In looking at ways to reduce the cost of school operations and the risk of a Newtown-type tragedy in North Carolina, State Superintendent June Atkinson met with Brady (Greensboro, NC) executives on Friday, February 22, 2013. The purpose was to learn how the services provided by the Greensboro-based firm could reduce energy consumption and facility operating costs, as well as improve security in North Carolina public schools.

Jim Brady, president of Brady; Joe Brady, executive vice president; and Phil Kirk, Brady Energy Services director talked with Atkinson about today’s new technology and what to expect in the future. This includes integrating operations with security and life safety, as well as real-time monitoring and management of all systems from one electronic dashboard, both onsite and remotely. Don Brady, founder and chairman of Brady, also presented the 50-year history of the firm.

Improving the Education Environment

“I know that students across the state can improve their test scores if they only had better lighting, air quality and temperature control in the classrooms,” said Kirk. “The fact that Brady can help make this happen, and in the process reduce the operating costs, makes this a priority for our company.”

Atkinson received a briefing by Tim Gasper P.E., Brady project manager, about the logistics of performance contracts. He explained that only a fraction of the school systems across the state have taken advantage of PCs. However, those school systems have already saved tens of millions of dollars. In addition, there is an opportunity to save millions more if the rest of the schools systems consider PCs to achieve facility improvements and energy savings.

Mark Reid, project manager of Access Control Consultants, a sister company of Brady, discussed the latest IP video technologies. Equipped with license plate and facial recognition software, the feed from cameras can be sent directly to principals and school resource officers’ tablets. Additionally, alerts and warning can include identification of sex offenders on or near school property, the presence of weapons and even the congregating of students that may indicate bullying or other dangerous activities.

“North Carolina schools can be a safe place to learn, and parents should be able to go about their day knowing that every precaution is being taken to protect their children,” said Don Brady. “In partnership with our sister company Access Control Consultants, I am proud to be able to make this a reality. Technology that can detect potential outside threats, as well as help monitor hallways is crucial.”

Encouraging Students to Stay in School

Subsequent to the visit to Brady, Kirk joined Atkinson at Martin Talented and Gifted Middle School in Raleigh North Carolina to speak with students as part of the Students@Work program. Kirk and Brady senior solutions account executive Raynor Smith, P.E. discussed career possibilities in the commercial building services industry. With more than 328 associates across the state, Brady offers entry-level positions for high school graduates, technician positions for community college graduates, as well as engineering and management positions for college graduates.

The 2013 Students@Work program is a joint initiative between the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the North Carolina Business Committee for Education. Itcenters efforts around middle school students because middle school is a crucial time for dropout prevention. The program helps to emphasize future career options, as well as the importance of staying in school, before students enter the ninth-grade. Atkinson noted that with a record-high 80.4 percent graduation rate for the class of 2012 “the statewide emphasis on keeping children in school is making a difference.”

“Our state’s businesses are essential partners in the education of our students,” said Atkinson. “Through them, we can provide our young people the opportunity to see how what they are learning in class can be useful to them in the future.”

Always of interest to students was the Brady team’s discussion of jobs where theycan work with high-tech controls and security systems. Students were also intrigued bygreen practices with  ability to make a significant impact on the environment by reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

A Passion for Education

Brady has a long-standing history of support for education and North Carolina Public Schools. Don Brady has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Guilford Technical Community College and on the Advisory Board for A&T State University School of Engineering. In addition, he has served as chairman for the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, the Greensboro Development Corp. Education Committee, and the Board of Trustees of Founding Greensboro Cities in Schools

Kirk also has a history steeped in educating the next generation. He is Chairman Emeritus of the State Board of Education. A former State Senator in North Carolina and Chief of Staff for two governors and a United States Senator, Kirk chaired the two largest bond campaigns in North Carolina history,whichprovided more than $6 billion for the UNC system, K-12 schools, community colleges, and highways.

In addition, the firm has sponsored the Superintendent of the Year program by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators and the North Carolina School Boards Association for the past four years. Going a step further, Jim and Joe Brady have made a commitment to Brady associates of encouraging growth through life-long learning with programs that include:

  • Continuous education
  • Pay-to-learn
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Internet-based training
  • Providing a constant library of books / reading material back into organization for growth

It's no wonder that the North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction chose to visit Brady. In Don Brady’s words, “the best business relationships are mutually beneficial and founded in the common interest and concerns of the people conducting the business transaction.” Although there are no immediate plans for a follow up meeting, Kirk is talking with state legislators and the Governor’s staff to find ways to improve the PC process so more schools can participate in reducing energy consumption, and improve the learning enviroment.

Randy Katz is general manager for Brady, Greensboro, NC.