Rich Taylor ’70 has a motto in his business that he uses every day: “The answer is yes; what’s the question?” Those who know him aren’t surprised that he lives his life following the same adage. Through giving back to a struggling community that helped him early in his career when he needed it the most, Rich practices what was taught to him in his years at Bergen Catholic: “A lot of the values and character that I learned came from my time at Bergen,” he says. Educated in Catholic school throughout his young life growing up in Wood-Ridge, when it came time for high school the choice wasn’t difficult. “About half a dozen guys from my town were going to Bergen Catholic, a group by the way who I still keep in touch with today, and I heard that the best went to Bergen so that’s where I wanted to go,” he says. Admittedly not the best student, Rich excelled at electrical and mechanical classes and clubs. “I was in the radio club, a mechanical kid with good hands. I wasn’t a great studier, but if I was interested in a subject, you couldn’t keep me away.”
After graduating from Bergen, Rich went to work at PSE&G, where he received extensive electrical and electronics training, and continued his education at night at the Bergen Vocational Technical School in Hackensack. Four years later he became a service technician at Rapid Pump & Meter Service Co. and four years after that founded Machinery Services Corporation in Paterson as a turnkey electrical and mechanical service company. In 1982 he purchased Rapid Pump and moved the company across town into an old silk mill built in 1992. “Paterson was once know as Silk City, the silk capital of the world,” he says. Rich met his future wife, Aleta in the first grade at Our Lady of the Assumption Grammar School and they were married in 1974. They are the parents of four now-grown children, all of whom now work in the family business in technical, administrative and management positions, including Brian ’93, a Bergen Catholic graduate.
Still based in Paterson, Taylor feels connected to this once major industrial city that has seen its share of hard- ships. “When I was going into business in the late ’70s Paterson was having its challenges, but I was able to come in at a fairly low cost and gain a foothold in my industry and for that I am grateful,” he says. So he has stayed put while other businesses have left and has invested strongly in the Paterson community as well. “It was instilled in me that when you make money you can’t keep it all; you have to give back. You have to give it away in order to keep it.” As a result he and Aleta have focused their giving on service to the poor, service to recovery from all types of addictions and helping support vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Two local Paterson organizations that remain near and dear to them are Oasis, which works to change the lives of women and children through programs to feed, clothe, educate and empower them, and Eva’s Village, whose mission is to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, treat the addicted and provide medical care to the poor. “These are amazing places that transform lives,” says Rich. “What they do is instill hope within people and help get them back into the workplace, providing advantages they would never have had.”
Early on Rich knew that he was given a special opportunity at Bergen Catholic and worked hard to take full advantage of everything he had learned. “What I wanted was to be something in my life and to give back and, along with what was already within me, Bergen Catholic gave me the moral character and the fortitude to do it,” he says.