Our 707th Dad in the Limelight is Bryan Nooner of Twist and Seal. I want to thank Bryan Nooner for being a part of this series. It has been great getting connected with him and now sharing Bryan Nooner with all of you.
1) Tell me about yourself. (As well as how you are “in the limelight,” for my readers’ knowledge)
This can sometimes be an interesting question, as I wear a lot of hats and do many different things. In general, it seems very difficult to categorize my career or life. Without getting into a lot of details, let’s just say I have an insatiable passion to learn and experience new things and master new skills as often as I can.
My undergrad and master degree work are in Biology and education with advanced ongoing studies in business management and marketing.
During my high school and college years, my summer job was a wilderness guide in Canada. I learned so much about life and people during those years.
It was amazing to see how people react when you take them away from civilization for 11 days.
I consider those years some of the most valuable experiences to have shaped my life.
Adventurous hobbies fill any spare time I might have after work and family are taken care of.
I never have needed much sleep. As a result I have become very productive when others are sleeping. This is when I take on special projects, develop new ideas and learn new skills.
For 31 years I have been a serial entrepreneur starting, growing and selling numerous businesses.
Our main business is homebuilding and land development which has built and developed nearly 3,000 homes and lots over the past thirty years in the Chicago suburbs.
I really don’t enjoy running a business as much as I enjoy starting them. Although I get caught up operating some longer than I would like.
What I really enjoy is starting a business let it begin to grow, empower others to take responsibility and move on to the next one.
One recent startup company is called Twist and Seal. Twist and Seal produces a line of products to protect electrical cord connections from rain and melting snow. These products protect cord connections around the home and construction sites. The idea for the product line was inspired by a challenge my wife gave me four years ago to come up with something to keep our holiday lights on during our rainy winters in Chicago. We now have five patents and have sold millions of pieces of the Twist and Seal products. You can find these very useful products at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ace and many other fine retailers. Visit our website at www.twistandseal.com
Our most recent enterprise was started Last October and is a nonprofit organization called Support The Blue Now (STBN). STBN was formed to help counteract the negative media that police officers around the country are experiencing. This organization was born from social entrepreneurism. Entrepreneurs have certain skill sets and resources available to them to solve problems and that includes social problems. The growing negative manner in which Police officers are portrayed in our society is unfair and problematic. We have taken some of our talent and resources to start STBN in order to begin changing the negative narrative concerning our nations officers. To learn more about how you can get involved with Support The Blue Now visit our website at www.supportthebluenow.org
2) Tell me about your family.
I have been married 31 years to my awesome wife, Mari-Beth, who is the kindest person that I know. We have 4 children. 2 sons, 19 & 26 and 2 daughters 21 & 29 along with 3 grandchildren and two more on the way. We are very close and stay connected with numerous family activities throughout the year. We purposefully plan time to be with each other.
Our two daughters are awesome! I love to spoil them every chance I can. I am so proud of the person they have become, of what they stand for, their love of Christ, their moral integrity and character.
The oldest is married with two children and another one the way. Like her mom and Dad, she met her husband in college. When they had their second child she quit teaching 3rd grade so she could focus on raising her family. I talked her into working for our various companies as our social media and special projects director. Thanks to technology she can very effectively work remotely at night and between naps.
Our youngest daughter lives and works for a non-profit organization in Nashville where she graduated college this past December almost two years early (over achiever). She founded a non-profit organization and has already traveled to numerous locations around the world serving in the missions field and studying abroad.
Because this interview is titled Dads of Divas I will leave out any details about our two sons. Or maybe I should, I can see their faces now when I say “look boys! I talked about you in Dads of Divas!”
3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
Staying connected and relevant. I worked a lot and my wife deserves huge credit for doing such an incredible job raising our kids.
As our girls were growing up I tried to stay connected with them any way I could.
For many years I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to coach and train them in track and basketball. This allowed me to spend many hundreds of hours with the girls, interacting with them on various levels from about 6th grade all the way through high school.
Sports can bring out a lot of emotion and, many teaching opportunities.
There were many life lesson discussion opportunities of how to deal with adversity, disappointment, bullying, team work, failure, success, personal injury, interpersonal relationships, authority, goal setting, reaching goals, being adaptable and controlling ones emotions.
I got to know their friends and could relate to things that went on in their life.
Which in turn allowed me to share in just a little bit deeper part of their maturing life.
I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of those experiences and conversations as the girls grew up right before my eyes. I would not have wanted to be anywhere else.
Dads can be not so cool and too protective sometimes. However, they finally figured out that Dad had an unfailing love for them and only had their best interests at heart.
As the girls got older our relationships moved from teacher and authority figure to counselor and friend.
Today our girls are well adjusted critical independent thinkers that love Christ, make good decisions, are eager learners and are always helping those around them.
4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
Find ways to stay connected with your kids.
Be creative, don’t give up and don’t get frustrated.
As parents we have to accept the fact that all the answers to being a parent are not written down in neat order in some book.
Being a parent is dynamic and ever changing (especially with teens). So, just dive in and figure it out.
I believe the Marine Corp. has some of the best advice for parents… Improvise, Adapt and Overcome, That’s all we can do!
5) How have you come to balance parenthood and outside life?
I do not believe we ever hit a balance. We were running from one end of the teeter-totter to the other trying to find the balancing point.
Its hectic, tiring, and sometimes just downright crazy raising a family, running a business and maintaining relationships especially during the holidays.
Our goal wasn’t to be perfect.
The goal was being able to recognize when change was needed.
We never wanted things to get too far outside of our families comfort zone.
Sometimes that change was to simply stop, regroup and have a family night.
My wife and I were able to merge most of the areas of our lives to blend with our entire family.
We tried to match our activities with our kids interests and beyond. So, we took the kids most everywhere we went, seldom did we go places where the kids could not attend and the events we held at our home were always kid friendly.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
We all have similar fears and concerns for our kids. We all want our kids to grow to be responsible adults.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
- Never discipline when you are angry
- Always be fair
- As the kids get older allow them to respectfully state their case to change your mind. Doing this builds critical thinking and verbal skills and allows the child to see the situation from your point of view and allows you to see it from their point of view. If the child builds a good case don’t let your ego get in the way, tell them they made a good argument and that your decision is changed.
- Never allow disrespectful behavior. Telling mom or dad they are stupid and running off to their room is disrespectful and never resolves conflict. Have them face you and explain why you should change your mind.
- Do not reward negative behavior
- Kids are quick learners they will not keep doing things if there are negative consequences associated with negative behavior
8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Experiencing two of my kids getting married, my daughter having her first child, my youngest daughter leaving to serve special needs kids for a couple of weeks in the slums of Nairobi, and our youngest son going off to college making my wife and I empty nesters.
If you have any questions for Bryan Nooner, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!