By Steve Sears
Okay, Greg Stewart, what hasn’t he done?
When peering at the 30-year Flanders resident’s biography, digesting the events and organizations he has chaired, reading about panels he has sat on and recognizing his business accomplishments, one can admire his involvement and resiliency.
Stewart, a 1971 graduate of the former Essex Catholic High School in Newark, has been married 33 years to his wife Sheila, and they are parents to an adopted daughter from China, Rachel Lixia, a Mt. Olive High School graduate, who now lives and works in New York City.
His bio is loaded on both the business and humanitarian side.
“I’ve been lucky,” confirms Stewart, whose efforts were rewarded in May 2018 with a Hackettstown Senior Hall of Fame award for community service in the greater Hackettstown area.
“I spent a corporate career with AT&T and after I left there I had some opportunities to give back, and I’ve taken advantage of that,” states Stewart.
As a Montclair State University graduate, Stewart holds a bachelor’s in business management and a master’s in business administration. He is also a certified senior business advisor with both the Independent Business Alliance and the Institute for Business and is the founder of NexGen Management, who, from Stewart’s bio, “specializes in providing leadership and guidance to Business Owners and Managers in improving the professional management, business operations, and financial performance of their business.”
“Fifteen years now,” he says of NexGen. “I can’t believe it. It doesn’t seem 15, because it’s still new; there’s a different variety of customers I work with plus the diversity of things I do at the same time.”
Stewart identifies the right areas that are lacking in a business and gives that owner the right recommendation. He identifies the right gaps and gets the right sources to fix those gaps. He also states that because business owners are so close to their businesses they aren’t able to recognize what needs to change.
“So, the biggest thing is, ‘Hey, I’ve done it for 30 years like this. Why is it not working now?’” he says. “They’re so close to it they don’t recognize it, so that’s why the outside set of eyes is helpful, and that’s the biggest challenge that any advisor or coach has, me included, making sure that you prioritize the right areas.”
Stewart states, “I had a terrific corporate career. I did everything from a field technician to coming inside and becoming sales support, up to sales person to sales manager, to global product manager to general manager, so I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of things, had my hands in a lot of pieces. AT&T invested in a lot of opportunity for us in education, both internally as well as externally, so those types of things I’m able to leverage, and so that’s what I try to bring when I’m working with a client. What’s the right scenario? What’s the right sources?”
His network comes in handy. “This is where my outside activities are critical to my success because I identify the right external source that understands the scope and budget and can deliver those results as an expert to the client,” says Stewart. “That’s the brand I’ve built over 15 years.
“For a more established business, it becomes fun again instead of a job,” he reflects, then adds, “I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my career, and my goal is not to have a business owner replicate the ones I’ve already made. That’s part of the value of having a long career.”
Stewart is chairing the Second Annual Hackettstown Holiday of Lights Festival for the Foundation for Hackettstown Medical Center, of which he is a Board of Directors member. The event is set for Nov. 17 and Stewart notes that it is an event which is “complimentary to the community. We did it last year and it was a huge success, and we’re doing it again this year.”
He is also the past four-year chair of the Leadership Morris Alumni Council which is “a huge program based on community service with the Morris County Chamber [of Commerce],” Stewart says in describing it.
“That one gives a lot of insight to different foundations and activities going on in the county of Morris and I was chamber president of the Mount Olive Chamber at the time and I was recruited by them to say, ‘Hey, would you consider this?’ The timing was just perfect,” he explains.
Also a member of the Essex Catholic High School (ECHS) Alumni Foundation, Stewart is proud of that group’s adoption and support of Newark’s Cristo Rey High School. “We give multiple scholarships; actually help build up their sports teams,” he say. “We have a very active alumni foundation which I’m very proud of.”
Praises flow from his lips regarding his resident township.
“The people are great,” he says. “The cul-de-sac street that we live on, everybody knows each other, everybody helps each other, and that’s how I wound up getting involved with the township council. It’s all about community and I’m very proud of that fact.”
He continues, “It’s not politics; it’s all about with everybody what’s best for the town. We all have different backgrounds, we all voice our opinions, but everybody’s motive is the exact same thing: what’s best for the town. I’m very proud of the work that I’ve been able to support for the township council. It’s a great group to work with, all the township people.”
Stewart also notes that he loves the aesthetics of the area.
“Mount Olive includes both Budd Lake and Flanders,” he says. “We’re rural, yet not. I think one of the best things we ever did from a township perspective is we developed the park [Turkey Brook]. It’s like the center of Mount Olive.”
Stewart, who is currently working on a book of his own, ponders when asked what he wants to do next, and the conversation returns to pride in his family. “Wow, that’s a tough question,” he says. “We’re [he and his wife] are very proud of our daughter who graduated from her master’s program in the UK and is now living independently in New York City, my wife has gotten involved in the food pantry and she does a lot of stuff, too. To be honest with I’m not unfulfilled; I’ve done so many things that I’m so proud and happy to do, and I’m not bored.”
He hesitates, continuing to ponder the question, then excitedly states, “Oh, I know what it could be: to shoot par in golf.” How about the elusive hole-in-one? “Never had one,” he says with a laugh. “I’ve come close but never had one. That’s definitely on the bucket list, I’ll tell you that.” With a laugh, he adds another hope, that “the Jets to win a Super Bowl.”
For a guy who has accomplished much, Stewart’s definition of success at day’s end is simple but perhaps the most important.
“Coming home and seeing my wife, and that she’s healthy and the family’s healthy.”
For more information about Stewart’s business, NexGen, call 973-927-5446 or visit www.nexgenmgt.com.