Lance Balcom, Executive Director
As director of PYRS, Lance leads the strategy, planning, and fundraising, works with PYRS members to recruit volunteers, and coordinates all event staffing, logistics, and participation. Lance began his robotics career as a parent, and coach of a First Lego League team. Graduating from Lego League, Lance joined forces with the founding members of PYRS to bring Competitive Robotics to high-school age youth in BC. For more than 10 years he’s been leading the organization, building competency and capacity to support monthly events, where as many as 75 teams, and over 300 students participate. Lance is a Mechanical Engineer and consulting Project Manager, focused on new technology adoption.
Randy Grey, Comox Valley VEX Coordinator
As the Career Programs Coordinator for School District 71 (Comox Valley), Randy oversee technical education teachers, Work Experience, and ACE IT programs. Randy works to create new, inspiring opportunities for that position students for technical careers, and as part of this goal, coordinates the Comox Valley VEX Competitive Robotics program. Since 2008 Randy has worked with teachers, coaches, and volunteers to hold the Vancouver Island VEX Robotics Competition, where more than 30 teams from the Island and the Lower Mainland compete.
Jason Brett, Technology Advisor and Technical Inspection Lead
Jason advises PYRS on all matters technical, and runs Tech Inspection at Lower Mainland events. Jason has 13 years of experience teaching technology education, math and science to high school students and is now an instructor in the Technology Teacher Education program at BCIT. His specialties include Engineering and Robotics. During his twelve years at David Thompson Secondary he founded FIRST Robotics Team #1346, “Trobotics” and with the support of General Motors Canada helped build the team into the top high school robotics team in Western Canada. In addition to winning awards in robotics competitions for six consecutive years, the team was recognized as the City of Vancouver’s “Youth Group of the Year” for 2007.
Bob Cook, Head Referee and Referee Coordinator
Bob leads the PYRS referee team, recruiting and training new referees, organizing referee participation for each event, and participating as the Head Referee in lower mainland events. When not volunteering for PYRS, Bob can be found programming robots at the Vancouver Robotics, or at his day job, as the Senior Product Development Manager at Sophos Limited.
Markus Lampert, Head Referee (alternate)
Markus has been refereeing VEX Competitions since 2011. He works closely with Bob, ensuring every event is professionally refereed. And like Bob, he’s a member of the Vancouver Robotics Club. When not refereeing, or building robots, Markus is s Senior Engineer at NetApp.
Daruvin Sood, Judging Lead
Daruvin leads the PYRS Judging team, recruiting and coordinating judges and adjudication for PYRS Lower Mainland competitions. He also helps coordinate student workshops. When not working with students at PYRS, Daruvin can be found at TELUS where, as a solution architect, he designs, develops and implements new concepts and technologies.
Rob Sabo, PYRS Equipment Manager
Rob is a Technical Education teacher at Centennial Secondary School, and, when the school isn’t torn apart for renovation, a VEX Coach. At the same time, he looks after getting the fields, the game pieces, the laptops, and all the other equipment necessary to hold a VEX Robotics Competition from one school to the next. On Friday afternoons, Rob shows up with the Bubble Truck packed full, and works with the volunteers emptying the truck, building fields, fences and displays areas. Come Saturday afternoon, Rob is back, taking apart fields, and then loading the Bubble Truck once again (like a giant game of Tetris).
Pat Douglas, Business Manager
Pat looks after all matters financial including registration at PYRS events. Pat has been keeping PYRS on track since its inception, whether she is assuring appropriate management of funds, collecting registration fees or managing pizza lunches at every lower mainland competition.
Brian Yu and Tony Tan, PYRS Information Technology Team
For more than 10 years, Brian has been responsible for implementing and supporting the information technology necessary to run the VEX Robotics Competitions hosted by PYRS. This includes network equipment, field equipment, laptops, tablets, various display and audio technologies and… spares. At PYRS events uninterrupted game play is mission critical and Brian is the go to guy. He is also a Tech Ed teacher, a VEX Robotics coach, and an Event Partner for VEX IQ Robotics Competition
Last year, Tony joined our IT team to assist in our ever-growing robotics region. Tony is a Gladstone Robotics alumni and a past VEX Competitive Robotics world champion, and is currently studying Engineering at SFU.
Ginny Balcom, Queuing Lead
At each event, Ginny works with student volunteers from the host school to wrangle the teams, ensuring they are queued in time for their next game. When not finding collecting stray teams from the Pits, Ginny can be found marketing new technologies. She’s a mechanical engineer by training, and sometimes sneaks away from Queueing to watch the robots in action.