Who we are

NE FIRST ® is the operational partner of the FIRST ® Robotics Competition in the six New England states and is supported by ingenuityNE, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity incorporated in the State of Connecticut.

Our Mission

To support the FIRST global mission “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.”

How we do it

NE FIRST provides accessible, innovative robotics programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

Board Leadership

Our Board of Directors is responsible for the overall operation and oversight of ingenuityNE™. Additionally, they are responsible for coordinating the activities of our other key groups.

The Board of Directors includes:

Bob Sobolewski – President & Chair

Bob is the former President & CEO of ebm-papst Inc., in Farmington, Connecticut. He is a member of many community and industry trade organizations and associations, and has been recognized for his support of educational programs, especially those that bring schools and the workplace closer together. A graduate of Fairfield University, Bob currently serves as Chair of the Connecticut State Executive Advisory Board of FIRST, is a member of the Fairfield University School of Engineering Executive Advisory Board, a Director of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and member of that Board’s Executive Committee, and a Director of Okay Industries, Inc.

Marie O’Brien – Vice President & Secretary

Marie recently retired from her position as President of the Connecticut Development Authority, the state agency that provides financing to encourage economic growth, business development and job creation. She previously held positions at United Technologies Corporation, including the fuel cell division of UTC Power, and Pfizer. Marie holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. She has been active with many state-wide civic and charitable organizations, currently serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bristol Hospital, as a Trustee of the Connecticut Science Center, and as a member of the Connecticut FIRST State Executive Advisory Board.

Michael Sperber – Vice President & Treasurer

Mike is a Program Manager at UTC Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies, based in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. He received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester, and holds a Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification from the Project Management Institute. Mike is actively involved with many volunteer and charitable organizations, including the Hartford Marathon Foundation and FIRST. He is a founding member of the Connecticut FIRST State Executive Advisory Board, a member of the CT FIRST State Operating Committee and past Chair of the FIRST Robotics Competition’s Connecticut Regional.

John Bugeau

John Bugeau is the Deputy to the Vice President of Engineering, for the Electronic Systems Sector within BAE Systems. Headquartered in Nashua, NH, Electronic Systems is a $4.5B sector, supported by approximately 5,000 engineers worldwide.

John joined the company in 1983 from Ingersoll-Rand where he performed application and analytical testing for industrial process equipment, both internally and in the field. John came to BAE Systems as a Mechanical Engineer and has held positions of increasing responsibility including; Senior Principal Mechanical Engineer, Director of Mechanical Engineering, Vice President of Engineering for the Sensor Systems Line of Business and Director of Engineering for the Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance Solutions Business Area. In 1997, John was awarded the BAE Systems Jack L. Bowers Technical Achievement Award, the highest award for technical achievement at the time, for The Development of Aluminum Silicon Carbide for High Performance Electronic Packages.

In addition, John is responsible for the FIRST Robotics and FIRST LEGO League community outreach programs. In 2004, he received the BAE Systems Special Recognition Award, For Raising the Bar in Performance and Advancing Interest in Science & Technology in the Youth of our Communities. In 2003, he received the 2003 FIRST Robotics Outstanding Volunteer Award.

John lives in Nashua, NH, with his wife, Donna.

Regional Operations Team

Kim Pita
Interim Executive Director
NE FIRST Engagement & Advancement


Carol Scully
Regional Director

Stacey Lynn Gray
Senior Mentor

Massachusetts & Rhode Island

Steve Cremer
Regional Director

Dana Henry
Senior Mentor

New Hampshire & Vermont

Scott Heaton
Regional Director

Ken St. Hilaire
Senior Mentor


Steve Martin
Senior Mentor