This is our interview with Presence Telecare co-founder Clay Whitehead. More of these interviews, which we will be running all this weekend and next week, can be found in the edNews section of the site.
Clay and his staff also run a great blog, which you can read here: Speech Therapy Telepractice.
What is the biggest challenge that you are currently trying to tackle?
Speech pathologists help kids with a variety of conditions and a very large number of kids eligbile for care are not getting that care because of a huge shortage of those teachers.
A Department of Education report suggests that 60% of schools are short and can’t meet their IEP mandates. There are a lot of kids not getting the help they need.
What do you think education entrepreneurs need at this moment in the industry to be successful? Marketing? A good idea? A network?
I think edupreneurs need to focus on working within the existing system. I think they need to focus on addressing a real problem that at the end of the day makes lives for kids better.
What is the biggest expense for your company right now outside of human capital? Do you see that changing? And what factors would change that?
We are a labor service business, so we focus on getting great speech language pathologists to help children.
If you could create an extension of your company and do something else in the education sector with it, what would it be and what consumer would you be looking to find?
If you abstract it, we are really a platform for connecting trained expertise with challenged learners over a distance. We see extensions in several markets, and lots of children we an help in ESL populations and other populations. But for right now we are really focused on delivering the best speech language pathology training.
And a little bit of news about the company…
We were just given a $100k grant to deliver speech language pathology in the public schools. It was a phase one grant, and we qualify for a phase two now.