About Us

In 2003 a group of CEO’s in SC, led by Harry Lightsey, President of BellSouth, the University Of SC School Of Engineering and the SC Department of Education were granted the opportunity by the FIRST Foundation to host a regional robotic competition in the spring of 2004. Thus, began the Palmetto Regional FIRST Robotic Competition in SC. The purpose of the regional is to give students the opportunity to develop teams to build robots that compete in games designed by the FIRST Foundation and put into practice skills and knowledge learned.

In order to plan for and implement each Palmetto Regional, two different committees working with one objective in mind were formed. The first, the fundraising arm, was the Palmetto Partners. The Palmetto Partners is a group of business and educational leaders from throughout SC. The primary goal of Palmetto Partners is to focus on inspirational education that gives students the opportunity to obtain skills and knowledge to prepare for an advanced-technology based careers in South Carolina. The improved workforce in this area will improve the economic outlook for South Carolina. Palmetto Partners for Science and technology is exclusively charitable and educationally scientific. A non-profit organization that is a 501(c)(3) that was formed in 2004 and operates exclusively to encourage and promote the educational and career pursuit of science and technology.

The second committee, often referred to as the “operational committee” is the Palmetto Regional Planning Committee (PRPC). The PRPC is comprised of representatives primarily from the local area that the Regional is being held in. For 2020, the Palmetto Regional Robotics Competition will return to Myrtle Beach, SC, for the seventh year. Late in 2019, the PRPC reconvened and began the planning for the 2020 Regional. Over the past four months the PRPC has been vigorously engaged in the planning for and preparation for each competing teams arrival. The 2020 Palmetto Regional will be hosting 64 teams from 8 states.  The PRPC would like to welcome each team to the   Palmetto Regional Robotics Competition and hope that your visit to the Myrtle Beach “Grand Strand” area will be enjoyable.

Steering Committee



Business Representing

Email Address

Ashley Gasperson

Digital Communications Coordinator, Horry County Schools


Brandi Incorvia

Educational Programs Santee Cooper


Ben Hardee

Director, CATE, Horry County Schools


Camilla Hertwig

Treasurer Palmetto Partners


Carla Rickenbaker  Volunteer Coordinator CH0754@att.com

Eileen Patonay

South Carolina Department of Commerce


Frank Lanford

Regional Director, FIRST Robotics


Joe Boggs

Mechanical Engineer, MetGlas


Julie Zeigler

Graphic Teacher Retired


Karen McIlrath

Home Health


Louis Rubbo

Assoc. Professor of Astronomy - CCU


Mark Kruea

Public Information Officer, City of Myrtle Beach


Mark Peterson

Tick Tock Time


Mary Beth Roach

Horry County Schools


Raymond Rollins

Self Employed


Todd Marshall

Santee Cooper


Warren Sellers

Horry County Schools - AAST Pre-engineering teacher