COURAGE FOR THE DEED;
GRACE FOR THE DOING

Alumni Spotlight on Geoff Gross '98: In Pursuit of Excellence

Geoff Gross is only 15 years out of high school, but he's already founded three companies. Find out what's led to his success and how Shipley prepared him to get there.

Entrepreneur and Shipley alumnus Geoff Gross ’98 is just 15 years out of high school, and yet the young businessman has already founded three companies: Medical Guardian, LLC, Tracking Now, LLC, and InStock.com, Inc. Currently serving as CEO of InStock and president of Medical Guardian, Gross sees only more growth in his future.

For his commitment to creative business development and the demonstration of a devotion to the pursuit of excellence, Gross is the recipient of the 2013 Shipley Young Alumni Award.

Gross’ primary business, Medical Guardian, LLC, is now a leading provider of home medical alert systems. The business began small—starting out in Gross’ living room—but his interest in founding and running his own business was first nurtured during his time Shipley.

“It was a pretty special experience,” says Gross. “You don’t fully appreciate the experience at a school like that until you’re close to 10 or 15 years out, and then you start to understand what Shipley did for you and the types of people you were around and what that really meant.”

Long term, that experience has meant the world to Gross—preparing him to be a relatable leader, a creative thinker, and a driven business owner.

During his years at Shipley, Gross says he valued a deep personal connection with both his peers and teachers, which set him up to strive for a business environment that imitates that experience. “We had such a nice group of people in my class. It was not very typical of most high schools, and I think I was very lucky in that regard,” says Gross. “My best friend in the world went to Shipley, and I was just best man in his wedding,” he says.

In addition to a bond with his classmates, Gross recalls a strong relationship with and the personal attention he received from Dr. Steve Piltch. “He would always find time to talk to me, and really engage with me in an authentic way,” he says. “It’s hard to get the same kind of connect anywhere else like you do at Shipley.”

Gross recalls developing his inclination for creative thinking at Shipley as head of the social committee. In raising funds for the prom, Gross and his best friend conceptualized a T-shirt emblazoned with “Shipley Football: Undefeated Since 1894.” “We sold $5,000 worth,” says Gross, which was quite an accomplishment for a teenager. At Shipley, a good idea never goes to waste, and the slogan has since been reprinted on blue shirts (instead of the original green). As Gross notes, “I see they still don’t have a football team, so the T-shirt still works.”

After graduating from Shipley, Gross attended Northeastern University, then the University of Maryland, and always looked back on Shipley as the baseline for his training in school and beyond. “Certainly from an academic standpoint, Shipley was challenging,” he says. “Shipley prepared me more for life than even college did in many ways.”

After college, Geoff followed in the family tradition of entrepreneurship, founding Tracking Now, a leader in GPS tracking systems for businesses, in 2005 and followed its 2010 acquisition by starting Medical Guardian. “Medical Guardian started in my living room, and now we’re a full service business,” says Gross, who first learned about direct-to-consumer business from his father, who owned and operated a burglar alarm business.

Though he had some background from his father’s operation, Gross had definite ideas about the kind of business he wanted to run, with some of his work ethic evolving from his time at Shipley. “It’s just the types of people you were around and the way they teach. It was the little things, like just having a dress code. I find now that I have my own business and employees, I realize that the way my employees come to work is not the way I come to work,” says Gross. “The way you act, the way you dress, the way you are says a lot about you and what you want out of life. It’s those little things you don’t realize you’re learning when you are going through it.”

The challenges of entrepreneurship are many, but Gross attributes the success of both of his current companies, Medical Guardian and InStock.com, a consumer research site for offline purchasing, to a great product, a lot of hard work, and dedication. With outreach marketing and excellent customer service as his niche, Gross has been able to set apart Medical Guardian from other similar services. Though InStock.com is more of a side business for now, Gross hopes to grow the service in coming years.

Beyond basic strategy, one of Gross’ core operating practices has been to create a place where he could hire and work with good people. “I wanted to build a business where my employees would enjoy coming to work as much as I do, and that gives me as much joy as anything,” he says. Again, Gross relates his dedication to his employees back to his Shipley experience. “The way I treat my employees is the way I was treated at Shipley,” he says.

As for the experience of starting, owning, and operating three successful businesses before the age of 40, Gross says, “I’ve enjoyed every minute. I look forward to going to work on Monday. There’s always something exciting and new, and I plan on doing it for a long time.”
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List of 20 news stories.

  • DEERDANA (Dana Veraldi '02) & Shipley Collaborate on Commemorative T-Shirt

    Dana Veraldi ‘02 recently collaborated with Shipley on two DEERDANA t-shirts commemorating the School’s 125th Anniversary. Part of the proceeds from their sale in Shipley’s School Store will benefit the art program at our sister school, Andrew Jackson School, in Philadelphia.
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  • Trina Vaux '63

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    Trina Vaux ’63 has lived and worked with history—its study, its preservation, and its celebration—for most of her life. During the last eight years, Trina has turned that interest towards Shipley, researching and writing A Daring Vision: A History of The Shipley School 1894-2018. The book was truly a dream job and labor of love for Trina, who says, “You know, it’s not really work when it’s fun.” Read more about Shipley Historian and alumna Trina Vaux '63.
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  • Diana MacArthur ’51

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  • Whitney Stengel Kellett '89: Four Generations of A Shipley Education

    Leigh Green
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  • June Baldwin ’68: Using the Medium For Meaningful Messages

    Leigh Green
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    Leigh Green
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  • Prashant Bhuyan ’96 is a digital entrepreneur and cognitive data scientist who specializes in developing artificial intelligence solutions to help financial enterprises make better informed decisions. Shipley provided him with a “foundation to be introspective,” while also pushing him towards exploration that ultimately fostered his entrepreneurial spirit.

