Blades of Green
We are an AACPS: Business Partnership | 2019 Business Partner of the Year Nominee
Recognized for their support of AACPS by the Southern High School
Blades of Green has been a vital part of Southern High School and our Design: Preservation & Innovation Signature Program for over four years. Owners Mark and Brad Leahy are Southern graduates with a desire to give back to our South County community and have hosted our Signature Career Experience Field trips two years in a row. At these events, students observed the range of management functions, technical skills, innovative processes, and leadership associated with successfully running a business. Through various hands-on activities, over 50 students and teachers learned about the management of field operations, human resources functions, the importance of exceptional customer service practices, the use of extensive data analysis, key sales practices and the effectiveness of hardworking, risk taking, innovative leadership.
Recognizing the importance of providing students with real-world experiences while in high school, Blades of Green also hosts student interns from high schools across the county. Rodney Bolton, an AACPS Internship Coach, commented that “businesses like Blades of Green are key in connecting our students with opportunities to work in industries of their interest and for companies that are respected in their industry. It is great to have a growing, innovative business located in South County. They provide valuable skills and high standards of training to our students. Students who intern there participate in the success of their company and see a chance for advancement within.”
Key members of the Blades of Green leadership team have played a significant role in our partnership. Human Resources Manager Angela Hieronimus, for example, is a member of our Business and Community Advisory Board and Signature Integrated Community Stakeholders Team. She ensures that our community outreach projects have Blades of Green participation. In addition, team members participate in Signature Career Conversations, Pizza with a Professional events, the Career Expo, and Mock Interviews. At these events, students can speak to Blades of Green staff about career opportunities, what it took to get there, and suggestions for their own future in the industry. Generous employees and approachable atmosphere encourages conversation and questions from interested students.
The Blades of Green team also works with teachers to ensure our curriculum is up-to-date with current industry trends. Neil Blackwell, the lead entomologist at Blades of Green, collaborated with Southern High School AP Environmental teacher Kristin Larney to create authentic lessons. Ms. Larney shares, “Mr. Blackwell is able to provide years of knowledge, based on hands on experience, in discussing how the field of pest management has evolved over the past decade. My students were fascinated to see the insect specimens and hear stories of infestations to homes, businesses, and crops! This discussion fits seamlessly into the focus the curriculum has on economy, agriculture, and human impact on the environment.”
The time and resources Blades of Green has given to our school is inspirational and we look forward to a long and successful relationship with this outstanding business partner.