About Us


Our Mission
To be a role model for current & future robotics & drone teams and help promote STEM in our community —and beyond!

FTCicon_RGB (1)As FIRST Alumni,  we remain an independent, community-based group dedicated to increasing STEM/STEAM opportunities for youth & adults.  We get together when there’s a need to support a great cause or sponsor, or a challenge we find interesting.  We offer support to FIRST teams and the FTC TEC Network.  Along our FIRST journey we’ve picked up knowledge in 3D Printing and e-NABLE/prosthetics and are happy to share what we’ve learned.  We’re continuing our work with drones through the CNY Drones group to help new students, FIRST alumni and off-season FIRSTr’s to stay engaged in robots year-round.

Our Story 

We were a veteran FIRST® Tech Challenge team for 6 highly decorated seasons.  We ran out of our coach’s unfinished basement, where we met year-round, 2- 3 nights a week.  (and often more).  Our FTC seasons were directed by a team-crafted set of goals and a strategic plan that guided us to meet those goals.

Over our 6 seasons we’ve had team members from New Hartford, Utica, Frankfort-Schuyler and Whitesboro school districts.  Each season we had a slightly different line-up of team members and mentors while our commitment to living our core values remained constant.  Our alumni are valued – in high schools, colleges, workplaces and as volunteers.  RoboSpartans have a reputation for reliability, persistence and being visionaries.

We were the first competitive FTC Team in Central New York back in 2010, running alone in our area for 2 seasons and traveling at least 2 hours away to all events.   We were determined to grow FTC locally and are pleased to see so many other teams following our lead.  We were happy that Pace University and SUNY Poly believed in our vision of FIRST Tech Challenge growth in our community.

For 8 years (2 FIRST LEGO League + 6 FTC), we spread the word about FIRST and competed as much as possible on a shoestring budget.   We continue to do our best to be frugal and get the most out of every donation dollar and we share that knowledge with others.   We appreciate our sponsors immensely and work hard to show them what a great investment they’ve made!

Our team’s amazing results cannot be denied.  The RoboSpartans competed in 3 FTC World Championships: 2013, 2015 & 2016.  The team received Finalist recognition for the World Championship’s top prize, the Inspire Award, 2 times (2013 & 2015), bringing home a history-making Finalist Trophy in April 2015.  The team also received Worlds Finalist recognition for the Think Award and Connect Award (3X) and the Promote Award for the first time in 2016.  Pretty wild to have gone to FTC Worlds 3 times with 3 different combinations of team members.  Even wilder for them to have been Awards Finalists every time in multiple categories.  Our earlier FLL team came home from the 2009 US Open Championship at Wright State University with the Rising Star Award.  In 2010, the team went to Atlanta as Regional FLL Champions and were one of only 15 Worldwide Core Values Ambassador teams for FIRST LEGO League.  We know our team’s success is directly linked to the support and belief of our sponsors, team families and friends!

2016 World Championship Team members:  Timothy Ha, Douglas Hotvedt, Gwyneth LaMarche, Daniel Michaels, and Ryan Payne, Oscar Klempay, Matthew Strachen & Kevin Valete

We love FIRST and FIRST Tech Challenge and appreciate the doors it has opened for our team and our friends!  We believe that there was no secret to our team’s success.  It took teamwork, creativity, determination, perseverance and a commitment to sharing everything.  Keep in touch with us – we’re happy to share what we’re doing next!
Bob & Lisa Payne
8 Year Veteran FIRST Coaches 


RoboSpartans In the News

Our Team History

Recognition – honors from FIRST & our local community!