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Father and son team deliver inspirational message at INTERSECT16 conference

GridsmartBy Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

The insightful and motivational keynote presentation by a father and son team, delivered yesterday morning during the second day of the INTERSECT16 conference, would have inspired anyone – young or old, self-employed or working for someone else, established in business or starting a new company.

The three-day event, hosted by GRIDSMART, a Knoxville technology company focused of traffic control, featured National Football League (NFL) great Brian Holloway and his son, David. I’ve heard a number of motivational speeches, and their team effort ranked as one of the best.

The elder Holloway, selected in the first round of the NFL draft, is a three-time Pro Bowl player who starred as an offensive tackle for the New England Patriots. His son, a walk-on at Maryland, said he was captain of the sixth team, earning the honor by being the only member of the sixth team. He became a starting linebacker and later walked-on with the Arizona Cardinals.

“If you have a strong enough vision, you will never be denied,” David Holloway said in describing his perseverance. “We’ve all been underestimated at some point in our lives. Everyone has had their own walk-on moment.”

The duo used their personal experiences, a good deal of wisdom, and frequent humor to captivate more than 100 people from around the world who were in Knoxville for GRIDSMART’s annual conference.

Their message aligned well with the theme of the conference – “Where innovation meets execution.” And, with an eye toward showcasing the company he co-founded and the community he calls home, GRIDSMART’s Bill Malkes has teed-up the idea of Knoxville serving as a testbed for connected and self-driving vehicles. He and several of the conference attendees met yesterday with Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero to further discuss the opportunity.

GRIDSMART is an innovator in traffic control technology, and the INTERSECT16 conference is for its customers. The nearly 10-year old company makes the world’s only single camera system for intersection control and traffic data collection.

Brian Holloway described the goals that the New England Patriots established when he arrived in 1981 at a time when attendance was just a few thousand fans at a home game. The goal was not to just have a winning season or even win a single Super Bowl.

“We started saying that we were going to craft a dynasty,” he said. The team’s record would indicate that it achieved and probably far exceeded that objective.

“Playmakers are the ones that make the impossible happen,” Brian Holloway told the attendees. “I’m not telling you to do more. I’m telling you to unleash what has been given to you. You’re the playmaker; take the brakes off.”

David Holloway noted that 850 colleges passed on offering him a scholarship. Consistently reiterating the importance of a vision, he said it was an individual’s power, and it attracted the power of others.

“If you have a vision of greatness, there isn’t anything you can’t achieve,” the young Holloway said.

Their message was one that those in the audience will no doubt remember for years to come.


Tom Ballard

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer,
Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C.

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