By Bill May
Journal Record Staff Reporter
After years of thinking about it, Jana and Lonnie Phillips
finally made the move late last year and now they couldn't be
happier, they said.
The Phillipses are owners, operators, instructor, curriculum
writer, accountant, hardware specialist and consultant for PC
Learning Center, 4101 Perimeter Center, which specializes in
teaching how to use software on today's personal computers.
Although they started putting the company together late last
year, the first class of seven students didn't start until
January. Now, they have classes scheduled Monday through
Saturday, both day and evening.
Classes, which are limited to seven students each, range from
introduction to personal computers to the latest sophisticated
software on the market.
"We felt that was the right amount of students to have at one
time so they could learn more easily," said Jana, who has six
years experience teaching computer applications at
vocational-technical education centers and community colleges.
"If we have more students than that, then we have a big spread on
capabilities where some are faster than others and they lose
interest. Even with keeping classes this small, I still have had
to develop certain exercises for those faster students to keep
them occupied while the slower ones are still struggling."
Before teaching computers, Jana wrote curriculum for a couple
of private companies which operate similar to PC Learning Center,
"We saw what the other companies did wrong and we both felt
that we could make something like this go," she said. "So far, it
seems that we were right."
What is making the company successful is the blending of the
talents of the pair, who have been married for 17 years.
"I like to write curriculum and I really enjoy teaching," she
said. "But I never could have done something like this on my own,
for it's hard for me to sell myself.
"But Lonnie has the great management abilities, the ability to
market the company and do all the other things which gives me
time for the classroom."
Lonnie, an accountant, has been involved with computers since
"practically the beginning," he said.
"I know what it's like to do a spreadsheet by hand, then make
all the corrections and ensure that all the totals are redone to
make sure they are right," he said "When the personal computers
came along, because I was in accounting, it was right up my alley
and I got involved almost immediately. But, I could see some of
the problems with the software that was developed.
"Now with a spreadsheet it's great to do the work, then make a
correction in one column and see all the other columns
immediately corrected at one time. It sure makes things a lot
Besides handling the management, business and marketing end of
the company, Lonnie also has become a self-taught expert on
computer hardware and serves as a consultant to help companies
upgrade their equipment.
"One reason we got into this is that with all the computer
(retail) companies out there, they don't want to do training," he
said. "They have people who understand how to install and set up
a computer, but they can't teach you how to operate the software;
that's not what they are in business for.
"In fact, a lot of our referrals come to us from those
companies that sell computers.
"I think that we have a good partnership here. Jana always has
been a good writer and understands how to write a curriculum and
how to teach the computer software so that anyone can understand
it. I think we work well together."
What has driven the company so far is the same thing which has
driven the computer industry for the past few years, Jana said.
"When I got involved with this industry, the hardware was the
thing," she said. …