When the Business Times handed out its Family Business Awards in 2012, we recognized Art Geringer, an entrepreneur who was happily showing up at the office every day at age 89.
Geringer was a pioneer in building safety who devised a fail-safe lock that allows people to exit high rise buildings in case of an emergency.
The magnetized door lock that he designed in the early 1970s became Security Door Controls, a business that eventually held more than 40 patents. After starting out in Tarzana, the company moved to Camarillo where it continued to create most of its innovations.
Over the years, SDC, as the company is known, produced innovative devices that help notify store owners about exiting shoplifters. Others kept Alzheimer’s patients from wandering away from secure facilities.
SDC grew from a company with just two employees to more than 100 at the time we honored them four years ago. Multiple generations of Geringers joined the business and helped run it.
Their products are used to secure doors and provide emergency access at museums, banks and airports worldwide. More than 150 different devices are part of SDC’s inventory and most of the manufacturing is done right here in Ventura County.
Geringer took home most of the honors bestowed within the hardware industry and we were delighted to honor him and SDC at our 2012 program.
He passed away Sept. 5 at age 93 but the business is in the capable hands of his son, daughter and grandson.
If you knew him or did business with SDC, you can leave a condolence note at www.sdcsecurity.expert/people/art-geringer-in-memoriam.
Ignominious ending for Brooks Institute
Brooks Institute will close its doors next month, putting about 150 people out of work and leaving hundreds of students scrambling to make plans for their future education.
It will also dash hopes for the city of Ventura to host a campus downtown for students studying photography and visual arts. Gphomestay, a Massachusetts-based company that bought the school from Career Education, has been tight-lipped about the reasons for the closing.
Correcting a previous editorial in the Business Times, Brooks was founded as a private for-profit enterprise by Ernie Brooks, a colorful entrepreneur and talented guy who originally envisioned a six-month course in the field of photography.
He started in Lompoc and moved to Santa Barbara to open the school in 1945. A second generation of Brooks family members owned the institute at the time of its sale to Career Education in the late 1990s.
It’s too bad the Brooks family didn’t convert the operation into a nonprofit, merge with a more sustainable institution or remain an independent company. The sale to Career Education led Brooks into the eye of the storm over for-profit education and student loan abuses that have decimated the industry.
That’s too bad because Ernie Brooks was a clever businessman who deserves a better legacy.