Our Purpose

We empower learners to succeed through education.

Education not only matters to individuals, families, and communities but also has the ability to change the world. This is why we are dedicated to help people succeed through education. We are passionate about helping people reach their potential, thrive, and go after their dreams. Every day we strive to fulfil our purpose as students work hard to change their lives.


Meet the team that is changing the lives of our students.




Steve joined Skill Distillery after over fifteen years as a Java developer, working on front and backend systems at startups, corporations, and nonprofits. Before coming to Colorado, he attended the University of Michigan on an academic scholarship, earning a degree in Computer Engineering. Though his degree says CE, his passion is teaching. Steve brings energy and encouragement to the classroom, with a particular enthusiasm for test-driven development and the Spring framework. He is dedicated to challenging his students, pushing them toward success, and getting an occasional laugh. His favorite joke goes, “how can you tell if someone runs marathons? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.” So far he’s run over twenty.




Rob’s first hacking was on an Apple II in high school, and writing BASIC over a 300-baud modem to the district’s computer. He taught himself Pascal to do his Numerical Analysis homework while getting a degree in Physical Science with Math and Chemistry minors at Colorado State. After getting a software QA job, he quickly picked up C, SQL, and UNIX shell programming, developing software and administering systems. While teaching database administration to customers he discovered the joy and satisfaction of teaching and soon joined Batky-Howell as an instructor and author, writing and teaching courses in UNIX topics, Oracle Database programming and administration, Web, C, Perl, Java, and Android Programming. He loves teaching because he knows how exciting and satisfying it is to learn, and says he still learns something new in every class he teaches.




After Denise received her degree in Mathematics from CU Boulder, she enjoyed a career as a software engineer in a variety of domains including aerospace, data storage, database, telecom and the financial industries. Denise developed a passion for teaching while mentoring teammates, and providing technical seminars at her work place. She was cast as one of Batky-Howell’s initial crew of technical trainers, where she shared her knowledge of various programming languages and object oriented programming. She enjoys the art of software, but her true passion is in teaching and helping others find a path to their inner nerd.




Paul first learned programming in high school on an IBM Mainframe using punched cards in the late 70’s (1970’s, not 1870’s). He has a bachelors degree in computer science from UC Irvine and a masters degree in computer science from UNLV. He brings over 30 years of software development experience across a wide range of industries and languages to our program. Paul has taught in both the corporate environment and at the community college level. His passion is in the area of clean, efficient algorithm development. His teaching philosophy is based on the notion that students learn best when they put instruction into practice by writing programs. Outside of work, Paul loves to play volleyball.
“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”



Admissions/Community Advisor

Briana Young grew up on the East Coast and received her B.S. degree in Family Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. Briana has over ten years of experience in education, specifically focused in the area of admissions. One of her professional passions is ensuring every individual feel supported throughout their academic journey. One of her favorite educational quotes that really impacted her decision to go into education was from Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Briana recently re-
located to Denver, Colorado to become immersed in the Midwest culture; with daily exposure to the Rocky Mountains as a bonus! She is a lover of nature, and enjoys hiking, running and yoga in her spare time. Briana is currently pursuing her Masters of Education in Organizational Leadership & amp; Development with a concentration in Non-Profit. She brings to Skill Distillery her passion for education combined with her love of people and assisting them to be successful in their academic endeavors.



Teaching Assistant

Alex started out on his path to Skill Distillery on the east coast, taking apart any technology he could get his hands on and mostly putting them back together. This passion for tinkering led to many types of work, from construction to the solar industry, though as his 20’s wore on he found himself looking for a more professionally sustainable future and applied to the Skill Distillery full-stack Java program. Once accepted, he discovered a love for both problem solving with code and helping others think through previously intractable problems, and so once finished came on as a teaching assistant. To his continued surprise, he can explain arrays, the benefits of encapsulation, and how objects will change your life to the better; even more surprising (and satisfying) is when he sees his students have a flash of understanding as he did throughout the program.



Finance Director

Janet Rehberger grew up on the East Coast and started her career in the financial industry with the Visa/Mastercard division of Colorado National Bank. After several years she moved into IT to utilize her skills in a more innovative environment. At an Australian based software company, Janet managed customer support and training management before lending her talents to Skill Distillery’s parent company Batky-Howell. She has held progressive positions from 1991 to 2014, leading to Director of Finance. With a proven track record of over 15 years in both systems and personnel, she has come full circle at the Skill Distillery and handles the ongoing cash flow projections, oversight over accounting and finance operations, reporting and internal audit functions to purse the company’s growth strategy. Janet holds a BA from the University of Denver. When she is not keeping an eye on the Skill Distillery purse strings she enjoys the natural wonders of Colorado -skiing, hiking and camping.



Co-Founder and School Director

Bruce Batky is the co-founder of Skill Distillery. He grew up in New York and received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering as well as a minor in Computer Science from the State University of New York, Stony Brook. After twelve years as a software developer and a few years as an instructor at Hewlett-Packard, he decided it was time to launch his first start-up. He co-founded the computer training company Batky -Howell, which has trained over 40,000 students on the latest technologies. Bruce also co-founded a computer courseware publishing company, ITCourseware.com. Bruce’s high school computer class sparked his interest in programming. He is passionate about the need for programming training, even for those that do not plan to make it a career. Bruce currently resides in Denver, Colorado with his wife and two children, and he enjoys skiing and mountain biking.

Our Values