Occupation: Owner of Hanley’s Foods
Wife: Kate Hanley
Children: Paris, 18, and Scarlett, 14
Hobbies: Avid mountain biker, road biker, kayaker, and runner
The perfect salad dressing requires a lot of work when it comes to the production of this delicious household staple. Likewise, using the right amount of love, guidance, and intention makes the perfect recipe for parenthood. Richard Hanley, CEO of Hanley’s Foods (“Salad Fixin’s for Salad Lovers”), has not only perfected his line of tasty, all-natural salad dressings, but he has also fine-tuned parenting so he can be the best dad possible for his daughters, Paris and Scarlett. Richard knows how important it is to be present with your family, which is why you’ll find him prioritizing family dinners every night and eating lunch with his daughters every Friday. From giving his daughters hands-on experiences with business, to helping them learn from their mistakes, to skydiving and running marathons with them, Richard is the perfect recipe for a Dad Next Door.
WHAT DOES A NORMAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
RICHARD: Typically I wake up around 6 a.m. to plan out the day and get everything done before the phone and emails go off the hook. I come up with five important things to do throughout the day, and if I do 50 percent in a day, that’s a good day. From 11-1 I will work out, then I’ll head into the office at LSU’s food incubator where we manufacture our salad dressing line, and I make sure everything’s going well. Something always has to be fixed, brought, or addressed. Then, I come back home and make dinner. We are big advocates of having a family dinner. When we sit down for dinner I always ask three things: what’s something good, something bad, and something new with you? And we’ll eat and share around the table.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE JOYS AND CHALLENGES OF RAISING YOUR CHILDREN?
RICHARD: I am really proud of how they grew up. When they were selling salad dressings at the farmers market they would ask for ice cream, which was $5. I told them if they sold five $1 bottles of dressing, they could get ice cream. They grew up knowing how the dollar works, how food service works from farmers to sales to consumers. They’ve done really well in school with that, and they’re still very active in the company. One of our daughters ships out packages regularly while our other daughter shows us how TikTok and other platforms work so we can interact with customers of the next generation.
It’s definitely challenging to let them make their own mistakes, but we challenge them to learn from their mistakes and to understand we can’t control what the world throws at us. It’s an ongoing battle. And as for when they’re young, it’s amazing how few hours of sleep a parent can get and still function like a human.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A DAD?
RICHARD: Active. No matter what massive fire I’m trying to put out, I always make time for field trips to go do something with our kids, even if it requires delaying things. Friday at noon is blocked off to have lunch with my kids. I would sit with them for lunch in elementary school until it wasn’t cool anymore when they got to middle and high school. Now my oldest is in college, so we’re picking that tradition up again.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO AS A FAMILY?
RICHARD: My youngest and I like to go on little adventures like running routes and bike rides. As a family, we like to travel and get away for the weekend even if it’s a staycation in St. Francisville. Our kids grew up in the back of our car as we traveled from Dallas to Key West as much as possible.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING A DAD?
RICHARD: Being the source of information and curiosity. Whenever they have questions about anything, they’re really open with us, and we try to give them as many tips as possible. At the same time, you have to let them learn from their mistakes.
WHAT HAS PARENTHOOD TAUGHT YOU?
RICHARD: You’re not the center of the universe. Your family is the most important. When you have kids, it changes your world; your focus is their safety, and nothing else matters.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU HOPE TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN?
RICHARD: I want to teach them how to be a good learner, how to do your own research, and how to sit back and look at things and appreciate what you have in life. I feel really good about how they turned out; they know how to be good humans, and hopefully they’ll continue to go down that path
HOW DO YOU TACKLE ANY CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A DAD?
RICHARD: Just by talking and listening. There’s two sides to every story. I also try to explain to them there’s more than just that one issue they think is the center of their world. It’s an ongoing challenge throughout their teenage years. The problem is only a small part of their life; there’s so much more out there to live!
WHAT IS A PARENTING MYTH YOU WANT TO DEBUNK?
RICHARD: It’s not really a myth, but I think it’s so important to be present. People get caught up in work and life, but you have to balance the trifecta of life, work, and family. If you don’t balance family, lots can go wrong. You don’t realize how much childhood will affect the children until they get older.
WHAT PERSONALITY TRAIT OF YOURS DO YOUR CHILDREN ALSO HAVE?
RICHARD: Persistence. Open-mindedness. Questioning the rules. Not taking “no” and finding a way to get to “yes.” That one has shot me in the leg before, but I think they mean well.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER PARENTS?
RICHARD: Make a point to have dinner with your family a few times a week. That’s the one thing I’ve been very intentional about, and I cherish it the most.
ANY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS?
RICHARD: My eldest has it on her bucket list to go skydiving, so I told her on her birthday this year I will take her skydiving. I also made a pact two years ago with my youngest to run a full marathon. Two years ago we ran a 5k, a year ago was a 10k, this year we will do a half marathon, and next year will be a full marathon.
My favorite TV show is…Shark Tank.
My favorite dessert is…ice cream.
My favorite food is…pizza.
My favorite holiday is…Christmas.
My guilty pleasure is…mountain biking.
The first thing I do when I wake up is…read, work out, and plan.
I’m always laughing at…my mistakes.
My dream travel spot is…Maui, Hawaii.