Anna Bell demonstrates CPR at the Smullin Center in Medford Friday. Mail Tribune Photo / Jamie Lusch - Jamie Lusch

Home Grown

Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

What do you do and how long have you been doing it?

I provide CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) instruction, and I've been doing it 81/2; years.

How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley?

I've lived here my whole life and went to high school in Eagle Point.

What inspired you to go into this line of work?

I was working for Asante and I was in the education department for 11 years. Educating people on medical terminology and prepping them for the nursing program. I was also working in the advanced life-support classes that firefighters, nurses, doctors and EMTs (emergency medical technicians) take. Somebody else, who was an instructor at the time, had her own business and said with all I was doing, I was only getting paid hourly and I should start doing it on my own. So I started doing it on the side and eventually left Asante.

What decision or action would you change if you could do it again?

I would have started earlier. I was a recent new mom with kids. I was struggling whether to take something like this on with a couple of kids. I realized it's not that much extra work. Another thing I would have jumped on right away, is putting up a Web site. I think it would've made me even busier had I marketed myself that way. Now, my marketing is just an ad in the phone book, word of mouth and returning customers.

What's the toughest business decision you've made?

I really haven't had to make tough ones. I try to have the classes when the kids are in school. I have to make sure that I keep current, because every two years you have to have someone with the American Heart Association come and monitor your classes.

Who are your competitors?

All of my competitors are my friends, worked with them in the past. We all started together. Paula Baker got me started and then Nichole Hart and I started about the same time. Myron Tomkins works out for Josephine County. There are a lot of other ones that have one or two classes a year, but don't do it for a living like we do.

What are your goals?

I'm a single mom now, but I really like what I do. I've been in the medical field for 15 years. When I started eight years ago, a lot of my customers were people I had worked with in the medical field and it was just a matter of expanding my dealings with people in the medical field. The majority of stories I hear of people using CPR aren't in medical settings, that's why I push for people to learn in the general community. If I was doing this in a larger city I could hire people, but that wouldn't work here. I'm working toward my pilot's license and expand my reach.

What training or education did you need?

Most people have some sort of medical background, but you don't have to have a degree. There is an American Heart Association office at the Smullin Center. The AHA holds conferences every year and updates instructors on newly-found statistics and techniques that might be better that we've been using. When you initially decide to be an instructor you have to go through two full days of intense learning and testing.

What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

I definitely think it's important for people to strive for new goals and develop a business themselves. It's liberating to make your own money and start your own business and do something you have a passion about.

To suggest an idea for this column, contact reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail

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