Alumni Profile: Amir Tillis

Amir reflects on his time in VRC and the value of perseverance.

November 9, 2023

Amir Tillis is a VEX alumni who participated in VRC events while in high school. He currently works at Deloitte as a technical consultant where his primary focus is space and defense clients. “People always ask me what Technical Consultants do,” Amir told us. “Essentially we problem solve - a client comes to us with a particular set of issues  and we work together to come up with a solution. That is about as much detail as I can give as these issues are always different, and because I work in the space and defense industry, much of them are classified.”

So how did Amir find his way to Deloitte? It all started with an ad he saw in high school for his robotics club. Amir says that during his first visit to the robotics club had him hooked, even though he had to overcome some preconceived notions of what robotics is about. “This was basically our first introduction to STEM, and when you are younger, you have some pretty wild ideas of what a robot is” he said. 

Still, it wasn’t just the robots that truly spoke to Amir, but rather team dynamics around the design process that really drew him in. “All of a sudden we are on this team, and we somehow had to accomplish a goal without a lot of outside help. So you learn a lot about communication, working with different personalities, and who you can depend on to get things done. I really believe the true benefit there was this introduction to working as a team at such a young age.”

Amir’s robotics experience led him to the engineering program at the University of Colorado Boulder, financed via a position in the National Guard. And while he says he owes much of his success to his mother for constantly pushing him forward, he also believes that REC Foundation programs helped him learn the perseverance to overcome obstacles and eventually land a job he loves at Deloitte. “In VRC, a lot of things are bound not to work the first time.” Amir said. “You have a plan A for developing the robot, which fails, so you move to plan B. Then when plan B doesn’t work out, you go to plan C, or you might have to just start all over at square one. VRC was my first experience learning that even though you might fail, you have to keep going in pursuit of the end goal, and I am grateful for that.”

When asked about advice he has for students who might want to pursue a career like his, Amir was immediately ready to reply. “Constantly try new things. There are so many options in robotics and life in general, and you need to experience those things in order to figure out whether you like them or not. Try them and see where your mind and body takes you, because you never know where you’ll end up.”

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