Based on my experience (I’m 6′, 200 lbs), a 250 might be a mite too small. It can be done, but you might be more comfortable with a 500 (esp. in getting up to speed on the highway). Check out the Suzuki GS500F…sportbike style, but upright riding position.
By all means take the BRC. It’s a standardized course with trained instructors and a set cirriculum…you’ll learn an immense amount, including stuff that your coworker may not know or may forget (not saying he’s not an expert of course, just that the BRC course builds in failsafes to make sure you get everything you need). Also, in most states, you can take the DMV course at the end of the BRC, saving you the hassle of the DMV.