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Glynlyon poised to grow and add staff in Nisswa

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NISSWA — Glynlyon Inc., the technology business providing online curriculum and learning products, is continuing to expand and add staff.

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“Because of the success we’ve had in Nisswa, we are bringing in our field reps to train here,” said Denise Laudenbach, vice president of sales, during a tour of the Nisswa offices.

Laudenbach credits the quality of talent in the area as the reason Glynlyon’s expansion to Nisswa has been so successful within the company’s team approach.

Glynlyon develops and sells online education curriculum and core curriculum used in schools, covering subjects as math, languages, science and elective courses. The company’s curriculum is available for the students in a wide variety of learning levels.

The education market needs to have different ways to reach students, Laudenbach said. The company is based on providing multiple ways to approach learning with a goal of increases graduation rates, decreasing truancy and improving test scores in order to increase the number of graduating career-ready students. By career ready, Laudenbach said that could mean being ready to move directly into the work force or go on to technical training or a two- or four-year college experience.

“Our curriculum helps them do that,” Laudenbach said.

The curriculum is also used to assist students who may be missing credits in math, for example, in order to graduate on time. At the Nisswa offices, the company works with curriculum for third grade through 12th grade for the public sector. The company employs information technology staff, software developers, teachers and sales staff. They work with teachers and schools to determine what the market needs. An example, Laudenbach said, comes with a technology they developed to translate text into nine languages when one client asked if they had a solution for a Portuguese student.

Glynlyon Inc.’s chief executive officer is Robert Campbell Jr., of Chandler, Ariz. The connection to the lakes area for the Arizona-based company came with Campbell, who has been coming to the lakes area for more than 25 years and wanted to grow the economy in Nisswa, Laudenbach said.

Glynlyon converted a former furniture store, just off County Road 77 near the Highway 371 intersection not far from Schaefer’s Foods, into its office space. Glass walls set off a conference meeting room in the vast space, which has touches of an airport hanger design complete with artwork of a plane hanging on the wall. A goal in the design was to bring in more light for a bright open interior. A classroom is also set off the main room for those visiting sales representatives and internal training.

The majority of the work space is dedicated to individual work station made of barn wood. Sections of sheet metal serve as “white boards” with erasable messages, allowing staff members to personalize their work areas.

Recently Laudenbach said the company wanted to hire 10 more sales people and start training by the end of May. Glynlyon is designed as a team environment, Laudenbach said, adding if someone needs help, other staff members should be willing to chip in for the collaborative group effort. The work environment is casual but focused, Laudenbach said, noting when people are working hard they also need to be able to recharge their batteries.

An in-house walking challenge to virtually cover the 1,781 miles between Nisswa and the corporate offices in Chandler, Ariz. by walking during work breaks is listed with employee teams’ progress indicated on a map in the office. It’s part of the company’s health focus.

“If you have a healthy mind you are just more productive and you do better,” Laudenbach said. “When you sit at a desk all daylong, it can be tough.”

When the company had a career fair as it sought its first employees, 170 prospects attended. Laudenbach said they didn’t know how many would respond to an education company moving in or how deep the talent pool would be here. For some sales staff experienced to working with customers face-to-face, it has been a change to more phone-based communications. The change, which Laudenbach said was a leap for some, came with the benefit of reduced time on the road.

“We’re an established company,” Laudenbach said. “We foster a great work environment, comfortable work environment and allow people to be successful right here in Nisswa.”

Staff members didn’t need experience in the education market if they had the sales experience. Laudenbach said they can provide the training in the company’s education curriculum and staff has embraced that training.

“We do extensive training on the industry, on the markets,” she said, estimating ongoing training sessions continue about three times a week.

Outside the company’s building, which was once home to Furniture North, a semitrailer displays the company’s Odysseyware. The vehicle serves as a traveling classroom for the 100 percent online learning environment with its multimedia. Laudenbach said instead of just reading or listening to a lecture about American GIs storming the beaches at Normandy, students are able to see videos of them doing just that, increasing the learning experience. The software has 45,000 multimedia pieces embedded in it from understanding cell biology to historic moments.

“Our intent is to continue to help the economic growth in our area,” Laudenbach said. “How can we retain students to be employed here and not move away. This is a long-term commitment.”

Job seekers may email Meredith Campbell, general manager, at mcampbell@glynlyon.com.

In five years, Laudenbach said she can see the expansive open space full of employees and that timeline may be reached even earlier. Laudenbach said it could be accomplished in a couple of years if things keep going as well as they are now.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz.

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Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
(218) 855-5852
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