Our Mentors

Joe Viavattine

Joe Viavattine holds the esteemed positions of Distinguished Engineer, Chief Engineer for Micra and Medium Rate Battery Value Streams, and Technical Fellow at Medtronic. In 2007, Joe took the initiative to establish the WBL Robotics team after mentoring other robotics teams in Minnesota. With the support of Medtronic and school administration, Joe's vision for WBL Robotics became a reality. It is through their gracious assistance that Joe was able to create and nurture this valuable robotics program.

Delroy Nyren

Delroy Nyren, a technical education teacher at White Bear Lake Area High School (South Campus), has been actively serving as a mentor and coach since the establishment of WBL Robotics in 2007. With great dedication, Del provides numerous safety training sessions for the team and generously allows them to utilize his industry-standard manufacturing lab on an annual basis. His contributions greatly enrich the students' learning experience and foster their skills in robotics and technical education.

Jake Popp

Jake Popp is a material scientist at Medtronic and has been an integral mentor for the team since its inception. Known for his strong motivation and expertise, Jake primarily focuses on collaborating with the team to design and develop the robot's chassis. During competitions, he can often be found on the field, providing valuable support and guidance to the drive team. Jake's unwavering dedication and presence greatly contribute to the team's success and growth.

Brian Keck

Brian Keck holds the position of Sr. Principal Software Engineer at Medtronic, bringing with him over 10 years of experience in testing embedded software within regulated industries. Additionally, he possesses over 3 years of expertise in developing .NET applications and has spent 5+ years guiding the development of mobile applications. As a mentor, Brian takes the lead in teaching LabView programming. His extensive knowledge allows him to effectively impart skills and knowledge to our aspiring programmers.

Jacob Dalhoff

In 2017, Jacob started on his mentoring journey with the White Bear Lake Robotics Team shortly after graduating from White Bear Lake High School. With his status as an alumni of the Robotics Team (and former captain), Jacob brings a wealth of experience and insight to this group of mentors. Currently employed as a Battery Process Development Engineer at Medtronic, he leverages his expertise to facilitate discussions on design choices and decision-making, aiding team members in their critical thinking skills.

Raelyn Nyren

Raelyn became a mentor for the Bright Bears Robotics Team prior to the 2023 season. During her inaugural season with the team, she took the opportunity to shine a spotlight on women in the engineering and robotics. In her current role at Medtronic, Raelyn supports the manufacturing of both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical components utilized in pacemaker leads. Raelyn looks forward to both absorbing knowledge from her fellow mentors and providing support to the team in any capacity she can.

Apurv Agarwal

Apurv Agarwal, a Senior Principal Software Engineer at Medtronic, brings over 18 years of software design, implementation, and testing experience. With an additional 13+ years in product/project management, he excels in coordinating with offshore teams. Apurv plays a crucial role in enhancing our robot's computer programming each season, making him an invaluable asset to our team's success.


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