Dr. Becky Nastally credits her husband for the duo winning the second annual EntrePaducah-Paducah Bank Business Plan Competition.
In June, Paducah Bank handed the couple $2,500 for their detailed proposal of Bloom Behavior Therapy, LLC, a behavioral consulting company specializing in autism and other developmental disability intervention. Now, not only have they won the contest’s top prize, but they also have started a business that utilizes their complementary personalities and talents. Nastally, a PhD, licensed behavior analyst, handles the clinical side of the business, and her husband, T.J. Couey, handles the administration. His thoroughness, she believes, contributed largely to their win.
“We both have our own strengths in our respective areas that we bring to the business, and I think it’s ultimately the reason why we’ve been successful,” she says. “I give him a lot of credit because he is absolutely meticulous and detailed. When it comes to numbers, he is a numbers man. He worked really hard on a really detailed business proposal.”
The husband and wife team dreamed up the idea for Bloom Behavior Therapy in December 2011, before they were married. Nastally had moved to the area to start a family with Couey, and she noticed a shortage of local behavioral intervention resources for autistic children. She also realized that a statewide mandate provides insurance coverage for certain behavioral services for autistic children. Nastally and Couey saw an opportunity.
“It just so happens that the person delivering those behavioral services has to have certifications and qualifications that I have,” Nastally says. “We had looked within Paducah and the surrounding area, and there really wasn’t anyone doing it. So, it created a perfect time and opportunity, really, to start marketing ourselves as providing these services.”
Wasting no time, the two began Bloom Behavior Therapy in February and ran it during the few free moments in their schedules. During typical work hours, Nastally taught classes at Southern Illinois University and Couey worked as a systems administrator for Computer Services, Inc., but during nights and weekends, they devoted their energies to Bloom.
Soon, Nastally began to divert more of her time from teaching to behavioral therapy, and the business started to grow—aided, in part, by EntrePaducah and Paducah Bank’s competition. Their win has given Bloom Behavioral Therapy great exposure by landing it in the Paducah Sun, and the competition’s cash prize has helped with overhead costs. However, winning the contest also has given Nastally and her husband another gift—it has encouraged their dream.
“It meant a lot,” she says. “Winning was actually our first taste of success or, you know, reward for all the work that we had put into it.”
Now that Nastally and Couey have received validation and a little more start-up cash, they can use their combination of talents to help autistic children in the area. Through funding and exposure from EntrePaducah and Paducah Bank, Nastally will perhaps have the opportunity to see more autistic children improve their social and adaptive skills. She will see them progress, which, she says, is a powerful experience.