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Statistics wonk tracks 10,000 walking miles

Former Kenly mayor keeps detailed records of almost everything

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KENLY— As president of Brightleaf Insurance Associates and the Insurance Shoppe in Smithfield, former Kenly mayor David Grady said he has always been fascinated with keeping records.

“I have always been a numbers person,” said Grady.

Grady, a resident of Kenly, has been in the insurance business for 43 years and served as mayor of Kenly from 2001-03 and 2009-16.

While many of the records Grady keeps have practical applications in both his business and private life, he would be the first to admit they all do not. Some could even be considered strange, bizarre or ridiculous.

Grady’s record-keeping is based upon a system that involves task sheets.

Like many people, Grady keeps records of such things as his car’s gas mileage, phone calls made and received on various subjects and birthdays of his insurance clients.

However, being an avid golfer, Grady also keeps up with statistics related to his golf game and can readily tell anyone who wants to know that between 2001 and 2018, he played 1,143 rounds of golf using 96,005 total strokes for an average score of 82.12 strokes per 18-hole round.

Grady can tell you he purchased his 2006 Volvo XC90 SUV in 2008 and has had it for 3,706 days.

Further, he has pumped 7,345.5 gallons of gasoline into the vehicle, has averaged 17.59 miles per gallon over the period and knows to the penny how much he has spent maintaining the car including gasoline, tires and all other accessories. The amount is $24,100.17

Grady said he likes to read and does so almost every day.

Using his task sheet system, he can report that since Nov. 3, 2012 he has read some 309 books and each one has taken him an average of 22.76 days to complete.

Grady explained how he got into the practice of keeping records in this manner.

“Back around 1981, I started an office NFL picks football pool using charts that were printed on copy paper and faxed to everybody in the contest,” said Grady.

He said after about 8-10 years of operating that way, he decided there had to be an easier way of doing things.

Grady said in 1990-91, his insurance office began using a new computer program called Corel Word Perfect.

He tried using that program for performing tasks both in his business and his personal life and found that it worked to his liking.

“On Jan 4, 1991, I started doing task sheets to help with lots of things and turned it into applications that I could use with tasks like jobs, names, contacts, tickets to a ball games, just about everything,” said Grady.

Grady said one of the biggest reasons he decided to implement the system was so it could serve as a backup for items he used in his insurance business.

“No matter what the task was, I could look back and see what I needed to know,” said Grady.“I now use this technology all the time and it has helped me learn how to manage my time better.”

Grady said he realizes his record-keeping methods border on obsession and he is aware his office staff sometimes laughs at his practices.

“They think I am an idiot,” he said.

Early on in his record-keeping, Grady said he was inspired by Hamp Etheridge, owner of Etheridge Oil and Ace Transport in Kenly.

“I went to see him and found out he had saved everything in his life by writing things down on legal pads,” said Grady.

Grady said he employed the same system and philosophy except he substituted task sheets for legal pads.

Grady said additional inspiration came from Sid Edwards, who ran the Kenly IGA supermarket for years and taught him about having a work ethic and how to set priorities.

In November 2008, on the advice of Dr. Stan Watson, Grady began walking to help control his diabetes.

At first he walked the streets of Kenly using a pedometer so he knew exactly how far he was walking whether it was one block or throughout town.

He did this for about three years and tried to walk about 2 ½ to 3 miles each day.

Grady got his dog, Stella, on March 1, 2011 and began walking with her on the Kenly Parks and Recreation Center walking track.

He set a goal at that time of walking 10,000 miles before his 65th birthday that comes up later this year on Sept. 17.

He got another dog, Carley Sue, in 2015 and Grady and the dogs are continuing toward reaching Grady’s 10,000-mile goal.

In the meantime, Grady can provide even more statistics regarding the walking project.

For instance, last month between April 17 and May 7, Grady walked 209,347 steps, or 62 miles.

Since last Sept. 17, Grady has walked 1,911,669 steps, or an average of 8,030 steps per day.

On Interstate 40 westbound just outside Wilmington, there used to be a highway road sign that read “Barstow, California — 2,554 miles.”

The sign has since been stolen, although Grady said he noticed it years ago when his two children, Tyler and Amber, were in school at UNC-Wilmington.

“When I saw it, I wondered how long it would take me to walk that far,” said Grady.

After plugging in the figures based on his walking task sheets, he determined the answer was 855 days.

“I am a goal-setter,” said Grady. “If there is a secret to my success, it has been that I have set goals and have always strived to reach them.”