If you have been in this area for any length of time, you have heard this guy on the radio. Alan Novak and I met many years ago working in radio. I was blessed with the opportunity to be one of his DJ’s when he was program director of WKOS and when he eventually left to work for Wellmont, I was given his position and some really big shoes to try and fill. The guy is a gifted performer and was a great boss to work for. These days he is proud to rank himself in terms of how well he does as a dad and husband. Meet a rock solid guy who I am proud to call my friend. Ladies and gentlemen, Alan Novak.
BRIAN: Thanks for taking time to do this interview with me. I know you are one busy guy! Start us off at the beginning, where did you grow up? And can you talk a little about what that was like?
ALAN: Born in Pittsburgh but grew up most of my life in Northern Virginia, outside of DC. My dad worked for the federal government so we ended up there. DC was a great place to grow up back in the 80s. It was still a growing town but hadn’t exploded with all the traffic and urban sprawl you find there now. I was your typical suburban 1980’s kid who loved rock music, MTV and sported a mullet which is even funnier now because I am bald. Sorry no pictures to share!
BRIAN: You and I met when I first started in radio way back too many years to talk about, but let’s just say late 90’s? We were both much younger men back then and trying to figure everything out. You don’t go around bragging, but for those who don’t know, you are super talented in radio and could have gone anywhere in the country to work. What was it about this region and these people that made you choose to stay here and put down roots?
ALAN: Well I appreciate you saying that. I’ve always had the gift of gab and spontaneity, so I guess it served me well. I always thought I would end up in radio or TV. Growing up FM radio was a huge part of my life and I wanted to be a part of it. It’s funny how kids today are attracted to Snap Chat and Instagram. We didn’t have that. So listening to Top 40 and sports radio was my way to feel a connection to the world. The DJs were the big celebrities in town and they were so cool that I wanted to be them. And I feel like I was on that pathway, not far along, but I could have got there. I ended up here in the Tri-Cities and felt like I was forging that path and this would be just a stop along the way. I was happy with where I was professionally but personally there was a tremendous void. As much as I wanted to succeed, I also had a strong desire to be married and have a family. And as it is most times, love hits you when you are not expecting it. I met my wife Jan while we both worked at the radio station. I fell head over heels. And to this day, I absolutely adore her over 15 years later.
She was born and raised here and as our relationship grew, I started to feel more of a connection to this region and started loving it as much as she did. Though I grew up in the DC suburbs, I went to school at West Virginia University. I loved Morgantown’s size, the people there and the culture. It’s very similar to here. So I met this fantastic woman, I’m in an area that I enjoy and I start thinking that maybe this is where I am supposed be.
BRIAN: Speaking of roots, you and I talk kids sports a lot for good reason! I know you have always been about family. Why is that so important to you?
ALAN: Family is everything. I grew up in a wonderful home. My parents provided me a great blueprint on how it should work. There are challenges but life is full of them. It’s those challenges you maneuver through that help build a stronger family unit. My wife Jan had a daughter from a previous marriage, Stacy. I had never been a father before so on the day I got married, I instantly became a husband and a dad to a 10 year old girl. Talk about a challenge! But it’s been such a blessing to watch her grow into a successful young woman and now I get to walk her down the aisle at her upcoming wedding.
And along the way, Jan and I had a son, Benjamin. I love being involved in his life from academics to sports. I often tell people that I get more enjoyment watching him play sports than I ever did playing. Honestly having a family is the reason that I left radio. I was working so much and on weekends that I started missing my kids’ events. I didn’t want to miss a soccer game or a birthday party because I had to work.
BRIAN: We can’t talk about this region and the people without talking about faith. I know your faith is very important to you. How does faith play into your daily routine at work and home?
ALAN: Faith’s a big part of our lives. I came from a very spiritual family growing up. I started to waver somewhat during college and into my 20’s. But it was my wife Jan who helped to steer me back to church and to bible study. I’m so grateful for her guidance. She only worked at the radio station for a short time. I am convinced that God put her there so that we could meet. Sorry just not a coincidence.
Everyone is so busy but it’s so important to find time for prayer or reflection. So I make time. God doesn’t care when and where. He wants a relationship with you. Many times I am at my desk or driving and just stop, take a minute or two and pray.
BRIAN: And after all of these years, you and I get to work together from time to time and it is always great to get to do that. You serve a unique and important role within Wellmont Health System. Tell folks a little about that and how they can learn more.
ALAN: I am a Physician Relations Manager for Wellmont Health System. I really love what I do. I work to market and promote Wellmont physicians and services to referring doctors in the area. For instance a new cardiologist or surgeon comes to our area. I will take this new doctor around to all the referring physicians and introduce them. My hope is that through these face-to-face introductions that the PCP, their nurses and staffs will start to refer patients to the new doctor. I really love it when someone in an office says how they enjoyed putting a name with a face. It is also exciting for me to assist in some small way a new physician to get their practice up and running. I also take great joy in being that Wellmont liaison for referring offices. They know that if any issue, concern or compliment for Wellmont occurs that they can count on me to help. I tell them that I may not be able to answer all their questions, but I am confident that if I can’t, I can find someone who can.