Sometimes you come across an uncommon man whose every word carries weight. Rarer still is a man who has knowledge & is able to share it effectively with others. Most rare of all is one who possesses the passion, drive, & patience to instill his love of knowledge & learning in others. 2468 has the great fortune to have a mentor with all these qualities. Scott McMahon has been a dedicated, indispensable part of our team & FIRST for 7 years.
Scott mentors with a unique blend of thoughtful explanation, wit & occasional gentle sarcasm. As a senior put it, “Even though he can be stern with you, he explains things in a way that is kind but ensures you won’t make the same mistake again.” Whenever asked a question, Scott typically replies with another question, ensuring you really understand what you are trying to learn. Many times we find we already know the answer. If he does have to explain, he ensures you understand the WHY & not just the WHAT. Scott has taught me more than any other mentor, but he hasn’t just taught me skills, he has taught me how to think. He always says you should fully think something through before you act. For instance, instead of designing a part without concern for how it will be made, think about its manufacture during design. Through observing Scott, our entire team is able to pass down skills & knowledge to younger students, choosing not only to explain what & how, but also why.
During build season, Scott is a true jack-of-all-trades. He works with the build team, teaches & oversees the electronics team, & still finds time to answer any questions. “He loves to mentor” says another senior. Jeff Erickson of FRC 2789 says, “Many a time he’s made himself available to my team & others for advice on electrical & control issues. He is a consistent, dedicated & knowledgeable mentor for Texas & all of FIRST.”
As the innovator behind the Jaguar motor controller, Scott touched all of FRC. He also presented workshops at 2009 Champs on the Jaguar & its best uses. In addition, he presented 2 workshops on motors & design at Texas Robot Roundup, plus workshops at 2 FRC Kickoffs at FIRST Place. He’s also a member of the FIRST Control Systems Committee.
Scott’s impact doesn’t stop there. He has been an FLL judge & prior to FRC season, works with our FTC students. He’s taught them about manufacture & design, preparing them for their next step up the FIRST ladder.
Whether teaching hard skills (crimping & sheet metal design) or soft ones (how to stay calm under pressure), he has had the knowledge & tact to help. One of my greatest memories of Scott is when I was a driver. After making mistakes that snowballed out of control, I felt pretty bad. In my darkest hour, Scott was the one willing to help. He told me to stay calm & not let myself get too worked up, that it didn’t need to affect my next round. He has helped me & all our teams. I speak for everyone when I say we would not be who we are without him.