Entrepreneur brings video conferencing to small town

Thursday, October 28 2010

When Kent Holiday moved his family from Korea to Ten Sleep, Wyoming, leaving behind a successful telecommunications career, he had no idea he'd soon help the school district become a cutting-edge video conferencing hub.

The town, with a population of 304, seemed tiny to Holiday, but he quickly learned that the schools were among some of the first communities nationwide to install high-speed fiber-to-the-home phone lines, reported Reuters.

Using the technology, Holiday's new telecom business delivered its patented real-time video conferencing product, allowing U.S. teachers to connect with foreign students.

A program that started in a utility closet off the teachers' lounge at the Ten Sleep school, which had 104 students enrolled after the Holiday family arrived, has currently hired more than 500 certified teachers throughout the state of Wyoming to primarily serve the Korean market. Holiday's employees have a presence in more than 400 elementary schools and junior high schools in Korea, Holiday told Reuters.

Holiday hopes to have 750 teachers on staff by year's end and 5,000 employees within two years.

Recently, Holiday's company expanded into the Chinese market thanks to a merger with a Beijing-based English language instruction firm, reports the Financial Times.

"Asia, and especially China, will need far more English teachers than are available to move there," Holiday told the Financial Times.