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Plex Systems Donates $50,000 to FIRST® and Creates Grant Program to Support Future Generations of Manufacturers and Innovators

May 25, 2021

The grant program will support FIRST teams during the 2021-2022 season

Troy, MI, May 25, 2021Plex Systems, the leader in cloud-delivered smart manufacturing solutions, announced today that it has donated $50,000 to support the FIRST® organization and its mission to inspire young people to become science and technology leaders. As part of the donation, the company created the Plex Smart Manufacturing Grant, which will be awarded to FIRST® Robotics Competition and FIRST® Tech Challenge teams that have a connection to the manufacturing industry through team coaches, parents and/or mentors.

“Plex has been a long-time supporter of FIRST and its work to attract young learners to STEM-related fields,” said Robin Saitz, chief marketing officer at Plex and FIRST mentor and advocate. “The skills gap is a real concern for many of our customers and for manufacturers worldwide. Our intention with this grant program and donation, is to work with FIRST to attract the next generation to STEM-based roles and help manufacturers bring in the skilled workers they need to compete.”

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), is an organization dedicated to motivating the next generation to understand, use, and enjoy science and technology through exciting robotics competitions. Through a progression of team-based robotics challenges and backed by a global network of mentors, coaches, volunteers, alumni, and sponsors, FIRST helps young people discover a passion for STEM and develop the skills they'll need to succeed in today's competitive workforce. The Plex Smart Manufacturing Grant will support these teams as they develop their student members and build their robots for competition.

FIRST is pleased to build on our relationship with Plex,” said Mark Giordono, vice president of development at FIRST. “We love seeing FIRST-related stories as part of PowerPlex 2021 and very much appreciate the generous financial support of FIRST teams. And we’re most excited about working together to inspire the next generation of manufacturing leaders and innovators.”

Plex will feature members of the FIRST Executive Advisory Board throughout its annual conference, PowerPlex, which will be held this week, May 24-26. During the event, attendees will hear from:

  • Heidi Sipe, Superintendent of Schools, Umatilla, Ore., Co-Chair of FIRST Executive Advisory Board, and spotlighted in a new documentary, Big Dreams in Umatilla. As an educator, Sipe motivated her students to believe in themselves while closing the STEM skills gap.
  • Dave Lavery, scientist, roboticist and Program Executive for Solar System Exploration at NASA. His leadership helped launch the Mars Perseverance Rover.
  • Charlie Ackerman, senior vice president of Human Resources at Bosch North America. Throughout his career, Ackerman focuses on the importance of unity between industry, education, and government and how bringing these three entities together can be the key to manufacturing industry growth and closing the skills gap.

There’s still time to register for PowerPlex 2021. The virtual event is free and details are posted on Content will be available to all registered attendees on-demand following the event.

For more information and to apply for a Plex Smart Manufacturing Grant, visit