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Freedom, The Open Road And Monday Mornings

FREEDOM, THE OPEN ROAD AND MONDAY MORNINGS
BOB BRENK
Former President of Aldo Products Company
Joined Vistage in 2008
Bob enjoying his two favorite pastimes: road biking and golfing

In 1998, I joined my father-in-law at Aldo Products Company, a roof-coating business he founded in the 1980s. By 2004, I became a majority shareholder — and soon after that I learned about Vistage.

I joined because I was impressed by the Chair, and I stayed because of the members. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. My Vistage peers became my board of directors, a sounding board for unbiased feedback as I grew the company and developed the culture.

After 20 years, when I began considering stepping down, I spoke with my son in Germany, who was my original succession plan. He said he didn’t know if it was what he wanted, as he was pursuing a career in finance and playing baseball abroad. I learned that if the next generation isn’t excited, no use in pressuring them. So we explored our selling options, and I found a small brokerage company in the Midwest that was familiar with our specific niche.

We sold in late 2019 to a boutique private equity group, and I stayed on as a consultant and VP of sales for the spin-off company, Aldo Coatings, until 2023.

My wife and I didn’t have an outline or bullet points on what we wanted life to look like after that, but somehow I managed to play 122 rounds of golf in 2023.

“You can’t put a price tag
on that kind of freedom.”

We’ve been traveling a lot, including to Chile, Argentina, Florida, South Carolina and Germany. In the coming year, we plan on doing more long-term travel — maybe renting Airbnbs for long stretches, visiting family in Wisconsin and driving the interstates with an open itinerary. You can’t put a price tag on having that kind of freedom.

I’ve also enjoyed completing projects around the house — the kind of thing I never had time for before. And my new favorite time of the week is Sunday night because that’s when I used to have to prep for the week ahead. Monday morning is of no relevance to me anymore!

What’s life like now? In the words of golfer Phil Mickelson, who was interviewed about how he was feeling after he won the Masters, overall I have to say, “It doesn’t suck.”

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LIFE AFTER THE SALE