Our team consists of dedicated professionals and volunteers from throughout New England.
If you are interested in joining our team or volunteering with us, please let us know.
FIRST Senior Mentor
Massachusetts / Rhode Island
Steve Martin has served as the senior mentor for Maine since June 2017. He was on the initial planning committee for the formation of the New England District in 2014. Steve has mentored hundreds of high school students in teamwork, mechanical design, CAD and sensors. He started as an FRC mentor in fall of 1999 when his younger daughter joined Team 58. He has provided support for all 26 Maine FRC teams: led mentoring meetings, coordinated communication among teams, assisted in the development of new teams and assessed support needs.
Steve has served as co-chair for FRC Pine Tree District Event since 2013. He has served as a board member of the Robotics Institute of Maine (RIM) since Jan 2018. RIM is the FIRST Lego League Partner for Maine.
Steve retired Fairchild Semiconductor in 2015 where he served in many management roles, developed technology to support new products and led teams to resolve manufacturing and reliability issues with existing processes.
Stacey Gray has been in marketing and business development for over 12 years. As the Business Development Manager at Take 2 Inc., a Certified Electronics Recycler in CT, she is responsible for developing growth strategies, maintaining client relations, writing business proposals and all other aspects of increasing business.
Additionally, Stacey owns Virtual Stacey, LLC. a Virtual Marketing Assistant business that helps clients to reach their full potential by improving and developing unique marketing strategies.
Stacey became Connecticut’s FIRST Senior Mentor in 2015. She mentors two FRC teams, one FLL JR team and is a founding member of the Wolcott Robotics Foundation. She has held multiple volunteer roles for events across FLL JR, FLL, FTC and FRC ranging from volunteer coordinator, committee member, judge and judge advisor. She has also served on several event planning committees.
Ken St. Hilaire
FIRST Senior Mentor
New Hampshire / Vermont
Kim Sirois Pita began her career writing for weekly newspapers, before moving
onto speeches for accomplished business and political leaders, including U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Kennelly. For 17 years, she led one of the most successful marketing agencies in Connecticut, The Pita Group, as its founder, managing principal and chief strategist.
Today, Kim serves as the interim executive director of New England FIRST, a STEM-focused robotics organization delivering life-changing experiences to students in grades K-12, a role she has been in since May 2019. She spent nine years writing Split Endz:
A Tale of 2 Crazy Sisters, a memoir about her life transformation following the unfortunate passing of her younger sister from a drug overdose.
Kim has served in many non-profit leadership positions, including as board chair of Mental Health Connecticut since 2018 and on the Board of Directors of Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Rebuilding Together Hartford, Hartford Children’s Theater and most recently Copper Beech Institute, a mindfulness center focused on healing our aching world. Kim recently relocated from Rocky Hill to Old Saybrook, Connecticut to find peace at the beach with her two teenagers.
mission & vision
We seek to create excitement in science, technology, engineering, math and the environment for K-12 students to prepare for a technologically-advanced workplace.
Scott Heaton joined ingenuityNE / NE FIRST in September 2015, where he manages the warehouse and oversees logistics for the FIRST Robotics Competitions. He also serves as the key point of contact for all teams in New Hampshire and Vermont. Scott has served as co-char of the district events held in New Hampshire.
Prior to joining NE FIRST, Scott was a service manager with North Atlantic Power Products in Exeter, NH in charge of a multi-million-dollar service department. Scott is graduate of Kent State with a degree in aeronautical engineering.
His role will be expanded in September 2020 as the Director of Robotics Competitions and Logistics across New England.
Scott lives in Madbury, New Hampshire with his wife and two children.
Brian is a FIRST Robotics Competition alumnus of Team 1277 from Groton, MA. He joined as a
founding member of his high-school’s inaugural FIRST team back in 2003-2004, and has been
involved with FIRST - as a student, mentor, volunteer, and leader - ever since.
Today, Brian is the Founder and CEO at Crowdwise, LLC and is an angel investor in over 90
He earned a dual B.S. in Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute in 2009 with a minor in Economics and French, and an M.S. in Aerospace
and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California in 2012.
Brian joined BAE Systems in 2009 as part of the Engineering Leadership Development
Program. He became an active participant and leader in BAE Systems’ FIRST community and
helped coordinate the company’s internal FIRST budgeting, hiring, strategy and event planning.
He went on to mentor FIRST Robotics Competition teams, became Co-Chair of numerous
Regional and District events in NH and served as the FIRST LEGO League Affiliate Partner for
NH from 2013-2018.
In 2018, Brian departed BAE Systems for a one-year sabbatical and lived abroad in Europe,
Australia, and Asia while pursuing numerous business ideas and projects. Upon his return to the
U.S. in 2019, he decided to enter the world of entrepreneurship and founded his own company,
Crowdwise. Crowdwise provides educational resources and tools to retail investors in the
Brian also serves on the Board of Directors for the Crowdfunding Professional Association
Brian lives in Manchester, NH with his fiancée, Alyssa.
