April 01, 2019
By Bruce Beans
After his so-so first year at Susquehanna University, no one—especially Matthew Taylor ’09 himself—would have predicted that, on his 33rd birthday last September, NJBiz would have named him one of New Jersey’s Top Forty Under 40 up-and-coming business leaders.
“I didn’t have the proper perspective, and I didn’t think it was the right path for me at the time,” explains the Long Valley, New Jersey, native. So he left Susquehanna and spent much of the next year working, literally almost around the clock: as a daytime auto mechanic, at a shipping plant on a night shift until 1:30 a.m., and on weekends as a Scott’s fertilizer vendor at local Home Depot and Lowe’s stores.
“It helped me realize that, for what I wanted to accomplish in life, I needed to continue my education at Susquehanna,” he recalls. Studying “as if my life was at stake,” Taylor excelled as a business administration major with a focus on entrepreneurship.
Among his most memorable classes was an economics class taught by Matthew Rousu, now dean of the Sigmund Weis School of Business. “He inspired my continued interest in the study of economics and the way the economies work around the world—a great benefit to working now with international companies on a daily basis,” Taylor says.
For the close-up look at how businesses actually operate, his entrepreneurship classes were also highly influential, particularly those taught by former management professor Leann Mischel. “The Sigmund Weis School is very good at giving you the space you need to really take hold of your education and stand out,” he adds.
Following a series of software and marketing jobs, in 2016 Taylor joined Delia Associates, a business-to-business branding and marketing firm in Whitehouse, New Jersey, as its director of program management. Early last year, he was appointed managing director.
The firm specializes, he says, in “finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.” For example, one client manufactures miniature extruded aluminum parts. “Not terribly exciting on the surface,” he concedes, “until we discovered those parts had been part of SpaceX missions and are found in modern electric cars. Then we had an extraordinary marketing story to tell.”
Taylor lives in Califon, New Jersey, with his wife, Amber Cook Taylor ’11, a Susquehanna graduate who went on to complete a three-year Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and poetry. She now inspires her students as a middle school English teacher. Matthew is a board member of the Califon Veterans Memorial Fund, was involved with a bicycle safety charity for children and partnered in heading Delia’s rebranding effort for the Hunterdon (County) Drug Awareness and Prevention organization.
His charitable work is a continuation of his experience as a leader with SU’s Habitat for Humanity and with Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), a business-based club now known as Enactus. “Its focus on philanthropic work was exactly in line with how I wanted to live my life in the future,” he says.