Union Gas helps rookie robotics team in Thunder Bay get in gear

$2,500 sponsorship & mentor, support Sir Winston Churchill students in elite competition

THUNDER BAY, ON, May 9, 2013 /CNW/ - Union Gas is helping "SWC Robotics" - a rookie team of Thunder Bay high school students - who attended the FIRST Robotics Canada Greater Toronto West Regional competition at the end of March.

The team received a $2,500 grant from Union Gas, presented by Luke Skaarup, Union Gas manager of construction and growth for northwestern Ontario, at the teams showcase event held at Sir Winston Churchill library last night. The event allowed all sponsors to see what the team had accomplished throughout the season and meet their robot.

In the annual FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) facilitated by FIRST Robotics Canada, high school students team up with technology companies to build 5-foot, 140-pound robots to compete in high intensity "robo-sports". Volunteer professional mentors are assigned to each team. In just six weeks, the teams of 25+ students raise funds, design a team "brand" and build and program robots to perform specific tasks against competitors.

"Nothing beats hands-on experience and mentorship. Programs like this will help today's young people develop the skills they need to build a bright future for themselves and their world," Skaarup said. "Union Gas believes that supporting young Ontarians' interest in innovation, science and technology is an investment worth making, and we're proud to support the SWC Robotics through our grant and mentor for this year's FRC."

FRC teams participate in regional competitions and can earn a place in a world championship. Ontario participants can also qualify for over $16 million in university scholarships.

"FRC combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology," said Mark Breadner, executive director from FIRST Robotics Canada. "It's as close to 'real-world engineering' as a student can get."

"As a rookie team, we weren't totally sure what to expect at the competition so we were very excited and a little nervous," said Phil Bystrican a grade 11 student who co-captained the team. "But having a company like Union Gas in our corner is a huge help with regards to finding sponsors, design philosophy and especially project management."

Union Gas works in hundreds of Ontario communities, including many in the northwest district. The company is committed to contributing to the communities it serves by supporting direct and indirect employment, offering energy efficiency programs, and helping local organizations through sponsorships, charitable giving and hundreds of volunteer hours. For example, in the northwest, Union Gas has supported organizations including Leadership Thunder Bay and Lakehead Region Conservation Authority. In 2012, Union Gas and its employees also contributed more than $24,000 to United Way of Thunder Bay.

About Union Gas
Union Gas Limited is a major Canadian natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company based in Ontario with over 100 years of experience and service to customers. The distribution business serves about 1.4 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in more than 400 communities across northern, southwestern and eastern Ontario. One of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2013, Union Gas is a Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE) company with assets of $5.8 billion and approximately 2,200 employees. For more information, visit uniongas.com.

About FIRST Robotics Canada
FIRST Robotics Canada runs the FIRST program in Ontario and supports the program in other provinces. Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. We pursue this mission primarily through running high-energy robotics competitions. For more information, visit firstroboticscanada.org.

SOURCE: Union Gas Limited

For further information:


Union Gas Limited
Andrea Stass, Manager, External Communications and Media Relations
Ph: 519 436-5490 or 1-800-571-8446 ext. 5005490
Cell: 519 365-1010

FIRST Robotics Canada
Mark Breadner, Executive Director
Ph:  519 453-6844

Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate & Vocational Institute
Phil Bystrican

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890