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FIRST Robotics Seeks to Return Regional Competition to Downtown Pittsburgh
Argo AI leads a fundraising effort to support move to the “Capital of Robotics”
With the goal of bringing the FIRST Robotics of Western & Central Pennsylvania regional
competition to downtown Pittsburgh, Argo AI spearheaded a fundraising initiative with a wide
range of locally-based companies and universities, as well as national organizations, to pledge
donations in support of moving the annual event, beginning in 2023.
“FIRST Robotics does an incredible job in providing STEM education to students across the
country, which plays a significant role in the growth and success of the robotics industry,” said
Bryan Salesky, Founder and CEO of Argo AI, a global autonomy platform company
headquartered in Pittsburgh. “Pittsburgh is the Robotics Capital of the World, and home to many
companies that are driving the industry forward. Moving the FIRST regional competition
downtown will not only showcase the city and all its robotics opportunities to the next generation
of technology leaders, it will also have the added benefit of supporting local businesses.”
The FIRST Greater Pittsburgh Regional competition — which is celebrating its 20th anniversary
this year — is a 4-day event that brings in student teams and their families from all over western
and central Pennsylvania. The FIRST Western & Central Pennsylvania region includes 41
counties from the west of the Susquehanna River to the Ohio Border.
Hosting the event in Pittsburgh could generate an estimated $1-million in tourism revenue for
the city based on accommodation, dining, and entertainment needs of the attendees. The
fundraising effort targets securing $500,000 total, with Argo AI matching the first $150,000 in
donations. The donations would help fund this year’s competition, and at least two years of the
competition taking place in Pittsburgh beginning next year.
The companies, universities and organizations pledging donations include Arconic Foundation,
BDO USA, Carnegie Mellon University, Eat’n Park, EY, The Heinz Endowments, Highmark
Health, Howmet Aerospace Foundation, MSA Safety, PNC Bank, and Seegrid.
“The greater Pittsburgh region has always been supportive of FIRST, such as sponsoring and
mentoring local teams, and this initiative takes it to a whole new level, which is just awesome for
the students, families and business community,” said Daphne Frownfelter, Regional Director
and Chief State Advocate of FIRST Pennsylvania. “On behalf of the student teams, I want to
thank Argo AI and all the organizations for their support.”
The 2022 competition takes place this week, March 16-19, at the Convocation Center at
California University of Pennsylvania, which has hosted the past six events. Moving the event to
downtown Pittsburgh is pending final approval from the FIRST board of directors.
About FIRST Robotics of Western & Central PA
FIRST Western & Central Pennsylvania operates under the umbrella of FIRST (For Inspiration
and Recognition of Science and Technology), a 501(c)(3) public charity located in Manchester,
NH. The regional organization shares the mission of FIRST: “To inspire young people to be
science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build
science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded
life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.” More about FIRST
may be found at: www.firstinspires.org