Staff Profiles

OUR STAFF

The REC Foundation team hails from across the U.S. and around the world to inspire the next generation in STEM.

EXECUTIVE

Dan Mantz

CEO and Chairman of the Board

Dan Mantz is CEO and Chairman of the Board for the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation. He is responsible for the long-term strategy, structure, and fiscal health of the organization. He acts as a direct liaison between the REC Foundation and the Board. Prior to joining the REC Foundation, Dan was President of RackSolutions for four years and spent 19 years in the industrial robotics industry at FANUC Robotics. Dan lives in Texas and can be contacted at dan_mantz@roboticseducation.org.

DIRECTORS

Jim Crane

Director of Global Competition and Strategic Initiatives

Jim Crane works closely with the CEO to execute the strategic vision of the REC Foundation. He is responsible for directing programs that provide support to areas of need across all programs. He is the main point of contact for multiple partnerships and a member of the Program Design Committee. Before joining the REC Foundation, Jim was a Physics teacher for 16 years in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where he lives. He can be reached at jim_crane@roboticseducation.org.

Brad Lauer

Senior Director, Operations

Brad Lauer manages fundraising and sponsorship activities for the REC Foundation. Brad is responsible for the strategic direction and day-to-day operations of technology, web, and IT projects. Additionally, he serves as the Executive Producer of the VEX Robotics World Championship. Prior to joining the REC Foundation, Brad was the Senior Manager, Education Channel Development at VEX Robotics, Inc. He lives in Texas and can be reached at brad_lauer@roboticseducation.org.

Mike Martus

Director of Regional Operations

Mike Martus is responsible for supervision of Regional Support Managers and oversees the organization’s League play program. Mike works closely with the CEO to ensure that VEX Robotics Competition events are delivered in a consistent and well-executed manner in the countries where the programs are delivered. He joined the REC Foundation after spending 37 years as a high school Vocational Robotics Educator. Mike lives in Michigan and can be reached at mike_martus@roboticseducation.org.

Charla Pittman

Director of Operations

Charla Pittman oversees the daily operations for the REC Foundation, supervises the Greenville, Texas, office staff and leads the event planning for our annual signature events. Before joining the REC Foundation, Charla was a paralegal for a Dallas law firm and has held multiple positions within the public school system’s PTA and PTO as well as the Boy Scouts of America. Charla lives in Texas and can be reached at Charla_Pittman@roboticseducation.org.

Tarek Shraibati

Senior Director, Programs

Tarek Shraibati works closely with the CEO and senior management to oversee the Foundation’s programs.  He is responsible for supervising the Directors of Regional Operation and Global Competition to assure that REC Foundation programs are delivered in a consistent and well run manner.  Tarek has over 20 years of experience in competitive robotics programs and joined the REC Foundation after 27 years teaching engineering at university.  He lives in California and can be reached at tarek@roboticseducation.org.

HUMAN RESOURCES

Lauren Bannister

Human Resources Coordinator

Lauren serves as the main human resources point of contact for REC Foundation staff, contractors, and outside parties. Before joining the REC Foundation, she worked in human resources and recruiting in both the automotive and staffing industries. She is also fluent in Spanish from spending several years in Spain where she taught English in both schools and STEM camps. Lauren resides in Texas and can be reached at lauren_bannister@roboticseducation.org.

OPERATIONS

Jay Allbritton

Content Coordinator

Jay Allbritton previously worked as a cataloger at an academic library and as a writer, editor, and blogger before joining the organization. He lives in Florida and can be reached at jay_allbritton@roboticseducation.org.

Daniel Benavides

Operations Coordinator

Daniel Benavides assists the operations team with day-to-day logistics and handles shipping/receiving for the Greenville office. He resides in Texas and can be reached at daniel_benavides@roboticseducation.org.

Karina Chavez

Administrative Assistant

Karina Chavez provides customer service and assistance with day-to-day operations in the Greenville,TX office. Karina resides in Texas and can be reached at Karina_chavez@roboticseducation.org.

Leslie Cruse

Government & Regional Grants Coordinator
Territory: AL

Leslie Cruse is responsible for the management of our Regional Grants Program and working with state and government initiatives to further the mission of REC Foundation. Before joining the REC Foundation, Leslie spent 13 years at Jacksonville State University, most recently working as a project coordinator for the Math and Science Initiative. Leslie resides in Alabama and can be reached at Leslie_cruse@roboticseducation.org.

