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A Salisbury Gentleman

George Taylor '80
Kristina Miller

SALISBURY GENTLEMAN GEORGE TAYLOR '80 SHARES HIS STORY WITH THE SALISBURY COMMUNITY 

I grew up in Richmond Virginia and went to a local private school. At the time, Richmond was a “small” city and my world was made up of a relatively small group of people who I had known since kindergarten. I was rebellious, unchallenged and had become bored with school and life in general.

I came to Salisbury in my junior year looking for a place that was academically challenging/interesting, had a geographically diverse student base, and would provide a structure that would prepare me for the independence that would come with college. And Salisbury delivered.

When I arrived on campus, I was incredibly fortunate to have roomed with two great guys—Steve Hart and Andy Rutledge. These guys had already been at school for a couple of years and were awesome at catching me up to speed quickly. Everything from campus protocol to extracurricular opportunities in the woods.

My two years at Salisbury were two of the most influential years of my life. So many teachers poured into me and helped shape and grow my independent entrepreneurial nature which eventually lead to my career in startup companies (mostly software).

I’ve spent the past 35 years leading startups and have been fortunate to have been part of companies that changed the world just a bit. Today I’m part of National Speed and TRU Colors. The former is scaling speed shops across the country (I’ve had a bad car habit for decades) and is working to elevate and standardize the automotive performance industry. You can check out National Speed here: www.NationalSpeedInc.com.

TRU Colors is different than my other startups. Like the others, it’s an investor-backed for-profit venture, but unlike the others it’s an Impact Venture. TRU Colors is a large for-profit brewery I founded with rival gang leaders (think Bloods, Crips, GD, etc.). In addition to producing great beer, the business has a tightly integrated social mission to stop gang violence and unite communities across America.

TRU Colors is a financially sustainable solution to one of the country’s most challenging social problems. The Company has spent 2-years in “R&D” developing its unique social mission platform, completing market studies, and developing corporate, media and gang partnerships that will help ensure it quickly grows to a national brand. TRU Colors is currently completing construction of its 64,000 square foot facility and will launch beer into North Carolina and Virginia in March of 2021.

You can learn about TRU Colors story here: www.TruStory.Life

A lot has happened in my life since graduation, but there’s no question Salisbury played an important role in forming the foundation for my entrepreneurial career. In particular, Salisbury taught me independence and to think big, to take risks and not be afraid to fail, and the importance of passion and a solid work ethic. For that and much more, I will always be grateful.

Luke Nemsick '21
Kristina Miller
Luke Nemsick '21

SALISBURY GENTLEMAN LUKE NEMSICK '21 SHARES HIS STORY WITH THE SALISBURY COMMUNITY

I have lived in Shrewsbury, MA since I was born. I attended a private middle school, Fay School, from fifth grade through eighth grade. At my middle school, I had an advisor who helped introduce me to the many different boarding schools that she thought would be a good fit. Salisbury was one of the schools that was presented to me because of the strong athletics and academic support that the Rudd Center for Learning and Academic Growth could provide. I did have some concerns such as being an all-boys school and that it was 2 and a half hours away from home. The revisit day really helped me make my decision. What I experienced was a different classroom dynamic. The level of engagement between the students and teachers made the classes exciting and fun. I knew I could be a successful student in this type of learning environment, especially with the academic support I would receive through the Rudd Center for Learning. My first day at Salisbury was one of the scariest but most enjoyable days of my life. Walking into Ward dorm, meeting my roommate, and feeling the energy of all of the upperclassmen filled with Sarum pride confirmed what I already knew: I was at home.

I have grown so much during my three years at Salisbury. I came in as a kid who didn’t get involved in school activities, besides sports, and didn’t have the best grades. Salisbury has helped me turn that all around. Now, I am an honor roll student, involved in many activities, and next year I will serve as President of the Student Body. This is something I could have never imagined going into freshman year. Salisbury has given me so much, and I am forever grateful.

I have learned a lot in the three years I have been a Sarum Knight. The most important things that Salisbury has taught me are loyalty and Brotherhood. I see these as the most important values at our school. Loyalty and Brotherhood can be seen throughout the entire community. It’s your teachers inviting you to their homes if you need extra help. It’s the feeling knowing you have 300 brothers by your side as you face a challenge. It is knowing that ten years from now, we will all still have this bond because we are brothers for life.

Something else Salisbury has taught me is that it is even better to give back than to receive. My Form Dean, Mr. Barbato, helped me learn that lesson in my third form year. He helped me see how I could become more of a leader, and he encouraged me to sign up for some of the different opportunities on campus. With his guidance, I became a tour guide, got involved with the Big Brothers organization and student government. I also started a program called Band of Brothers, which helped to unite the third form class through informal and fun activities such as kickball and frisbee tournaments. Getting involved and giving back makes me feel even more grateful for the opportunity I have been given to attend Salisbury.

