One of the businesses we love on this Valentine’s Day is Susquehanna Driving Academy. A truly local enterprise, the family-run and woman-owned business is headed up by Amanda Kopatch.
We recently caught up with Amanda to learn about how the driving school is helping Rising Sun and Perryville teenagers, as well as Cecil and Harford County residents from all around! Enjoy this Q&A with Amanda. We love businesses who give back!
Q: How would you describe your instructional approach and how your business enables your students to be successful?
A: Each of our instructors has their own approach based on their individual personality. However, we know that nobody can think clearly or retain information when they are anxious or uncomfortable.
We pride ourselves on caring about each person we serve and what their needs are. People come to us at all different ages, backgrounds, and experience levels. We try to adapt our lessons to best suit each person and educate them in a way that makes them feel safe, comfortable, and confident.
Q: What community partnerships are you involved in or most proud of?
A: We love being part of our community and are always looking for more ways to get involved and establish new partnerships. Perryville Outreach, Dept of Social Services, local home school groups, Perryville High School sports, Boys and Girls Club of Harford County, and Churchville Lightning are just a few of our partners.
In our community, we have also helped with local fundraisers, sponsored events, and donated drivers ed to select students experiencing hardship. This year we have begun partnering with Cecil County Public Schools to offer drivers ed at Rising Sun High School during the school day.
Q: What are some highlights or student success stories that you are most proud of?
A: There are so many success stories, it is hard to pick only a few. Our older adult clients are always very inspiring. For some people, not having their license has held them back for decades.
When they are finally able to accomplish their goal of becoming a licensed driver, they can live where they want, have access to better jobs, transport their children, go visit family in other states, not rely on other people, not have to walk in the rain, snow, and bitter cold, and the list goes on and on. It’s life changing.
Q: How do you help non-traditional students like veterans in the Cecil or Perryville community?
A: We have had quite a few non-traditional students. Our driving school is within walking or biking distance of the Perry Point VA Medical Center, so we have had many veteran students.
We have also had many clients with various disabilities ranging from sensory impairments to autism. Other non-traditional students that sometimes surprise people are parents that attend driving school just before or at the same time as their children!
Q: How long have you been a female owned business, and what have you learned so far to be successful from a business standpoint?
A: Susquehanna Driving Academy has been a female owned business since it opened in August 2017. There are many roads that lead to success, but for us, it was simply to start small and treat people well. We are not a big business, but be have a great reputation in the community.
Every student is important to us. We care about each of their individual successes and people remember that. Word of mouth has been our best advertisement!