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Partners in Education: QAD Finds Community Service Match with Students, Technology

President's Council member relishes having a hand in educating tomorrow's leaders

[Noozhawk’s note: The Santa Barbara Partners in Education relies on its President’s Council to help expand participation opportunities in our schools. As a proud member of the President’s Council, Noozhawk is helping to promote the organization with a series of features on our fellow members and their commitment — as businesses — to public education. We hope you’ll consider joining us on the council. First in a series.]

Slowly constructed from the ground up, Summerland-based QAD has grown to be a worldwide producer of software to assist manufacturing companies with supply-chain issues and organization.

Founded in 1979 by Pam and Karl Lopker, QAD’s products are currently being used by 5,555 companies in 90 countries. Although she did not earn a salary for the first five years of the company’s existence, Pam Lopker maintained her vision of developing the best manufacturing software possible, which led her and her company to great success. Now traded under the NASDAQ stock exchange and boasting revenue of $263 million (as of 2009), it is apparent that QAD has seen quite a transformation since its founding 31 years ago.

While QAD has accomplished a great deal as a business venture, that has not stopped the company from giving back to the local community.

“QAD is committed to supporting the communities in which our employees work,” according to the company’s Web site. “The Community Involvement Committee’s goal is to provide assistance that is consistent with the QAD core values of commitment to excellence, innovation, global teamwork, partnership with our customers, integrity and respect for the individual.”

The focal point of the company’s Community Involvement Committee is to provide financial aid for nonprofit organizations that supply technology for students to enhance their education.

QAD’s dedication to such principals led to its involvement with Santa Barbara Partners in Education, a business-based nonprofit organization administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office. The program’s goal “is to connect businesses and individuals with schools and the organizations that serve them to help improve public education in ways that support a more vibrant economy, the health of our community and the well-being of local children and their families.”

The benefits of participating in such an organization is crucial to the prospective business world, and creating a bright future begins with the students.

“We need to create a work force for the future,” said Murray Ray, QAD’s chief people officer. “We need education in Santa Barbara to be competitive on a worldwide scale so we can begin recruiting people.”

QAD’s involvement with Partners in Education and its President’s Council has been evident in its Computers for Families project. By providing students from low-income families with refurbished computers, Internet access and training, QAD hopes the program will help reduce the detrimental effects of the “digital divide.” Computers for Families has provided more than 7,000 computers to students whose families cannot afford them. Additionally, the project has served as a training program for teachers and students to take advantage of computers to improve education.

The donated computers are fully refurbished by students at Los Prietos Boys Camp, which is a residential treatment program for youth with proven behavior problems managed by Santa Barbara County. Approximately 50 computers are restored each week by boys at Los Prietos. The director and staff of Computers for Families visit classrooms to train students on how to install and utilize their new technology before they use it at home.

In its involvement with Computers for Families, QAD has donated $15,000 each year from 2006 to 2009, helping the project reach its sustainability goal.

In addition to its participation in the Computers for Families project, QAD is involved in other community-enriching organizations, such as QAD’s Project Upgrade and the TeachNet Technology grant program. QAD’s additional community involvement programs have provided schools, students and teachers with technology and funding to help improve the education process.

Project Upgrade serves to develop breakthrough technology infrastructures to further the learning experience of students in the Santa Barbara community. Since 2006, Adams, Cesar Chavez Charter, Franklin, Harding and McKinley schools have received Project Upgrade grants from QAD.

The TeachNet Technology grant program is a QAD-funded organization providing stipends to Santa Barbara teachers who have created technology-based units that utilize the Internet to promote a standards-based curriculum. Among the honors, teachers can be awarded anywhere from $300 to $600 stipends.

From speaking to a class, to providing new technology for classrooms or providing after-school tutoring, it is possible for any company to have a hand in the education of our future leaders.

“(Other companies) need to be competitive,” Ray said. “It doesn’t matter how small they are, they just have to be competitive on a global scale. Providing the world’s best education, an understanding of technology and businesses helping schools become competitive, is critical in solidifying the quality of our future.”

Any company has the opportunity to participate in Partners in Education, but the President’s Council is limited to no more than 25. Click here for more information about Partners in Education. Click here for more information on how to become a President’s Council member or contact Michelle Magnuson, development and membership director, at 805.964.4710 x4417 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

In addition to QAD, current President’s Council members are ABC-CLIO, American Riviera Bank, AT&T Foundation, ATK Space Systems, Bacara Resort & Spa, Coastal Management Resources, Community West Bank, Cottage Health System, Cox Communications, Earl Warren Showgrounds, ExxonMobil Production Co., Frank Schipper Construction Co., MedBridge Development, Montecito Bank & Trust, Noozhawk, Rabobank, Raytheon, Santa Barbara Axxess, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Santa Barbara Catering Co., Maryan and Richard Schall, Southern California Edison, Venoco Inc. and Verizon.

Noozhawk intern Michael Goldsholl will be a sophomore at Loyola Marymount University in the fall. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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