Fast-forward 20-plus years over a steak dinner in Manhattan. Rob Neuner ’85 had just recently sold his beer importing business and was looking for a new venture. His dinner companion, former teammate and still close friend Mike Minogue ’85, asked him a question that changed his career path: “What about oxygen?” Oxygen canisters, used by athletes and those feeling the effects of altitude sickness, were common in Europe but not as available here in the U.S. as commercial-grade products. After doing extensive product research, and with some guidance from Mike’s father, who was in the aerosol business, Rob introduced Boost Oxygen—portable, lightweight oxygen canisters—in 2007. The business soon became a BC family affair when Mike’s wife, Renee, came on board as a company partner. And business is good. Just this year Boost was spotted on the set of “American Idol” as well as in use by players at the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Sports were central to Rob’s life at Bergen Catholic. In addition to football, he was a doubles specialist in tennis, making first team All-State his junior and senior years. Still counting tennis coach John Puzio as a big influence on his life, he attended a Founders’ Medal ceremony in Puzio’s honor on campus five years ago. Rob connected with both his football and tennis teammates in meaningful ways. “Both teams were a very tight knit group of guys, I got along well with all of them and am close to many of them still today,” he says.
Rob lives in Darien with his wife, Lynn, and their three children, including two teenagers who play tennis. An opportunity came up in 2013 for him to coach the varsity boys’ team at Darien High School. “I had such fond memories of playing tennis for Mr. Puzio that I wanted to pay it forward a little bit,” he says. Although the experience was rewarding, after three years he stepped down as coach to spend more time as a parent watching from the sidelines.
In business and in his personal life, Rob continues to carry the lessons he learned and connections made at Bergen Catholic. “One of the most important things I learned at Bergen and still use today is the idea of promoting others to do their best and to do so with honor and integrity,” he says. “That has really guided me throughout my life. A number of the Brothers, Brother Lawrence for example, genuinely wanted all of the boys to do well and selflessly donated their lives to that cause, and that really stuck with me.” It’s a very simple principle, he says, and it’s how he tries to live his life today.