Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) will present Joe Vagnone, owner of J. Vagnone Enterprise LLC, and the Charlotte area managing director for ENLIGN Business Brokers, with the 2015 Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award at its spring commencement ceremony, on May 14, at Bojangles' Coliseum. The award recognizes a former CPCC student who has benefited significantly from experiences at CPCC and whose efforts have helped the community.
Vagnone first attended CPCC in 1984, graduating in 1987 with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Vagnone credits the foundation he received at CPCC with who he is today a recognized expert in building business and assisting buyers and sellers of main street businesses in many industries.
As a CPCC student, Vagnone became involved in the college's student body activities. He was elected president of the college's Hotel & Restaurant Association, and was later voted student body president. As president, Vagnone travelled the country, touting the merit of CPCC's Hotel & Restaurant Management Program. This exposure to restaurants located in larger venues such as Texas, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, redirected Vagnone's career path he no longer wanted to manage a restaurant; he wanted to own one.
As a result, he decided to start Joe's Place Restaurant in 1985, two years before he graduated. There, he grew the franchise to 40 units, becoming one of the most successful closed-market office building restaurant models in the Southeast. After finding success in the food service industry, he sold the business in 2006, opting to shift his professional focus to starting a brokerage firm Jvagnone.com, now strategically aligned with ENLIGN Business Brokers dedicated to helping others achieve the American dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
Today, Vagnone spends his days advising and assisting investors and business owners in buying and selling a broad range of businesses in the Carolinas. He provides management services and marketing advice to owners of businesses with up to $5 million in annual gross sales or less. His advice to others is leveraged from a hands-on track record and having owned more than 40 restaurants and 75 businesses over his 30-plus year career.
"To be considered an expert in the field in which I studied at CPCC signifies to me the value of the education and the connections that are still serving me well today," said Vagnone."To be recognized by CPCC with the Richard H. Hagemeyer Award is especially meaningful since I attended the college when he was president."
In his spare time, Vagnone is a small business advocate. He currently serves as the Business Growth Vice Chair for the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, and in the past he created the Mayor's Small Business Advisory Group, was a member of the National Federation of Independent Business, and a corporate liaison for the Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Board.
Vagnone has been referenced in articles by area publications, including the Lake Norman Citizen and is a published author. In addition, he is an on-air personality who may be heard co-hosting the "Local Biz Now" radio show with Wayne Bidelman on 100.7, WSIC FM, and "Lake Matters," an Internet-based streaming show on small businesses in the Lake Norman region. He is active in his son's extracurricular activities, including helping found the Porter Ridge Athletic Association in 2005, where he has served as coach, organizer and commissioner. Currently he helps with a number of sports, such as football and lacrosse, as needed.
"As a graduate of CPCC, Joe continues to give back to his community through several local community service projects and more," said Bill Russell, president of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce. "If I could only recommend one alumni member from CPCC to be considered for this prestigious award, it would be Joe Vagnone."
A scholarship will be granted to a CPCC student enrolled in the college's Business Administration, Certificate of Specialization in Entrepreneurship Program the area of study that most closely reflects Vagnone's background.
The Hagemeyer Award takes its name from Dr. Richard H. Hagemeyer, CPCC president for 23 years, who led the college from its beginnings as a trade school with 1,200 students to the state's largest community college.
Previous award winners include Elaine Lyerly, Gary Mims, Ronald Caldwell, Sheriff Jim Pendegraph, Dr. Margaret Stanley Hagan, Paul Griffin, James White, Joe Weatherford, Chief Luther Fincher, Dr. Kenny Welch, Frances Queen, Richard Zollinger, Stanley Law, Cindy Castano, Fabi Preslar, James Taylor Jr., James E. Rogers, David L. Howard, Alain S. Miatudila Sr., and Paula Vincent.
For more information on the Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award, please visit cpccfoundation.org/alumni/hagemeyer-award-honorees/.