Lake Oswego dads do it best
Haladay, Snaadt honored as ADA Fathers of the Year
Everyone can agree that some fathers are better than others. Then there are the fathers who are really, really good.
But standing at the pinnacle this year are two of Lake Oswegos own fathers, Jay Haladay and Mike Snaadt. In fact, its official. Last Wednesday night the two dads were honored, along with two other men, at the Father of the Year Awards Dinner held by the Fathers Day Council at Moda Center in Portland.
Mostly a dads only reward is being allowed to watch a ballgame in peace, but on this occasion the stops were pulled out because all proceeds from the event go to the American Diabetes Association. The honor goes to dads who are both successful in business and are exceptional fathers.
Haladay and Snaadt meet the standard, even though they were baffled when they were informed about their award.
Theyre saying, Gee, you guys have done a pretty good job, Haladay said. I feel great about it. Its a real pleasure.
I was humbled, Snaadt said. I was shocked when they called me.
Shock aside, Snaadt is well qualified for such laurels, and so is Haladay.
Haladay is just starting to slow down this year after decades of intense effort as a father and businessman. Last year, he put in 250,000 air miles for his company, Viewpoint Construction Software. Since the ranks of his grandchildren are growing, he decided to retire at age 65.
Haladay is still too busy to reflect much on his life, but he does think that nobody can prepare to be Father of the Year.
If anybody says they set out to do this ... he said.
It is not that Haladay is unaccustomed to receiving honors. In 2012, he was recognized as Tech Executive of the Year by the Technology Associates of Oregon. He earned this glittering prize by leading his company Coaxis to become one of the largest software companies in the industry, with 800 employees serving 8,000 customers in 26 countries. Three of those employees are his sons, which is a big bonus.
We were blessed to develop a great business, Haladay said. Having family members in our business is unusual in the tech business. All my four kids (including one daughter) went to world class universities and they all moved back to Lake Oswego. They all live within walking distance of my house.
If any dad is naive enough to set his sights on being father of the year, Haladay recommends they marry someone like his wife Renee. Their 42nd anniversary is just around the corner.
Marrying her is the biggest piece of luck I ever had, Haladay said.
Should they luck out in marriage, Haladay suggests that a father be humble yet confident and also curious about life.
As for being a good dad, Haladay had a fine role model in his own father.
He was a very busy small businessman, Haladay said. But he was always my baseball coach and always took me camping.
Haladay was so focused on spending lots of times with his children that for years he cut back on his business activities.
When my kids were in their formative years in the 90s I spent less time on business, Haladay said. Then when they were all in college my wife kicked me out of the house, and I got back to work.
Obviously, Haladay has had a wonderful life. There is just one possible honor on the horizon that would make things complete: grandfather of the year.
Now Im going to my granddaughters t-ball games, Haladay said. The clock is rewinding.
An intense experience with diabetes is not required to be named father of the year, but Snaadt had one that turned his life upside down. When she was but 3 years old his daughter Clarissa was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Today, Snaadt gives talks on what it means to be a parent of a diabetic child.
Its scary and its difficult, but everyone manages to get through it every day, he said.
It definitely helps that Clarrisa, now 11 years old, is thriving. She is a cheerleader, gets straight As, and during the Christmas season she and her older sister Delaney help out their dad a lot. They not only form a violin-cello duo for the enjoyment of customers, but they cut Christmas cookies at her dads bakery, the Helen Bernhard Bakery, which has been going strong for 93 years in Portland.
Snaadt did not set out to be a busy baker, but it suits him quite well.
I was halfway through grad school when I realized I didnt want to work for a major corporation, he said. I had never run my own business, but my father-in-law found the perfect sucker (Snaadt) to take over the bakery. Its given me the opportunity to experience a wide variety of life.
While the bakery brings in the bucks, Snaadt devotes much of his time in fundraising for ADA. He viewed this years banquet as a big opportunity.
This event is about fundraising and also awareness raising about diabetes, he said. That is the big thing to me.
Snaadt is following in the tradition of another Lake Oswego father, Mike Greene, who was the first winner of the award in 2014.
To be nominated by Mike Greene is an honor, Snaadt said. Hes the most humble and talented person I know. He, along with Harold Schnitzer, is probably the biggest reason why diabetes is a livable disease for kids in school. Because of Mike, my own daughter is safe.
Even though he is now officially Father of the Year, Snaadt has no plans to change his fatherhood routine.
I try to be involved in as many things in their lives as I can, he said. When they let me.
Joining Snaadt and Haladay at the honor table were Produce Row Property Management Company President Randy Miller and Portland Trail Blazer legend Terry Porter, who is practically from Lake Oswego since he lives in Dunthorpe, a nearby Portland suburb.