Innovation found in car line at school.
Brent “BJ” England, a 2001 Harbert College of Business grad, has revolutionized the way parents pick up their children from school—for many, the most dreaded part of the day.
He developed CurbSmart, an innovative app that significantly simplifies this everyday routine, in addition to ensuring safety and accountability. He was inspired by his own experience as the father of two young boys.
“I was sitting in a car line to pick up my kids at school and watching the process, which was using two-way radios,” he says. “I realized how constrained they were with that system, and also how they were not collecting any data to show proof of student release. Since we were in the K-12 ed tech space, we shared the idea with a few current customers and the idea took off from there.
“CurbSmart helps streamline the car-line process, assigns approved parents to students, organizes students in multiple locations, handles ride changes, and overall helps the process run more efficiently,” England says.
Parents hang numbered placards in the rearview mirrors of their vehicles. As the vehicles arrive, administrators plug the numbers into a mobile device– synchronized with the devices of every school staff member. The system easily releases students to awaiting cars and buses in the order they arrive with a few taps, keeping everyone informed in real time and assuring full accountability for every child being picked up.
“School admins have loved the simplicity of it and the ability to release from the classrooms,” he says of the app, already operating in several schools around the country. “Parents love the efficiency and safety aspect of the app.”
A merging of ambitions
During the dot.com era of the late 1990s, England decided a combination of the burgeoning IT field and business, which had been his major of choice, would be ideal.
“Auburn had a relatively new degree, Management Information Systems, where they took business skill combined with IT skills,” he says. “That was a perfect fit for me.”
England advises students hoping to follow a career path like his to be hyper-aware of what’s happening.
“Keep up with current trends in the business environment,” he says. “Read the news, and possibly subscribe to email lists or magazines that keep you up to date on technology and what is going on in the world.”
After living in Atlanta, Georgia, for 10 years, England and his family made the move back to Auburn. He and his wife of 17 years, Emily, and their two boys have made Auburn home.
“After growing up here and moving away, you get a real sense of how special Auburn University and the city of Auburn are,” he says. “I love being back.”