Grant Cox is Marketing Manager for Vex Robotics, a Robotics Design System that encourages students to learn about STEM principles and careers. Grant wears many hats for Vex, but his main drive is to share his love of engineering and inspire teachers to bring the excitement of robotics to education.
Grant Cox is committed to his role at Vex Robotics, an exciting system offering students a platform for learning about areas rich with career opportunities spanning science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Beyond science and engineering principles, VEX Robotics project encourages teamwork, leadership and problem solving among groups. One of Grant’s main goals is to show educators how easy it is to customize projects to meet the level of student’s abilities.
It Takes a Robot to Build a Man
Even though Grant currently works in Texas, he still calls Michigan home, specifically Sterling Heights. As a high school student, Grant was a part of Utica Community School’s FIRST Robotics team, the ThunderChickens. This experience helped him develop his love for robotics and engineering. Working with one of Michigan’s powerhouses, Grant developed his skills in design, electronics, programming, and marketing, making him one of the most well-rounded team members there. Lead mentor Paul Copioli took Grant under his wing and showed him what kind of hard work and effort it takes to develop the correct platform for an entire team. During his time there, Grant was also on the ThunderChicken’s drive team and won the World Championship in 2008. He recalls this event as one of his most memorable moments of his life.
For the Love of Engineering
With such high participation in robotics at the high school level, it was only natural for Grant to take his love of engineering to one of the best engineering schools in Michigan, Michigan Technological University in Houghton. Grant was involved in multiple engineering programs and extracurricular activities. He was director of Pep Band his senior year, he was coordinator for the winter baja program, and he was a university tour guide. Throughout his four years at MTU, Grant pursued his degree in Mechanical Engineering, where he was an MTU leading scholar and highly active in MTU’s music programs. Grant graduated in 2008 and took a job at Caterpillar in Illinois as a service technical marketing representative, where he educated future field representatives as much as possible about Caterpillar and their positions. Even though this position allowed Grant to travel to MC for VEX and FIRST events, he felt that he was missing something.
From Building Robots . . . To “Building” Robots
Throughout his three years of working at Caterpillar, Grant was highly active as a volunteer for FIRST and VEX competitions, mostly by being a lead emcee. Through volunteering, Grant’s lead mentor from the ThunderChickens took a new role and moved from Michigan to Texas to help grow the VEX robotics brand. With this move, Paul Copioli went back and found his world champion driver to take on the role for VEX’s marketing department. Within his first two years with VEX, Grant help develop VEX’s product to grow from a simple high school STEM based robotics program, to a powerhouse of VEX Pro product lines for large scale FIRST robotics, as well as the launch of their newest elementary program called VEXIQ. Grant has expanded VEX’s brand and has helped developed curriculum and outreach programs. He also runs their social media programs and website, and he travels from Maker Fairs to Toy Demos, and many other STEM based expos. Grant has given back to the program that gave him so much, by mentoring FIRST and VEX robotics team 148, the Robowranglers.
Coming soon . . .
Grant can’t release too much on what is to come from all of the VEX programs, but he did say that VEX has really embodied STEM and integrating it into curriculums for all levels of education. Their goal is to develop programs in all levels of education, with VEX IQ at elementary level, VEX EDR and VEX Pro at the high school level, and VEX U for the university level. They have also started to brand out their VEX programs with their sister company Hex Bug, where they’re developing more VEX IQ robots kits and programs for big box stores. Grant stated that one of the best parts about working at VEX is having the ability to try any idea that they think of. Their team of engineering are very young, but have a solid foundation of experience at the top. The combination of knowledge, inspiration, and curiosity is what has grown VEX into the next STEM powerhouse program.