U student works his own gig(abyte)

Nick Stromwall has about 50 clients, many of them repeat customers.

Brian Kushida

The sun had barely broken the horizon Wednesday morning as public relations senior Nick Stromwall stopped by the home of Katie Vanderheyden with some relieving news – he fixed her computer and recovered important files.

For more information, go to: www.teknicks.net

When Stromwall isn’t in class, he is the owner, Webmaster, chief financial officer, accountant and secretary of his own electronics support business, Teknicks Computer Consulting.

As a one-person operation based out of his apartment, he could toss in any other title he deems fit.

“I really trust him and he’s honest with everyone he (meets),” said Vanderheyden, an elementary education senior.

Teknicks’ services include repairing computers, setting up wireless networks, configuring TiVo and fixing Apple iPods, among other services.

“I want to provide a service to students that’s both affordable and timely,” Stromwall said.

While some of Geek Squad’s at-home support ranges from $59 to $349, Teknicks charges flat fees of $60 per hour. Students receive a reduced rate of $50 an hour for services.

The idea to start his own business struck Stromwall in 2005 while working as a salesman at Best Buy. He realized many people purchased electronics and didn’t know how to set them up – but he did.

After all, most of Stromwall’s experience comes from being surrounded by electronics throughout his life.

In fourth grade, he helped his father assemble a computer as part of a science project.

He credits the desire to figure out how technology works as a driving force of his job. He also takes online technological tutorial classes and studies how-to manuals.

Since technology advances rapidly, he said specializing in computer repair can be a challenge.

“With computers, you’re never an expert,” Stromwall said.

His clients include small businesses and students from the University and Augsburg College.

The elderly also contact Stromwall for services.

“The thing that really gets me excited is having someone send their first e-mail or being able to upload their first pictures to their (own) Web site and sending it to their grandkids,” Stromwall said. “Those moments are really special.”

University journalism professor Ken Doyle sought the help of Teknicks to troubleshoot computer issues and said he was impressed by Stromwall’s dedication to make sure everything ran smoothly, even if it meant an extra trip.

“There was a glitch (afterward) and he came back and fixed it,” Doyle said.

But with about 50 clients in the past year, many of them repeat customers, Stromwall said he knows he doesn’t want to expand the business too fast.

He said he plans to continue Teknicks on the side after graduating and might hire employees.

Stromwall said he wants to take it slow with his aspirations.

“It’s not like I’m making millions of dollars,” Stromwall said.

He paused and added, “Yet.”