EMBRACING THE FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY ONE GENERATION AT A TIME
Having an interest in technology as he grew up, Tad Douce always found a way to tear something apart to see how it worked. Of course, taking shop class in school was a given. Throughout high school, his teacher, Ed Goodwin, introduced Tad to diversity within the realm of technology.
“There are no limits to what creations you can make unlike the restrictions in an engineering workplace,” Tad says.
With technology on the rise, Tad followed in his mentor’s footsteps and became a teacher to continue giving students the opportunity to learn a unique skill, to be hands-on, and to be creative thinkers. As Tad continues to teach, he’s noticed that the younger the student, the more ingenious their ideas; defining why we as a community should embrace the robotics and technology industry more than ever.
In 2004, Tad, Ed, and their good friend Ritch Ramey put together a grassroots initiative called the National Robotics Challenge (NRC) in the hopes of continuing a robotics event much like the SME/RTEC robotics challenge their late predecessor, James Hannemann, founded in 1986. These three men saw the potential in Marion for this industry to continue being innovative and flourish, in turn gathering overwhelming support from the community, our businesses and organizations. The NRC is nationally known and includes over 350 robots and 1000 students representing nine states as well as international interests. The 2017 National Robotics Challenge will be at the Marion Fairgrounds April 6-7-8.
As a native of Marion and River Valley alumni, Tad Douce considers himself to be in a prime position to help create diverse opportunities for his students in his hometown and beyond. “Planting seeds in my students and watching them grow up to become colleagues of mine or finding out they’re now judging at robotics competitions encourages me to continue striving to make Marion into the friendly and supportive community that we are,” he said.