O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 52

METALMOMENT

Landscape Architect to Blacksmith to Soon-To-Be Preacher:
Up Front and Personal With Past-NOMMA President Breck Nelson
SAMANTHA JONES
the spice of life and if that's so, then former
NOMMA president Breck Nelson has lived a flavorful one. Nelson,
originally from Peoria, Illinois, a mid-sized town 2.5 miles outside of
Chicago, started out his career in landscaping.
"When I graduated from high school in 1985, the pay at McDonald's
was $1.85 an hour and they weren't hiring, so I decided to continue
mowing lawns with my five employees," Nelson said.
Nelson's lawn care business grew to owning and managing a landscape nursery, which he purchased from his father-in-law 10 years later.
It was during his time at the nursery that Nelson was first introduced
to ornamental iron by a father and son client, Doug and Travis Kelley,
who needed landscaping around a gate they recently created.
After Doug's unexpected passing in the spring of 1996, Nelson
approached Kelley for a joint partnership and purchase of the wrought
iron company, now known as Kelley Ironworks. "I had never welded,
but I still wanted to buy the company. I thought I would do the business
portion and he [the son] could weld."
THEY SAY VARIETY IS

52 | September/October 2017 * O&MM Fabricator

The deal was sealed three weeks later and Nelson launched into
the ornamental iron world.
As planned, Nelson started out on the business side of things: designing, selling and managing operations while Kelley handled blacksmithing
for five years. Besides helping Nelson adjust to a new industry, Kelley
also introduced Nelson to NOMMA.
Both Nelson and Kelly decided, in Nelson's first year with Kelley
Ironworks, to drive nine hours to Birmingham, Alabama, for the 1997
NOMMA Annual Conference. "We just showed up and met Martha
Pennington and were blown away," Nelson said.
That show started Nelson's long and enriching experience with
NOMMA.
"With NOMMA, the men and women were so open and willing to
share what they learned and expected nothing back in return. They
helped me build my company, and without their input, I'm not sure
where I'd be."
You need not go further than compare Nelson's first blacksmithing
job, a fireplace grate that fell down after being hit with a hammer, to
where he ended with Kelley Ironworks, the winner of several NOMMA
Top Job Awards, to see NOMMA's influence.
Nelson's appreciation, his drive to learn more and be around the "best
of the best," and an invitation from a friend, led him to join NOMMA's
Rescue Mission Committee, which helps men, women and kids find
shelter and help in the midst of addiction-related circumstances. Nelson
then served as vice president before his presidential term in 2007-2008.
In the midst of his presidency, Nelson sold an awning company,
started building a house, followed by the economy tanking. "We went
from six months of backlogged projects to zero," Nelson said.
On top of that, he had two mortgages; however, it was during that
time that he felt God call him to seminary. In a mix of a leap of faith and
attempt to call a bluff, Nelson enrolled part-time at Dallas Theological
Seminary to pursue a master's in theology and got in despite not having a bachelor's.
"I never bounced a check, and though 2009 to 2011 were the worst
three years financially for me, the next five years were the best in
business and wiped away all my debt," Nelson said.
With that divine help, Nelson decided to sell his business to fellow
business partners, Tania and Joel Hoerr, and moved to Dallas, Texas,
to pursue seminary full-time.
"I'm 50 years old and should be thinking about retirement, but I
sold my company and my 4,000-square-foot-house and moved into
700-square-foot student housing."
Nelson has a little over two years left in his program, including learning Greek and Hebrew, and is open to what his next stage in life will look
like. Until then, he is road tripping with his wife to San Francisco and
Portland to see their kids and learning to wind surf; quite flavorful, indeed.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017

President’s Letter
Letter From the Executive Director
NOMMA Network
NOMMA Education Foundation
Apprenticeships: Getting Involved With Worker Training
The Collective Mind Gate Series–Part V
Shining Light: How to Work With Illuminated Handrails
Sole Proprietorship or Corporation?
Employment Lawsuits Happen
Supplier Members
New & Returning NOMMA Members & Iron Club Members
Gold Members
Landscape Architect to Blacksmith to Soon-to-Be Preacher
Index of Advertisers
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Intro
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - cover1
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - cover2
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 3
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 4
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 5
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 6
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 7
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 8
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - President’s Letter
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 10
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Letter From the Executive Director
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - NOMMA Network
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 13
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - NOMMA Education Foundation
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 15
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 16
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 17
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 18
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 19
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Apprenticeships: Getting Involved With Worker Training
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 21
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 22
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 23
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 24
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 25
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 26
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 27
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 28
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 29
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - The Collective Mind Gate Series–Part V
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 31
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 32
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 33
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Shining Light: How to Work With Illuminated Handrails
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 35
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 36
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 37
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 38
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 39
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 40
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Sole Proprietorship or Corporation?
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 42
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 43
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Employment Lawsuits Happen
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 45
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 46
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Supplier Members
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 48
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - New & Returning NOMMA Members & Iron Club Members
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 50
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Gold Members
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Landscape Architect to Blacksmith to Soon-to-Be Preacher
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - Index of Advertisers
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - 54
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - cover3
O&MM Fabricator - September/October 2017 - cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0518
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0418
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0318
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https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0118
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0617
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0517
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0417
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0317
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0217
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0117
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0616
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0516
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0416
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0316
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0216
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0116
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0615
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NOMS/NOMS0515
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