And the IT Hackathon victory goes to...Doc Robot 2.0
We’d love to tell you their winning concept but it’s top secret. We don’t want to spill the beans to our competition!
Mason T. felt chills every time he glanced at his calendar and remembered Total Quality Logistics’ IT Hackathon results were hours, minutes and finally seconds away.
Then it was time to celebrate.
Mason’s team, Doc Robot 2.0, earned the second annual Summer Hackathon title July 25, edging nine competitors in a 48-hour contest designed to ideate, create and present prototypes to benefit TQL’s tech processes.
“When they announced it, I was like, ‘Oh (shoot), we won!” said Mason, a Robotic Process Automation Developer.
Mason and his teammates – Nolan H., Oktay A., Joel L., Logan B., Pallavi G. and interns Caleb A. and Dexter S. – flourished with innovation and creativity at stake.
Nineteen judges from TQL evaluated the Hackathon projects on three criteria: Level of Innovation and Ingenuity, Ease of Implementation and Anticipated Benefit to TQL. Doc Robot 2.0 passed each test, guaranteeing the victors a prize package of trophies, $100 Visa gift cards, a future lunch with CEO Ken Oaks and the potential to launch the concept.
Their idea is so innovative that we’re keeping it under wraps (and not tipping off our competition).
After researching system architecture and technologies, Doc Robot 2.0 divvied up duties during the two-day contest.
Pallavi was the lone non-technical member of the team. She used her skills as a Program Manager III to keep the team on schedule, assist with non-tech work and serve as a sounding board. She measured progress with a question: If the tech experts couldn’t make her understand the project, how could Doc Robot 2.0 convey that information to judges?
“I’d say to them, ‘I know I ask you guys dumb questions, but explain it to me. Dumb it down for me on what you’re doing and let’s talk.’ They were always gracious and excited to share that information, like ‘This is how we’re setting it up and this is what it will do,’” Pallavi said.
The team faced a dicey moment in the first round, narrowly beating their deadline to add necessary screenshots, but enjoyed a major triumph in the second round.
“(A judge) started down this line of questioning: ‘OK, is this a concept or did you actually make something?’ Because we only had screen shots up there. I said, ‘You want to see it?’” Mason said, grinning.
The team delivered. It was a stunning moment that made one judge’s jaw drop, Pallavi said.
While Doc Robot 2.0’s members felt confident after judging ended, they sweated out the weekend and a long Monday before the IT Hackathon winner was revealed. Then they traded anxiety for elation.
If their concept is implemented on a large scale at TQL, it stands to save the company time and money. In the meantime, team members look forward to a lunch with Oaks to discuss their winning project and other technology.
“That’s the best thing out of the Hackathon – lunch with Ken,” Pallavi said. “It was amazing meeting him the first time. I’m looking forward to getting to ask him more questions.”
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