Organizations across the country value the perspective that graduates from arts and social sciences bring to their work.
After his freshman year at the University of Idaho, Brice Sloan took his chainsaw and a tent and embarked on his first business venture. He and his brothers cleaned up logging sites, eventually earning enough money to upgrade from a tent to a used trailer – the first home of his company that now has offices across the West Coast and in Puerto Rico.
“We were doing the work no one else wanted to do, but it helped pay for my sophomore year in school,” Sloan recalled. “Those were pretty humble beginnings.”
While earning his history degree in three years at the U of I, Sloan studied abroad in Budapest, Hungary. That experience helped him gain confidence in unfamiliar cultures and assisted him immensely in his future work with Sloan Security Group, Inc. (SSG), which works with governments and companies around the globe.
Since those primitive early days, the company slowly evolved. They began installing roadside fencing and eventually found a niche in perimeter security. SSG has become one of the top physical security companies in the world. They’ve installed security systems in many different countries and landed contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense, Uber and Google, among many others. Sloan serves as CEO, leaning on his education and diverse background to lead the company forward.
“History, in effect, is a study in leadership,” Sloan said. “That really became my passion – understanding leadership, how it happens and how we can grow, develop and continuously improve. Our goal as a company is to rise to challenges and overcome those challenges.”
As Sloan can attest, graduates in the humanities develop analytical skills that lead to careers in a wide variety of industries. A 2018 study by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences showed that more than 95% of those with terminal bachelor’s degrees in the humanities were employed.
Named the 2021 Engineering News-Record Specialty Contractor of the Year in the Mountain States region, the Boise-based company has won numerous awards for its innovation and workplace culture. Sloan now serves on the U of I’s College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences Advisory Council. The group helps promote the college, offers advice on programming, and provides resources and support. It’s been a fulfilling partnership for Sloan, whose company is filled with Vandals. His brothers and business partners Collin and Greg, along with CFO Hank Vincent, are all U of I grads. The SSG management team contributes to scholarships and funds for students in need.
“The challenges the U of I is facing are amazing and I’m really impressed by the progress they’re making,” Sloan said. “I want to help the next group of students and entrepreneurs because a lot of people have helped me along the way.”