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Gregg Brown

Network Coordinator
Uncommon Voices 2020

Gregg Brown

As the network coordinator of “CAPS,” Center for Advanced Professional Studies, Gregg Brown leads a program that brings business, community, and public education together to produce personalized learning experiences that educate the workforce of tomorrow, especially in high skill, high demand jobs.

An entrepreneurial mindset is key to his work with students, and this year it was crucial. For him, he had to embrace that risk cannot be eliminated and that change doesn’t always happen “top-down.”

“We saw there is a limit to institutional power; not all problems can be eliminated by government,” Brown says.

He had hoped partisanship could have been replaced by unity but instead felt that the pandemic was politicized.

“This resulted in sub-optimal decisions and un-needed illness, death and just general, conflict between Americans,” he says.

But he was pleased with how people rose to the occasion and made sacrifices during this difficult time. Brown turned to his faith and hopes that the challenges faced in 2020 draws others closer to God.

At home, his wife was able to care for their youngest granddaughter while her parents served in “mission critical” jobs. They were able to follow health guidelines and still have opportunities to bond – even becoming better friends with his granddaughter’s cat.

Q: How have the events of 2020 affected your work? 

With every threat is an opportunity. We will see a greater number of Americans remain working from home. It will draw families closer together. It will have a positive impact on businesses, employees, and the environment.

I was “locked down” 600 miles from my office (the school, CAPS Blue Valley) and home but was able to achieve my organizational goals. My office was the spare bedroom. I facilitated video calls with school leaders across our network to optimize the sharing of resources and ideas. I produced and delivered 10 professional development workshops for instructors across the nation.

We were not able to spend every day in person with our budding entrepreneurs, but they were able to witness and participate first-hand in the need to adapt to changing situations and get comfortable with ambiguity. Many were able to build prototypes using materials away from home. “Napkin schematics” were communicated to those having access to 3-D Printers for further development. “Bootstrapping” was not a concept but a practice.

Q: What “new normals” – good or bad – do you see or anticipate coming out of this year?

With every threat is an opportunity. 

We will see a greater number of Americans remain working from home. It will draw families closer together. It will have a positive impact on businesses, employees, and the environment.

The pandemic, as did Hurricane Katrina in 2005, exposed the greater risk of life and learning for a number of economically challenged Americans. This awareness is being leveraged to identify root causes and develop workable strategies to reduce inequality especially in the area of education.

Q: As we look for hope in the New Year, where do you see opportunities to rebuild society’s systems better?

The free market worked. Our supply chains remained strong. It is unfortunate that the smaller businesses were not afforded the same opportunity of the large chains. More needs would have been satisfied and more jobs retained. Continued reduction of regulations and promotion of competition will ensure our supply chains are prepared for the next crisis.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” We have seen many new business models created and grow in response to the problems we faced. This includes new ways to educate. We should nurture those new models that offer increased productivity and better outcomes.

Explore other 2020 Uncommon Voice Q&As