BEST Robotics was started in 1993 by two Texas Instrument engineers, Ted Mahler and Steve Marum. The first competition was held in North Texas and thus, the concept of the "Hub" was created. It continued to spread throughout Texas, and later, neighboring states thanks to enthusiastic support from Texas Instruments and Texas A&M. In 1997, BEST Robotics was official established as a 501(c)3 non-profit. BEST Robotics has always been, and continues to be, run by volunteers and funded by companies and colleges.
The Two Founders, Ted Mahler (Left) and Steve Marum (Right)
BEST Robotics was founded with the purpose of engaging, exciting, and inspiring students to pursue STEM related careers. BEST Robotics also has four core objectives: Provide students with a real-world engineering experience, prepare students to be technologically literate, help students develop leadership, project management, teamwork, and organizational skills, and develop students' confidence and competence through self-directed learning and problem-solving.
A graph showing the growth of BEST Robotics Teams and Hubs.
Since its creation, roughly three to four hubs have been added annually. Hubs are created by partnering with a local STEM institution in the area, typically a company or a college. There are also four regional (multli-hub) competitions that happen after the initial six week season.
A map showing the location of BEST Hubs and Regional Events
Georgia BEST Was Born
Georgia BEST Robotics was created in 2003 and initially run by Southern Polytechnic State University. In late 2013 it was announced by the Georgia Board of Regents that Southern Poly would be merged with Kennesaw State University, and after the 2014 season the college no longer ran Georgia BEST. Termination of the Georgia BEST hub seemed imminent, but operations were picked up by the Georgia Robotics Alliance, with Dr. Debi Huffman of Fernbank LINKS Robotics taking over as the director. The Planning Committee, composed of 15 members, mostly BEST Robotics alumni themselves, also run and make decisions for the hub. Georgia BEST currently has 24 teams.