Individual Volunteering Leads to Collective Impact


A FIRST Robotics Regional Competition.  Ed and many other Lockheed Martin employee volunteers donate hundreds of hours of volunteer time as team mentors and advisors.   

Ed Boesiger, a Space Systems Company employee on the SBIRS (Space-Based Infrared System) program, has had the opportunity to see this collective impact first hand as a volunteer and mentor with the Cupertino High School, Calif. (Bay Area) FIRST Robotics team. 


FIRST Robotics (FIRST) has a proven track record and is world known for its impactful reach in inspiring students to pursue STEM careers.


The success of FIRST and other similar organizations, ultimately, depends on the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who help provide design direction and inspire and mentor students. Volunteers like Ed Boesiger.


“It is my small contribution to try to ensure our continued technology leadership. I am trying to make a difference in the pipeline of engineers,” said Ed when he was asked why he volunteers with FIRST. 

"I like how I am able to share my engineering skills with the students and fill in the gaps when the teacher-coaches are stretched thin. On top of that, I get to help them build robots!  The students learn some engineering, but almost more importantly, they are learning how to work as a team, how to work with other teams and how to collaborate and innovate."

And there is often an individual benefit to volunteering.

“Working with the FIRST Robotics team has been a two-way street,” shared Ed. “Helping students design the robot has challenged and renewed my creativity as the limits of materials we typically use in space are gone, so the material list expands to plastic, rubber bands, bungee cords and even old carpet. There is also the huge satisfaction from seeing the team accomplishment of getting the system up and running and the proud faces of the students.”

Ed’s statement helps demonstrate a very real point.  Why and how people choose to volunteer their time is personal. 

There are many motivators, including: the opportunity to learn or develop a new skill, to feel more connected to one’s community or to feel empowered by a sense of achievement.

Volunteering can even boost your career options and pathways. Have you ever asked yourself why you volunteer?  Or if you haven’t volunteered recently, how you’d like to give back? 

FIRST Robotics support is in the Lockheed Martin family!  Space Systems Company Vice President and GM of Military Space Mark Valerio (Ed’s Boss) also volunteers with FIRST Robotics, serving on the FIRST Colorado Advisory Board.   Here Mark is inspecting a FIRST team robot in the “Pit” before competition.

Ed is not alone in his passion for giving back or volunteering with FIRST. On average, 500 Lockheed Martin employees and leaders volunteer with FIRST Robotics and other robotics programs each year, serving as team mentors, regional competition volunteers and parent advisors.

FIRST Robotics students in action at a 2014 FIRST Robotics Regional Competition.  Ed and many other Lockheed Martin employee volunteers donate hundreds of hours of volunteer time as team mentors and advisors.

Lockheed Martin Corporation and the Lockheed Martin Foundation also support the hands-on STEM outreach of company volunteers and the nonprofit organizations they support.  Since 2005, Lockheed Martin has granted more than $4.5 million to various K-16 robotics programs.

Earlier this year, Ed had the personal opportunity to “direct” a $500 grant from Lockheed Martin to the Cupertino First Robotics team when he was randomly selected for a grant award from Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company for logging his volunteer hours.

It is estimated that FIRST programming reached approximately 350,000 students in the 2013-2014 school year and that sponsors donated more than $19 million in scholarship funding to FIRST teams.  This impact is a true “collective impact” that would not be possible if it were not for dedicated volunteers like Ed.

If you’d like to get more involved and volunteer with FIRST, check out its website to learn more about the program and volunteer opportunities. 

When Lockheed Martin employees volunteer for FIRST or other organizations, don’t forget to log your volunteer hours in the Corporate Community Involvement Tool located on LM people by going  to: LMPeople > Work Environment > Community Involvement > Volunteer Time Log.  

When you log your time, you, too, can be entered into a prize drawing for a Lockheed Martin grant to be directed to a qualified charity of your choice.

Lockheed Martin invests more than $25 million worldwide to nonprofit organizations, focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and military/veteran causes. In addition, employees donate $20 million annually to various organizations through workplace-giving campaigns and volunteer an average of 1 million hours each year.  

July 9, 2014