Journal Record Staff Reporter Knowledgeable business
consultants say that the ability to draw upon personal experience
helps immeasurably in starting a new business.
Steve Porter felt that way, too. But his personal experiences
were not related to business.
Still that hasn't hampered his efforts to help high school and
college students, and people facing a mid-life career change, to
determine best career choices. His company also helps students
determine what educational choices they must make to reach career
Porter founded the Aluma Group, 425 W. Wilshire Blvd., in
January to provide aptitude and interest testing, along with
educational and career counseling, and since that time has served
"between 30 and 40 clients," he said.
"Too many people go into careers haphazardly out of college or
school and probably would be happier and more satisified with life
if they could find a career which they could enjoy," said Porter,
who majored in broadcast journalism at the University of Oklahoma
and became an investment banker out of college.
"The problem is there is not enough aptitude and interest
testing, as well as counseling, available to help people make those
"If people know what they are good at and really understand
their interests, then they can establish career goals and plan an
educational program to help them achieve those goals." But it's not
as simple as one would have you believe.
To begin with, aptitude testing is an expensive process, which
means it's done on the high school level only on a limited basis.
Interest testing is almost unheard of in public schools.
After aptitude and interest tests have been administered,
analyzed and reviewed, it takes a trained counselor to talk with a
student and explain all the ramifications of the test results.
Because of larger student populations, counselors more and more
often find themselves facing workloads which are hard to handle,
just with the routine of everyday school activities and social
problems which crop up. Not all of them can carry the extra
workload of studying and interpreting test results.
That's where companies like the Aluma Group come in.
These companies offer testing, analysis and counseling to high
school students so they can start planning their academic careers.
"Really the best time to test someone is in their sophomore
year," Porter said. "That way they start planning, even determining
which high school classes and extracurricular activities to take.
Then when they get to college, they will know more about what to
"In most cases, we can even help the students determine which
colleges and universities offer the best programs in their
particular fields." The Aluma Group was not formed because of high
school programs, however. It came about because Porter himself felt
the need for a career change.
"I guess you could say I'm one of those people who wandered
into a career unprepared, just fell into it without realizing what
I wanted to do with my life." Porter was a member of the OU track
team, competing in the quarter-mile run and mile-relay events,
while majoring in broadcast journalism in the early 1970s.
"In my senior year, I began to wonder what kind of career I was
going to have. There were no job offers in journalism; I really
didn't know what else I wanted to do, and it was almost time for me
to graduate. I wasn't prepared for it." Then, during the Big 8
track meet, Porter met a vice president of Fidelity Bank in
Oklahoma City who said he was looking for bright young people for
the investment banking department. That department was being
enlarged, and the bank was looking for people who could be trained
for that job.
That was in 1975.
"Since I didn't have a job, I felt `why not?,' so I accepted,"
Porter said. "It was fun. I learned a lot and enjoyed it and made a
good living. …