Vince Pavone’s passion for Southwest Michigan goes far beyond how local customers drive the balance sheets of Lakeview Ford Lincoln, the Battle Creek dealership he owns. Vince and his wife relocated from Birmingham, Michigan in 2010 at the time he became dealer principal. The move encouraged Vince to fully commit to his new home by focusing on the key needs facing the Battle Creek community.
If you have the chance to meet Vince personally in his office, you learn a lot about him and what he cares deeply about just by looking at his desk.
“I have a lot of passion for the cities of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo,” said Pavone. “These smaller Midwest communities afford all of us the opportunity to make a difference that we couldn’t otherwise make in larger communities. We can make a difference in Battle Creek. We can make a difference in Kalamazoo. We can make a difference in this region. There are opportunities to do things here that you wouldn’t have if your company were headquartered in Tampa, Chicago or Detroit.”
Those close to Vince know he takes full advantage of those opportunities. He is or has been involved with Battle Creek Rotary, Harper Creek Optimist Club, Lakeview Classic Kickball Tournament, Ford Drive 4UR School and Community programs, Habitat for Humanity, and Southwest Michigan First. He was named to the United Way Cabinet for Auto Dealers in 2013. And those are just a few of his passionate pursuits.
“When my family and I came here, it was a strategy. All of a sudden, it turned into a passion. People are looking for leadership. There are chances to fill vacuums wherever you go. Just show up.”
“The top book, Secrets of the Obvious: A Guide for Balanced Living, was written by my former professor at the University of Michigan, Harry Cohen, PhD. We reconnected thirty years after college at a dealer meeting in Dearborn in 2011. Because I enjoyed his book so much, I bought twelve of them and gave one to each of my managers and assistant managers. Its key message is to pay attention and do what you know is right.”
“Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia is inspirational to me because it talks about the tipping points for Millennials and Baby Boomers and the service aspect of people looking for more meaning in their lives.”
“Tom VanderMolen, president of Junior Achievement (JA) of Southwest Michigan, and I play in that organization’s annual golf outing every year. We believe JA is a real positive force in education and the community. Not only in Battle Creek, but regionally.”
“That box is a legacy from my brother who passed away in May of 2016. His rallying cry was that General George S. Patton quote, ‘Better to fight for something than live for nothing.’ When he passed away, I took it with me because of his intense battle to live and keep fighting. That’s part of my inspiration.”
“My dad collected cars. This is a 1939 Ford Deluxe. He went through his collection the last time I visited him in California and gave it to me. Every time I see that car, I think of my father.”
“I’m a big Michigan fan. I graduated in 1981. A good friend of mine from Detroit sent me that football signed by Coach Jim Harbaugh. He’s a Notre Dame grad, so he had no use for it.”