“Crowbar! Crowbar! Crowbar!” This is one of the chants you hear at the Southwestern Pennsylvania BotsIQ robot battles.
However, this chant is not for a robot or high school robotics team, it is for Mike Valoski, referee, and volunteer for BotsIQ of PA for almost 15 years. He is known for carrying around his crowbar at the local BotsIQ events, using it to clean up the battle arenas and assisting with the removal of the battered and beaten robots.
Mike Valoski joined Ace Wire Spring & Form more than four years ago as their Secondary Foreman. He has over 15 years of experience in the process engineering and workforce development fields. Valoski’s previous positions include Plant Engineer at Rolf Glass, Mechatronics instructor at Parkway West CTC, Program Manager for BotsIQ of PA and Mechatronics Research Lab Manager at the National Center for Robotics Engineering Technology Education.
While at BotsIQ of PA he oversaw outreach activities to more than 60 schools in southwestern PA BotsIQ, event planning, and grant reporting. Every year, Mike Valoski looks forward to the preliminary Southwestern Pennsylvania BotsIQ contest. He assists with the competitions by helping the students of the robotics teams understand what they need to do to while following the guidelines and rules set up for robot design requirements. He is also involved with the safety of the students by making sure the arenas are cleared of robot debris and robot battle ready.
Ace Wire Spring is proud to sponsor the Clairton High School BotsIQ team. Every winter the team visits Ace Wire Spring and gets a tour of the shop by Mike Valoski. He takes them on a tour to show them spring making up close. Then, they discuss the team’s robots and what goes into the making of them. Mike likes to emphasize the lesson of preparation.
The smashing and destroying of the robots are the fun part that kids want to see, but without the design, engineering, and hard work of preparation, the battle will be over before it has begun. BotsIQ, known as the smart sport, is a manufacturing workforce development program whose goal is to provide a pathway for high school students to learn about rewarding career options in manufacturing.
This is accomplished by inviting students to participate in an exciting, hands-on high school robotics competition, helping them learn problem-solving, applied science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM).