I was driving in my car listening to talk radio when a caller suggested that each classroom have a throw out ladder, so in the event of an emergency the children could climb down the ladder and escape.
However, this call got me thinking about the procedures and policies that are in place in our schools today. I will never forget how the radio host belittled this gentleman by saying “that is the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”
I remember telling myself how stupid it is to sit and wait for first responders. Although heroic and helpful, they are implemented in the aftermath of such an immediate tragedy. There has to be a better way. And the idea for Slide to Safety was born.
“Our Slide Saves Lives”
THE TEAM. The team at Slide to Safety is dedicated to our mission to save lives through our evacuation slide’s patented design.
We take a proactive approach to preparedness. Our committed team members are here to answer questions and continue to share our knowledge about the product with key stakeholders. Slide to Safety’s fire escape slide acts as an easy to use emergency preparedness evacuation plan that inflates and saves lives within seconds. Continue reading to learn more about the people responsible for our innovative safety plan; the faces behind Slide to Safety.
Blair White has never been a stranger to the life of a businessman. As a 10 year old child he was sitting in on various business meetings and dealings with his father. You could say that Blair had proved to have a natural business sense about him which truly paved the road for his future accomplishments. This vivacious child began flying airplanes at the mere age of 12 and helicopters at the age of 15. By the age of 17 this ambitious young man had become the youngest airplane and helicopter pilot in the nation.
By the age of 20, Blair purchased his first new car dealership which later expanded into 4 locations with over 400 employees. He managed to become the youngest dealer in Chrysler Motors history. As if this were not enough to achieve in one’s lifetime, in the mid 2000’s Blair went on to purchase and operate a helicopter repair and maintenance facility where he became the number one Bell Helicopter parts supplier in the U.S.
Unfortunately, even the most knowledgeable business man can succumb to recession. In 2008, economic crisis struck the U.S and Chrysler Motor Company’s bankruptcy impacted Blair’s success. Blair was forced to close his dealerships, but as they say “you can’t keep a good man down.” Being the overachiever that he has always been, he came to the realization that his life and legacy needed something more than normal day to day business transactions.
Soon after the Sandy Hook shooting took place Blair felt compelled to make a difference and create something that could prevent these tragedies. So, he developed and patented Slide To Safety. He knew then, with the implementation of Slide To Safety it would change the way we think of escaping during emergency situations and save many lives in the years to come.
“Life is not simply what you do while you are alive but is about the change you make for the future of the world when you are gone.”
Mika Crace came from humble beginnings and a very hard working family. Watching her mother’s determination to succeed instilled an impeccable work ethic and an eagerness to obtain knowledge. It was clear from a young age that Mika had a love for the arts. She spent much of her young adult life writing, taking every chance to work when the opportunity presented itself. A saying her father told her would always resonate in the back of her mind: “It is better to know much about several things than a lot about one thing.” With this in mind, Mika would go on to take several types of positions to learn as much as she could about anything she found interesting. When she was 22, she moved to California and pursued a career in modeling for 10 years.
At this point in her life she was ready to return home to be closer to her family and venture back into the world of business. Mika took a position with a worldwide staffing firm and received two promotions within her first year of employment. With her eagerness for change and knowledge, she found Slide To Safety.
She would soon take on a position with the company and become their VP of Operations. She is truly versed in several types of business and is always on the pursuit for knowledge.
“Knowledge is power, and you are never too old to learn something new.”
Ron Crater grew up working the furniture industry with his family. In fact, they had one of the largest furniture chains in his home state of Florida. Ron was actually born in Cleveland Ohio, but one year his family (his parents and four siblings) went on a vacation to Florida when he was one year old, and they loved it so much they bought a house and stayed there! Ron’s father went home to sell their house and business in Ohio while the family adjusted to life in St. Petersburg.
Despite Ron’s father retiring and selling the company, he stayed in the furniture industry, focusing on manufacturing, retail, wholesale, and importing. That is, until Stephen and Donna started FreeStyle Slides. Ron is passionate about creating and designing products that no one else does because they aren’t capable or don’t believe it’s possible. That brought Ron to FreeStyle Slides, where he is the Operations Manager. He says the most rewarding part of the job is creating a product that, without a doubt, saves lives; he believes it gives you an indescribable feeling!
“Never ever give up in business, if people tell you you’re crazy, that normally means your doing the right thing and don’t stop.”
