Growing up in a small house outside Pittsburgh, Gene Tremblay slept in the top bunk in a bedroom he shared with three siblings. Always caught up in books about the Alps, he would look out his window, imagining the city’s cloud-covered hills were really high Swiss peaks.
Today, at 63, Tremblay has reached many heights during his lifetime, including a successful investment career with Wellington Management in Boston. He’s even rung the bell at the New York Stock Exchange in recognition of his contributions to the business world. But Tremblay also considers his extensive time on the NOLS Board of Trustees a highlight in his life. He joined the board in 1992 during a time of critical change at the school.
“My contribution was quite simply that you had to be a good business before you could accomplish your mission,” says Tremblay. “The concept of being a business was not something readily embraced at that time.”
The graduate of Harvard Business School worked extensively with the NOLS finance department in the early 90s, as well as honing NOLS’ marketing strategy. “Then a lot of things happened as a result of that approach,” he says. “We took all aspects of school to a higher professional level.”
In 2003, NOLS recognized the long-time board member as a Chairman Emeritus. These days, Tremblay and his family remain committed to NOLS as their primary philanthropic effort. “I’m on a bunch of different boards, but they don’t hold a candle to the NOLS Board. I have rules for being on a board, and one is to ensure you can get something done. At NOLS you can do that because people at the school are interested in learning. You have this tremendous sense of progress, and that keeps someone like me interested.”
Tremblay, whose two children are NOLS graduates, returned to Lander with his wife for the 40th celebration. “What a tribute to see so many people from the school’s history come all the way back to Lander. It shows how much people care.”
The celebration also gave Tremblay pause to reflect on his time with NOLS. “I have a philosophy that the first third of life you’re learning; the second you’re earning; and the third you’re returning. This is my way of returning to something good.”