Signs of the recession are all over; empty stores at Oakwood Mall, teacher layoffs and a sinking job market.  But there are signs of hope; Grant Allen (owner and operator of Steer Right Driving Academy) has turned his misfortune due to the failing economy into a blessing. 

“Last year I was laid off from my job as a union carpenter.  When the economy tanked the industry really tightened up,” said Allen. “People just weren’t looking to build buildings anymore.  There was no end to the poor job industry that I saw, so I took matters into my own hands.” 

You could even say he took matters into his own hands and drove off with it.  Allen decided that he was going to open his own driver education school, to fill the void left by the discontinuation of Western Technical College’s driver’s education program.

“I bought a car for the class and started driving to Green Bay every week to take classes to become a certified instructor,” said Allen. “It was very difficult because I had to work at the Country Café to get enough money to take the class, drive to Green Bay, take the class until I had enough money and then drive back and work until I had enough to continue.  After I finished the class it was a paper work nightmare to get everything filed with the State.” 

After becoming an officially licensed driving instructor, Allen went about to setting up his business.  His wife Geri was a huge help here. 

“Geri is really good at paperwork, and she really helped me here. She was great about this whole thing,” said Allen.

After the final paperwork to start up his business, Allen had a passenger brake installed and then opened up his school.  So far it’s been a huge success. 

“Grant sometimes takes the students out to lunch at McDonalds or other places,” said sophomore Samantha Bahr. “It’s really fun because you drive around and end up in weird places.  Grant also sings a lot too, which is really humorous.” 

Sophomore Alex Turner couldn’t agree more. 

“Grant’s just a really cool guy.  You won’t get in trouble with him.  He’s really patient, and tells you exactly what you did wrong,” said sophomore Turner, “If you go early in the morning he buys you coffee and he has a great sense of humor, kind of like a fun dad. 

It’s really obvious that both the students and Allen love Steer Right Driving Academy. 

“I love my job,” said Allen, “99% of the kids are just great, I get to stay in town with my family, there are no work belts, no travel, and it’s just a blast.” 

Need to sign up for Driver’s Education?  Call Allen at 715.896.0507 or e-mail Steer Right Driving Academy at steerright@centurytel.net.