This team is more than the sum of its parts….. #pghFIRST #omgrobots

Hundreds of emails likely flood your inboxes each and every day, but few require more that the bare minimum of your attention. This email is one of those few. 
FIRST Robotics competition has two core values, gracious professionalism and coopertition. These adages represent the lasting impact of FIRST on all of its participants. Long after you’ve torn apart the robot, the lessons you’ve learned with the team will still be with you.

Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It’s a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. * (credit FIRST website)

Above all else, this team strives to bring out the best in each and every person we work with, in all aspects of our respective fields. I say strive because it’s a constant process; a long and arduous journey that spans over many hours and many years.

With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.

With the team larger than it has ever been, we have considerably outgrown our modest roots. Growth is welcome, a change for the better, but caution must be given so that our mantras and values are not lost with that change.

In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.

Moving forward, I continue to expect that all of you to continue to show the integrity, sensitivity, and compassion that accompany being gracious professionals in everything that you do. This team is so much more than simply the sum of its parts, and that’s because of all of you. 
To those who will or have already taken this to heart, I offer a modest thank you. Your efforts do not go unappreciated.
-Conlon Novak

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