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 2018, the Palmetto Regional Robotics Competition will return to Myrtle Beach, SC, for the sixth year. Late in 2017, the PRPC reconvened and began the planning for the 2018 Regional. Over the past four months the PRPC has been vigorously engaged in the planning for and preparation for each competing teams arrival. The 2018 Palmetto Regional will be hosting 64 teams from 9 states.  The PRPC would like to welcome each team to the 2018 Palmetto Regional Robotics Competition and hope that your visit to the Myrtle Beach “Grand Strand” area will be enjoyable. 


Steering Committee


Members Business Representing Email Address 
Tommy Earley Engineer, Santee Cooper tommy.earley@santeecooper.com
Joe Boggs
Mechanical Engineer, MetGlas
Ashley Gasperson
Digital Communications Coordinator, Horry County Schools
Jack Moore Chair, Palmetto Partners jdmoor1@comcast.net
Camilla Hertwig Treasurer Palmetto Partners camillahertwig@hotmail.com
Steven Watterson
Office of Career and Technical Education - State Department of Education
Todd Marshall
Santee Cooper
Ben Hardee Director, CATE, Horry County Schools  Bhardee@horrycountyschools.net
Mary Beth Roach Horry County Schools  Mroach@horrycountyschools.net
Julie Zeigler 
Graphic Teacher, Retired jziggy343@gmail.com
Karen McIllrath Former HCS School Board kmcilrath@sc.rr.com
Warren Sellers Horry County Schools - AAST Pre-engineering teacher wsellers@horrycountyschools.net
Mark Kruea Public Information Officer, City of Myrtle Beach info@cityofmyrtlebeach.com
Eliene Patonay South Carolina Department of Commerce epatonay@sccommerce.com
Louis Rubbo
Assoc. Professor of Astronomy - CCU
Raymond Rollins Self Employeed
Frank Lanford
Regional Director, FIRST Robotics
Brandi Incorvia
Educational Programs Santee Cooper
Mark Peterson Owner, Southern Casual Properties tickntime@gmail.com