Business name: A & J Educational & Professional Consulting LLC.
Owners: Jan Howell-Spiesman and Adrian Walker.
Company address: 1417 N.W. 136th St., Vancouver and 1404 Clearfork, Lockhart, Texas.
What the business does: A & J works mostly with principals and teachers to help them master the skills of nonverbal communication and student management called ENVoY, which stands for Educational Non-Verbal Yardsticks (“The ‘o’ was put in because ‘envy’ wouldn’t have been a good acronym,” co-founder Jan Howell-Spiesman said.) The program is based on research by founder Michael Grinder. Howell-Spiesman and Adrian Walker offer a micro-model that helps teachers learn how to respectfully and efficiently manage all students, especially the most at-risk and difficult-to-manage learners. After training, they support teachers and administrators with on-site coaching in classrooms, common areas like hallways, and parent-staff conferences to insure maximum and effective implementation. The company also offers a variety of other consulting and training programs including summer institute classes, educational and corporate workshops, couples’ communication retreats and administrative coaching and mentor lab trainings.
How has the economy affected your business: Since beginning in 2007, Howell-Spiesman and Walker have been able to expand their consumer base consistently each year. Howell-Spiesman said they began working with just five schools and are now serving numerous elementary, middle and high schools across the United States. Some funding for schools has been available through federal grants, professional development budgets, educational stimulus and reform budgets.
Greatest challenge: The former teachers say their greatest challenge is getting their message out to school and business cultures, and explaining how it affects student achievement and employee productivity. Currently, their company is growing faster than they can keep pace with. Howell-Spiesman said they are at a cross-roads. If they want to be able to keep up with the current growth, they will have to have a larger employee base.
What’s ahead: Last month Howell-Spiesman and Walker hired a full-time bookkeeper and they plan to hire and train additional associates to help reduce the amount of time they spend traveling throughout the United States. The two also plan to hire a marketing professional and to purchase newer office and presentation equipment. They are working on a couple of publications to enhance their workshops and mastery of skills taught in trainings. They are developing additional workshops which they will introduce this winter. They would like to expand into the corporate arena as well as couples’ communication retreats as the economy improves.
Year established in Clark County: June 2007.
Employees: 11 part-time.
Hours: E-mail or call for consultation.