Spencer Hall figured he would go to college, get a degree and then go to work for Bill Gates and his Microsoft Corporation.
But three years out of high school, Hall may have more in common with the Bellevue-based billionaire than those who work for him.
Hall, who is 21, has been running his own computer business since graduating rather than getting trained to help somebody else run their business.
He graduated from Riverside High School in June 1994 and got Expertise Computers up and running a month out of school. He credited the Riverside School District’s REAL program with helping him start up.
“I always had a background in computers - and not just playing video games,” Hall said. “I was enrolled in the technology courses at Riverside, so I used those resources as much as possible.
Hall took one REAL class his first semester and two his second semester. At school he had access to telephones, faxes and computers.
After getting his business license halfway through his senior year, Hall researched what companies would best be served by his business.
He discovered that school districts and small businesses in the Inland Northwest had a need for a business that could provide affordable computer goods and services.
Hall then applied for and was granted a $4,000 loan from the Riverside District’s REAL Fund. The fund is a revolving loan program which helps students starting up their businesses.
Expertise Computers, located at 206 W. First in Deer Park, services businesses from Cheney to Kettle Falls. Hall has two full-time and two part-time employees.
He just received a $10,000 cash award from the Microsoft Corporation, along with certification that enables him to provide service to bigger companies.
When he first started, Hall envisioned an average workday of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. But the reality is that it’s 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., he said.
Hall’s company won’t be found on the Fortune 500 list, but the experience he’s gained the last three years has been invaluable.
“I don’t pay myself real well,” he said. “It takes a while to get started. “I’m not bringing home a lot every month.”
Hall said he’d like to do more business with larger corporations and move to an area where he can service more people. He said he’s also exploring Internet-based marketing.
He said he may go to college at some point but said he isn’t sure when.
“Running a business is an experience all in its own,” Hall said. “I have to deal with customers, sales, finance. Basically I do everything.”