How did your father, being an entrepreneur, help you imagine, create and deal with the long road of building a business from the ground up?
ONE AMAZING MAN
That is a great question and ironic considering my dad Ronald Edgar Nordin passed away just 4 days ago on Easter Sunday.
My dad started his life of raising a family and becoming a businessman as a salesman, like many fathers did in the mid to late 60’s.
Being a salesman is paralleled very closely with being an entrepreneur. Especially if you don’t take a weekly wage but rely only on the commission of your sales. He always told us that if you committed to being an amazing salesman you should work for straight commission, this left no room and no other option but to succeed. While growing a family with 6 children with my mother and he did just that, he succeeded.
Ron sold steel, raw steel right out of the steel mills of Detroit. Selling steel to end user companies is not an easy job and the steel industry is one of the most cyclical markets out there. At an early age this taught our whole family how to deal with an inconsistent income. Something every entrepreneur needs to understand how to handle. Sometimes things were tight and sometimes things were flush. This enabled us all to realize that being wealthy wasn’t about how much money you had or your company made, but what you had behind the scenes, which was family and making sure you did what you loved.
I had already learned that I wanted to do what I loved when I went to the Center for Creative Studies, now the College for Creative Studies, in 1987. I explored my creativity and discovered the materials & knowledge that I could use to express myself. Upon graduation in 1991 my father made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He asked if I was interested in working for his now established steel business to subsidize my income while I built my own career as an artist. Understanding that, like most artists, when you first start out you need to have an income other than the art you are creating. I jumped at the offer.
A 10-year journey working in the steel business taught me knowledge and skills I couldn’t have imagined I would learn; cold calling steel purchases, closing a sale as well as finding new products our steel could be used for. All this while building a glassblowing studio and selling our glass products all over the United States. This period of time taught me how to successfully multitask and handle the stress of having a lot on my plate.
Luckily, I had Michelle, my business partner but more importantly my wife. She was working along side me building Furnace Hot Glass Works. Not to mention raising our 2 children Jake & Lucy. She had her own entrepreneurial mega experience going on that was equally comparable if not even more intense than mine. I just need to send out some gratitude to this unbelievable woman, wife, mother and business partner, she is way more skilled than I am!
When the time came to make a transition from working in two industries to one and to make a choice which one I loved more, it wasn’t a hard decision. The Art business was my choice. Let me remind you it was always my choice to be an artist. Like every journey there were a lot of distractions along the way. I really do think that being an artist on the entrepreneurial journey there are a lot more distractions to confront and deal with. My dad really helped me with many of those decisions.
This past Easter Sunday, a perfect sunny 65-degree day, we were at Mario’s for Brunch in Downtown Detroit. My dad leaned over the corner of the table and said to me.
“I’m so happy that I raised all my children to the point that they are teaching me things in the time of life that I’m in now”
The things I learned from my dad about life, love, business and the respect of a family will never stop evolving because of the man he was.
Thank you dad for all the knowledge you taught me and the love you gave me, you were the perfect father, boss and friend, and now you will live forever in my memories in more ways than anyone will ever know.
Rest in Peace