Ashley Barrow

Office Administrator

Ashley is responsible for providing logistical support and assistance with day-to-day operations in the Greenville office. She also assists customers with their various needs. Ashley resides in Texas and can be reached at ashley_barrow@roboticseducation.org.

Brent Gray

Corporate Program Manager

Brent Gray is responsible for maintaining positive, lasting relationships with the organization’s local, national, and international alumni and sponsors. Before joining the REC Foundation, Brent worked for the Foundation for a professional sports franchise in Dallas that uses sports to change the lives of youth through physical education programs and STEM curriculum. Brent lives in Texas and can be reached at brent_gray@roboticseducation.org.

Leslie Hughes

Grants Program Manager

Leslie Hughes is responsible for performing research to identify potential opportunities for grant funding from government agencies and foundations to meet the financial and operational needs of the REC Foundation and then facilitating the process of writing the grant proposals. Previously, she was a grant writer for nonprofits and for her own consulting firm and has been involved with nonprofit grant writing for over 10 years. Leslie lives in Texas and can be reached at leslie_hughes@roboticseducation.org.

Amy Magazzu

Graphic Designer

Amy Magazzu provides graphic design for the Development and Communications departments. Before joining the REC Foundation she worked as part of a publication/design team for a scientific magazine and freelancing. Amy has a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts, with over 11 years experience in the graphic design field. She lives in Massachusetts and can be reached at amy_magazzu@roboticseducation.org.

Nancy McIntyre

Community Innovation Manager

Nancy McIntyre joined the foundation in the summer of 2012 after a 23-year career as a teacher, administrator, coach, and robotics mentor. As a credentialed educator, she has helped to develop the foundation’s online curriculum, the engineering notebooks, and has worked with teachers around the world to empower them to successfully incorporate VEX Robotics teams on their school campuses. Additional foundation initiatives that Nancy has played a role in developing include the Online Challenges, the STEM Hall of Fame, and Girl Powered. Nancy lives in California and can be reached at nancy_mcintyre@roboticseducation.org.

Ruby Pontbriand

Marketing Communications Coordinator

Ruby Pontbriand is responsible for executing the organization’s overall messaging and branding through printed and online materials, and across social media channels. Prior to joining the REC Foundation, Ruby managed event communications, email marketing, social media, and internal and external communications in the local real estate community. Ruby resides in Massachusetts and can be reached at ruby_pontbriand@roboticseducation.org.

Taunja Weber

Volunteer Coordinator

Taunja Weber is an Administrative Support Specialist assisting in the Volunteer Coordinating and Development Departments in our Greenville office. Before joining the REC Foundation, she worked as an Executive Assistant, Membership Manager, Accounting Assistant, and Office Manager. Taunja lives in Texas and can be reached at taunja_weber@roboticseducation.org.

FINANCE

Victoria Carter

Accounting Manager

Victoria Carter is responsible for day-to-day accounting functions. Victoria attended Kapiolani Community College and Tennessee Tech University and has 15 years of full cycle accounting experience. Victoria resides in Texas and can be reached at accounting@roboticseducation.org.

Melinda Henderson

Accounting Specialist

Melinda Henderson is responsible for customer service as well as providing logistical support and assistance with day-to-day operations in our Greenville office. Melinda resides in Texas and can be reached at accounting@roboticseducation.org.

REGIONAL SUPPORT MANAGERS

The REC Foundation relies on a dedicated group of Regional Support Managers who provide day-to-day oversight of the organization’s activities, and critical support and training to the organization’s constituencies. Additionally, each of the Regional Support Managers have special initiatives and/or projects that they oversee. Regional Support Managers are listed alphabetically by last name.

Connan Bartl

Regional Support Manager
Territory: Nevada

Before joining the REC Foundation, Connan taught at both the High School and the Community College level in Math and CTE/STEM for over two decades. He coached students in Skills USA and Ford AAA competitions at the Regional, State, and National levels. He lives in Nevada and can be reached at Connan_Bartl@roboticseducation.org.

Veronica Bitz

Regional Support Manager
Territory: CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT

Veronica Bitz provides regional support for Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York. While earning her degree in Mass Communications from the University of New Haven, she joined the REC Foundation as an Operations Intern, supporting local events in the Southern New England area. She also assisted with the production of VEX Robotics World Championship. Veronica lives in Connecticut and can be reached at veronica_bitz@roboticseducation.org.

