Every Father’s Day, my dad, mom, and I—like many others—watch the U.S. Open Championship. For those not familiar, it is one of the four major championships in men’s golf and has coincided with Father’s Day weekend since 1910, when the holiday was first celebrated. For golf fans like my dad, it is a match made in heaven.
The photo accompanying this piece shows my dad, Jerry Brenholz, and I attending the Open in 2019, when it was played at Pebble Beach in California and Gary Woodland won. My dad and I always have fun watching—almost as much as we have playing—golf together. I took up the sport in college so that I could play with my parents and quickly fell in love with it. For a while, I wanted to be a professional (hasn’t every golfer had that dream?) and I was good enough to think that maybe…just maybe…I’d be the next Nancy Lopez.
But while I was perfecting my golf game, I was also working summers at ATR, the family business. I literally grew up in our offices since my parents founded the company when I was a toddler. I’m sure anyone who is part of a family business can relate! When I graduated college, I started working full time, focused on marketing. I loved my work and my colleagues, and I especially loved working with my parents. As a result of that love for my work, time passed quickly.
Eventually, I realized I wasn’t going to be a professional golfer. But I didn’t immediately see myself taking over for my mom and dad, either. It wasn’t until about five years ago when my dad encouraged me to become more involved with the business. I started regularly attending leadership meetings, gaining a better understanding of the financial side, and getting more involved in managing people across the company—not just in my department. I attended programs like the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative through the Latino Business Action Network as well as the Advanced Management Education Program at Northwestern through the National Minority Supplier Development Council. The more involved I got, the more I liked it.
My dad and I often played golf at charity tournaments and industry events with clients and vendors. This interaction on the golf course—combined with what I learned from my mom and dad—taught me relationship-building skills early on. Soon, I was learning the nuts and bolts of the business in a new way—one that focused on both the big picture and planning for the future, all while juggling the responsibilities of caring for our clients and colleagues day to day. I learned so much that, when my mom and dad decided to move into more advisory roles three years ago, I felt I was ready. Well, let’s just say “ready enough.”
I have always been inspired by the work that we do, and putting people to work one job at a time isn’t just a tag line for us. Today, I am also excited about actually running the business. It’s like a big jigsaw puzzle that never ends. You’re always looking for the next perfect piece that will fill a part of an ever-growing picture.
There will always be more to learn, especially from dad, but I’m ready for any challenge. I am so proud of my parents for building this company. I am so thankful to my dad for helping me prepare to follow in their footsteps. For sharing his knowledge. For being patient when I needed it, but pushing me when I needed that, too. I simply would not be where I am today without him. I am grateful someone invented a special day to honor fathers so I can honor mine now, but I also hope that I honor him each day in my work at ATR.
I am very mindful of the legacy that my parents created, which I am now responsible for. I hope that I will do them proud and continue to lead ATR to success. I’m confident that I can do so because I had a great teacher and role model. I feel so lucky to have my dad—as a business partner, a friend, a golf buddy, and just a dad. I love you! Happy Father’s Day!