Taylor Grissom remembers acting out the role of entrepreneur in skits for one of his classes in Virginia Wesleyan’s Liberal Arts Management Program (LAMP). The class was learning how to handle practical situations that might come up in the real world, and Grissom recalls that there was a fair amount of kidding around.
“But when I had my first business, there were times it was very similar to that, and those skits popped into my mind,” he muses. “What kind of owner are you going to be? What kind of principles are you going to put into place? And that was one thing that I really thought the classes prepared you for.”
These days, the Chesapeake native and father of three no longer has time for pretend businesses. He has five real ones to juggle. He’s the owner of Blue Water Pools, a partner in Davenport Land Management, and a director and co-founder of Monarch Bank. He started on the path that led to his current web of ventures during his time at VWC where, in addition to his schoolwork, he spent 40 hours a week working for a local developer and builder.
Soon after graduating, Grissom branched out to owning a sand mining operation, working for
a contractor and partnering in neighborhood development throughout Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg.
“Thirty years ago you heard the term entrepreneur and it was a bad thing—people in business who can’t make up their minds what they want to do,” he says. “Today, it’s someone who’s creative. The liberal arts management degree gives you a wide background of experience and teaching.”
Grissom, who lives in Chesapeake with his wife Kerry, says one venture that is very close to his heart is My Brother’s Keeper, an aide organization that focuses on biblical principles and reconciliation.
Through My Brother’s Keeper, he traveled to Haiti on a mission trip in 2012 where he learned of a program called Nelly’s House that at the time fed 250 children a hot meal every school day.
He returned to the U.S. with his own mission to raise funds for the organization and today helps
provide support for Nelly’s House through various fundraising efforts. Grissom returned to Haiti in summer 2014 to help expand the program.
“The need: it’s just great. It’s something you can’t describe in words, their living conditions and what they go through on a daily basis,” he says. “When you can see these kids and know that you can help them have a basic need—just food—it’s very humbling.”
Read more about Taylor Grissom in Marlin Magazine 2014-2014 (page 62) and learn about other distinguished VWC graduates in the Featured Alumni section of our website.
(Photo at top courtesy of Taylor Grissom '87)