Shelli Brasher

Regional Support Manager
Territory: Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee

Shelli Brasher joined the REC Foundation after 30 years as a high school Mathematics/STEM teacher and curriculum consultant. She has served as coach/mentor for VEX Robotics teams and as an Event Partner for robotics tournaments, workshops, and camps. Shelli is dedicated to helping schools and communities provide sustainable robotics education programs for their youth and to empowering girls to pursue STEM careers. She lives in Collierville, Tennessee, and can be reached at shelli_brasher@roboticseducation.org.

Cheryl Burley Rausch

Regional Support Manager
Territory: Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota

Cheryl Rausch has 11 years of experience with competitive robotics working previously for the CREATE Foundation where she managed and supervised multiple areas of the U.S. Open Robotics Championship; such as Volunteer Coordinator, Team Registration, and Judging. Cheryl has also assisted with planning and support of robotics camps. She lives in Nebraska and can be reached at cheryl@roboticseducation.org.

Dylon Caudill

Regional Support Manager
Territory: Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia

Dylon Caudill joined the REC Foundation after competing in VEX Robotics for three seasons. Dylon worked as a LAN Administrator providing technology and systems support. He lives in Ohio and can be reached at dylon_caudill@roboticseducation.org.

Randy Decker

Regional Support Manager
Territory: Indiana

Randy Decker provides regional support for Indiana focusing on VEX IQ. He joined the REC Foundation after 29 years as a Career and Technical Education teacher. He has been involved with VEX Robotics since its beginnings in 2005. Randy has taught electronics, Introduction to Engineering Design, Digital Electronics, A+ Computer Repair, and Robotics. Randy attended Purdue University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology. He lives in Indiana and can be reached at randy_decker@roboticseducation.org.

Diana Fultz

Regional Support Manager
Territory: LA, TX

Diana Fultz joined the REC Foundation after 14 years as a middle school science and math teacher, as well as serving as robotics coach. She has a Master of Education in mathematics curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington. Diana lives in Louisiana and can be reached at diana_fultz@roboticseducation.org.

John Gilligan

Regional Support Manager
Territory: Michigan

John Gilligan joined the REC Foundation after a career as an information technology professional and entrepreneur. John has mentored numerous robotics teams at all levels of competition, served as an Event Partner, and worked to engage more students through initiatives on a regional level. John lives in Michigan and can be reached at john_gilligan@roboticseducation.org.

Carol Kujawa

Regional Support Manager
Territory: AZ, CO, NM, UT

Carol joined the REC Foundation after ten years with the CREATE Foundation where she managed robotics events, conducted coaches training, and provided planning and implementation support for regional robotics championships and the U.S. Open Robotics Championship. She has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, and an automation and process control industry background in international business development, strategic sales, and marketing management. Carol can be reached at carol_kujawa@roboticseducation.org.

Ruben Lopez

Regional Support Manager
Territory: Texas

Ruben Lopez joined the REC Foundation after being involved in robotics for six years. While in high school, he received his associate degree and currently studies Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Ruben lives in Texas, and can be reached at ruben_lopez@roboticseducation.org.

Terry Marbut

Teacher Training Coordinator
Territory: Georgia

Terry Marbut coordinates the organization’s teacher training initiatives and provides regional support in Alabama and Georgia. Terry joined the REC Foundation after working three years in manufacturing engineering and 30 years as an administrator and faculty member in higher education. He has administered robotics education programs and served as the Event Partner for the VEX State Championships in Alabama. Terry lives in Alabama and can be reached at terry_marbut@roboticseducation.org.

Ben Mitchell

Regional Support Manager
Territory: DC, MD, NJ, VA

Ben Mitchell joined the REC Foundation in the summer of 2018 and has an extensive background as a former robotics team advisor, event coordinator, and volunteer in a myriad of roles. He lives in New Jersey and can be reached at ben_mitchell@roboticseducation.org.

Kirk Norrid

Regional Support Manager
Territory: Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma

Kirk Norrid graduated from Northeastern State University with a background in science education. While at NSU he competed on the College of Education robotics team, developed robotics curriculum for several schools in Oklahoma, and served as a special ambassador in robotics, a special initiative in Vienna, Austria. He also worked for two years as an assistant to the Director of the Robotics Academy of Critical Engagement. Kirk lives in Oklahoma where he can be reached at kirk_norrid@roboticseducation.org.

