Meet Our Coaches
Mr. Benjamin Flaiz, Faculty Advisor/Head Coach
Mr. Flaiz teaches 8th grade Tech at Miller Place North Country Middle School. He holds a Master’s degree from SUNY Stony Brook and a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oswego. Prior to joining Miller Place School District he taught Technology Education at Herrick’s High School as well as privately working as a licensed electrical contractor since 2004.
He has been Team 514 FRC Coach since 2004 leading all aspects of the team from organization, recruitment and fundraising to design, build, test and competition at annual FRC events. As a team we are focused on our students and our community. We work to instill a sense of teamwork, commitment and pride among our team members, our school and our community.
Mr. Brian Sondi, Faculty Advisor/Assistant Coach
Mr. Sondi teaches a variety of technology education including design and drawing for production; computer aided design and others at the Miller Place High School. He holds a Master’s degree from SUNY Oswego. Prior to teaching at Miller Place School District he taught at Commack High School. This is his second year as Team 514’s Assistant Build Coach.
Mike Arnold, Java Program Mentor
As a Native Long Islander, Mike has the upper edge on supporting Team 514. He attended Auburn University and has worked in information and technology industry since 1987. He has been Team 514’s FRC Programming Mentor since 2009 when his oldest son joined the team. He works with team members teaching them to use Java and Eclipse to design, develop, test and deploy the software that operates the team’s robot. Students learn all phases of software engineering, network fundamentals and the software development life cycle. Students also learn software design principles, disciplined software configuration management and the Java programming environment.
Rob Lipori, Team Mentor
Rob Lipori was a team member of 514 for 3 years in high school. He was a leader on the team, a programmer and was also a member of the Drive Team. Rob graduated from Miller Place High School in May of 2015 and is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Adelphi University here on Long Island. Because Rob is still local, he has come back to the team as a mentor and is just as valuable to the team now as he was when he was a team member. Rob helps students on all facets of the robot during the build season and he was the Drive Team coach this year, using his leadership and experience to mentor the young drive team thru their very first competition. At the end, the inexperienced drive team came together and what started as a weakness finished as a strength.
Jeffrey Arnold, Team Mentor
Jeffrey Arnold was a team member of 514 for all of his high school career. He was a leader on the team, a builder and fabricator and was also a member of the Drive Team. Jeff graduated from Miller Place High School in May of 2015 and is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rhode Island. Although Jeff is away at school he still came back and worked with the team for the entirety of his winter holiday break. He worked on the design and early build efforts for this season, passing along his knowledge and experience to the very young team.
Mentors who are actually returning former team members are the most influencial and effective role models and examples of success that the young team members can see. Former team members returning as mentors is a great sign of the positive influence that the team had on former members. The fact that these individuals want to be a positive influence for current team members is something to be proud of. They are to be commended for their effort, maturity and leadership!
Team 514 is always seeking mentors to work with Team 514. If you are interested in volunteering as a mentor please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our contact us inquiry form.