ASD senior an app pupil

NASHUA – Founding a successful business was only the beginning for Brian Apple, entrepreneur and soon-to-be graduate of the Academy for Science and Design in Nashua.

Apple, 17, is part of a team of students, including Tony Edvalson and Rylee Noorda, who developed the idea for the PickUp Patrol app as a First Lego League project at Mont Vernon Village School in 2009. The app allows easier communication between schools and parents to arrange student dismissals or to adjust after-school plans.

"PickUp Patrol is doing well. We just brought in another big school district," Apple said in a May interview at his school. Apple and the other founders cover all angles of the company. "We came up with the idea, and we do a little bit of everything," he said, naming marketing, communication and sales tasks.

"In the earlier stages, I was also helping code the application – the role is kind of in flux," he said.

Founded by parent mentors Maria and Eric Edvalson in 2014, the company has been guided by Alpha Loft’s Accelerate NH program, an incubator for new businesses in Nashua. After launching in Mont Vernon, the app has spread to cities and towns across the region, including Peterborough; North Hampton; Merrimack; Amherst and Harwich, Mass. The company has also garnered interest from schools in Texas and South Carolina.

Last November, the team won the $40,000 grand prize at the 2015 Seacoast NH Start-Up competition for PickUp Patrol. Any money is invested back into the app, but Apple said he and the other students are compensated with shares of the company.

As he prepares to head off to Bentley University this fall, Apple said he will be playing less of a role in the company.

"I definitely want to come back to it and check in on breaks, but I won’t be as involved as I am now," he said.

For more information about PickUp Patrol, see the website at www.pickuppatrol.net.

Looking forward to Bentley, Apple said he plans to focus on business studies.

"I’m really excited – I’ll probably major in some form of business, maybe accounting, I’m not sure yet," he said. "The cool part about Bentley is you can take the first year to try all these different business classes."

The other selling point on Bentley is the high job placement rate, which is close to 99 percent, he said.

"Every student I spoke with had a job lined up; I don’t want a lull after college," he said.

Bentley also has the perfect club to satisfy an adventurous spirit.

"Bentley has a skydiving club – I really want to go; it’s on my bucket list," he said.

On a more serious note, Apple said he’s looking forward to college providing a transition between high school and adult life.

"College is a stepping stone … making the transition process much easier," he said.

The ASD graduation is coming up Friday, June 10, and Apple will be among the school’s largest graduating class so far, with about 30 other seniors. Starting in seventh grade, Apple has been a part of the school for six years.

"I love ASD. I honestly attribute a lot of my work ethic and knowledge and success in general to this school, mostly because this population has this high respect and great attitude toward pursuing higher education and treating higher education with respect," he said, adding that the enthusiasm for learning made him a better student.

With the positive experience in mind, he said the biggest obstacle to joining ASD was getting acclimated to the new school.

"The attitude at ASD is much more indicative of a college or university; it was a big jump from elementary school to seventh, eighth and ninth grade," Apple said.

Given the chance to share advice with younger ASD students, he said, "Don’t look at class as an obligation." He encouraged students to see school not as a mandatory task, but as an opportunity to begin learning foundations for a future career – something that will only make life easier as academics become more complicated.

"I think it goes back to the attitude I learned here; I’m just passing it on," he said.

Tina Forbes can be reached at 594-6402, tforbes@nashuatelegraph. com or @Telegraph_TinaF.