Alum of the Month - November 2018
“After receiving the Presidential Scholarship, I’m thankful for the opportunity that the university has afforded me,”
In middle school Tim Friez ’07 broke his parents’ new computer and was told he had to fix it himself. Tinkering with that machine kick started his passion for computers and led him to become the chief operating officer of Robomatter, Inc. in Pittsburgh.
He joined his high school’s technology education program and quickly found himself participating in robotics competitions. He and his team designed a 120-pound, completely autonomous robot that was tasked with picking up totes and carrying them across a basketball court. As much as he enjoyed building the robot, it was coding and programming the robot to function that really peaked his interest. So while looking for colleges, he was ecstatic to learn Robert Morris University offered a software engineering major.
After being accepted to both Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, Friez chose to attend RMU upon learning that he’d been awarded the Presidential Scholarship. He joined RMU’s chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery and participated in competitions for the university. In his capstone class, community business partner DDI challenged students to write up a computer system code that could read assembly line workers’ movements and automate the assessment of their work. Friez took what he’d learned in his software engineering classes and combined it with his strong background in robotics to actually build a computer prototype for DDI.
“Instead of just doing a write up, I strong-armed my classmates to go above and beyond,” he says. “We used a computer screen, built sensors, and combined robotics materials to build a prototype. DDI gave us an A+.”
Friez interned at CMU’s Robotics Academy research lab during all four years at Robert Morris, where he built tools and resources that assisted professors in teaching their students how to code. In his sophomore year he co-founded Robomatter, an organization that designs curriculums and training courses to help teachers get robotics into the classrooms for young kids. In 2016 Friez was named COO and works to implement the company strategies and goals across all facets of the organization. Robomatter works with over 25,000 teams in 40 countries across the globe.
The proud Colonial is also working with his alma mater to set up internship opportunities at Robomatter for RMU engineering and education students. “After receiving the Presidential Scholarship, I’m thankful for the opportunity that the university has afforded me,” Friez says. “Now that I’m successful, I’m looking forward to opportunities to give back.”