Company: Brezach Solutions Inc.
Title: Dealer Principal
Years in the education business: 10
We were founded in 2011 after I left a large Teknion dealership. As a VP/ General Manager, I was quite involved in all aspects of the industry and noticed a true void in the way the education market was being served in the region. There was no one dealership dedicated to serving the K- 12 market. All competitors responded to requests with contract grade product, that was either designed for corporate use or higher ed. No one was dedicated to understanding the true requirements of the K to 12 market. On the other end of the competitive landscape, we saw the manufacturers and catalogue companies selling ( more like taking orders) direct to the school. We believed that the market was missing a company that treated the schools like a corporate customer while delivering solutions that we designed and engineered for the educational market.
What makes your company unique?
We are the only dealership in the region dedicated to understanding the K to 12 market. We strive to bring new ideas and products to our customers while providing a full-service dealership experience, including space planning, project management and delivery and installations.
What do you like best about the educational products industry?
The vast array of products available and the constant integration of ideas from the contract world that ebb and flow between the two market segments. In addition, many of the solutions brought forward have a real impact on student learning. This creates a real sense of accomplishment at the end of a project.
What are you most proud of?
The fact the we started the company from my living room and have grown into a multi-million-dollar organization and provide meaning full work for our employees. We truly believe that creating well-paying jobs with benefits, in which employees are happy is still a noble and worthy cause.
How has the pandemic changed the educational marketplace?
Since the education market in Ottawa (Canada) is publicly funded by the province (similar to the state funding schools in the US), the pandemic has delayed many projects due to reallocation of funding. We have also experienced extended periods of virtual learning and it has not been easy on the students, parents, or teachers. However, one of the most evident key learnings from the pandemic is that students really need to learn in a collaborative environment in order to truly reach their full potential. Experiential learning with peers is essential for learning and additionally contributes to creating well- adjusted individuals. Understanding this really helps the education market in its quest to improve the collaborative environments within schools.
When we create a welcoming, colorful, productive and collaborative environment, we are helping make learning more fun and, in the end, if students are enjoying learning and wanting to learn more, we all end up winning!
How has your company adapted?
We were pretty lucky as our offices allowed us to distance while still working within the building and as a group. We did heighten our health and safety protocols and ensured that staff were following all government guidelines. We also redesigned our website and provided an online catalogue dedicated to the education market, knowing that we would have less options for in person school visits.
How had ED market helped your business?
ED market has provided us with a competitive advantage be keeping us at the leading edge of educational design and product development. It has provided us with opportunities to work with manufacturers that we would never have created relationships with unless we were part of the EDmarket family. In addition, our participation at EDspaces has been a great showcase for new products and new manufacturers. The learning opportunities at EDspaces and the online webinars provided by EDmarket have provide great insight into different aspects of the industry that we may not normally be exposed to.
How can EDmarket best serve the industry?
EDmarket can continue to serve the industry through its continued effort at advocating for both the manufacturers and the distributors.
What would you like to see EDmarket champion?
I believe that EDmarket should seriously consider creating some sort of certification program for ‘subject matter experts’ within the education market. We believe that there are still too many dealers that sell to the market without truly understanding the needs of the marketplace. It would help the end-users mitigate the risks associated with purchasing the wrong products for their educational needs.
What advice would you give others in our industry?
Do not underestimate the impact we have on the continued growth and success of the younger generation by creating inspiring and engaging spaces. We can sometimes get caught up in our sales numbers, PO values and all the other elements of running a business. However, the impact our contributions to education spaces can’t be underestimated. I, for one, did not like school when I was a child. I did not like the rows of desks, the order in which we all sat, and the institutional feeling of all schools. It was not welcoming, it felt like I was ‘serving time’. When we create a welcoming, colorful, productive and collaborative environment, we are helping make learning more fun and, in the end, if students are enjoying learning and wanting to learn more, we all end up winning!