IT work keeps small Homer business hopping

• Design PT-Big Woofs merge to provide more help, even make house calls
By Naomi Klouda
Homer Tribune

In this computer age, a person who solves technology problems and creates websites becomes as popular as a plumber during pipe freezing season.
Such was the case with Ryan Ridge, who provides technology support for businesses, nonprofits and individuals walking through his door at Big Woof’s Technology Support.
He’s so busy, in fact, he decided to merge with Design PT of Anchorage to create a new Homer company and supply more tech help. Ridge celebrated an open house with his new colleagues, Amanda Foley and Daniel Allen, on Monday night at their offices beside the Center for Coastal Studies on Smokey Bay Way.
“I was getting so busy, I couldn’t handle the business side. I was working with PT as a design contractor to help with the Center – they liked the work I did and I liked their corporate culture,” Ridge said. “When they offered to merge, I accepted it. I can do more tech and less on the business side. I can do what I like to do – take care of people and explain a system – not do the payroll and taxes.”
With set open hours 1 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and a now-staffed office, customers can drop off their computers for repair or stop by with their questions.
Ridge moved to Alaska in 2007 from Bloomington, Indiana. He took his degree from the University of Indiana, and worked with faculty for the next 10 years developing their IT system. He and his wife, Skippy Baker, moved to Homer where Ridge wanted to take a break from IT work. He handled dogs for Iditarod champ Libby Riddles for six months, then started his Homer business and worked a full time job for the Homer Tribune.
Soon, his side job grew so busy he devoted his time to it full time and then some.
In addition to his work making house calls and on-site visits for clients, Ridge became a familiar face to people grappling with their own computer issues by giving courses at the Homer Public Library. On the first Friday and Saturday of each month, he continues to give sessions. The 1:30-4:30 Friday class gives the basics of computers, followed by a tech help session. On Saturdays, 11-1 p.m., he focuses on specific topics, like digital photography, word processing or how to use iPods. Co-worker Amanda Foley teaches an E-reader course to help patrons access the Homer library’s digital collection. That meets the fourth Saturday of each month from 2-4 p.m.
Supplying tech support is a great niche to fill in Homer. Now with the help of Foley and Allen, he can fill that niche all the better, Ridge said.
“It gives us access to the knowledge PT Design has as well. We can always call up Anchorage and have them help us.”

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Posted by on Jun 27th, 2012 and filed under More News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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