Frank Grossman - Director
Frank Grossman was Co-Founder, President and Chief Technology Officer of Mindreef, Inc from its founding in 2001 until it was purchased by Progress Software (NASDAQ:PRGS) in 2008. Frank was also a Co-Founder of NuMega Technologies, Inc. where he was Chief Technical Officer from its founding in 1987 until its sale to Compuware Corporation (NASDAQ:CPWR) in 1998. Frank served on the board of Beaver Brook Association from 2000 - 2009 and as President of the board from 2002 - 2009. Beaver Brook is an association with 2000 acres of land with a mission to promote the understanding of interrelationships in the natural world and to encourage conservation of natural resources through education and land stewardship. Frank is also the chief instigator behind working to get FIRST Robotics into every school in New Hampshire
Michael Sperber - Vice Chair
John Bugeau retired in June 2019 as Deputy Vice President of Engineering for the Electronic Systems Sector within BAE Systems. He joined the company in 1983 from Ingersoll-Rand where he performed application and analytical testing for industrial process equipment, both internally and in the field. John came to BAE Systems as a Mechanical Engineer and has held positions of increasing responsibility including; Senior Principal Mechanical Engineer, Director of Hardware Engineering, Director of Engineering for the Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance Solutions Business Area and Vice President of Engineering for the Sensor Systems Line of Business.
In 1997, John was awarded the BAE Systems Jack L. Bowers Technical Achievement Award, the highest award for technical achievement at the time, for The Development of Aluminum Silicon Carbide for High Performance Electronic Packages. In addition, John was responsible for the FIRST Robotics and FIRST LEGO League community outreach programs. In 2004, he received the BAE Systems Special Recognition Award, For Raising the Bar in Performance and Advancing Interest in Science & Technology in the Youth of our Communities. In 2003, he received the 2003 FIRST Robotics Outstanding Volunteer Award. John lives in Nashua, NH, with his wife, Donna. He has two daughters and three grandchildren.
Through our NE FIRST program, we offer STEM-based programs for students in grades K-12.
John Bugeau - President & Chair
Deputy Vice President, Engineering (retired)
BAE System, Electronic Systems Sector
Rina Leonard - Secretary & Director
Sr. Director, Global Business Systems
Dana Henry has worked for Collins Aerospace, Division of Raytheon Technologies (formerly UTC) Space Systems for 38 years, building and inspecting life support systems for NASA and the US Navy, including the EMU (extravehicular mobility unit, the space suit), oxygen generation, water recycling and purification, cooling and gas management systems for the NASA Space Shuttle, International Space Station, Orion, Starliner and US Navy submarines. In 2002, Henry co-founded (and is Lead Mentor) Rosie Robotics, FRC 839, and in 2005 co-founded FTC 839 with the late John Burns.
Since then, Dana has expanded FIRST in all grade levels in Agawam, MA, founded the Agawam Robotics Education Association, Inc., a 501(c) (3) and currently serves as Pres/CEO. He has organized FLL state qualifying tournaments for 12 years and has been a FRC Championship Lead Robot Inspector for 5 years.
Dana is a member of the New England District Operations Committee and has also presented various training modules to teams around New England, on rookie FRC/FTC/FLL team start up, mentor training, veteran team sustainability, and how to shape local politics for the support of FIRST.
Brian Belley - Treasurer & Director
Founder Crowdwise.org & VentureWallet.co
Michael Sperber most recently served as Associate Director at Collins Aerospace (a unit of Raytheon Technologies), in East Hartford, Connecticut, and is responsible for Product Lifecycle Management systems. In his years with Collins, Michael has worked in Electrical Design, Program Management, military program customer engagement and most recently led the Global Offset office. Michael has been involved in volunteer activities since middle school, when he volunteered in the planetarium of a local science museum. He continued volunteering throughout high school and college, serving on his college’s medical emergency response team, with a nearby volunteer ambulance association, and as a firefighter. He volunteered with the Hartford Marathon foundation for nearly 10 years, overseeing park operations. Michael holds a Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute.
Michael has been involved with FIRST for over 20 years in various roles, including FRC team mentor, game announcer, emcee, volunteer coordinator, Regional Planning Committee Chair, and Senior Mentor. Michael was a founding member of the Connecticut FIRST Executive Advisory Board and was a founding director of ingenuityNE/NE FIRST. Michael currently coaches three FLL teams. Michael lives in Connecticut with his wife, Elana and three children.
FIRST Senior Mentor
inspiring the next generation of technology leaders
Executive Director (interim)
Ken St. Hilaire is the FIRST Senior Mentor for New Hampshire. In this role, Ken is the primary field person who works closely with schools and FIRST teams across New Hampshire as they deliver the FIRST programs to students across grades K-12.
Ken has more than 10 years serving as mentor for FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1073, and more than 16 years serving as leader in the Boy Scouts of America. Each of Ken’s three children are FIRST alums, and their education and career paths were shaped largely by their FIRST experiences.
Professionally, Ken is a veteran of multiple startup companies in the telecommunications and networking industries, with 35 years developing large scale software systems for companies like Sonus Networks (now Ribbon Communications), Affirmed Networks (acquired by Microsoft), and Oracle.
Rina Leonard has over 25 years of Digital Technology experience with Fortune 100 companies and is currently Senior Director, Global Business Systems at Otis Elevator. She formed and leads a new technical organization built on expanded digital capabilities, including Robotic Process Automation, platform and integrated tools and Scaled Agile (SAFe) practitioners. Her background includes application development, ERP deployments, external customer and partner integrations, customer relationship management (CRM) strategy, and PLM transformation.
Rina holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism from Boston University, and a master's in Business Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She manages a global technical team and has lived in Japan, Germany and many states in the US. While she has traveled across many countries, she always makes her home in New England.
Volunteers are the foundation of our organization and programs. We have over 1,000 volunteers helping with our events, teams and programs.
FIRST Senior Mentor