St. John’s caught up with the following four alumni who are doing everything from making waves in food and law to rocking the stage and exploring the untamed wilderness.
Mike MacLean '00
Just Follow Your Nose
When he moved to Hawaii in 2006, all MacLean knew about the restaurant business was how to order off a menu. But after a decade as the assistant general manager for Lulu’s, a popular eatery overlooking Kūhiō Beach in Waikiki, MacLean formed a partnership with two co-workers and made a go of it. The result is Liko’s Tap & Table, a casual, contemporary, waterfront dining spot in Hawaii Kai, about 10 miles east of Waikiki’s resort row.
The 5,200-square-foot space, which sits on an inlet of Manunalua Bay, was once a biker bar. The lease negotiation consumed a year, and the renovation took another. Despite being restricted to takeout and later, 50-percent occupancy, during the pandemic, after three years of surviving, Liko’s is thriving.
MacLean, who lived with his brother, Dave ’01, and current Prep science teacher Joe Barszcz ’01 when he first came to the island, says the business’s commitment to building community inside and outside its operations has been crucial to staying afloat.
“My background at Lulu’s was customer service,” says the Salem, New Hampshire native. “This industry brings together people from all walks of life and all different ages doing very different jobs. Keeping everybody on track is hard, but it’s about guiding, training, exchanging ideas and stories, and creating a community. We all want to get to the same place, and growing and being successful is about needing other people. We tell our team: keep an open mind, expect some failures, and that’s what helps you get good. We try to pay it forward in the way other folks did for us when we weren’t owners.”
Bradford Melson '04
Rising 40 Under Forty Star
A native of North Andover now living in the New Hampshire lakes region, Melson spends his weekdays counseling investors, entrepreneurs, and privately held companies on a range of corporate, commercial, and transactional matters. Oh, and he’s pretty good at it. Look no further than the attorney’s partnership status at Concord-based Orr & Reno along with his recent appearance on the New Hampshire Union Leader’s 2023 “40 under Forty” list.
A graduate of Northeastern’s JD/MBA dual degree program, Melson has lived by the mantra that “there’s no substitute for hard work.” He often reflects upon two aspects of St. John’s Prep that helped get him where he is, and remain part of who he is today.
“I’m still in awe of the quality of my education at St. John’s,” says Melson, who makes his home in Gilford with his wife, Madalyn, and their children, James and Meredith. “The staff’s tireless dedication to students and the school’s mission ignited within me a passion for learning and level of engagement that, without question, set me on a path for success. I wouldn’t be where I am professionally without the commitment to preparation and hard work I learned there.”
These days, Melson devotes off-hours to working on pro bono tax cases, serving on the boards of non-profit organizations, and participating in service opportunities with the Capital Region Food Program. He was an Eagle Scout and grew up in a service-oriented family, but Melson notes, “The Prep was the first place I was physically immersed in a community where service was the norm and opportunities were literally integrated into the curriculum and overall experience.” He adds, “As my kids come of age, I’m looking forward to instilling in them many of the same values that were for me first cultivated at the Prep.”
Alex McGillivray '11
After three rounds of auditions, McGillivray got the call every musician dreams of: you got the job. This job in particular is with a little act you may have heard of—it’s only one of the longest-running Off-Broadway shows in the world, after all—Blue Man Group. You can spot McGillivray in the ensemble as one of the band’s drummers. “I’ve been with Blue Man Group for a little under a year, and it’s been the most rewarding and fun gig I’ve ever had. Each show unfolds in a slightly different way because each musician and Blue Man executes their parts slightly differently, in addition to the various ways the audience interacts with the show. The music is both challenging and immensely fun to play, and the percussive elements play a big role in driving the show.”
A graduate of Berklee College of Music, McGillivray has performed with his own band, Alive Through Memories, as well as in the Boston-based wedding band Closing Time for years. When asked who helped him get where he is today, he’s ready with an answer. “Jay Pawlyk ’90 P’23, Michael Hamill, Seelan Manickam, Alicia Greenwood, Brother Ron Santoro ... so many teachers come to mind. So many of my fondest memories of St. John’s are from my experiences in SwingTown!, men’s chorus, travel choir, jazz band, theater performances, and classes. Each of these Prep teachers and the experiences they facilitated empowered me to take my artistic journey seriously, and to make an intentional effort to always create a space in my life for music and art to exist. And of course, the love and support I received from my parents throughout my life has also had a major impact on my artistic achievements.”
Stephen Troiano '13
Deep in the Heart of Texas
Troiano arrived in Texas four years ago as a hiking enthusiast, but quickly learned the Lone Star State has few sanctioned— meaning mapped, promoted, and supervised—long-distance trails. More than 95 percent of land there is privately owned. The New Hampshire native, now based in Austin, wants to change that.
The Big Bend region of west Texas, so named for the bulge in the Rio Grande River that separates Texas from Mexico, is home to the national park of the same name along with massive expanses, rugged terrain, and some of the darkest night skies in the continental U.S. Thru-hikers—outdoor adventurists who tramp trails from end-to-end in a single trip—know an unofficial excursion in the area as the “BB100.”
This past March, Troiano and two friends, one of them a videographer, tackled the 100-mile route, which uses off-trail navigation to link national park trails with Big Bend Ranch State Park. Setting out from the latter, they encountered feral cattle, 50-mile-per-hour winds, unrelenting full sun exposure, overgrown thorns, and “a lone coyote barking at us.” They also discovered lush springs, full creeks, wildflowers, fossilized bivalves, and industrial relics of the late 1800s.
“The halfway point was a tiny bordertown called Lajitas where the state and national parks meet,” recalls Troiano, who works in client success for Too Good To Go, a social impact company fighting food waste with app-driven solutions. “We carried on from the Mesa De Anguila, a 10-mile [plateau] overlooking the Rio Grande with impeccable views of the Bend.” The four-day trek concluded with a hike up the Chisos mountain range and down into the Chisos Basin to park headquarters. The three friends will release a documentary about the journey later this year, which they hope inspires the long-distance hiking community to join a petition drive for the state to officially develop the BB100.