This subgroup was created in 2015, thus splitting the non-technical side of team 862 into more distinct categories. While smaller in numbers than the other subgroups, their work is extremely important to the rest of the team. Each year, students in this subgroup work on completing a variety of works to submit for competitions, including:

Entrepreneurship Award: This award requires the team to develop “the framework for a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage, and achieve team objectives.”

– Years won: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

Chairman’s Award: The Chairman’s Award is the “most prestigious award of FIRST,” and  “honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST.” This award includes four parts: An executive summary (short answer), submission (essay), a 3-minute video, and a memorized 7-minute presentation. Each year, students on Lightning apply to become a member of the Chairman’s Award Presentation Team; the team has 3 presenters and a backup/coach.

– Years won: 2015

Engineering Inspiration Award: This award “celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school and community.” While not directly applied for at the District level, the Engineering Inspiration Award is considered second to the Chairman’s Award. A team’s Chairman’s Award submission heavily influences their chances of winning this award, but information gained through judges in the pits is also considered. Once won at the District Level, teams will present specifically for the Engineering Inspiration Award at States.

-Years won: 2011, 2013 (twice), 2017

Woodie Flowers Finalist: This award is “presented to an outstanding Mentor in the robotics competition who best leads, inspires, and empowers their team using excellent communication skills.”

– Some past nominations include Brian Graham (2009), Jay Obsniuk (2011), Joe Jagadics (2014, 2015), and Patrick Hurley (2017).


In addition to these award submissions, the Awards subgroup works on projects regarding the business-related aspects of the team.

– The Business Plan is a collection of all business aspects of the team, like finances and fundraising, as well as the team’s structure, mission, plans, and outreach activities. This is the central piece used to judge a team’s qualification for the Entrepreneurship Award, but it is also used to document the history of the team and its operations for that year’s season. (Each year, the Business Plan is modified to include new and updated information.)

– Each year before competitions, the Awards subgroup runs Pit Duty training. At competitions, students knowledgeable in technical and non-technical aspects of the team will take shifts in 862’s pit area, ready to answer questions asked by judges. The training sessions prepare students for questions that will be asked, and the important facts that they will need to know.

– In recent years, this subgroup has taken on the creation and/or editing of videos, for both promotional purposes and submission purposes.