Clark County at Work: 911 Driving School
Monday, September 10, 2012
Business name: 911 Driving School, a franchise business.
Owners: Mike Hair, Brenda Gardner and Syd Muzzy.
Address: 13009 N.E. Highway 99.
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What the business does: 911 Driving School primarily provides traffic safety education to teenagers. The driving school also provides driver's education for adults, assessment drives as requested by medical providers or individuals, defensive driving as required by a traffic court and senior defensive driving.
Building the business: The owners said they strive to provide a program with the highest of standards, knowing that word of mouth is their strongest advertising. They focus their advertising dollars by sponsoring high school teams, advertising in school newspapers, donating scholarships to booster group auctions, etc.
Greatest challenge: The owners agree that their greatest challenge is in recruiting and training police officers to teach at the level of standards established by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and to distinguish 911 Driving School as the only traffic safety education school using law enforcement officers as instructors.
Favorite part of the job: Syd Muzzy and Mike Hair each said teaching kids is a favorite part of their job. They have seen first-hand the consequences of unsafe driving and they are dedicated to teaching students to be safe drivers. They also enjoy being able to have mentoring relationships with young people.
What's ahead for the driving school: A second school will open sometime this fall and start offering classes in east Vancouver at 192nd Avenue Station. Currently graduates of the driving school may take the state written exam at the Salmon Creek school and in the near future they expect to be able to offer the driving test also.
Owners' background: Muzzy is a former school teacher, coach and administrator. He also served as Regional Traffic Safety Coordinator for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Hair was a Washington State Patrol trooper from 1970 until 1998. After retiring from WSP, he became a traffic safety instructor for Education Service District 112 and the Vancouver school district until he quit to start the driving school. Brenda Gardner worked for State Farm Insurance as an auto claims representative from 1989 until 2005 investigating and settling auto accident claims.
Year established in Clark County: 2009.
Employees: 24 part-time.
Hours: Noon to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, during the school year.