Richard L. Taylor (COM’71)
Richard currently holds dual professional assignments as the chairman of the Taylor Smith Group, where he manages multiple real estate business entities, including a development company and their real estate commercial brokerage company. Simultaneously, he serves as the founding director of the Center for Real Estate at Suffolk University. But Richard’s academic and professional business assignments only tell part of the story of his portfolio of interest. His current positions have leveraged his corporate business interests, his civic engagement activities, and his public service.
After graduating from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School he began his career at the internationally known Boston Consulting Group providing strategic planning services to a wide range of industries at Fortune 500 companies. He has also served as vice president for development for the giant mutual fund company Fidelity, where he worked to secure the development rights for the Commonwealth Pier property and the Commonwealth Flats: these locations are now occupied by the World Trade Center, the Seaport Hotel, and the Fidelity office buildings. He was subsequently recruited to serve as division vice president for central and western Massachusetts, where he led the sales, service, and operations for all health insurance clients from Framingham to Pittsfield. His division managed over $400 million dollars in premiums. Richard was eventually promoted to division vice president for National Accounts, managing in excess of $900 million in premium sales. He also chaired the Sales Compensation, Marketing, and Advertising Committees.
Richard has always had a calling for civic engagement and public service, satisfying his desire to give back in gratitude for the opportunities that he has enjoyed professionally and personally. In politics, he worked with Mel Miller’s campaign for Congress, and when Joe Moakley was elected to Congress he organized Roxbury precincts on his behalf. His friendship with John O’Bryant led him to become the first campaign manager for John’s run for a spot on the Boston School Committee. Governor Ed King appointed Richard to the MBTA Board of Directors and to the MBTA Pension Fund, where Richard focused on renovating city bus terminals and MBTA maintenance facilities. Subsequently, he worked as a campaign organizer and supporter for Sen. Ed Brooke’s re-election bid. All of this business and civic experience led to his appointment by Gov. William F. Weld as Secretary of Transportation and Construction and Chairman of the Board of the MBTA. In this capacity, he completed the federal and state approvals for the BIG DIG, appointed businessman Stanley Miller to coordinate and manage the Bridge Design Review Committee that created the Bunker Hill/Lenny Zakim Bridge, restored commuter rail service from Worcester to Boston, initiated construction of the Old Colony Line, funded the total reconstruction of Dudley Station Bus Terminal and oversaw management of all capital and operating budgets for all modes of transportation in the Secretariat. Taylor still holds the record for securing the fastest Transportation Bond Bill to win approval by the Massachusetts State Legislature.
Public service and civic engagement have been a continuous thread in his life. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston where he worked with Fed President Dick Syron on the “redlining study” that transformed community banking in Boston. A long time board member of the Boston Branch of the NAACP he also served as chairman of the board of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts and helped to bring the National Conference of the Urban League to Boston. He was the founding president of the Minority Developers Association and past president of the Boston Ballet, where he served as chair of the building committee that worked to build the current Ballet Studios on Clarendon Street. Richard is a former chairman of the partnership and former trustee of his undergraduate alma mater Boston University, where he became the first Rhodes Scholar in the history of the University. Additionally, he served as trustee of Cambridge College and overseer of Wentworth Institute of Technology. Richard has also served on the Board of Higher Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In recognition of his private sector successes and his public sector service, Richard has been awarded two honorary degrees: the Honorary Doctor of Engineering Technology by Wentworth Institute of Technology and the Honorary Doctor of Public Service from Bridgewater State College.
His public and private activities have been possible only with the support, guidance, and assistance of his wife of over 40 years, Kathy. A friendship that began when she was a cheerleader at Boston College and Richard was a varsity basketball player at Boston University has blossomed with two wonderful adult children and two grandchildren—Richard and Kathy are praying for more grandchildren. They have lived in Newton for more than 30 years and continue to enjoy summers with family and friends on Martha’s Vineyard.