As with many startup companies, the story of VEX Robotics is that of its visionary founders.
Tony Norman, an Electrical Engineer, and Bob Mimlitch, a Mechanical Engineer, met early in their careers. While mentoring students on a local high school robotics team, Tony and Bob discovered they both had the same beliefs about "the right way to do things" during the problem solving process.
To this day, Bob and Tony believe in the power of challenging convention.
They don't believe that "we’ve always done it this way" or "this is how everyone does it" is ever a justification for a solution. They value creative approaches to problem solving; not just in engineering design but in all aspects of business. They are often able to find simple and elegant solutions by focusing on creativity early in the design process. They love "quick and dirty" prototypes which help re-frame problems, and believe in the methodical and iterative nature of the engineering design process. Most of all, they believe in the power of hard-work, and that above all else, passion will drive quality and bring success.
Like many other creative high-tech companies, Innovation First (IFI) originally started in a garage. Specifically, the company was born out of Tony’s garage in Greenville, TX (about 40 miles east of Dallas). From this humble beginning they quickly grew to include three distinct divisions, over 300 employees and nine offices worldwide. Tony and Bob continue to be passionate about STEM mentorship and founded the VEX Robotics division to carry forward their local efforts on a global scale. VEX lives on as IFI's largest subsidiary.