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Joe Smith - Personal Story

Lots of couples meet in college, but most don’t incorporate their career interests into a business. Ryan and Nick Johnston are the exception.

The two met in English class at Columbus State and made an instant connection. Ryan Powell of Whitehall and Nick Johnston, a West High School grad, were total opposites, but their differences complemented one another. She (Ryan) was studying massage therapy while Nick was into marketing.

After a brief courtship, the Columbus State students married and soon teamed up professionally as well. The Johnstons founded Relaxing Now Massage, tapping the skills of both.

The website and innovative business plan Nick initiated have generated customers, and Ryan’s focused work with diabetics and weekend athletes has turned many first-time clients into loyal clientele. By doing what each does best—together—the couple continues to meet an aggressive business goal of doubling revenue every six months.

Both Massage Therapy and Marketing are technical programs at Columbus State – associate degree programs that teach you skills to get a job quickly. Columbus State offers more than 100 degree programs in 55 different areas, ranging from Web Design to Medical Laboratory Technician to Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

Ryan and Nick credit their success to each other and to being able to apply what they learned at Columbus State.

“Ryan is a planner, and she had strong ideas about what the business should ‘look’ like,” says Nick. “I just tried to make her vision a reality.”

As for Ryan, she insists, “I’d be lost without Nick’s business knowledge and his comfort with taking calculated risks.”

Who knew that such divergent majors could mesh so well—in business and in life?