My favorite place on campus is Wachtmeister Field. I love this place because it is where I have spent countless hours training, playing, and watching games. Coach Wynne always tells us to “leave your troubles on the other side of the fence” when we walk onto the field. The field has helped me to decompress and have fun as a lacrosse player. Watching games played on Wachtmeister, in the stands as a Brotherhood, have been some of the best and most fun times I’ve had on campus. The crowds are crazy, and the games are exciting. There is a strong feeling of Brotherhood and pride that surrounds me.

My favorite class was my fifth form English class taught by Mr. Rees. The way that he conducts class gives students the incentive to work hard and pay attention while having fun competing with peers. I always looked forward to attending this class every week. My favorite sport at Salisbury is Lacrosse. Lacrosse has been known as the medicine game, and I can not agree with this title more. Lacrosse is like a medicine to me. When I need to get away, I go to a wall or a net and just practice. There are so many talented lacrosse players at Salisbury. The team is so strong, and the coaches are so motivating that it pushes me to give my all every minute of practice. 

Like the Salisbury motto states, “To be rather than seem to be,” a Salisbury Gentleman is someone who is trustworthy. He is someone who gives it their all, all of the time. A Salisbury Gentleman always does the right thing no matter what. Lastly, A Salisbury Gentleman is someone who has their brother’s back.

Adam Bunce
Kristina Miller

SALISBURY GENTLEMAN ADAM BUNCE SHARES HIS STORY WITH THE SALISBURY COMMUNITY 

I grew up locally in the northwest corner in Canaan, CT.  Growing up, I was very well aware of Salisbury School.  I had several family and friends who attended Salisbury in addition to many people I know who worked here, from faculty to maintenance.  I attended the big brothers program on campus as a middle schooler and applied here when I was looking to attend private school.  While I did not choose Salisbury, it remained familiar to me through athletic competition and through my old classmates who were here.  After graduating, I attended Wesleyan University where I majored in American Government and played Football where I was a captain and all-league selection. 

After I graduated college I still had no idea what I was going to do.  I moved back home and worked for my family while I looked for possible jobs.  One day, I ran into my previous football coach at Housatonic, where I attended before I went to private school. He was now the head coach and offered me a coaching position.  I coached there for 4 years.  During that time, it was when I realized my passion for coaching and teaching. It made sense to me that is what I wanted to do.  I then worked on getting my teaching certificate and continued to coach football while I also began coaching wrestling.  In 2010, I applied for a job at Salisbury and was hired as a tutor and wrestling and football coach. 

I am in my tenth year working at Salisbury.  My role has evolved and I am tutoring only math and I am now a dorm head.  I have also taken on the Habitat for Humanity group on campus.  We have worked on local projects, built a shed for one of the local houses, and continually helped at the This ‘n’ That Habitat Store in Canaan helping them with inventory.  Outside of Salisbury, I serve as the rec director in Canaan and serve on other local boards.  I help organize, run and coach the local youth sports in town.  I think it is very important to have a connection with the local community and I try to portray that to the boys, having them volunteer when they can.  With many boys coming from outside of the area, forming a connection to the local community and helping in that community can enhance their experience at Salisbury. 

I really enjoy all the outdoor spaces at Salisbury.  I grew up spending a lot of time outside and the opportunities on campus to do so are great.  While there are a few specific spots on campus I really enjoy, like the views from Chapel and Wachtmeister Field, my favorite is probably down at the lake. 

Salisbury is like no place I’ve ever worked.  The motivation, care and empathy shown by my colleagues is impressive and admired.  The focus of providing boys with the best education and experience both in the classroom and athletically is shared by all.  I have been lucky to form some special relationships in my time at Salisbury with both colleagues and students, and I am fortunate to do something in my career that doesn’t feel like work and that I enjoy waking up to everyday. 

Greg Erdmann '83
Kristina Miller

SALISBURY GENTLEMAN GREG ERDMANN '83 SHARES HIS STORY WITH THE SALISBURY COMMUNITY 

I grew up in New Canaan, CT and graduated from University of Vermont with a degree in Economics and Art History in 1987. I learned about Salisbury School when my older brother Jeff Erdmann '81 went there two years ahead of me, and we overlapped one year together. His friends were fantastic and the campus was great. From my visits and the many tales he and his friends told me, I realized it was the only school I wanted to go to – so I knew what to expect. And being an all-boys school I knew I could concentrate on my studies and sports – I played football, hockey and lacrosse.

