Bill & Teddy Novak
Married for over 60 years, Bill and Teddy Novak began life as a young couple living in a mobile cottage, while Bill served in the United States Marine Corps. After settling down and building their first home in Dutchess County, they had three sons, Bill Jr., Bob and Tim. Together, they worked side-by-side, first in the oil business, and then as plumbing and heating contractors. In the early 70s, they ventured into land development, where they worked on a variety of projects, and retired from the plumbing business. A helicopter accident later in life (age 78) caused Bill to be hospitalized and required rehab from his injuries. Bill was advised that rehab was to take place in a nursing home. Bill believed that at 78 years old, he would never leave the facility. He decided he would rehab at home with private duty nurses. It was during this time that he came up with the idea of ECHO Cottages: a small portable cottage that can be placed in the rear yard of a person for their elderly parents, and then removed when no longer needed; thus, giving seniors another option. This accident, and another serious illness to Teddy that caused her to be hospitalized one year later, led them to leave their retirement home in Florida and move back to NY to be closer to family. During this time, the idea of ECHO Cottages came full circle, and has since been handed over to their son, Bob, who continues to progress the family business.
Construction has always been a part of Bob’s life. His first start in the field was working as a plumber assistant in his father’s shop. In 1973, at the age of 19, along with his older brother Bill Jr., Bob built his first home. This venture marked the beginning of Wilro Construction, a company that continues to build custom homes in the Hudson Valley. Over 40 years and 800 homes later, in 2011, he teamed up with his father, Bill Novak, Sr., to establish ECHO Cottages as an alternative backyard living space for seniors. His passion for providing apartment-styled housing for seniors as an alternative to living in an assisted living facility or nursing home is something that he truly believes is the best way to care for your elderly ones. As Bob puts it: “It doesn’t matter how fancy a Facility/Nursing Home is or how much you pay for it, there is no substitute for being in your own place close to your family, in your golden years.”