A man from South Carolina and a woman from Iowa are combining their talents to make a business of training people to work in business.
John and Elaine Cowan already have a $5 million investment in the campus of the Bryman School, 1144 W. 3300 South, but with 325 students there is plenty of room for expansion because they have the capability to double their enrollment.Bryman School was started in Salt Lake City in 1970 at 445 S. 300 East, and the only classes taught were medical assisting, dental assisting and medical secretarial. The school was named after Esther Bryman, who started several schools in California.
When the Cowans bought Bryman in 1977, they had only 17 students and both admit it was discouraging to see the enrollment sink that low. Since then, however, with the construction of the new campus in late 1988, the Bryman School has been making inroads on the Utah educational scene, specializing in certain types of vocational training without the extraneous classes.
Although there is room to double the enrollment at the new campus, the Cowans are very conservative and add only those courses they believe will be needed in local businesses.
John Cowan was born in South Carolina and received a bachelor's degree in geology from Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vt., and a master's degree in accounting from the University of Wyoming in 1962. He practiced as a certified public accountant in Wyoming until 1969 when he and several others purchased the Wyoming Technical Institute, an auto mechanics school.
Elaine Cowan was born in Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor's degree in medical technology. She trained at the Mayo Clinic in nuclear medical technology and received a master's degree from Iowa in radiation biology and physics in 1967.
She taught at the University of Colorado Medical Center for several years. Although Elaine and John met in 1973, they didn't get married until 1977, the year John sold his interest in the Wyoming auto mechanics school and they purchased the Bryman School.
The Cowans' first job at Bryman was to bring the curriculum up to date, try to attract more students, increase the admissions staff and hire more teachers. At the same time they were trying to determine what training people needed to get jobs.
In 1977 they bought the Ron Bailie School of Broadcast and although they changed the name to American Technical Center they still train broadcasters at Bryman. In September 1979 they started a program to train travel agents, mainly because the tourism business has grown so rapidly.
A word processing training program was added in 1982 and it became obvious to the Cowans they would need more room. They found an old farm near the Jordan River and in 1988 finished their new campus, that has five buildings.
One building contains the administrative and financial aid offices, a second has classrooms and faculty offices, a third has more classrooms and a place for student activities, a fourth is the automotive training center and a fifth is a child care facility, "Over the Rainbow," that is operated separately from the school.
Not only do children of the students attend the day care center, but also children of faculty members, the Evans said.
The largest class at Bryman is 24 students enrolled in medical assistance, travel, work processing, office systems management, automotive and hotel and motel management classes in conjunction with the American Hotel Motel Association.
The courses take between 31/2 and 71/2 months to complete and, depending on the class, Bryman has an 80-92 percent placement record. Some classes have a 100 percent placement success, John said.