Encore: How a Small, Family-owned Brush Company Took on China
July 5, 2021
Hosted by Ron Roel
Over the last 40 years, China has increasingly wreaked havoc on U.S. manufacturers, undercutting their business with high-volume, low-cost products. So when Lance Cheney, the fourth-generation owner of Braun Brush Company on Long Island, took the reins from his father, he sensed that he had to make a risky strategic shift—or the company might never make it to the fifth generation. Lance decided that Braun would no longer compete in the inexpensive “commodity brush” market. Instead, they would produce highly specialized brushes that accomplished unique tasks for companies that needed them done exactly right. Since that decision, Lance, who as a young man had gone to school to be a sculptor, has blended his artistic talents with his business acumen to take Braun Brush on an extraordinary creative journey. In this thought-provoking conversation with Host Ron Roel, Lance talks about the company’s many forays into innovative brush-making—from producing brushes dedicated to putting a sheen on chocolate; to others that keep the pigeons off the top of New York City’s Freedom Tower; to tiny brushes that have helped the Mars rovers dust debris away from drilling sites. And along the way, Lance has continued to find new avenues for his artistic sensibility, creating fiber-based projects for major companies and fabricating dozens of sculptures for a renowned American artist, the late Richard Artschwager.
Monday at 12 Noon Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel
Thanks to advances in medicine and health, most of us are just at half-life when we reach our mid-40s, with many potentially productive years ahead. But there’s no road map to prepare us for this period. That’s where 45 Forward comes in.
My show provides you with strategies to shift the traditional waiting-for-retirement model to a journey of compelling life chapters. Each show tackles an aspect of health, finance, family and friends, housing, work and personal pursuits as part of an integrated plan. Experts discuss topics like revitalizing relationships, creating mini-retirements, managing the maze of technology, finding your next homestead and caring for aging parents.
The show instills confidence, and hopefully some comfort, amid the stresses permeating today’s society. Fear of the future is not knowing how to prepare for it. 45 Forward does not proffer prefabricated answers, but helps you shape your life amid the daily anxieties of our time.
I’m a veteran journalist who spent a wide-ranging career covering business, politics and social issues, the last two decades focusing on the blend of diverse life skills I call successful aging.
I have written extensively on aging topics, spoken at conferences, radio and TV shows, and launched several entrepreneurial ventures, discovering along the way that the path to aging well also requires an unexpected entrepreneurial vision. I spent 20 years as a writer and editor at Long Island’s daily newspaper, Newsday, helping to found Act 2, a weekly section for 50-plus readers. I created Roelresources.com, a website offering practical advice and inspirational essays for people ages 40 and above. I have been a volunteer and consultant to AARP Long Island, writing articles, advocating for seniors, and developing action plans for the AARP Age-Friendly Communities initiative.
I am active in programs and organizations that support seniors, such as the National Aging In Place Council and the Senior Umbrella Network. I have developed a special expertise in family caregiving, as one of four brothers who took care of their mother for almost 25 years. I regularly collaborate with many professionals who provide services and support for older Americans, and I am completing a book for caregivers on Long Island, “The Caregiving Navigator/How to Plan, What to do, and Where to Turn When Caring for you Aging Loved Ones. And Yourself,” scheduled for publication in early 2021.