Troi Taylor, president of Taylor Construction Management in Houston, will give the keynote address May 13 during the University of Houston-Victoria’s two spring commencement ceremonies.
A UHV alumnus, Taylor, and his wife, Kelley, began their management company in 2011. Six years later, they are managing more than $2 billion in construction projects in Texas and $250 million in projects in China.
“Mr. Taylor has an inspirational story to tell that is perfect for commencement day when so many students are eagerly awaiting the next chapter of their lives,” UHV President Vic Morgan said. “Through his education and dedication, Mr. Taylor has built a successful global company. I’m delighted he has agreed to share his wisdom with our graduates.”
UHV will hold two graduation ceremonies in Victoria. Both will take place at Faith Family Church, 2002 E. Mockingbird Lane, the largest indoor facility available in Victoria. The 9 a.m. ceremony will be for graduates of the schools of Arts & Sciences and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. The 1 p.m. ceremony will be for graduates of the School of Business Administration.
A Houston native, Taylor has an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Prairie View A&M University. In 2013, he earned a Master of Business Administration from UHV.
“It’s a privilege and blessing to speak at commencement, but it also is a responsibility to share nuggets of wisdom,” Taylor said. “Students are full of hopes and dreams, but often they don’t know how things will play out.”
Taylor sees a degree as a starting point.
“What that tells employers or the business community is that you have the ability to learn,” Taylor said. “Graduates have the building blocks to start a career, but they also need to embrace change. The best things that happened to me occurred when I embraced things that freaked me out.”
Taylor’s first plane trip was to Cincinnati to interview for a job managing pharmaceutical design and construction projects. He had never been out of Texas and knew no one in Ohio or nearby.
He said moving to a new city by himself as a 21-year-old was frightening. But because he took on that experience, it gave him the self-reliance to travel to China in 2011 to start his first major contract in his current business. He had never been out of the U.S. at the time.
“The first trip was extremely terrifying, but it ended up being the best thing for us,” Taylor said. “Our business grew so fast internationally. We got multiple contracts in China, Vietnam and Germany before we ever got a contract in Houston. Now we are doing $2 billion worth of work in Texas, but it never would have happened had I not gotten on the first flight to China.”
Taylor was growing his business while obtaining his MBA. He said the beauty of UHV’s online MBA program was he could study across the world. He often would do homework on international flights.
“Some of our best work was done in the middle of the night in China,” Taylor said. “We would have those ‘Jerry Maguire’ moments looking at finance, marketing and our online footprint. It was so easy to take what I was learning at UHV and use it in real time. I didn’t have to stop my career to grow professionally.”
Taylor served on the Houston Office of Business Opportunity Advisory Board and was chair for the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council’s Golf Scholarship Committee. He also serves on the steering committee for the Scholar Athletes Amateur Athletes Union.
Taylor has won several honors including the International Rising Star from the International Trade Development Council. In 2015, he was named to the Top 40 Under 40 by the Houston Business Journal. He also was a finalist for the Upstart Award from the Greater Houston Black Chamber.
UHV holds graduation ceremonies in two different locations each year. Spring commencement is in Victoria, while the fall ceremony is held in Katy to better accommodate UHV students who take classes at UHV Katy.
For more information about commencement, contact special events coordinator Nancy Moffett at 361-570-4351 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as a teaching site in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. Since its founding in 1973, UHV has provided students with a quality university education from excellent faculty at an affordable price.