Remote access . . . Just like being there

—Johnson able to fix computers from home in Alaska
wasilla, alaska - It sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, but it really isn’t that uncommon anymore. Mike Johnson, co-owner (with his dad, Jim Johnson) of Johnson Computers in Cresco is now living in Wasilla, Alaska and can remotely access local computers to fix problems.
“With our new support program, I have the full capability of remotely fixing computers,” he explained. Customers can bring their units to the shop at Johnson Computers & T.V. at 325 2nd Ave. SW in Cresco, and he can log into them to diagnose and fix the problem. “Instead of doing a service call, it is on-line.”
If a service call is needed, though, Johnson has two assistants, his brother, Derek Johnson, and Eric Trautsch. “When it comes to sales, I can remote into the computer and video chat. I can talk with the customer as we go through computer training. People enjoy the video chat. We can sit together and go over the computer.”
One of the growing areas in remote support is overnight clean-ups. “When the customer comes to work the next day, their computer is faster, up-to-date and good to go,” Mike said.
One of the biggest work-related differences between Iowa and Alaska is Internet speed. Guess which is faster? Nope. Alaska is faster!
“I get a 1,000 MB connection. When working in Cresco, I might be able to pull 100,” Mike said. “They invest in their infrastructure up here. They look at the future rather than get by for the present. I can work on 10 computers simultaneously with no issues at all!”
Mike got his computer education locally, first attending Howard-Winneshiek and Northeast Iowa Community College. “My class was the first to take NICC classes. Then I went to NIACC (North Iowa Area Community College) in Mason City and wrapped up my schooling at UNI (University of Northern Iowa). NICC is a good thing. It gives kids a jump-start. They have STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and vocational.”
Cresco store still open
Even with its computer tech over 3,000 miles away, Cresco Computers is still operating with Jim in charge. The shop has about seven employees available to help.
The brick and mortar building has 20-30 different computers on hand, along with a large variety of televisions.
The company plans to continue and even expand the on-line store at “We’ve been doing a lot of on-line sales. We’ve even sold on Amazon and e-Bay, but we are doing more on our own website, now.”
Life in the 49th state 
of the union
Having a job that can be done from home can be very convenient for families, and that is the case for the Johnson family. 
Mike, his wife, Jessica and daughter, Cora (age seven) moved to the furthest north state in December. Dr. Jessica Johnson got a job as an intervention pain specialist in Wasilla, the sixth largest city in the state. To show how rural it is, Mike said it was a little larger than Decorah! It is also 45 minutes away from Anchorage.
So far the family enjoys their new home. They are near Hatcher Pass, in the middle of the mountains and woods. The Johnsons live about 5-10 miles from town, so they are in the midst of wildlife.
“We always see moose wandering around in our yard. We probably see 3-5 per day. They don’t destroy anything, just walk through.” The bears are hibernating at this time, so they haven’t seen any bears yet.
Customers don’t have to worry about the three-hour time difference. Mike is still on Iowa time. He figures most of his customers are from the Midwest, so he works on their schedule. He works out of his home, in a simple office. He does have multiple screens that lets him see and do everything he needs to do.
But his customers are not only based in Iowa. “We have customers across the United States. Many started in Cresco, and they moved or gave others our name by word-of-mouth. We stay consistently busy all the time. I talk to people all day, and they don’t have a clue that I’m here (in Alaska)!”
It may seem crazy, but technology can connect people from Alaska to Iowa. The distance gap is eliminated, allowing computer work to be done on-line. It’s a technological world!

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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