School can be really hard sometimes and so can life. My first algebra class had four people in it and it definitely was not the advanced class! Hard work, determination and attention from teachers make a difference. Seek help when you need it and never give up. And of course, “To be, rather than to seem to be”. Make it real, don’t be fake. Esse quam videri.   

Without any doubt Bill Reeves and Charles Tait made a huge impact on me during my time on the Hilltop. Mr. Reeves took me under his wing and made sure I was always okay. Those evening one-on-one algebra sessions in his apartment got me through that class. Reverend Tait taught me that it is dangerous to look at the world from only one perspective, and it is our responsibility as educated people to look at the world from all different angles. Seeing the world from every perspective is a major guiding principal for me to this day.

One of my favorite places on campus to visit when I was a student was the forest. Late night Wood’s Committee ski patrols in the snow were amazing, as were the countless hours hiking, exploring, and disconnecting from the normal stress of school. I haven't been back to the Hilltop since my 25th Reunion, but look forward to my next visit.

Today, I am VP of Global Sales at NRG Systems (www.nrgsystems.com), a technology company based in Vermont. We design and manufacture sensor technologies for the commercial wind and solar industry. If you have ever seen a large wind farm, anywhere in the world, there is a very good chance that we have products in there.

Renewable energy fascinated me decades ago when most of my friends thought I was nuts. I helped start this company in the early '90’s. I have worked for several different wind companies since, but came back seven years ago to help the owner turn the company around and sell it (we were acquired by ESCO Technologies in 2018). I travel several thousands of miles globally every year, not only managing sales, but evangelizing wind energy as a board member of the Global Wind Energy Council.

There are three things that Salisbury gave me that helped me get to where I am today:

1.     Salisbury taught me to work hard and stick to challenges even when people doubted me. Hard classes, major injuries and challenges at work happen to us all – thank you Mr. Reeves.

2.     Salisbury taught me to look at every angle in life before drawing conclusions. That is how I became convinced two decades ago that fossil fuels are seriously polluting our planet and changing our climate, and if we continue to innovate and promote renewable energy, we could solve a lot of problems – thank you Reverend Tait.

3.     Salisbury taught me to explore. There are amazing things both right under our noses and way out there in the world. I’ve been to over 40 countries and always make sure that I get the most out visiting somewhere interesting – thank you Salisbury woods.

When everybody zigs, it’s okay to zag. Learning what you don’t want to do in life is just as important as learning what you do want to do in life – so take the chance and you will figure it out. Find something you are passionate about and make a plan to get to where you want to go even if it does mean some less than exciting entry level jobs to get there. And most importantly - don’t give up. 

My experience at Salisbury was a very important part of my life!

Matt Wesson '20
Kristina Miller

SALISBURY GENTLEMAN MATT Wesson '20 SHARES HIS STORY of life on the hilltop  

Originally from Hoboken, NJ, after moving towns at the end of middle school my family and I searched to find the right public high school. After touring several local schools, we shifted our search to boarding schools. Upon interviewing at Salisbury School, I met with Former Faculty Matt Corkery and History Faculty Mr. Mokriski, whom I made an immediate connection with and felt like I had found my place.

I came to Salisbury for the college preparatory school experience, and was especially drawn to the community, the opportunities, extracurriculars and clubs, classes, teachers, and sports. In my four years on the Hilltop, I’ve been able to find a good balance and passion for academics, college preparation, and sports.  

My favorite place on campus to unwind is the Boathouse, especially in the fall as it’s particularly beautiful that time of year.

My favorite subject is history. I really enjoy connecting the dots between our past and the present and seeing how things used to work compared to how the same things have taken shape today. Last year, I worked on a project with Art Department Chair Mr. Johnson and Mr. Mokriski regarding WWI and my grandfather’s involvement in it. I was able to document my grandfather’s photos and archival items from the war, which culminated in a project display for the Salisbury community.

Upon completing my project, Mr. Mokriski approached me about a fellowship that was available to Salisbury students to use to study abroad in the summer. This past July, I traveled to England to study the history of the World Wars thanks to the David Charlton Perkins Class of ’33 Fellowship. I spent a week in London and a week in Salisbury exploring multiple history museums and used my passion for film and digital photography to document my fellowship. This semester, I am compiling all of my photos and pieces of history that I gleaned from my trip to pull together a book on my experience, which will be given to the donor family, as well as shared with the faculty and students that helped make my journey possible. I also hope to turn my project into a great college application essay!

I’m thankful for my experiences on the Hilltop and beyond, and while I am sad that my time at Salisbury will soon come to an end, I know I am prepared for my next step on my journey through life.