Chris Rake is the Vice President of Programs here at FIRST® Headquarters, but he is also a FIRST volunteer! Inspired by the impact he saw FIRST have in real time, he took his career path from hardware engineer for NI to the world's leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education.
Chris Rake is the Vice President of Programs, supporting FIRST® LEGO® League, FIRST® Tech Challenge, FIRST® Robotics Competition, Education, Events, and Operations. He’s been working at FIRST Headquarters for two years, but also has 15 years of experience volunteering with FIRST serving in a variety of roles, including team mentor, judge, judge advisor, referee, and robot inspector. Before joining FIRST, Chris was a hardware engineer for NI, and helped develop the NI-based control system for FIRST Robotics Competition.
Chris’ favorite memory of volunteering with FIRST was seeing the impact of the mission on a student in FIRST Tech Challenge. Over the course of several years, Chris witnessed the dramatic transformation of a shy and quiet team member, unsure of her abilities, into a confident technical expert and team leader. Seeing the change that FIRST can make firsthand inspired Chris to dedicate the next stage of his career to the mission.
Fun Fact: Chris is an avid photographer, and if you carefully check out the background of his video calls, you might spy some artifacts from his time spent in a darkroom.