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Documents | 2009 WFA Submission

2009 Woodie Flowers Award - Dr. Dale Bibee

Since the conception of Northshore High School's Team 1912 in 2006, a lot has changed. In the three previous years of competition, we have had to change work areas, teacher sponsors, and team colors (we even had to change our team name due to a slight dispute with a magazine of the same title). Our team has had the ecstasy of placing first at competition as well as the chagrin of finishing...well let's just say lower than we'd like. Throughout these tumultuous years, mentors, students, and teachers alike have all come and gone, ebbing and flowing like the waves of the Gulf of Mexico. However, there has been one consistency, one rock that has stood steadfast and supportive since the first piece of 80/20 was laid for our team in 2006: Dr. Dale Bibee.

A Naval Research Lab physicist and engineer, Dr. Bibee designs ship instrumentation made to collect and effectively apply data. Needless to say, he understands the value of communication. In fact, he is extremely proficient at communicating his ideas and advice through a variety of mediums such as videos, PowerPoints, drawings, or simply verbal speech. Despite being of a soft-spoken and genuinely amicable nature, he need not raise his voice to be heard. Also a loving husband and a father, Dr. Bibee has treated Team 1912 as an extension of his own family. He teaches the students the way any father would by instructing us on the proper techniques without taking control himself. He allows the students to build what is ours as simply a guide who has experienced the same problems and deadlines himself. With this experience in hand, Dr. Bibee sees past what is right in front of us and encourages us to "think outside of the box." As a firm believer in the KISS rule (Keep It Super Simple), he reminds us that the least-complicated solutions are harder to discover but are almost always more effective. Perhaps one of his greatest skill sets is not his ability to write code or his unparalleled grasp of physics and engineering concepts, but his ability to inspire the whole team to work and the whole team to work together. He asks for the help of all members of the team, not just a select few, and encourages growth in skill sets that are not only useful in FIRST, but also necessary in life.

All in all, Dr. Dale Bibee is a premier example of the kind of selfless, personable, inspiring, and communicative mentor for which the Woodie Flowers Award was intended recognize. Although he is labeled as a controls team mentor, Dr. Bibee has easily become and remains the "go-to-guy" for any engineering problem experienced during build. His presence alone helps the team remain on schedule and orderly, besides the obvious contributions of his technical and mechanical expertise. His unyielding dedication to the team is even more apparent considering that he has not had a child on the team since his daughter was president in 2006. Eloquent, gifted, and humble, Dr. Bibee is invaluable and is, in a sense, a guardian angel for Team 1912...that is, if there was ever any angel who had a tool chest at all times.

~Written by Andrew Y.

Webmaster's Note: Dr. Dale Bibbe was the Woodie Flowers Winner at the Bayou Regional in 2009.

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