By Dan Weddle, President, ProTech Systems Group Inc.
In today’s world, technology is a part of everything we do and most of us have minimum of two or three devices with internet access that follows everywhere we go. It’s hard to remember the days when phones were hard-wired, cars didn’t talk to us and we couldn’t simply push a button on a device to get the answers to everything from how to find the nearest drug store to who won the World Series in 1953.
That’s why it’s hard for us to imagine that some people don’t have access to this technology - that there are still children – and adults – who don’t have a basic knowledge of how to use a computer. For adults, this can be a major stumbling block to finding a job. For the youth of today, it can be an impediment to an education.
That’s why ProTech, as a tech company, focuses much of its “giving back” efforts in its own wheelhouse — technology. You don’t find many companies these days that don’t make some sort of philanthropic efforts in the community. Where the difference lies is in giving back in a way that can have the most impact and that’s why we focus on what we know.
Why do we bother? For many reasons – but not the ones that first come to mind. Sure, it’s a tax break. And, sure, it makes us look like one of the good guys to our customers. But if those were our only reasons, we’d just write a check and a press release. Like most corporations, we have long quit basing our philanthropy on how much PR it will generate. We’d like to think that our charitable efforts have contributed to building an employee culture based on strong values, collaborative efforts and sharing.
We’ve been strong supporters of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for many years and an annual presence at the FedEx-St. Jude golf tournament. Our employees have turned out in force to help the Madonna Learning Center in its technology needs and its recent move to a new location. We’ve provided technology support to the National Civil Rights Museum and helped fund countless other projects in the community.
Our primary giving, however, is centered on Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis (BGCM). We donate technology and our employees spend time installing and maintaining it and training the end users. We’ve partnered with other local companies to build and furnish a technology center for the clubs. We keep computers and servers updated to the latest programs and technology and much more.
Although a big part of our partnership with BGCM includes a financial investment to improve the organization’s technology, our involvement goes far beyond that. ProTech employees strive to make an impact on students’ lives by volunteering their time as role models and career mentors. We bring our clients to monthly dinners and encourage them to join us in supporting the organization.
ProTech’s adoption of the Boys & Girls Club has been a very rewarding experience for our entire company. Committing our resources to this organization has truly given our team a sense of ownership that was missing in previous charitable efforts. Everyone in the company gets involved in one way or another. From our engineers, who volunteer to tackle a technical task or issue, to people volunteering for a phone-a-thon, to employees donating toys and placing toy collection boxes for our annual Toy Bash.
Earlier this year, ProTech and our CEO Steve Bargiacchi got an unprecedented level of recognition from Boys & Girls Clubs of America – earning both the National Medallion Award and National Award of Merit in the same year. The company and Steve were nominated by BCGM CEO Keith Blanchard and his team. Worthy nominees are submitted from clubs all across the country. These two awards are the highest level of recognition the Boys & Girls Clubs of America gives to its supporters and they are presented to recognize dedicated and unusual service, resources and overall support of the mission of the Boys & Girls Club.
We include the Boys & Girls Club in everything we do. We talk with our customers, our vendors, our family, our friends and anyone that will listen about the mission of the Boys & Girls Club. We’re proud of our involvement in other organizations, but Boys and Girls Club is our biggest effort and it has become a part of our company’s culture. Because they’re a part of making it happen, our employees have a sense of pride and ownership in seeing the outcome of our efforts.
By wholeheartedly adopting a culture of giving back, we’ve created a way for our team members to be a part of ProTech’s efforts and we’ve chosen an avenue through which they can share their own unique talents in the technology field.