Roger Novak reports that he and Kathy were enjoying an early March getaway last year as the full serious nature of COVID became apparent. Their sons, Ned and Alex, along with Alex’s fiancée, were looking after things back home in Baltimore, and equipping the house with an emergency food supply and some enhanced security, in case the advice to stay home should transition into all-out quarantine mode. So, as the months passed by, the Novak household was very busy within, as everyone staked out their own turf. Rog writes, “gradually, as regulations loosened up, Ned returned home to northern Virginia, but Alex and Meg, finding life at Rog and Kathy’s house to be much to their liking, stayed on through their wedding in Wyoming, last October.” The wedding site was in an aspen grove, close by the Snake River, near Jackson Hole, but regrettably, had to be greatly downsized, to primarily very close friends of the couple and family. He remarks that the contrast they noticed, between the attitude/response to COVID in Wyoming vs. the extreme cautious nature of Maryland’s response, was like night and day, with Wyoming’s response being “let’s say very laid back. Happily, the maskless welcoming and wedding receptions were great events and resulted in NO COVID cases.” After the wedding, Alex and Meg returned to living at Roger and Kathy’s house, until they recently purchased a house about a mile away, and Ned has relocated to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.
On the business front, Rog and Jack Biddle mutually agreed to wind up their great 25-year business partnership, to focus on their respective family holding companies, and both now agree that their timing could not have been more perfect. Rog continues to do some early-stage seed investing, through Novak Holdings LLC, primarily in the Security and Edtech spaces. He recently made an investment in a new Edtech company, Class Technologies, which provides a set of software tools that enhance Zoom technology, to make online learning easier and more effective; in doing so he found that one of his co-investors was none other than football great Tom Brady. Now that COVID is on the wane, Rog and Kathy hope to return to some travel plans that had been delayed and to find some property to enjoy in Florida and Wyoming.
Roger Novak closed the door of his highly regarded venture capital firm, Novak Biddle, at the end of 2019. He and Kathy are looking forward to the travel opportunities that will be presented by the free time created, including visits to Jackson Hole, Wyo., which they greatly enjoy, and which is slated to be the site of son Ned’s wedding. In 2019, Roger and Kathy continued a history of strong financial support for Gilman with a gift to establish the Novak Family Innovation Lab, which features 3D printing and laser-cutting machines, LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robotics, and a green wall for film-making, among many advanced technological tools to enhance the STEM learning opportunities provided at Gilman. What a wonderful gift!
reported by Rick Buck '66