Kitty Ratcliffe beeps. And bops. And boops. In fact, she will do almost anything to land a big convention here, including making robot noises.
That willingness may be what landed St. Louis the international robot convention in 2011, 2012, and 2013. The FIRST robotics competition, which was founded by Segway creator Dean Kamen, is currently contracted to Atlanta. It will be coming here when that contract expires.
This is a big deal: about $7 million each year, spent locally on hotels, restaurants, shopping, admissions to clubs, duct tape, ironic T-shirts, and pretty much everything else that 15,000 young science-minded competitors, their families, and their friends will need. (We had a regional-level event here last year. This is the international level of that same competition.)
Kitty notes that having that many kids in St. Louis will give them a first-hand experience of the City — and might, therefore, make them more inclined to attend college here or come to live and work.
Great job, Kitty. Ted Koplar, what’s Voltron got on his calendar for 2011?
Watch the announcement: Here.