Ashley Phipps

Regional Support Manager
Territory: Florida

Ashley Phipps is joined the REC Foundation after a career in web development, information technology, and education. She has been a teacher and an established VEX Robotics coach for 5 years as well as a prominent Event Partner within the state of Florida. Ashley lives and works in Florida and can be reached at ashley_phipps@roboticseducation.org.

Steven Rummell

Regional Support Manager
Territory: CA, HI

Steven Rummell joined the REC Foundation after more than a decade in education. As the principal of one of the largest elementary schools in Silicon Valley, Steven began numerous STEM initiatives. He served as faculty advisor for VEX IQ Challenge teams and as an Event Partner for robotics tournaments, leagues, and mentor workshops. He lives in Santa Clara, California, and can be reached at steven_rummell@roboticseducation.org.

Bill Ryno

Regional Support Manager
Territory: Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Bill Ryno joined REC Foundation after 30 years working in industrial technology, technical writing, and technical training. He also served several seasons as Robotics Coordinator for 14 teams, coach/mentor for VEX robotics teams, and Event Partner for robotics events. Bill lives in Appleton, Wisconsin, and can be reached at bill_ryno@roboticseducation.org.

Lisa Schultz

Regional Support Manager
Territory: AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY

Lisa Schultz joined the REC Foundation to support the Pacific Northwest after a career as teacher and mechanical engineer. Lisa has developed high school curriculum to teach Introduction to Engineering Design and Robotics. She mentored a high school robotics team for three years focusing on outreach to young women. Lisa lives in Seattle, Washington and can be reached at lisa_schultz@roboticseducation.org.

Dan Troy

Regional Support Manager
Territory: DE, Delmarva, NY, PA

Dan Troy provides regional support for New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Delmarva. He started his robotics journey back in 2002 with FLL and has competed in or mentored in a variety of robotics competitions including FRC, SeaPerch, VEX EDR, VEXU, and VEX IQ. He lives in Pennsylvania and can be reached at dan_troy@roboticseducation.org.

INTERNATIONAL VEX ROBOTICS COMPETITION SUPPORT STAFF

Grant Cox

VEX Global Competition Manager

Grant Cox oversees the international VEX competition support team and also serves as the Chairman of the VEX Game Design Committee. He has been involved in robotics since 2007 at all levels of competition, from student to mentor and volunteer to event planner. He has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and previously held the title of VEX Robotics Marketing Manager for four years. Originally from Michigan, Grant now lives in Texas and can be reached at grant@vex.com.

Crystal Zhang

VEX Competition Support Manager
Territory: Asia Pacific

Crystal Zhang is responsible for VEX events and team registration in the Asia Pacific region. She lives in China and can be reached at crystal_zhang@vex.com.

Jason Kang

VEX Competition Support Manager
Territory: Asia Pacific

Jason Kang is responsible for supporting VEX events and teams in Asia Pacific. He has a Master’s degree in Mechatronic Engineering and worked as an engineer for many years. Jason lives in China and can be reached at jason_kang@vex.com.

Eli Osornio

VEX Customer Service Manager
Territory: Latin America

Eli Osornio has been with VEX Robotics for six years and is responsible for sales and competition support in Latin America. He joined VEX as a technician and currently serves as Customer Service Manager specializing in Latin American sales. Eli is originally from Mexico and speaks fluent English and Spanish; he now lives in Texas and can be reached at eli@vex.com.

Richard Seniuk

VEX Competition Support Manager
Territory: Canada

Richard Seniuk is responsible for supporting VEX events and teams in Canada. He was the head mentor and coach for a high school robotics team in Ontario for 11 years. As a VEX Event Partner, he started the first VRC tournament in Ottawa, actively grew the number of teams in the area, and has been a VEX Worlds volunteer since 2013. Richard lives in Ontario and can be reached at richard_seniuk@vex.com.

Bridie Gaynor

VEX Competition Support Manager
Territory: Europe, Africa, Middle East

Bridie Gaynor is responsible for supporting VEX events and teams across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. She lives in the UK and can be reached at bridie_gaynor@vex.com.

Chris Hamling

VEX Competition Support Manager
Territory: Oceania

Chris Hamling is responsible for supporting VEX teams and events in the Oceania region of Australia and New Zealand. Originally an entrepreneur specializing in networked embedded systems and blue sky product development, he has been involved with the VEX Robotics Competition since 2008 in his role as National Manager for the New Zealand Robotics Charitable Trust. Chris lives in New Zealand and can be reached at chris_hamling@vex.com.