In its 12th year of operation, a business that teaches people how to drive has parked its office closer to where the owners live.
Earlier this month, Drivers Ed LLC moved its headquarters from State Street in North Vernon to Woodside Court in Brownstown.
The business started in Jennings County, which is where one of the owners, Rock Hurley, grew up and his business partner, Derek Marshall, was teaching at the time.
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Five years ago, Marshall took a different job in northern Indiana, and Drivers Ed LLC became a family-owned business with Hurley and two of his children, Brant Hurley and Loriann Wessel. In 2013, after graduating from Ball State University, his other daughter, Fayeann Hurley, became the office manager.
“This is where we all live, so it definitely cut down on the drive for us,” Fayeann Hurley said of moving the business to Brownstown, which is 25 miles from North Vernon.
Rock Hurley has taught driver’s education for 38 years, including the past 35 at Brownstown Central High School. He earned that endorsement in college while majoring in physical education and health and minoring in history. He currently teaches U.S. history and oversees the school-to-work program.
When driver’s education was dropped from Indiana high schools about 15 years ago, school corporations began hiring private companies to teach students how to drive.
Rock Hurley and Marshall were football coaches at the time and were at a district meeting in Seymour when they began talking about starting their own driver’s education business.
The result was Drivers Ed LLC.
“He enjoyed teaching it in school, and he knew there was going to be a need for this,” Fayeann Hurley said of her father’s decision to start the business. “So I think it was kind of a nice little business venture that him and his friend decided to go out on. Luckily, it was pretty successful for both of them.”
Today, the business serves 12 schools in Jackson, Bartholomew, Jennings, Jefferson, Switzerland, Scott, Washington and Harrison counties. Its main focus is on teenage drivers, but adults also can work toward earning their license.
The company has 23 instructors, who live in those counties and work with students. What makes the business unique is that all of the instructors have a driver’s education license from the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and a teaching license from the Indiana Department of Education.
“This is something we pride ourselves in,” Fayeann Hurley said. “You’re not just getting someone off the street who took this class to teach. These are professional teachers who do that every day.”
Rock Hurley said that gives parents a great deal of confidence in the instructors.
“I really believe that has been a great part of our success,” he said.
Students are required to have 30 hours of classroom time and six hours of driving. Drivers Ed LLC offers two options — traditional classroom or online.
The traditional classroom consists of students taking a class for two hours after school Monday through Friday for three weeks.
In early 2013, the online version became an option. That involves a student reading the Indiana driver’s manual and answering questions in online modules. It’s the equivalent of 30 hours of classroom time.
“There is a timer to where somebody can’t sit down and finish all of the modules in one day,” Fayeann Hurley said.
The good thing about online is that students can start at any time, she said.
“It’s really nice for kids who are busy who might be in sports or something like that because they can basically work on it whenever it best fits their schedule,” she said. “It’s just more convenient for the kids.”
Fayeann Hurley said she doesn’t favor one option over the other.
“I think it’s dependent on the student and what kind of learner they are,” she said. “If they are more self-disciplined to be able to sit down and make themselves do the homework, (online may work best). But then the traditional is good because the professional is there. If they are lecturing and (a student has) a question, they can ask, and it can be answered right away.”
Drivers Ed LLC has sessions in each of the four seasons — one in the spring and fall, two in the summer and Brownstown students can take a winter break session in which they are in class for three hours per day.
Drivers Ed LLC is now at 270 Woodside Court in Brownstown.
Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The business started 12 years ago with an office at 603 N. State St. in North Vernon.
For information, call 812-352-8400 or visit driversedllc.weebly.com or facebook.com/DriversEdLlc.