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Omaha Magazine

Boardroom Boomerang: Sam Noddle Chooses to be Back Where he Began

Aug 01, 2022 11:49AM ● By Chris Hatch
sam noddle under aksarben pergola

Photo by Bill Sitzmann    

 Inspiration hit Sam Noddle when he was 1,600 miles away; on the deck of a spear-fishing boat, salt-tinted air whispering into his ear the most cyclical, end-where-you-started words: home.

That’s where, with the coronavirus pandemic starting to shift into high gear in the early spring months of 2020, he was spending time with a fishing buddy, as well as his father and president of Noddle Companies, Jay Noddle. That day, Sam’s father was constantly on the phone, preparing to mitigate some of the inevitable financial impacts of the incoming shutdowns.

“My dad looks at me and says, ‘I’ve got to go back and start talking to our lenders. They’re going to shut down,’” Sam said. “And I remember looking at my friend on the boat and [that friend] said to me, ‘Sam, if you stay in Miami we’re going to get to fish every single day, and we will have the time of our lives. But if you go back to Omaha now, you’re going to get to see your dad do things you’ll never get to see otherwise. You’re going to get to see him in action. If you go back and just watch and listen, you’re going to learn more than you’ve ever learned in your life.’ And I thought that was really great advice.

“I ended up going back, and I did exactly what he told me to do. I listened as my dad talked to every one of our lenders, at the beginning of COVID,” he said with awe in his voice. “I got to listen to how my dad communicated with the lenders.”

The young Omahan whose family business, Noddle Companies, has ties as deep as the foundations they pour into the Midwestern ground, went from Coconut Grove developer in beachfront Miami to doing what his father and his grandfather had done—shepherding local development in Nebraska.

“I always said I don’t work to work for my dad. I want to work with my dad,” Noddle said. 

In a post-COVID world, he has found himself doing just that.

When asked what his official title is at the family company, Noddle couldn’t help himself. 

“I don’t have a title,” he said, bursting out in a laugh. “I don’t have a title, and I kind of purposefully did it that way. My role kind of changes on a regular basis. And I never really wanted a title. I’m just Sam.”

Title or no title, the younger Noddle has more than lived up to the lineage, splitting his time between his adopted, decidedly more beach-like home in Florida and his place at the Noddle Companies-created townhomes in Aksarben Village.

“I’ve really started to focus more on Noddle Companies and Omaha,” Noddle said. “I’d like to develop living space, and I wanted to be able to tell people that I lived in a Noddle home. We only have one more space available in the entire village.”

He elaborated on their current new projects: One in the Builders’ District downtown and one on 180th Street and West Dodge Road—Block 180 with Broadmoor. “I’m probably 60-70% in Omaha at this point,” Noddle said. “I really am pretty focused in Omaha. I’ve got my hands full up here.”

It’s at Aksarben Village that Noddle has really watched his years of training and networking take off.  “My dad and I decided we needed to create a vibe and come up with a thesis for the village,” he said. “We decided that we wanted to create a wellness-oriented community.”

He continued, “To do that, we wanted to create some wellness-oriented amenities. We decided to create some sand volleyball courts. That was a huge hit. Next thing you know, we’ve got Powerlife Yoga that wanted to go into our building. At the time there was all these concepts in Miami, doing these outdoor workout classes, so I said to Powerlife, let’s take this grass area and let’s convert it to turf. That way you can have outdoor classes. It’s been a blast.”

They did just that, creating a recently expanded dog park for residents of the area and even teaming up with vice president Mark Ringsdorf and the elder Noddle to open a bar in the area called Sonnys that serves cocktails out of a renovated Airstream trailer.

There may not be any fish to spear, but Sam Noddle, his father, and Noddle Companies aren’t missing the mark.

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This article originally appeared in the August/September 2022  issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

Photo by Bill Sitzmann    


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