Corporate Regional Operations
Brothers, Chris & Jano Pittner held various regional operations positions before becoming Sylvan franchisees together. They now run 11 centers in Texas.
I [Chris] grew up in Arizona and graduated from the University of Arizona. I spent fifteen years with Blockbuster Video as a regional director, overseeing the operations of 120 Blockbuster stores. After Blockbuster’s sales dipped, I started looking for other job opportunities and found Sylvan. I worked at Sylvan corporate for a couple years before deciding to become a Sylvan franchisee in 2007. My brother, Jano, and I currently run 11 centers in the Texas area and are excited to open two more locations in Dallas this year. I am also proud to say that I am a Sylvan Franchisee of the Year award winner. I love spending time with my wife and four kids.
How I Heard About Sylvan
When I was leaving Blockbuster and looking at various employers, I found out that Sylvan was looking for a regional director. Sylvan had a quality product and it aligned with my own values of education and children. My dad was a math teacher for 47 years and I have four children so I thought it would be a good fit.
Why I Wanted To Own My Own Business
Operating my own company has always been exciting to me and being able to do that with my brother made it even more appealing. Based on my experience with Blockbuster and with Sylvan, I felt I was well equipped to lead an organization. Additionally, the education industry is growing and the need for private companies to partner with public and private school systems is becoming more and more common. Sylvan is a strong brand and I was confident I would be able to effectively grow the business.
Making My Business Different
I focus a tremendous amount of time on the hiring process. I hire great people and then provide superb training. I operate quality centers with great processes, great service, and in doing so, we achieve great results.
Challenges I Conquered To Be Successful
In 2007, it was the first time I ran my own business. Throughout my previous career, I had always worked for a company. I discovered there are a lot of hats you have to wear when running your own business. This experience has been incredibly challenging but also very gratifying. I am very happy I have had my brother working alongside me because we have different skill sets and we make a good team.
I think it is vital to encourage teachers and administrators of our centers to build relationships with one another and the public. Due to the sheer quantity of parents we serve, my team is able to meet a lot of people in the various communities. Ensuring a strong relationship between the center and the community is one of my primary focuses. Specifically, we support the initiatives of the schools in our area.
Want more from Chris and Jano? Check out their video.