2009 New Town Award Recipient
Charles Vignieri, chairman of Kenosha Beef International and Birchwood Meat and Provision Co., received the Carthage “New Town” Award during the 2009 Commencement. This award recognizes outstanding civic leadership in the building of better communities.
Mr. Vignieri, a Chicago native, is a second-generation American who successfully expanded a family business and has been named to his industry’s Wisconsin Hall of Fame. He was a pioneer in promoting the concept of boxed beef, a distribution procedure now used routinely throughout the industry. His business is recognized as a leader in sanitation techniques and food preparation.
The company began in 1936 when Mr. Vignieri’s immigrant parents raised $35 with which to buy several calves. Now, subsidiaries of Kenosha Beef in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Georgia supply beef patties for major fast food chains around the country, and are the chief source of precooked meat for Taco Bell. Birchwood also produces beef patties for retail sale. Kenosha Beef and Birchwood have $300 million in annual sales and employ more than 750 people.
After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Charles Vignieri joined the family business in 1946, assuming its leadership when his father died in 1960. Subsequently, he served as chairman of the Kenosha Savings and Loan Association (now part of M&I Bank). He is a past president of Kenosha’s Italian Business and Professional Association. For years, Mr. Vignieri has been one of Kenosha’s most respected business leaders and elder statesmen.
Mr. Vignieri and his wife of 63 years, Lorraine, have been longtime benefactors of St. Joseph High School in Kenosha, and the Veritas Society. They are prominent Catholic lay people in the community. In the 1960s, Mr. Vignieri was an effective champion of the City’s invitation to Carthage to relocate in Kenosha.
Charles and Lorraine Vignieri have nine children: Allan, Susan Seymour, Dennis, Richard, Patricia Palmer, Joseph, Thomas, Daniel and Mark.
This is a weekend of celebration for the Vignieri family. Thomas Vignieri, ’83, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award at the New Alumni Convocation on Friday, May 22.