Adam Fuller wants to bring real-world experience into his business classrooms this year at Buena Vista High School, and he’s calling on local business owners to help.
Last year, Fuller brought three businesspeople into his classes to give students concrete examples of some of the problems managers face when actually running a business. The idea was such a success, this year he’d like to bring in one new guest speaker each week.
The week starts with a look at a large-scale business in a particular industry, then brings it down to the local level by bringing in a speaker from a local business in the same industry.
Then, the class of about 20 juniors and seniors closes out the week by discussing some of the challenges that speaker faces in their business, troubleshooting the problems from a fresh, outside-the-box perspective.
After gathering that research, “The goal is to have some tangible ‘what do we do with this now,’” he said. “Hopefully my students, after all of their research, can look at something and say, OK, have you thought of this, have you thought about this avenue to look at?”
“I’m kind of calling it free research for (the businesses),” Fuller said.
Last year, Fuller’s classes met with Mount Princeton Hot Springs, BV Drug and Souled Out T-shirts.
“The kids seemed to really like the projects there,” he said. “Things like pricing structure, they took hold of that instantly, where if I was talking about it in a textbook, it would be like ‘well, pricing structure means this’, and they could regurgitate vocab words, but they saw the application so much more when they were actually in it.”
This year, he hopes to expand the project, bringing in a new speaker each week if possible. He said he’s instantly received enthusiastic responses across the board.
First up, Earl Richmond, the parks and recreation director for the town of Buena Vista.
“It’s not for profit, but they still have the same struggles that a for-profit would,” Fuller said. “Earl just sent me half a dozen things that are on top of his mind, like ‘Do we need a rec center, staffing, internships,’ that kind of thing.”
Fuller said that breakfast spot The Blend and automobile body shop Well Sorted have also agreed to speak for the class.
Fuller said he’s seen plenty of support for the idea and interest in being involved, but he’s still at “the tricky part,” agreeing upon a time when the guest can come in, with many of the businesses he’s reached out to.
“The business owners in town have been so helpful,” he said. “Hopefully they talk about their industry, some business ideas they have struggled with or were successful with, and then I’m hoping they bring problems,” Fuller said.
“I hope that our kids gravitate toward helping and giving back to the community. That’s where I want this to be mutually beneficial, where our kids are learning and they’re also able to bring an outside perspective for businesses.”
If you own a business in the Buena Vista area and would be interested in taking part in Fuller’s project, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org