Youth Development

BEST Robotics, Inc.

  • Georgetown, TX

Mission Statement

BEST is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization whose mission is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science, technology, and math (STEM) through participation in a sports-like, science- and engineering-based robotics program.

Students participate in a six-week long, fall robotics program experience supported by local industries and organizations who provide mentors – technical professionals and engineers – to help guide the students. Students are the sole participants and primary decision‐makers, designers and builders of a BEST robot. There is no fee for students to participate and the equipment and materials needed for the robotics division of the competition are provided at no cost to the school.

Since 1994, BEST Robotics, Inc. (BRI) has engaged over 200,000 middle school and high school students from across the nation. Each year we support nearly 900 teams of an average of 20 students each through the generous support of our volunteers and sponsors. Our program attracts significant numbers of young women (34%) and minorities (41%). By providing our students with a real-world engineering experience that incorporates a practical application of math and science, our students emerge technology literate, are better prepared to enter the workforce, and develop leadership, project management, teamwork and organizational skills. These students will be the STEM professionals of the future.

Main Programs

  1. Boosting Engineering Science and Technology Robotics Competition

service areas


Self-reported by organization

ruling year


chief executive for fy 2015

Ms. Janne Ackerman

Self-reported by organization

co-chief executive for fy 2014

Dr. Kenneth Berry

Self-reported by organization


engineering, science, technology, robotics, students, outreach

Self-reported by organization

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Physical Address

817 Simon Drive

Plano, TX 75025

Also Known As



Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

Single Organization Support (O11)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?


What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

Boosting Engineering Science and Technology Robotics Competition

The program involves having middle and high school students design, build, then demonstrate a robotic machine to play a sports-like "game". Engineers from local industry act as mentors to guide the students in the engineering process, teaming and other business principles. The contest is designed to simulate a real-world business and engineering environment. The contest simulates:
1) Time to Market - through a limited time period (only 6 weeks);
2) Design to Cost - by providing a "kit" of raw materials from which the robot must be designed. No other parts are allowed; 
3) Design to Function - by requiring teams to build a robot that meets design restrictions such as size/weight and still performs specific tasks in the game to earn points.


Students learn other aspects of product development such as advertising, fund raising, technical writing, business operations, teamwork and leadership, etc. There are no entry fees and all materials are provided for the participating schools.


There are many hubs (local contest sites) throughout the United States. Each hub sets it's own budget, performs it's own fundraising and executes the local competition.  All hubs use the same game, kit materials and time-frame for the contest, as defined and controlled by BEST Robotics, Inc.  The budget for a typical hub is approximately $1200 per team.  Hubs host from 8 to 32 teams.




Population Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

service areas


Self-reported by organization

Social Media

@BEST Robotics, Inc.

@@bestrobotics #BESTROBOTICS, BEST

Funding Needs

Local Hub Funding - 41 hubs( in 14 states operate on a budget of $20,000 - $30,000 each and are solely funded by local businesses, universities, and other organizations. Because of this funding, teams do not pay any entry fee for participation and are all kit materials are provided at no cost to the teams.   Championship Funding - 3 regional championships( and 1 world championship( are funded through local, regional and national sponsorship, operating on budgets from $50,000 to $80,000.  These events celebrate winners from the local competitions and provide students with exposure to university/college campuses and other technology-related experiences.


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Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31


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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

BEST Robotics, Inc.



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.


Ms. Janne Ackerman

co-chief executive

Dr. Kenneth Berry


Janne Ackerman serves as Executive Director of BEST Robotics, Inc., a non-profit company whose mission is to engage and excite students about engineering, science, and technology as well as inspire them to pursue careers in these fields. Ackerman's involvement in BEST started in 2000 when she first volunteered to judge a local BEST competition. Ackerman served on the Board of Directors from 2003 through 2008, and served as President 2005 - 2008. She serves as head judge for the Texas BEST Robotics Regional Championship and as co-director for Collin County (CoCo) BEST Robotics hub.

Prior to her retirement from Raytheon at the end of 2013, Ackerman served as Director of the Global Positioning System (GPS) Advanced Control System (OCX) Software under the vice president of GPS OCX. She oversaw software development for this next generation GPS system. Previously, Ackerman served as director of Airborne Processors which provides secure high performance processing solutions for fighter aircraft such as F-16, F-22, and F-35 as well as secure solutions for airborne radars and electro-optic systems. Prior to that, she served as director for the Texas Engineering Center (TEC), a multi-discipline engineering group. Ackerman's focus and efforts in skills development for the center helped grow the business by 25% over three years.

Ackerman received her bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Oklahoma and her master's degree in software engineering from Southern Methodist University. Ackerman served as Raytheon's Industry Fellow at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, where she earned a master's degree in National Resource Strategy. She is a private pilot and spends time restoring vintage aircraft with her husband at their hangar in McKinney, TX.



Dr. Kenneth Berry

UT Dallas

Term: Jan 2014 - Jan 2016


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