President, G&M Distributors
By Megan Scott '96
Adam Vitale's story is one that every small town in America wants to tell—successful local son returns to hometown to run the family business. In Vitale's case, he spent a decade pursuing his education and a successful career on both the East and West Coasts and returned to Galesburg in 2008 to work at G&M Distributors, Inc., a regional beverage company run by his family since 1946.
Like many who return to their hometowns, Vitale hadn't planned on moving back to Galesburg. "I left here and thought my chosen career path was that I was going to run luxury resorts around the world," he says. He was ultimately drawn back to his family's long-time vocation after working as a consultant in the hospitality industry. "Growing up with the beverage industry, I took it for granted and, then, after actually working in it, I found out I absolutely loved it."
Since coming back to Galesburg, Vitale has helped grow G&M, acquiring two other distributors, and he's also continued his family's commitment to the Galesburg community. He serves on the board of directors for OSF St. Mary Medical Center and on the Knox County Partnership for Economic Development, and he joined the Knox Board of Trustees in October 2016. One of the great challenges—and motivations—he sees as part of his service on the Knox Board is helping Knox and Galesburg recognize and take advantage of their unique relationship.
"Knox is so interwoven with Galesburg, and I wish more people realized that on both sides of the equation," he says. Vitale isn't the first member of his family to have close ties to Knox. His grandfather, who started G&M, and an uncle are both Knox graduates, and the G. L. Vitale Family Foundation is a long-time supporter of the College. "The good that Knox does, the opportunities it creates for our community, is really the primary driver for why our family is so closely tied and invested in Knox."
His return to and investment in Galesburg isn't something he takes lightly, and he would like to see both Knox and Galesburg grow. "Galesburg is surprisingly cosmopolitan for a town of 33,000 people. Most towns our size don't have a symphony, a performing arts theatre, or an art center," Vitale says, adding, "Galesburg has a unique sense of community, and I've never found any other place quite like it. It's a matter now of taking that sense of community, injecting more life into it, and broadcasting it to the world."