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Developer’s Blog

Meet the team: Major Jacquote II, Program Analyst

Major Jacquote II is a Programmer Analyst who has helped RoboKind develop and design many of Milo’s, a socially advanced robot, systems and user interfaces. Pursuing his interest in programming, he graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in computer science. Throughout his life and education, Major has worked with people with various disabilities like blindness and development disorders such as autism. “I have always been interested in technology, and I was sort of looking for projects and a friend who worked here told me about RoboKind, and I got introduced to the team and their work with people who have autism.” Creating a product for people with autism Robots4Autism (R4A) and Milo isn’t just another 15-second toy that can be picked off the shelf in the toy aisle. It’s a series of complex systems working together deliver a specialized program developed to help…

Meet the team: Jordan Firn, Sales Representative

Jordan Firn is a Sales Representative who works directly out of the RoboKind home office in downtown Dallas, Texas. Before joining the company, Jordan was in the Army for five years before transitioning to product management with a terracotta architectural firm. He was introduced to the team by the chief operating officer of RoboKind Greg Firn. Jordan was immediately taken by the company’s vision and mission to help children on the spectrum. “At first glance, it just seemed very interesting, and also I like to expand my knowledge and to work with special needs children and the technology field.” The challenges of joining a startup Joining a company that is creating a product for a unique group can be intimidating for some, but Jordan, however, saw an opportunity to gain new knowledge while helping others.  Robots4Autism and Robots4STEM offer solutions for schools and therapists, which…

Meet the team: Ben Jenkins, Software Engineer

Ben Jenkins is a Software Engineer on the RoboKind development team. He has been with the company for four years since joining RoboKind right out of high school. Ben has since completed his bachelor degree in Computer Science from Thomas Edison State University, and has been attending Harvard Extension School for Software Engineering. Ben has had a hand in developing several systems for the R25, an advanced social robot that RoboKind has developed to deliver their educational lessons for both children with autism and STEM courses. Developing software for a robot Creating a walking, talking, and an expressive robot is a relatively new venture for the robotics industry. For RoboKind, the first in social robotic engineering, Googling a problem simply was not an option as they were treading new land with no road map. Ben learned on the fly how to create different programs and tools for…

Meet the team: Jack Morrison, Senior Developer

Jack Morrison is a Senior Developer on RoboKind’s team. Job listings for RoboKind are frequently floating around the internet since the company continues to grow and seeks to keep ahead of its expanding client-base. An open developer position popped up on Jack’s social media feed, who was coincidentally searching for new employment, and fell in line with several of his interest such as robotics. After researching the company, he realized that RoboKind was more than just another robotic venture, it’s a business dedicated to improving the lives of children who struggle with autism related symptoms, which not only him, but two of his children were recently diagnosed with. “Two of my kids are autistic. Being a developer there isn’t a lot of opportunity to be able to do things that will ultimately benefit, especially my family, and kids on the spectrum.” Joining the team RoboKind’s…

Meet the Team: Dwayne Koonce, Senior Linux Developer

Dwayne Koonce is the Senior Linux Developer at RoboKind. Before working with RoboKind, he worked as system administrator for an internet provider in College Station, Texas. While it met most of his living needs, Dwayne wanted to find a job that was not just challenging, but working on something exciting. Through a recruitment service, his search led him to RoboKind, a fledgling Startup company making waves in the education market. In the two years since joining, he has helped develop and improve the systems between Milo’s OS and hardware, and refined the data reporting process of Robots4Autism for schools utilizing Milo. “The [recruiter] said, ‘well we have this one weird place that has robots and dogs wandering about all the time.’ And that sounded like a cool place to work.” The difficulties of working with a school’s internet One of Robots4Autism’s key features is data reporting. It…

Meet the Team: Greg Firn, Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Gregory Firn serves as the Chief Operating Officer for RoboKind. With over 33 years of experience in education, Greg has done everything from teaching to running entire school districts. Dr. Firn has published several hundred research abstracts and articles on how to improve school systems, how to be a thought leader for emerging trends, and how to implement and manage project-based learning. Greg’s deep experience and passion for helping under-served children has been instrumental in helping RoboKind develop the products and strategies that will successfully serve the K-12 education market. “It was probably while I was working with Effective Schools and their research that I discovered my passion for underrepresented or historically marginalized kids. While serving as the district superintendent in North Carolina and working with a minority/majority school system with high…

Meet the team: Perry Cavender, Director of Logistics and Quality Assurance

Perry Cavender is the Director of Logistics and Quality Assurance team at RoboKind. He spent several years in geospatial analysis and visual mapping for municipalities, and oil and gas companies before Richard brought him onto the RoboKind team.  Now, Perry works to keep Milo in shape, provide the team with feedback on new features, and takes care of shipping issues for customers. On occasion, he will even play as a life coach and offer the team moral support. “Working here I’m like, ‘okay we’re essentially doing intrinsic good for an under-serviced population.’ So I don’t feel bad about that when I go home.” Growing pains of a small Startup RoboKind might be a small company on the rise, but it has definitely gone through, and still is, some growing pains. Coordinating different departments to work together is certainly not an easy task, especially when problems…

Meet the team: Pat Nicklen, Chief Product Officer

Pat Nicklen is the Chief Product Officer at RoboKind. Nicklen has years of project and service management under his belt. He joined because of the company’s mission to help families reconnect with their children who have autism.  Since joining, he has helped RoboKind develop their customer service platform and achieve product deadlines. “Helping special needs has always been a passion of mine. This company and the purpose behind this company fulfills me fulfilling that passion. So the more that I can put into this company, the more I can help the people that I care about.” The challenges of joining a one of a kind company Everyone at RoboKind has big ideas and lots of projects. It’s easy to get distracted or off track. Someone needs to make sure there is a clear schedule and deadlines, that’s where Pat comes in. He helps the team outline plans, sets deadlines, and assists with finding…

Meet the team: Jeff Goodman, Director of Special Projects

Jeff Goodman is the Director of Special Projects at RoboKind, who handles many of the internal projects. Jeff has known Richard, the co-founder of RoboKind, since high school, and joined RoboKind after seeing the remarkable success Robots4Autism has had in autism therapy. He graduated from Rollins College with a Bachelor of Arts and Economics and then went for his MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from Southern Methodist University. Jeff brought his experience as a finance, sales, and operations manager to RoboKind to help set up internal and external support for customers. “This is a new industry in a way. We don’t really have a model of where this is going to go, things are always changing.” The challenge of joining a one of a kind startup RoboKind has created two products, Robots4Autism and Robots4STEM, which are designed to give the next generation a step up in educational…

Meet the team: Dan Lance, Content Developer

Dan Lance is part of the content development team at RoboKind. He graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas, where he studied game and level design. He worked a few different retail jobs while looking for a full-time job until he came across a job listing for RoboKind’s content developer position. He has since helped to develop RoboKind’s training documents, train new employees, and worked closely with experts to develop and test Milo’s curriculum. During his time at UTD, Dan created a simulation for people to experience what it’s like to have autism. It was a personal project for Dan, who also has autism and wanted to share his experience with others. His drive to help other autistic individuals has aided RoboKind in developing comprehensive lessons for autistic children. “I did a project that was basically simulating what it’s like to experience autism in a way that…

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