Who I Am.
My name’s Andy Van Laan, and I’m 33 years old. I’m a proud new dad to a four month old baby girl named Jolene. She keeps her mother and I busy, happy, and tired.
Where I Live.
I was born and raised in northwest Indiana, but I moved to Chicago about 9 years ago and never looked back. I love the diversity and energy of the city, and if you have the mental fortitude to say goodbye to sunshine for half the year, then it’s a great place to live. There’s nothing like a Chicago summertime by the lake. My wife and I recently bought a classic bungalow on the south side and we have plans to renovate it into our dream home.
What I Do.
By day, I’m the Zoological Manager of Birds at Lincoln Park Zoo. Yes, I play with birds for a living, and I love it. We have everything from Flamingos to Vultures to Kingfishers, and giving them the best care possible keeps me and the animal keepers I work with mentally and physically engaged. By night, I enjoy sampling the offerings of Chicago’s many excellent craft breweries (Revolution and Two Brothers are my favorites), and I like to play guitar for my daughter, which is a sure fire way to get her smiling.
Why I Beard.
I’ve had a closely cropped beard ever since I could grow one, but the recent discovery of beard oil has really upped my folic game. Those hairs that were once dry and curly are now straight and lustrous. We are clearly in the midst of a beard renaissance. I think we as men grow beards to give ourselves an air of dignity. I’m proud of the new grays in my red beard that my wife has dubbed “Salt and Cayenne”. To me, each gray hair symbolizes an experience; a challenge met, and overcome.