Family-owned business celebrates its 30th anniversary in technology training and process improvement
Let’s reflect on the year 1989. Microsoft released its first Office bundle. Apple introduced the popular Macintosh IIci. And, Corel launched WordPerfect 5.1 as a versatile DOS solution. Lotus Notes rolled out its desktop workflow system for businesses. And, the internet became globally accessible as the World Wide Web.
These technological inventions redefined the way businesses do business and paved the way for all the innovations to follow. Plus, they changed the way people approach their careers, professional skill sets, and personal lives.
Also in 1989, Josephine and Richard Collins, of Chester Springs, founded Springhouse Education & Consulting Services, a start-up to teach people how to use their computers and the current software. This year, Springhouse is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
In the 1980s, Jo, a retired sixth-grade teacher with an entrepreneurial spirit, was starting to sell custom, decorated birdhouses. When she computerized her fledgling business, she took a local class to learn the technology. But, she soon recognized that quality computer instruction was lacking. In the same timeframe, Rich Collins was the CEO of an NYC financial company. He saw first-hand how desktop PCs were transforming business management at a fast pace. And he realized that it was moving faster than employees could be trained and become proficient on the new technology.
Collins reflects, “Between her teaching career and my business experience, we had the incentive to start our own business to train and consult in the desktop computer world.”
Springhouse in the beginning
In the early years, Springhouse’s cornerstone courses were WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3, Harvard Graphics, and DOS (disk operating system). “Jo learned all the software. Then, she wrote the curriculum, created the exercises, and developed the student files. Plus, she taught the classes. She was highly successful, and our reputation for quality grew quickly,” he recalls.
At that time, he remembers, computers were met with resistance. Learning a seemingly complicated alternative to traditional office management was not welcomed with open arms. He says, “Just starting out, we knew we had to highlight efficiency, show how it could make jobs easier, and emphasize how they could learn valuable skills while their employers gained a competitive edge.”
As businesses began to fully integrate technology into their operations, Springhouse helped them bridge the gap between need and know-how. Then, technology solutions evolved from software on disks, that were upgraded every few years, to cloud-based services that change much more frequently. And, Springhouse continued to be a trusted resource for continuing education, professional development, and certification preparation.
The growth of the business
Springhouse opened as a single classroom in the Marsh Creek Corporate Center in Exton. As demand grew, it moved to a more spacious building on Pennsylvania Drive in Eagleview. In 2014, Springhouse relocated to Eagleview Boulevard. Still there, it has five dedicated computer labs and offers more than 450 courses in its catalog.*
“Early computer training assumed students had no technical background,” says Rich. “Today, students already have a foundation of knowledge on more complex topics because of how technology is integrated into their daily lives from a young age.”
In the 30 years, Springhouse has broadened its services to become technology integration consultants for many large enterprises in Greater Philadelphia. Its clients include businesses in the pharmaceutical, investment, academic, retail, banking, transportation, and government industries.
In addition, Adrienne Cooper, Vice President of Education, says, “Many of our competitors are either solely trainers or they only provide consulting. We collaborate with businesses of all sizes, help them address their pain points, and then guide them through the technology implementation process. Plus, we teach and mentor their workforce on the new technology and processes. Providing 360-degree technology support as we do makes us somewhat of a polka-dotted unicorn in our industry. It’s rare.”
Springhouse going forward
Also unique is that Springhouse continues to be family owned and operated. Jo has retired, but Rich still supports the Springhouse team on technology trends to watch, training solutions to consider, and prospects to pursue. Today, the day-to-day decisions are managed by Bruce Cooper, CEO; Allison Dhuy, Vice President of Operations; and Adrienne Cooper. (Adrienne is the Collins’ daughter and Bruce is their son-in-law.)
“Springhouse has staying power because our entire team is willing to update their skills and our offerings to reflect the most advanced versions of technology in consulting and in the classroom,” says Rich Collins.
As a business, Springhouse relies on an industry that is continuously rolling out new advancements. Therefore, businesses and their employees are in a constant state of integrating and learning new processes. When Springhouse first opened, it was born from the belief that there has to be a better way to teach people technology. Now at its 30th anniversary, this founding concept still holds true. And, this is why enterprises, businesses, and professionals continue to turn to Springhouse for workforce training, solutions mentoring, and integration consulting.
* UPDATE: In September 2021, Springhouse’s location changed to 600 Eagleview Boulevard, Suite 300, Exton, PA 19341. Its correspondence and accounts payable mailing address is PO Box 773, Uwchland, PA 19480.
30th Anniversary Promotion
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Springhouse strategizes and delivers technical training, mentoring, and consulting using best-practice solutions. Our course curriculum keeps pace with the evolution of computer technology, project management, and professional development. We relentlessly dedicate our efforts to providing quality instruction and elevating the knowledge of corporate end-users and IT professionals. Springhouse does more than teach technology; we support the foundation of integration, innovation, and inspiration. Throughout 2019, Springhouse is celebrating its 30th