As an undergraduate at UC Irvine, Mickey Novak ’70 considered several careers, including law and the Peace Corps. His professional future was shaped by a fortuitous meeting with a friend’s father, the owner of Croton Watches. While Novak was still a student at UC Irvine’s Graduate School of Management, Croton hired him to evaluate and help improve their business and then to oversee the company’s relationship with Hughes Aircraft, then the leading supplier of digital watches.
Novak’s work with Croton awakened his entrepreneurial spirit. After completing his M.S. in management, he decided to found his own digital watch company, Innovative Time Corporation. By the 1990s, the company was selling 3 to 5 million licensed children’s and sports watches a year to retail giants like Walmart and Target.
Novak sold the company in 1999, but in 2001, he and one of his former executives started a new business, NAFECS (North American Far East Commercial Services) Corporation, sourcing Chinese factories for manufacturers and developing electronics and seasonal goods for major retailers. NAFECS now has about 50 employees, with offices in Hong Kong and Shenzen, China.
Novak and his family live in Montezuma, Costa Rica, but he has remained an active part of the Webb community for over 35 years, organizing class reunions and later serving as a trustee. Novak credits Webb with giving him the tools to succeed in school and business. “At Webb,” he says, “You learn to develop all your skills. … It shaped me, brought out talents in me, and that’s essentially what led to my becoming an entrepreneur.”
Sponsored by the Robert ’53 and MeiLi Hefner Foundation and offered here at Webb to two current students, The Hefner Initiative aims to foster a close and positive relationship between the people of China and the US. This extraordinary 12-day summer program includes travel this year to Beijing and Suzhou—allowing for living/learning opportunities with host students and families.
Shyam Arya '18 and Ellie Canty '18 have been accepted to present a poster at the National American Chemical Society conference in New Orleans in March 2019--an extremely rare honor for high school students.
It’s November 2nd and the College Guidance office is quiet this morning—nothing like the last few days when countless numbers of panicked seniors were popping in to get their essays looked at one last time before pressing “submit.”