Young entrepreneur turns hobby into career

Young entrepreneur turns hobby into career

Lindsay Field
 / Opelika-Auburn News
September 29, 2007

He’s in it for the long haul.

Matt
Spain, a senior at Opelika High School, doesn’t repair computers in his
spare time just for a little extra pocket change. The 17-year-old does
it because it’s something he not only enjoys, but wants to make a
career out of.

Matt, the owner and operator of Computer Paramedics, started tinkering with technology at a young age.

It
started with a knack for taking apart vacuum cleaners and sewing
machines in elementary school and has grown into a love for computers.

"When
he was about 5, he would go through children’s computers and in a
couple of weeks he’d have them figured out," said Ben Spain, Matt’s
father.

Ben Spain and his wife, Cindy, said they’ve always encouraged their son to continue fidgeting with technology.

"In
1998, I bought a computer for the family and in a short time he had it
figured out and wanted his own. His seventh-grade year I told him that
we would get (a computer) for him or he could get it for himself, so he
cut grass and got his own computer."

Cindy Spain said that within six months Matt had taken apart the computer and put it back together on his own.

"It’s
just something I’ve always enjoyed – computers and technology, working
with them," Matt said. "I realized a few years ago that I could do
something with that."

"He
has a gift where you can tell him one thing and he has it, especially
with computers or electronics. He’s just a whiz at it and always has
been," Ben Spain said. "He’s a smart kid. This is a natural gift the
boy has."

On
Oct. 10, 2005, Matt started Custom Computer Solutions, an on-site
computer service company. Matt said the business started out slow,
charging clients about $20 an hour, which was quite low.

"People
had to actually come pick me up to take me to go work on their
computers. But after getting my driver’s license, I continued on with
business and it started picking up and I began getting more clients and
was able to make things go further," Matt said.

Ben
Spain said he could have helped his son get everything started, but he
knew Matt wouldn’t learn as much if he did, so he made his son do all
the foot work.

This July, Matt decided to change the name of his company to Computer Paramedics.

"It
just popped into my head for some reason, so I thought on that, did
some research and found out that there wasn’t another Computer
Paramedics … started a whole new company."

By the end of this month, his first company, Custom Computer Solutions, will be phased out.

"(Computer
Paramedics) is so much more catchy and something people will remember,"
Matt said. "They may not remember my phone number or e-mail, but my
name they’ll get."

On
Nov. 6, Matt’s company will sponsor "Business Over Breakfast" at the
Opelika Chamber of Commerce. He’ll be giving away door prizes to
Chamber members and guests.

"We’re
just really proud of what he does and he still keeps up with good
grades, in spite of the business and working," Cindy Spain said. "I
never imagine it’d go this far."

"I
enjoy just talking to the people and the social aspect," Matt said. "I
just like to help people and I hate to see them play too much or get
ripped off with another computer company … I want to make computer
service affordable."

Matt
graduates from Opelika High School in May and anticipates attending
Auburn University, majoring in either management information system or
getting his masters in business administration.

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