Bradley T Knott
When Bradley Knott was very young, his father was a high school teacher and a leader in the teacher’s union. It might have been an association at that time, not yet a union. One of Brad’s father’s responsibilities was to negotiate teacher contracts with management and represent them in grievances. Many times there was not a lot that could be done. The school superintendent decided what was appropriate, and his employees (the teachers) were expected to fall in line. At least that was the superintendent’s and the school board’s thoughts.
Like in all union negotiations, there was brinksmanship in the process of getting a deal done. Brad remembers negotiation time was tense around his house. His father was nervous and worried. What if his negotiating tactics did not work and the teachers had to strike? They would not get paid and would have to walk a picket line. In a small town Iowa – Carroll, in this case – in the 1960s and ‘70s, teachers were already odd. They had college degrees, didn’t work with their hands on a farm, and they had summers off. Or at least that’s what most people thought. As role models, teachers were not allowed to smoke in public or be seen in bars. If the teachers went on strike, there was little chance the community would support them. If they went back to work without a new contract, they would be frustrated and his father humiliated.
Listening to his dad express concern to his mom, Brad remembers feeling that his dad and his colleagues were helpless. They were not in control of their work day, their lives, or their destiny.
As a middle child in a large Catholic family Brad did what he could to ease the tension. He cleaned the house.
Brad has not forgotten that helpless feeling of having someone else control your destiny. In fact, it became a guiding light as he created his own career. He was determined to never be captive of one employer or one profession. He would have options, leverage and help others have the same. In college Brad studied liberal arts because he knew if he learned to read and write and also understand human behavior, he would be logical, creative and employable.
When the time came for him to get a job, for a number of reasons Brad landed in politics. There is an art and a science to politics. Elections are the ultimate expression of free will. Brad would work to elect people who made our laws and in the process meet ambitious people who could solve all kinds of problems.
After a few years working in Iowa he followed newly elected Senator Tom Harkin to Washington and became a political consultant. Within a few years Brad hedged his bet on political consulting and went to law school at night. Soon after that he found himself working on Senator Tom Harkin’s presidential campaign. After a few bends in the river of life, he was in Kentucky working for the Clinton campaign. Within a few years Brad was an Administrative Judge in the Clinton Administration. Before long, he realized large organizations were as stifling for him as being an employee would make him helpless. Brad became an adjunct professor teaching on line back when the “line” was the telephone line not the Internet!
But Brad was on the cusp of the Internet in education, and he developed an expertise in how to teach and train online. So he left the government to start a technology business providing online training.
Ten years later, Tom Slater offered Brad an unlimited supply of Templeton Rye (the good stuff) and the opportunity to buy State Public Policy Group (SPPG). Slater said his connection to Templeton Rye was solid and SPPG would provide plenty opportunities to help people with logical and creative problem solving.
Tom was right about SPPG! Brad and his partner, John Norris, are learning the business under Tom and Arlinda’s leadership. They are quickly learning how to help SPPG’s clients succeed, and through their success will be Brad and John’s.
SPPG is a good fit for Brad Knott. It is not too big to stifle innovation. It’s the intersection of politics, government, and community-based problem solving. The skills required are good thinking, writing and listening. The people who do, and have succeeded at SPPG, are a lot like Brad. All have post-graduate degrees in liberal arts and are working on their PhDs in “getting things done.” As a partner Brad feels in control of his destiny. He worries about each client, but is happy overall. And for those times when Brad feel helpless, there is always a room to clean!