ATI honors Palagne, V&F Auto as Humanitarian of the Year
Date: 4/27/2010April 28, 2010.
By Katelyn Gendron
Reminder Assistant Editor
AGAWAM -- Frank Palagne, owner of V&F Auto Inc. on Springfield Street, is committed to the betterment of his business and to the community as a whole.
Palagne and his employees have donated money and service hours to more than 35 charitable endeavors throughout Agawam over the years but no one would know it -- he's not one to boast about his accomplishments, even when he received Automotive Training Institute's (ATI) Humanitarian of the Year Award.
"I was extremely impressed once I learned everything he does for the schools, the fire department and the city," Bryan Stasch, director of client fulfillment at ATI, recalled. "I didn't know that about Frank and he wasn't going to brag about it on his own so I did it for him."
Palagne was chosen out of a pool of more than 900 ATI clients, which attend ATI's Cash Profits Boot Camps and 30-month Re-engineering Programs. Such programs allow shop owners and their employees maximize profits, while creating a positive, efficient working environment as well as community outreach initiatives.
"On the surface, Frank comes off a little rough and gruff but he cares about his people and his community," Stasch said.
Palagne didn't realize how much he and his employees give back to the community until Stasch asked him for a list.
"I never thought it was that big of a deal [but] now I know why I'm tired all the time," Palagne said with a chuckle. "I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for the community and our employees wouldn't have jobs . Our philosophy with the community and giving back is the same with our employees: you can never give enough."
Palagne noted the country's economic hardships have affected his business but not his willingness to contribute to bettering the community. He added that ATI has helped him to learn the tools necessary to sustain his business through the recession and beyond.
"The most valuable lesson is their [ATI's] philosophy on building relationships with customers and charging the right price [in order] to give the customer and shop employees what they deserve," Palagne said.
He noted he's also learning how to revamp his business model in the advent of social media. "That's the face of the future," Palagne added.