BY STARRLA CRAY|
WINSTED, MN Ken Fitchwell knows his way around a computer inside and out and recently turned his hobby into a part-time business.
“There’s a lot of enjoyment in it,” he said, explaining that he likes new challenges and solving problems.
Ken Fitchwell Computer Repair and Consulting is operated out of Fitchwell’s home at 233 Westgate Terrace in Winsted. Services include total computer repair, virus removal, tune ups, hardware/software installation, and updates.
Fitchwell has been a Winsted resident since 1985. He grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and came to Minnesota after hearing about good job opportunities.
“I worked at the creamery here in town from 1987 to 2000,” Fitchwell said, referring to the former Mid America Dairymen facility at First Street N. in Winsted.
In 1997, when Mid Am merged with three other co-ops to become Dairy Farmers of America, grant funding gave employees an opportunity to learn basic computer skills.
Before the class, Fitchwell said he had never turned on a computer, but afterward, he went out and bought one.
Today, Fitchwell works in the maintenance department of a pharmaceutical company in Chaska, using computerized systems on a daily basis.
“It’s interesting keeping up with everything,” he said. “It changes so fast.”
In addition to using computers, Fitchwell has a knack for troubleshooting computer issues. To further his skills, Fitchwell earned an associate’s degree from Ridgewater College in Hutchinson as a computer support technician.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said, explaining that he began fixing computers for family and friends as a hobby. “It’s frustrating, and I enjoy being frustrated.”
Whether a computer is “gummed up” and running slowly, has issues with adware/spyware/viruses, or has a damaged component, Fitchwell can offer straightforward solutions and advice.
“Sometimes people are ready to throw out their computer, and it could be a 10-minute fix,” he said, adding that he lets people know when it’s better to repair or replace.
Fitchwell serves clients in the Wright, McLeod, and Carver County area, and charges a flat rate of $70 per computer.
“If I can’t repair it, I don’t charge them anything,” he noted.
When he’s not working on computers, Fitchwell can be found spending time with his family (including his wife, Donna and their 24-year-old twin sons), or cheering on his favorite hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He can be reached at (612) 280-6608 or email@example.com.