Our Mentors contribute everything from good values to advice. Team 79 Krunch appreciates and wants to thank all of our current and previous mentors! With your help, you make our team what it is and keep us motivated through thick and thin.
Listed below are the current mentors contributing to Team 79 Krunch!
Listed below are the current mentors contributing to Team 79 Krunch!
Robert Cobaich joined the team in the Fall of 2008 as a student on the team. On the team he was a driver, chairman's speaker, vice president, mechanical lead, and "cursed" with lifetime bumper fabricator. When he graduated in 2012, he became a mentor as well as a volunteer for the Orlando Regional in 2013 as a Field Reset member, Scorekeeper, and currently the Regional Co-Chair. Robert Cobaich has also helped in running Roboticon's first three years at USF as a volunteer coordinator, he became a mentor for Team 5816 Gra-V robotics in 2017 and he started volunteering at the Houston World Championships in 2019. He is currently still a student in college pursuing a Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering and is currently working as an agricultural robotics engineer with Harvest CROO, Inc., where he is helping design the first practical robotic strawberry picker. As a mentor for Krunch, Robert Cobaich has assisted in all aspects of the team that he used to take part in as a student and seeks to implement good values of FIRST in every team member.
Greg Raphan joined the team in the Fall of 2008 as a student. During his 4 years on the team, he worked on the mechanical, electrical, software, chairman's and driver's sub-teams. During his senior year in 2012, he was electrical lead, a chairman's presenter, and driver. After graduating from East Lake High School's Engineering Academy in 2012, he became a mentor and began studying towards his AA at St. Petersburg College. He is now a Project Manager at a Federal Defense Contractor and has a Bachelor's degree in Management and Organizational Leadership with a focus on Project Management. As a mentor, he guides the Mechanical, Electrical, and Chairman's sub-teams, and is the team's Drive Coach during competitions.
As our longest standing mentor, Mr. Sims has dedicated over 20 years of his life to helping Team 79 Krunch. Throughout the years, he has helped mentor many other teams in addition to Team 79 including Team 4118 Roaring Riptide and Team 5145 Wolfbotics. He has assisted our team on the software sub team and drive team and he always makes it a point to help in any aspect of the robot and business sides of the team. Mr. Sims has also had his own children and grandchildren join the team. His children eventually went on to mentor our team for almost 5 years after graduating.
A major “behind-the-scenes” mentor for our team, Christian Marks has greatly contributed to keeping our team updated to the current season. Beginning as a parent volunteer when his son joined the team in 2013, Mr. Marks was quick to jump into contributing to the team as a mentor. Mr. Marks has assisted our team in many different areas on the business side of our team including scouting, marketing, industry relations, and the team’s website. Every year, his wife and him take it upon themselves to keep the team’s website up-to-date with all the current information and, in addition, Mr. Marks has greatly contributed to the updating and revamping process of the website. In his personal life, Mr. Marks and his wife have developed software that allows manufacturers to boost their search engine results. He also enjoys all types of outdoor activities, loves to learn new things, and values the time he spends with his family.
Melissa Abbruzzese, one of our newest mentors, joined the team in her sophomore year of high school. Having previously participated in East Lake Middle' s VEX Team, she was excited to join the high school robotics team. Immediately she knew she was interested in the mechanical sub team where she eventually spent most of her time, becoming an expert at almost any machine faster than anyone could imagine. In addition to this, she dabbled in the marketing side of the team where she expanded her efforts to help contribute to the team's success. As a mentor, she currently assists with teaching and guiding students in the lab with fabrication, as well as engaging in some of the team's business aspiration such as renewing the team's Krunch Aid initiative and strengthening community and corporate relationships as well. Outside of her time as a mentor, Melissa is currently attending SPC with hopes of pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business and becoming a Paramedic. She is highly motivated and dedicated to helping people in every way. When she's not at school or helping out the team, Melissa works a part-time job and enjoys spending time at softball, volleyball, and basketball games. Family means everything to her, and through extracurricular activities, Team 79 Krunch, and sports, her family has only ever grown stronger.
Dennis Peek, a mentor who has been with us for about 5 years began his cooperation with FIRST in 2014. This happened as a result of an emergency open heart surgery (A success!) which led him to retire and change his outlook on life. While recovering in cardiac rehab, Mr. Peek met a gentleman wearing a Kettering University tee shirt-the university he had graduated from- sparking a conversation that led to him discovering the FIRST Robotics program at East Lake High School. Becoming intrigued, Mr. Peek inquired about the program at ELHS and received more information beginning his journey as a mentor for Team 79 Krunch. As previously mentioned, Mr. Peek from Kettering University with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and having a specialty in Process Development, Mr. Peek is a retired licensed Professional Engineer who spent his life working heavily in industry, manufacturing, environmental, and military construction fields for almost 50 years. Mr. Peek has learned much from his mentors as a young engineer and has tried to pass the knowledge along throughout his career. Mr. Peek has thoroughly enjoyed every minute of working with students on Krunch. He loves seeing them progress and excel on both the team and their individual lives. Mr. Peek says that Team 79 Krunch is like having more grandkids; he feels he gets as much out of the program as the students do.
This self-proclaimed “man of few words” started his time on the team as a student in 2009. During his 4 years on the team, he participated heavily on the mechanical subteam and always used his actions and skills more than his words to communicate his accomplishments. He has been a mentor on the team since graduation and is currently a student at Hillsborough Community College with ambitions of becoming a nuclear engineer. In addition to his college and mentoring life, he spends his time working as a machinist at Southern Manufacturing Technologies.
A team alumnus since 2016, Justin Kufro has recently come back to Team 79 Krunch as mentor since graduating from Carnegie Mellon College with a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems. When on the team, Mr. Kufro spent most of his time assisting the mechanical sub team as the lead designer during his two years. He currently spends his time as a mentor guiding the software subteam. Outside of mentoring, Mr. Kufro works at MITRE Corporation as a Software Engineer.