As we mentioned last week, this year marks BlueVolt’s 10-year anniversary in the elearning business. And we’re excited!
To reflect on how far we’ve come over the past decade (and for a glimpse at what’s in store), we sat down with our founder Don Spear, whose passion for elearning has helped us deliver more than 1 million online courses to almost a quarter of a million users.
How has BlueVolt evolved as a company in the past decade?
I think over the past decade, we've become something we didn't think we would be (as is the case with most companies). We’ve gone from providing online training for a very niche audience (electricians) to creating custom elearning solutions for entire industries, delivered throughout the vertical channel (from the manufacturer to the end user). As of today, we have 208,000 worldwide users and 13,000 courses available through the system. We recently surpassed our 1 millionth course delivery milestone and are rapidly approaching awarding our 2 millionth $BlueBuck.
What’s new with the company?
We’ve worked hard at expanding our mobile elearning offerings. Elearning enthusiasts have long touted the benefits of training on-the-go and now technology has caught up. We have optimized our mobile LMS interface using HTML5 (since most mobile devices do not support Adobe Flash). We’re also working with several customers to create new or modify existing courses to work best on a mobile device.
From a development perspective, mobile can pose a certain challenge but it’s important to our customers and we’re going to continue to invest time and resources in this growing space.
What is BlueVolt’s mission?
The company’s mission is to improve lives and livelihoods of skilled professionals and those who serve them.
How would you describe the BlueVolt's internal culture? How do you cultivate that culture?
The main thing about BlueVolt's culture is we're very customer-driven. Figuring out what our customers want and evolving our products and services to deliver that is at the heart of everything we do. To me, that's important. As you're trying to build a business or sustain the growth of an established business, if you're not listening to your customers intently, you won't build something of value—something that your customers actually desire and that solves real problems that they deal with every day.
We encourage all of our employees (not just our sales team) to go on "ride-alongs" with our customers. We went on a day trip to Wilson construction, which is based in our hometown of Portland, Oregon, to see the environment they work in and what they encounter on a typical work day. Safety is of huge importance to them (as it should be). That trip helped us develop better training solutions for them that are focused on safety. We aren't necessarily subject matter experts in each of the industries we serve so we have to observe and adapt.
What does the future hold for BlueVolt?
I think the future for BlueVolt is very bright. Every year, we continue to grow our user base but there are still so many trade professionals throughout the world we haven't touched yet. The more people we have on our network, the more companies will choose to put their training in our LMS, the more valuable we become.
Despite the very serious economic challenges our country is facing, and the delayed growth of the homebuilding and construction trades, BlueVolt continues to grow rapidly. To me, that shows that we are providing a service (online training) that is useful throughout the building and other specialized trade industries. And with the increase in mobile phones and computing making it easier for trade professionals to connect to the Internet where they work, adoption will increase and BlueVolt’s growth will continue to accelerate.
Do you have a personal mission statement?
In my life and in everything I’ve done, I strive to create organizations and companies that make the world a better place. It's not only about making money, it's just as important that I create something that I can be proud of. Our parents and children should be proud of the work we do. BlueVolt is focused on training – which is something that, by nature, makes people better. I enjoy the work that we do and the value we create for others.