On February 27, 2012, gunfire rang out in the cafeteria of Chardon High School here in NE Ohio. In a matter of mere seconds, three students were mortally wounded, one paralyzed, and two others injured. Due to the heroic actions of Coach Frank Hall, the shooter fled down the long hallway, ultimately leaving the high school. Despite having much more ammunition, Coach Hall’s selfless actions were enough to scare the shooter away and limit the number of victims that day.
Some classroom and offices could be secured but many simply could not. Some had to be keyed lock from the hallway side. Some classrooms had substitute teachers. Some students needed to quickly find their own shelter without a teacher.
Sadly, this event doesn’t even register with individuals across the US… even to many closer to home. It is now a blip on the growing list of hostile intruders and horrific events that have happened in schools, churches, houses of worship, retail settings, government buildings, and even military installations.
Chardon was 9-1/2 months prior to the tragedy the played out at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14.
It was Chardon that got Bill Cushwa thinking about how to add an extra public response layer of safety. Surely, the time had come for a hostile intruder equivalent to a fire extinguisher. What could a teacher quickly do? What would be simple motions? What would make the room LESS SAFE during normal operations? How do we maintain full code compliance under normal operating procedures but be prepared to quickly and effectively barricade if necessary?
Chardon was the impetus for Bearacade. Sandy Hook was enough to dedicate every day to making schools safer and protecting our most precious resources!
BILL CUSHWA / Founder, CEO
Bill Cushwa brings more than 27 years experience driving organizational improvement and implementation of best practices in schools, nonprofits, and startups. Bill has a unique blend of hands-on corporate expertise and an entrepreneurial mindset. In business and in the community, Bill has the ability to build consensus and launch successful initiatives.
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It is through working with elected officials, community leaders, and school administrators on student safety and security issues in the wake of both the shootings at Virginia Tech University and Chardon High School that Bill developed the basis for the Bearacade®. It was an idea that would not let him rest. As a past school board member, a school administrator, with a daughter and son-in-law teaching in the public schools, a sister teaching in college, and his youngest children still in school, this work is much more than a “job.” Before one device was produced, Bill traveled throughout the Midwest to garner feedback from police, fire, engineers, and school administrators. “We started with their concerns and wishes and, only then, designed the Bearacade®. We saw what was out there, what methods were being taught, and we were worried enough to set out to make a smarter product.” With sensitivity to all facets of school safety and school funding challenges, Bill understands schools, teachers, and pricing concerns. He also knows that doing nothing is not an option.
“When another dire circumstance occurs at a school or office, let’s not say, ‘We could have stopped or reduced injury and the loss of life again, if only…’”
In addition to being a member of the City of Hudson’s School Safety and Security Consortium, Bill is a founding member of the Keep Hudson Safe Initiative, a collaborative effort of community leaders focused on initiatives, programming, and actions that will increase the safety of the Hudson community, with particular emphasis on children within all schools. Bill serves as a director on the board of The Coach Hall Foundation with the mission of providing effective means to protect against school violence and improve the quality of life in our school communities. In 2017, Bill joined the national advisory board of Play Like A Champion Today. He serves on the Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, the Haslinger Center for Pediatric Palliative Care, and is a mentor to regional schools in youth entrepreneurship and the National Lemonade Day program in Northeast Ohio. Additional community involvement includes serving the City of Hudson as Charter Review Commission member and chairing two ad hoc rezoning committees. Bill also serves as a trustee on the board of two private foundations focused on community and educational scholarships.
You can contact Bill at 855-350-2321 or by emailing email@example.com
DAVE SOULSBY / Founder, President
Dave brings more than 25 years of leadership in business development, marketing and sales management with Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial start-ups. He has led and managed a variety of businesses across multiple industries, always committed to designing custom solutions to address his clients’ biggest challenges.
Dave joined Bill when it was time to move from an idea Bill had sketched on a piece of paper and a prototype crafted out of wood to a production device proven to work. National School Control Systems has been able to leverage Dave’s existing relationships with the administrations of the University of Akron, Kent State University, Cleveland State University, and countless public and private schools throughout Northeast Ohio.
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With broad corporate experience outside the traditional school environment, Dave has introduced our solutions to other vertical markets including government, corporations, and houses of worship. His international connections have brought Bearacade® to Ireland, England, France, Qatar, and other countries.