Cydney Metz’s candid and engaging personality is the first thing you will notice when meeting her. Her passion for her work with Slide to Safety is unmistakable. When asked what is the hardest part of her job, she said, it is to answer the question “What is Slide to Safety?” briefly. Her enthusiasm is contagious and makes it hard for her to give a 10 second “elevator pitch.” Her passion for her work is only trumped by her passion and love for her family. When I asked her what she is most proud of she handed me her iPhone. There on her screensaver is a picture of she and her 8 year old son, both with infectious smiles.
Cydney’s brother would describe his sister in 3 words: loyal, curious and tenacious. Her father adds that even as a young child Cydney has always colored outside of the proverbial box. Her independent and passionate spirit is what drives her. She’s never met a person or animal she is unwilling to help. If you see a lady behind Starbucks early in the morning feeding a pack of stray dogs, it’s probably Cydney. She is never deterred by challenges, but rather sees them as opportunities. When she believes strongly in something she is unstoppable. Implementing Slide to Safety nationwide in all schools is no exception.
Cydney graduated from Virginia Episcopal School and then went onto N.C. State and Elon University before finishing her degrees at The University of Charleston. She graduated with double bachelor degrees in Political Science and English and a minor in Paralegal Studies. Upon graduation she moved to Charlotte,NC where she worked as a Structured Settlement Broker. In 2002, she opened a retail store that she then sold in 2005 to return to school.
Cydney graduated from the National Automotive Dealership Association Academy in 2006, then worked with her father and brother at their respected dealerships. In 2011 she launched her own lifestyle brand apparel company. After her mother’s passing in April of 2015 she knew there was no more important job than to help implement Slide to Safety.
Cydney is the VP of Public Relations. She is committed to spreading awareness about the importance of Slide to Safety as well as working to pass legislation.
Stephen Philp is no stranger to the American Dream. In 1996, Philp immigrated from South Africa, where he was born and raised, to the United States with the dream of owning his own business. Roughly six years later, Philp founded FreeStyle Slides, Inc., which is known as the world’s leading bespoke manufacturer of inflatable slide technology! Philp’s company has set world records and created many of the world’s firsts, including the world’s largest inflatable water slides!
CEO Blair White heard about FreeStyle Slides, INC in 2013. FreeStyle Slides is known for heavily investing and focusing on new product development. Their product line is custom, by nature. After Philp learned more about Blair’s idea for rapid evacuation slides and the patented evacuation system, he contracted with Slide To Safety to build the first inflatable evacuation slide for any building. Now FreeStyle Slides is a proud partner of Slide To Safety, just as dedicated to providing everyone with an easy, alternate escape route for any emergency situation.
Jan Allison represents Nu expression, the company that manages the marketing, website and graphic design for Slide to Safety. Jan and her team knew immediately after meeting with Blair that he had an ingenious, yet simple idea that was going to save lives. Nu expression eagerly joined the Slide to Safety team in 2014 and we are looking forward to lives being saved using the slide.
Jan and her team of 8 are located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The team supports the efforts of Slide to Safety by providing website design, content writing, graphic design, facebook and other social media management, print, blog writing and other marketing strategy. Every Nu team member has responsibilities in bringing the rapid evacuation slide to reality, and they all take great pride in knowing what they do will one day make a difference!
Personally, Jan is the President of Sales and Operations for Nu expression. Jan possesses a MBA from Wake Forest University and has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, having owned several businesses. In 2008 Jan was awarded the Make Mine a Million $ Business Award by Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence. Her desire to help all businesses succeed shows through with every client she encounters at Nu expression.
Brian Leimone is the Director of Web Development at Nu expression. Nu expression is a creative design studio located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Our team of eight is handling all of the marketing needs for Slide to Safety. Whether it is the graphic design, printing, social media, website design, or the overall marketing strategy Nu expression is helping to save lives by helping to spread the word about this amazing project. Every Nu team member has responsibilities in bringing the rapid evacuation slide to reality, and they all take great pride in knowing what they do will one day make a difference!
Personally, Brian is one of the owners at Nu expression. From a very early age Brian has always felt comfortable helping and leading others in whatever he did. Whether it was in Boy Scout earning his Eagle Scout, becoming a shift manager at Chick-fil-a in High School, being awarded the “Who’s Who in American Colleges” award, and even opening a Coffee Shop, a life dream of his at the age of 25. Through all of these years, he has been helping businesses succeed online by building websites for over 17 years.