teaching, communicating and inspiring the students. Even though he does not go out searching for fame and recognition, it always seems to find him. In 1997, Mr. Noble and the other adult mentors were honored by Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction with the Bell Ringer Award, which is the highest award given in the State of Indiana by the Department of Education.
As long as there is a Team Hammond competing in the FIRST program, all one needs to do is look in the pit and Mr. Noble will be there, leading his team and spreading the word.