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.”
Join the conversation. The Spring/Summer issue of WEBB Magazine is in the mail and on its way to you. In it we explore Webb’s new innovative curriculum—an educational experience being talked about across the country. From the newly invigorated core curriculum that includes The American Idea and Evolutionary Biology, to the ONLY AT WEBB series of Honors and Advanced Studies courses featuring Advanced Studies in Biotechnology and Honors Ethics & Modern Global Affairs—the Webb program is engaging students in field study and independent research work like never before.
The Webb Schools is pleased to offer a live stream for both the Vivian Webb School and Webb School of California Commencement Ceremonies on June 2, 2018. The events are available below, and will be concurrently streaming on Webb's Facebook page as well as the schools' Livestream.com page.