Local Folks: Bryan Arnold

Local Folks: Bryan Arnold
Bryan Arnold

Bryan Arnold’s family tree has wide roots in Jacksonville, specifically the Ortega area. He is a Jacksonville native, and his father practiced law in the city for 54 years.

“All my dad’s family grew up here,” he said. “If you run across any Arnold, I’m probably related to them.”

A self-proclaimed “simple guy,” Arnold has a career that is anything but simple. For the past 12 years he’s owned a business in computer repair. He has always had a passion for computers and found them incredibly interesting. In 1984, at age 14, he got his first computer.

“The computer, back then, was just the size of a 13-inch television with a monochrome screen,” he said. “It was a basic model.”

Since then, he’s “pretty much owned every type of computer.” He can take them apart, put them back together, load them and figure out what’s causing any issues. While he doesn’t do programming, he has considered learning it.

“I do have time now to do that stuff,” Arnold said. “But then I wonder if I really want to. I mean what am I going to program? Sometimes, once you get old enough to do the things you previously wanted to do, you realize you don’t really feel like it anymore.”

Before landing on computer repair officially, Arnold had different odd jobs over the years. He delivered subpoenas, worked for a private investigator and waited tables at a retirement home. Having spent most of his life in the Jacksonville area, Arnold left for a short stint to central Illinois. He lived in a small town of less than 500 people, working for TruGreen and traveling throughout central Illinois doing lawn care maintenance.

“I had fun on the job, but it was a dirty job and wasn’t as good as computers,” he said. “Computers always pays more.” He liked it there, but eventually returned home to the Ortega area.

Arnold was working for a struggling computer repair business when he chose to strike out on his own. Many of his clientele chose to follow. Now that he works for himself, he said he could never go back and work for anybody else. In his experience, working for oneself has far more ups than downs.

“To have somebody telling you how hard you have to work to make them money…No thanks,” he said. “You don’t have anybody breathing down your neck telling you when to work or trying to tell you that you need to work on weekends or take on a job during your personal time.”

When he isn’t working on computers, he relaxes at home with his 14-year-old Belgian Shepherd named Jet, watching television shows like “Yellowstone,” “Joe Pickett” or a good sci-fi. He also enjoys playing video games on his PlayStation5.

“I grew up in the arcade area, in the ‘80s and early ‘90s,” he said.

Arnold also enjoys hanging out with friends, including hitting Mexican restaurants with his best friend from his University Christian days.

“I was a bad influence on him back then,” Arnold joked. “Not so much anymore, though.”

In the future, Arnold hopes to do more traveling around the United States, and to places like Japan, Ireland and Australia. Until then, he enjoys being surrounded by beaches and fishing that the waters of Jacksonville afford.

“There’s a lot to do here in Jacksonville that people don’t realize,” he said. “You’ve got the beach, the river. You can go hiking. And the national forests aren’t too far from here.”

But it’s the people that truly make Jacksonville his home.

“People are just friendly here,” Arnold said. “They’ll wave at you and say ‘hello.’”

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