    Prashant Bhuyan ’96: Pioneer in the Field of Artificial Intelligence

    Leigh Green
    Prashant Bhuyan ’96 is a digital entrepreneur and cognitive data scientist who specializes in developing artificial intelligence solutions to help financial enterprises make better informed decisions. Shipley provided him with a “foundation to be introspective,” while also pushing him towards exploration that ultimately fostered his entrepreneurial spirit.
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  • You’ve probably seen Dana Veraldi ‘02’s t-shirts on friends and in magazines. Her brand book is a portfolio both of her products and her art. With fans like Justin Bieber, Orlando Bloom, and Mark Ruffalo, DEERDANA has achieved a cult following. Read about how this artist and Shipley alumna got her start and how her success has grown.

    Dana Veraldi ’02: Drawing Inspiration to Build a Brand

    Kathy Smith
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    Roxana Barry Robinson ’64: Defender of the Written Word

    Kristina M. Jenkins
    “I think writers are writers from the beginning,” says Roxana Barry Robinson ’64, who has enjoyed a decades-long career as a critically acclaimed journalist and author of fiction and biography. In her role as president at the Authors Guild, Robinson looks after the future of the writing profession. Read more about this award-winning author and Shipley alumna.
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  • Alumni Spotlight on Erika Frankel ’96: An Appetite for Documenting Life

    Kristina M. Jenkins
    When Philadelphia’s famed French chef Georges Perrier announced he would close his iconic restaurant, Le Bec-Fin, scores of fine-diners sadly took note and quickly made reservations for a final meal at the Center City restaurant. For documentary filmmaker and Shipley alumna Erika Frankel ’96, the news inspired much more than dreams of a decadent dinner. Read more about Frankel's most recent film project and how she is finding success in following her passion for storytelling through film.
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  • Alumni Spotlight on Prashant Bhuyan ’96: Staying Relevant with Curiosity and Creativity

    Kristina M. Jenkins
    “I’ve never really had a job,” says Prashant Bhuyan ’96, an investment technology entrepreneur and data scientist whose latest project puts him squarely in the middle of the booming data revolution and budding artificial intelligence space. "Creativity and imagination are what's going to keep us relevant in the age of artificial intelligence,” says Bhuyan, “Places like Shipley foster this kind of thinking.” Learn more about Prashant Bhuyan and how he’s harnessed his curiosity and creative thinking to build revolutionary investment technologies.
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  • Dr. Raffi Gregorian '81: Keeping the Peace Across the Globe

    Kristina M. Jenkins
    From the simple act of rescuing a street dog in Bosnia to the intricacies of coordinating international counterterrorism policy, Dr. Raffi Gregorian ’81 continually strives to make the world a better, more peaceful place. Throughout his nearly 30-year career, Dr. Gregorian has played a significant role in high-level foreign and security affairs, as both a civilian and as a Naval officer, at the helm of interagency, complex, and multinational post-conflict operations.
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  • Alumni Spotlight on Catherine Stewart '01: In the Business of Working Hard

    Kathy Smith
    Catherine Stewart ’01 credits her Shipley teachers with teaching her how to work hard and developing in her a respect for process. Now, after graduating from Yale and Cambridge, she has built a successful and exciting career in business, helping companies like Random House, Facebook, and Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com) to grow.
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  • Helen Thackray '86: Developing Treatments through Biotechnology

    Kristina M. Jenkins
    Dr. Helen Thackray ’86 has had a successful career in medicine and biotechnology, thanks to the solid academic foundation she received in math and science at Shipley. As the Chief Medical Officer & Vice President of Clinical Development at GlycoMimetics, she is currently working on a treatment for sickle cell disease, while holding a position as Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Learn more about Dr. Thackray.
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    Kristina M. Jenkins
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    Kristina M. Jenkins
    Shipley alumna Hannah Nicholas ’06 has made a career out of her love of music, most recently joining the New World Symphony Orchestra as a violist. She credits Shipley with encouraging her to follow her own path and develop a strong sense of individuality. That sense informs her varied musical explorations and pursuits, and fuels her drive to continue learning.
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  • Spotlight on Jay Jennings '91: Middle School Math Teacher and Coach

    Kathy Smith
    Jay Jennings ’91 redefines what it means to be a “lifer” at Shipley. As a Middle School math teacher and coach for the last 21 years, he tries to connect on a personal level with the students he teaches and coaches as a way of inspiring them to learn and strive for excellence.
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  • Spotlight on Shipley Alumni Shops Vendors

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  • Alumni Spotlight on Dammun Pierce ’90: Reaching His Potential

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  • Karen Krok '93: Giving Back, Giving Opportunity

    Karen Krok '93, a transplant hepatologist and medical director for the live donor transplant program at the Hershey Medical Center, benefited from the generosity of gifts made to Shipley when she attended the School with the help of financial aid. Now, she gives back to Shipley to give others the same opportunities she had.
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The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.