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Monday, June 13, 2016

North Mankato-headquartered company helps kids read, learn | The Olympian

Photo: Tim Krohn
"Twenty-five years ago, Bob Coughlan and his brother Jim, fourth-generation members of a family with wide business interests, purchased Capstone Publishers, a small and struggling business that focused on books for elementary-age boys who struggled with reading." inform Tim Krohn, The Free Press.

In this June 9, 2014 photo, Coughlan Companies co-owner Bob Coughlan poses for a photo in the company's Mankato, Minn., office. Coughlan, with his brother Jim, are the fourth-generation of Coughlans leading the diversified Coughlan Companies, including Capstone, which was started 25 years ago. 
Photo: Pat Christman/The Free Press 

Bob, who oversees Capstone, had kids that age at the time and was intrigued by the mission and potential of the business.

With just a handful of book titles at the time, Capstone has grown into a major publisher, with 60 million students now connected to their digital platforms, as well as producing some 800 book titles each year aimed at K-8 students.

"Educational technology is very good, very big now," Coughlan said, noting that 60 percent of their sales come from the technology side.

"I don't think books will ever end. Our unique niche is driven by our content. We're not exclusively technology for technology's sake. It has to have a reason. Our passion is not technology, it's learning with fun."

This year the company has been celebrating its anniversary at library and book fairs around the country and will host a community celebration June 23 at its North Mankato headquarters.

The company's more than 300 employees are housed in offices in North Mankato, Edina, Chicago and Oxford, England.

The company was strengthened when Coughlan brought in Tom Ahern eight years ago as CEO.

Ahern, a former football player at Northwestern University, had 25 years in the education technology industry.

"He's a salesman, a good guy and a good leader," Coughlan said. When Ahern arrived the company was producing 90 percent books and he focused on unveiling a number of technology platforms.

The myON reader is a personalized learning environment. There is a literacy and research solutions platform called PebbleGo for PreK-2, and PebbleGo Next for grades 3-6. And Capstone Interactive has a collection of more than 5,000 interactive e-books.
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Source: The Olympian