There are a few things that you might know, or might have noticed, about Turf Valley’s General Manager Pete Mangione.
That he’s one of 10 kids, for instance. And that all 10 have lived in the Baltimore area all of their lives and all work in the various family businesses. And that he seems to have a smile on his face 95% of the time and doesn’t seem to own a tie.
Well, have you ever seen him wear one?
He also works a lot, but not just at work. The man is involved. He’s served on many a board and has found many ways to support local businesses — as well as their people.
That’s where Turf Valley’s involvement with the Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) comes in. The resort has been an HCCC member for more than three decades; Mangione serves on the chamber board, as he has since 2008. He serves on the Membership Committee, too.
For Mangione and the family, it’s all about contributing to the community.
Movin’ on Up
To understand what makes the Mangiones tick is to understand where they’ve been. The 10 kids (Pete has four brothers and five sisters), who range between the ages of 64 and 48, grew up in the family’s four-bedroom house in Baltimore City’s Hamilton section, under the roof of Nick and Mary. That’s where education, work ethic, family, family, and family were stressed (not necessarily in that order).
At the Mangione home, soccer was the real deal, and the five boys played in high school and college; Pete played at Baltimore’s Polytechnic Institute (“I didn’t want to be an engineer, though,” he said) and earned a soccer scholarship at what was then known as Loyola College, like brothers Sam and Nick (an All-American who played for six years for the Baltimore Blast). He’s also a classic rock fan who’s seen “plenty of the big acts.”
Mangione, who is 55, worked at various jobs within the family’s local empire, which also includes Hayfields County Club in Baltimore County, WCBM Radio, hotels and senior living facilities. Upon graduation in 1983 from Loyola, he started at Turf Valley, working various jobs on his way up.
“I started as a porter, then did various other jobs. I didn’t just show up and become general manager,” he said. That happened in 1991; he said that all of his siblings worked in various components of the family businesses by option.
“We weren’t forced to work for the family business, but it was the best option,” he said. “We all work pretty hard. I love what I do.”
As for anyone who presumes that Mangione plays plenty of golf because his family owns two courses, au contraire. “I played golf maybe eight times last year,” he said. “When I did, it was usually during a business outing, for Blossoms of Hope or Morgan State University.”
‘Few and Far Between’
As one would imagine, Mangione’s network runs deep. Dick Story, a senior vice president with Howard Bank, offered a humorous anecdote about him from the HCCC’s trip to Italy in 2013, followed by a keen insight.
“Pete and his lovely bride, Tracy; me and my wife, Ginny; and Del Karfonta went on the Tuscany trip with the chamber,” Story said, “and I’ll just say that only Pete would have gotten into an argument with an Italian street vendor about a non-Italian soccer player being the best player in the sport. Pete bought two T-shirts, anyway, before we whisked him away.”
Story also reflected on the speech Mangione gave in 2013 when he was presented with the Good Scout Award from Boy Scouts of America at, of course, Turf Valley. “He went over the time limit, but no one was looking at their watches,” he said. “Pete speaks from the heart. Know that he’s a shrewd businessman, but also philanthropic. He’ll cut costs, then make donations for things he believes in.”
Joe Barbara, co-owner of AIDA Bistro, in Columbia, broke Story’s observations down to one word: “Involved,” he said. “Period. I admire him for the commitment he makes to the community. I don’t know how many boards he can be on. He’s obviously found a way to pack more than 24 hours into a day.”
Barbara knows Mangione from the Howard County Tourism board; they’re now together on Blossoms of Hope’s board. “I don’t know anyone who’s been more generous,” he said. “Remember, most resorts are owned by big companies, and Pete has to be competitive. He and his family have to keep Turf Valley operating while he’s also working on his community and philanthropic endeavors.”
When Mangione calls it a day, he goes home to the wife; his three sons — twins Nick and Joe, age 24, and a younger son, 22, also named Pete; and that great big Italian family that’s full of love, full of food and knows how to celebrate. Holidays with the Mangiones include about 65 people, so there are always plenty of revelers.
“Holidays with my family are fantastic,” said Mangione, noting that they all live within 15 minutes of each other.
And know that they do love their pasta. At Thanksgiving, for instance, the turkey is “mostly for decoration,” said Del Karfonta, strategic partner with Howard Bank, who spoke of the family’s importance to the area.
“We may not have a lot of big companies left in the area, but we do have some large families that anchor the community. That’s what the Mangiones do. And,” he said, “they don’t get in front of people’s faces about what they have.”
That’s apparent, even through relatively small actions. Karfonta noted that, during the HCCC’s Italy trip, Mangione made no effort to impress anyone by ordering from any high-dollar menus. “Pete ate Pasta Bolognese every day, on an eight-day trip,” he said with a smile; on a serious note, he added that Mangione “had someone come to my house and plant a Blossoms of Hope cherry tree in memory of my father when he died.”
In other words, the Mangiones totally get it about generosity and appreciation.
“Having Pete as a friend is something that anyone would cherish. He’s someone you can call on anywhere, anytime and anyplace,” said Karfonta. “He’s helped a lot of people in this community. People have no idea.
“That goes for the whole family,” he said. “They reach out to people.”