I believe that humble beginnings can mold great people, if they let them. No one has a choice in what resources they have when they enter the world. For Nate and his family, resources were scarce. He lived in a small town in Pennsylvania with a population of about 800 and no stoplight. What his family did have in abundance was tenacity. His father was a machinist who recycled scrap metal and found alternative uses for things that may not be obvious. He also was a grave digger, while Nate's mother did hair for the dead as well as operate as a seamstress and nurse. Nate is the youngest of 8 children. At a young age, he learned how to make something out of what's perceived to be nothing. In fact, he was passionate about it.
Years later, Nate attended UNC Chapel Hill to study German Language. Outside of his core courses, Nate studied an unusually high amount of art classes. He was drawn to them as well as the stories of his professors; one of which who was a neon artist. Neon art intrigued him and after graduating, the shop owner of the late Paradise Neon encouraged him to start his own business. "I didn't know to be afraid," Nate told me. At 21, he embarked a tenacious journey of running his own neon sign business with 6 employees. Then in 1999, China took over the beer sign business, putting the majority of companies out of business within 30 days. Nate shut his operation down, got married, had kids and operated as a stay at home dad. In 2008, a friend who owned a glass shop encouraged him to get back into the business. Nate was hesitant; he didn't want to make signs, but art. Sure enough, he embraced his past abject failure and went back to creating art. If you're ever in Raleigh, you'll find it. You'll see his at as you drink beer at Trophy Brewing Co or searching for eclectic eats downtown.