Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Years Later, CEO Reunites With His High School Robotics Team

Seventeen Years Later, CEO Reunites With 2Train Robotics
Carlos Martinez talking to current 2Train members about his past experience. (Photo by ThisistheBronX).

by Alonso Espinoza
November 5, 2019
As they launched their 21st season, the 2Train Robotics Team that originated at Morris HS and has blossomed into a full-fledged educational institution, welcomed back a former student who has gone on to an important career as a CEO who impacts the lives or others.

Last Monday, former member Carlos Martinez returned to Columbia University to join a team meeting for the first time since 2002. He spoke in front of current members of the team, sharing his experiences and the incredible impact 2Train had on his life. 

“2Train was a big influence on me with teamwork and awareness,” said Martinez who grew up in Hunts Point. “It’s great to come together for one objective and the program allows you to experience things outside of your small bubble in the Bronx.”

In 2002, he was a part of the first team that was honored on Yankee Stadium field for their success (they’ve been honored numerous times since), he met Secretary of State Colin Powell who was also a Morris HS student, and participated in the first 2Train out of state competition in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center.
Carlos Martinez (far right) meeting Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2002. (Photo courtesy of Gary Israel).
Over the 17 years Martinez drifted away from pursuing engineering as a career, but he is making significant impact as the CEO of Rockland County’s Independent Living Center’s (BRIDGES). BRIDGES is a non-profit agency dedicated to advocating and providing support services to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. He says the lessons he learned during his experiences with 2Train still resonate with his work at BRIDGES.

“The teamwork and awareness combined with the experience and skills i learned at 2Train, have enabled be to be where I am today,” he said. “These have impacted my ability to do my job directly.”

Martinez is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) with more than a decade of experience and he joined BRIDGES in 2010 where he served as an assistant director of Personal Assistance Self-directed Employer of Rockland (PASER) program.

When Martinez joined this year’s team meeting, the founder of 2Train, Gary Israel couldn’t help but reminisce about the legendary 2002 team. He says that connecting with former students and listening to how the team has impacted their lives is priceless.
“I could not be more proud of Carlos and what he has achieved,” Israel said. The icing on the cake was when Carlos spoke to the current members on the team. How inspiring for them to hear his story of success,” Israel said.
Currently in their 21st season, 2Train has continued to grow as a program. Despite that fact that the program runs through Morris High School, Columbia Secondary School, and Inwood Early College, 2Train is one of the only robotics teams in the Bronx that allows kids to join even if they don’t attend those schools. Israel calls it his “open-door” policy, that accepts any youngster who wants to learn. It was established last winter.

Last spring they launched their 20th season with an exciting victory. Despite losing seven seniors from that group, Israel is excited to continue with the younger group that he has now. 2Train is set to take the competitive stage on Saturday, Nov. 9th in New Jersey where they will showcase their “Starship” robot.

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