Eleutian - The Bridge to Globalization

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Nov 1, 2010

Eleutian makes great strides

CODY, Wyo., Nov 1, 2010 — When Audra Jewell lost her retail management job in the Atlanta, Ga., area, she decided it was time to return to her roots. So in 2008, she moved back to Lovell, Wyo., where she had grown up. But yet once there, Jewell found it challenging to re-establish her career .... Then, she heard about Eleutian Technology.
Founded in Ten Sleep in 2006, Eleutian teaches English to citizens of other countries via multi-media ESL software, and Internet video conferencing technology. During the past four years, Eleutian has rapidly expanded throughout the state, setting up teaching centers and hiring teachers in many of Wyoming's communities. 

For Jewell, the opportunities with the new business seemed endless. 

"It was something different," Jewell said. "I felt there would be opportunity for growth in the company."

Jewell started working for the company as a teacher; and today, she is the company's director of teacher operations. Looking ahead, Jewell believes that position will be both challenging and exciting, as the company continues to grow. Eleutian with plans to hire almost 200 more teachers by the end of the year, and to establish several new call centers. 

"I'm most excited about the growth of the company," Jewell said. "It's really positive to have a company in growth mode. But I have a really big learning curve ahead of me."

For Eleutian CEO Kent Holiday, the company's growth is just part of the master plan, and the company is moving full-throttle into its expansion. Earlier this fall, Eleutian merged with China-based company Idapted. 

With that merger, Holiday said he hopes to be able to more rapidly reach the China market, since Eleutian primarily has served Korea and Japan.

"Our focus has been Korea, Japan and China - that's where there's a huge need right now," Holiday said. "It [the acquisition] will get us to where we want to go at a quicker pace. Combining those visions makes us a leader in the market."

That pace is already at break-neck speed with 11 centers already established in Casper, Cody, Powell, Lovell, Basin, Worland, Ten Sleep, Sheridan, Dubois, Green River, and Provo, Utah. In addition, the company recently broke ground on a new 10,000-square-foot headquarters building in Cody that will bring the company's management team under one roof for the first time.

"We've been spread out," Holiday said. "We've brought on talent where they were at the time."

Holiday himself recently relocated his family from Ten Sleep, where the company was originally headquartered, to be closer to an international airport. While the Cody headquarters is quickly coming together, so are plans to expand to several other Wyoming communities in the next year. 

"We've got a list of eight larger cities in Wyoming for possibilities," Holiday he said. "We had a vision of having centers across Wyoming."

And Holiday is also is hoping to branch out beyond Wyoming's borders within the next couple of years to some of the bordering states further than the Provo center. 

"We want to continue to grow the company geographically, building from our core," Holiday said. "It's kind of exciting to see it happen." 

The biggest factor in determining locations for teaching centers is the population base available. When Eleutian first started, they only hired 20-40 teachers at a time. now Now, the company needs to hire 100 to 150 teachers in each community as quickly as possible. 

As the company grows, Eleutian plans to expand its services to other countries and to students.

"English is going to be the language of global commerce," Holiday said. "We're there to help students with their conversational English."

But China and other Asian countries are not the only areas Eleutian plans to serve. Already, the company has customers in several Latin American countries and hopes to expand grow into more markets as time goes on.

"We're looking to expand other opportunities in other countries," Holiday said. "We really need to focus on our key markets and key areas." 

As the company continues to expand and grow, it not only puts Eleutian on the map as a large global player, but also boosts many of Wyoming's small communities as they welcome one of the state's most rapidly expanding companies to help grow their own local economies. 

"It's been a great model both for the company and the people in Wyoming," Holiday said. "We're excited about it and happy with the direction it's going."

SOURCE: Wyoming Business Report

Wyoming Business Report Correspondent Kim Phagan-Hansel lives in Gillette and can be reached at news@wyoming.com.