We here at Acme Wire Products are excited about sponsoring Montville High School’s robotics team on its trip to the BEST regional competition in Alabama later this month.

MHS’s Fastenators qualified for the November 18-20 contest by placing second for robot performance at the 2010 Connecticut Best Robotic Competition last month against teams from Connecticut and Long Island.

The Connecticut students will be among 60 teams from 13 competitions in seven states to participate in the regional event at Auburn University.

Sponsoring the Fastenators seemed like a perfect fit for Acme Wire Products, because the team imparts skills that are needed in manufacturing and that are relevant to Acme’s workforce. Such engineering competitions also can be a sort of recruitment tool as they expose serious, talented students to careers in science, technology, engineering and math that they may have never considered.

Doug Couture, the MHS team’s faculty advisor, described the BEST contest this way: “The competition required teams to build a robot that could pick up a soccer cone, a golf ball, an Easter egg, and a Frisbee and place them on and in various objects all while trying to conform to Six Sigma quality processing.”

The Fastenators were just five seconds and 10 points away from claiming first place – they had an egg poised to drop in a cone, but time ran out before they could complete the task. Couture had special praise for seniors Tyler Richards and Zaria Margolis, who led the team, and for senior Peter Lam, who programmed the robot.

If the 11 Fastenators members do well enough in Auburn, they will be among a select group of teams to advance to the national competition against winning teams from other regional contests in Arkansas and Texas.