Children: Daughter, Taylor - 16, and Son, Justus - 13
Occupation: Supervisor of Facilities, Technology, Library and Media, and Textbooks for Blount County Schools.
As the upcoming school year approaches, Brian Bell, supervisor of Facilities, Technology, Library and Media, and Textbooks for Blount County Schools, is working to make sure the two newest schools in the Blount County school system open on time. Bell says opening a school is not like opening any other type business.
“What sets us apart from other businesses is we have a set timeline, and we can’t afford to be two weeks late,” he says. “The automatic timeline starts the minute we turn the first shovel of dirt.” Bell says one of the goals he has with every building the system opens up is to impress the individuals who use those facilities. “We want to make sure when teachers and students come, their first impression is jaw-dropping awe,” he says.
• What was your first paying job?
“Washing dishes, pots and pans at the Towne Bakery in Price, Utah, when I was 14. That place had the world’s best pizza until it burned down a couple of years ago.”
• If you could do one impulsive thing, unrestricted by cost, what would it be?
“Take a year off and follow the NASCAR circuit around the country driving a new 2008 Dodge Challenger. Think of all the areas of the country NASCAR goes into and all the things you could see along the way.”
• What are you guilty of?
“Letting a few tears slide out every time I watch, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’”
• What is one thing you have always wanted to do but haven’t?
“Take a train trip through the Canadian Rockies.”
• Do you think there is life on other planets?
“Yes. I think I’ve received junk email from many of them.”
• What is your favorite material possession?
“A couple framed black and white photos of areas around my home town in Utah. I’ve just had them for a long time. Also, I’m very fond of my cowboy boot collection.”
• What are you reading currently?
“The Bourne Betrayal by Eric Van Lustbader.”
• Who has been the most influential person in the 20th century?
“Steve Jobs. We are living in the world he first imagined when he and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computers in the mid ‘70s. I think everyone scoffed when he described his vision of an affordable computer in every home. Look at us now. Most kids carry what is basically a portable computer (cell phone) in their pockets everyday.”
• What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Invariably, when talking with someone, they always say, ‘Oh, you must be so busy.’ I am, and I like it that way. We have so much to do in our schools, and they are so important to our communities. Being busy making necessary improvements, changes and technology upgrades really feels very good and satisfying.”
• When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
“Since I can remember, I wanted to be like my dad and be a high school football coach and a teacher. I am very fortunate that I became both.”
• If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“Taking time to give back to the community. I have a wonderful home and a great life in Maryville. I have really fallen in love with the community. As of yet, I have not had the time to give back to the community in a substantial way. I am working on that.”
• What is your passion?
“My two children. Not only are they great kids and I love them dearly, but they may be the two most interesting people I know. I learn something new every day from them, and we laugh together often.”
• With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“Several good friends I played football with in college. I haven’t seen them in over 20 years. I’d love to find out how they turned out. We were all a little scary back then.”
• What do you hate?
“Macaroni and Cheese - it’s a long story. When I was in elementary school, I wanted to go out to recess so I stuffed it in a milk carton with milk and mashed potatoes. The lunch room monitor made me eat it out of there.”
• What is your all-time favorite movie?
“ ‘The Vikings’ with Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis. It’s the best movie ever. There’s a scene in a castle, and it’s an epic sword fight. It’s my favorite scene in cinema.”
• What is the best book you’ve ever read?
“ ‘The 13th Valley’ by John Del Vecchio. I reread it about every five years. The part at the end where the spider is chasing Egan is my favorite scene in literature.”
• Would you travel in space?
“Yes, but I would rather go to Montana. Montana is the most beautiful place in America. You could spend two weeks driving in Montana and have a great vacation.”
• If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“The 1920s. What a fun, optimistic time for our country! You had the automobile affordable to almost everyone. It was the golden age of sports with greats like Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and Red Grange. Radio was just starting. I would love to walk down Broadway in Maryville in the mid ‘20s and just watch and listen.”
• What character in a book or movie would you most like to be?
“James Bond. He has cool toys, outsmarts the bad guys, saves the world and always gets the girl.”
• What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“My girlfriend recently surprised me with an iPhone. I think I screamed like a little girl.”
• What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“Pick up your own clothes from your bedroom floor. Your arms aren’t painted on.”
• Who is your hero?
“My father. He has the greatest sense of right and wrong of any person I’ve ever met.”
• What was your first car?
“An old orange Volkswagen Beetle.”
• Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
“It is always full. Every once in a while I just get a little spilled out.”