With his broad corporate experience outside the traditional education environment, Dave helps bring Bearacade to other vertical markets including government, corporations, and houses of worship, allowing him to reinforce the importance of safety and the sanctity of life for all. He has worked tirelessly with Bill to commercialize a device that stops an unwanted breach on any possible safe room and is open to partnering with any organization, public or private.
You can contact Dave at 855-350-2321 / M: 330-329-6694 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
DENTON WOLF / National Sales
You can reach Denton toll-free at 855-350-2321 or by email at email@example.com.
AMANDA ANSCHUTZ / Sales
You can contact Amanda at 855-350-2321 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
BOB ANDREA / Sales
You can reach Bob toll-free at 855-350-2321 or by email at email@example.com.
GREG PANTELIS / Western Region Sales
Greg is based out of the greater San Francisco area and can help any partner institution throughout the US, but with particular focus on the western states.
You can reach Greg toll-free at 855-350-2321 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAYNE BLANKENSHIP / Advisory Board
With more than 35 years as an educator and administrator, Wayne Blankenship brings his experience as a high school principal, assistant school district superintendent, and school district superintendent to the team. Wayne closed his education career with 9 years as Superintendent of Nordonia Hills City School District in Northeast Ohio.
While he set out to enjoy retirement with his loving family, it was upon learning about Bearacade® that Wayne knew he needed to get involved and share this solution within his vast network of educators and community leaders.
“If I had Bearacade® when I was a superintendent, I know I could have truthfully said to any parent that I was doing everything I could to protect their children,” noted Wayne. “Without Bearacade®, that last piece of our safety plan was always missing. We had cameras, visitor management sign in, and periodic drills, but we never had something so effective for my faculty and staff.”
BOB DOWLING / Advisory Board
Bob Dowling is a US government subject matter expert in tactical, cyber, and social media technology. Bob brings a wealth of protection, security, and counterterrorism expertise to NSCS, including:
- Private bodyguard for one of the world’s wealthiest families
- 17 year Special Agent including NCIS and DARPA
- Senior Special Agent attached to the FBI for National Joint Terrorism Task Force (NJTTF) and National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)
- Federal Protective Service Special Agent for National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP)
- Subject Matter Expert for Department of Homeland Security’s HSIN and COP programs
Bob is a recipient of the NATO Medal for Operations in the Former Yugoslavia (civilian) and the Desert Shield/Desert Storm Award. He has appeared on CNN and ABC, and his tactical, cyber, and social media technology solutions have been featured in the Washington Post, USA Today and several cyber technology journals. He is also the founder of Hire the Heroes, dedicated to hiring US veterans.
RICK KELLAR / Advisory Board
Rick Kellar is a 26-year Army veteran, having served in various capacities to include Europe and the Middle East. He was a nuclear surety and security program certified officer, has led an Operational Detachment Alpha Combat Dive Team, and spent two years at the Pentagon overseeing the Army’s 8.5-billion training budget. He currently serves as the President of the Tallmadge City School Board, and also leads an $80-million private, grant making foundation Hudson, Ohio. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and holds an MBA from the Whitman School at Syracuse University.
DAN SPARKS / Advisory Board
Dan is a 20-year veteran of the FBI, serving on the first ever Safe Streets Task Force. He enlisted in the Army in 1977 and was assigned as a 60mm mortar gunner with the 1st Ranger Battalion. He volunteered for Special Forces, serving on an Operational Detachment Alpha Combat Dive Team.
He graduated from Ranger School has been involved in Army Special Forces for over 25 years. He has flown AH-1S Cobra Attack Helicopters on the East German Border; spent 20 years as an FBI Agent working violent street gangs and SWAT. He is also a Pan-American Jujitsu Champion.
CHRISTOPHER L. WILLIAMS / Advisory Board
Chris Williams joins our advisory team following a distinguished career with US Army Special Operations. Chris retired as the III Corps G7 Sergeant Major with 21 years in US Army Special Operations. Spent He spent 17 years as a PSYOP Senior NCO with 19 deployments including Iraq and Afghanistan. Involved in 6 separate combat engagements. Earned the Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
But most importantly, while deployed in South America for SOCSOUTH, Chris was in charge of the safety of all the members of his ODA, and has used door barricading devices in 8 countries including Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Haiti.