Bev Carmichael: Volunteer Super Star in the North

Bev Carmichael is a super star behind the scenes in the FIRST community volunteer world.


As treasurer of the North Bay District planning committee, she’s in charge of handling the finances of this well-run event that has a rockin’ poutine bar at the annual social.


She can also be found at the pit admin table during the event.


Bev started as a key volunteer in 2014, but she’s known about FIRST for far longer than that. She was introduced to the program in 2009 when her son Phillip joined the team.


Phil grew tremendously on the team—going from a shy, awkward grade nine student to a confident and highly-knowledgeable Chairman’s presenter in grade 12. Now, also a business mentor and North Bay District volunteer, Phil is known for grilling new captains about the team’s history.


“2011 was the first year Phil let me travel with the team,” she said, with a laugh. “Before that, I watched all of the events online. And the feeds were really bad back in those days, so often, they would just freeze.”


Bev retired recently, but before that, worked as an accountant at Metso Minerals, which creates industrial machinery mostly for the mining sector.


As an accountant, she was recruited by the regional event organizing committee in 2014, and she agreed to also mentor FIRST Team 1305. She organizes the team’s travels, which are normally a minimum of four hours away. Through the team, she also does some work on the area’s FIRST Lego League regional competition.


For all of her efforts, she was given the North Bay District’s Volunteer of the Year award in 2015. She’s also volunteered at a few other events in Ontario.


“The fact that FIRST teams are so multidisciplinary also makes them easy to join,” she said. “Pretty much any career can be turned into an asset in planning a regional, or more often, as a mentor on a team. It might be public speaking, or it in my case, it was business. So if you’re passionate and you enjoy what you do at work, then you’re going to hopefully enjoy passing that knowledge on to kids that really want to learn. And you know what, like, some of our students have learned how to make homemade pasta here with me.”


Watching the students grow is part of why Bev keeps volunteering, she said — while most mentors can attest it’s rewarding to see that growth over four years, Bev notes it’s also fun to watching over a single season. Students also teach mentors, she said.


“When I get stuck on things, they’ll help me too,” she said.


Five Questions for Bev Carmichael

  1. Destination: Deep Space or Power Up?
    1. Destination: Deep Space. I like ball-based games, and it was fun to watch the progression of competition on the platform.
  2.  YMCA or Cotton-eyed Joe?
    1. Cotton-eyed Joe. It’s the only place I hear it.
  3. For the North Bay Social: Poutine or Ice cream?
    1. I like the poutine, but I use rice instead of fries.
  4. What’s your favourite district, other than North Bay? You can pick provincials, too.
    1. Provincials. The venue is really nice. They’ve got really nice seats.
  5. St. Louis or Detroit?
    1. Detroit