Inspiring young people to pursue STEM through robotics

Hatch recognized with FIRST® Robotics Canada Partner of Excellence Award

May 17, 2021

Mississauga, Canada—For many years, Hatch has been a platinum plus sponsor of FIRST® Robotics Canada, a program whose mission is to inspire young people to pursue studies and careers in STEM primarily through robotics competitions for elementary and high school students. This past Saturday, Hatch was announced as the recipient of the FIRST® Robotics Canada Partner of Excellence Award at their Digital Expo. This award recognizes partners who have gone above and beyond with support financially, with mentorship, and with volunteerism.

FIRST®, which stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition for Science and Technology," is a registered charity and volunteer-run organization with an exemplary track record of promoting science, technology, and engineering to the next generation, a topic also important to Hatch. In addition to our platinum plus sponsorship, Hatch sponsors ten FIRST® Robotics teams across Canada. More recently, Hatch expanded its support of the program to Australia where we now support two teams and are looking to grow.

Joe Lombard, Hatch’s global managing director, Metals, and a member of FIRST® Robotics Canada’s Executive Advisory Board, received the award on behalf of Hatch.

“Our support of FIRST® is not just a donation to a worthy cause. It’s a partnership. Our Hatch Manifesto values clearly align with the mandate of FIRST®, which is to inspire innovation and help young people build a better future,” said Lombard.

Inspiring the next generation of Hatch innovators

In addition to corporate sponsorship, Hatch employees volunteer as mentors, judges, and hands-on educators in engineering competitions each year. In fact, several FIRST® alumni have gone on to become Hatch employees, completing the cycle of creating more STEM-minded innovators.

One such example is Alex Wigle, a piping engineer in Hatch’s Autoclave group. Alex, who led Hatch’s FIRST® Robotics sponsorship program for years and is a current coach, had this to say about the program:

FIRST® Robotics teaches students the basic skills required to be an engineer, scientist or business leader. Through the sports-themed challenge, students design a robot to compete in an international competition. Students fundraise, budget, plan, research, design, build, and commission a complex robot in a period of months. It’s as close to a real-world engineering problem a student can be exposed to. These skills give the students the experience and confidence to pursue a higher education in STEM to create positive change in their world by solving tomorrow’s toughest challenges.”

Creating a more diverse and inclusive profession

In addition to encouraging more youth to enter the STEM fields, FIRST® Robotics has a successful reputation of encouraging more diversity in the STEM fields—a priority that Hatch shares. In fact, in Canada, Hatch sponsored the program’s first all-girls’ team at St. Mildred’s Lightbourne school in Oakville, Ontario. We believe that programs like FIRST® Robotics, which encourages inclusivity and provides role models for young students, in an important way to encourage more diverse candidates into the STEM fields.

“Before I joined FIRST®, I didn’t really think of engineering as a possible career but now that I’ve joined FIRST®, I really want to become an engineer,” said Katherine J., a FIRST® Robotics alumni from Inverse Paradox Team #1325.

“Going there are seeing so many other people and girls, too, really opened my eyes to more career opportunities,” said Robin L., a FIRST® Robotics alumni from Templeton Secondary team #7190.

To learn more about Hatch’s commitment to our communities and partnerships like FIRST® Robotics, visit Community Involvement (