Co-owners Matt Galvin and Michelle Galvin, MBA '98 and current Chair of the SU Board of Regents, rely on their Jesuit roots to take care of the business, their teams, and their communities.

What problem/market need were you addressing when the business started?

Matt Galvin: The inspiration to start a pizza place was driven by founder Dorene Centioli-McTigue’s desire for a good slice of pizza. For McTigue, there wasn’t much on offer that matched what was available on the East Coast and most certainly not was available in Italy.

What was the biggest challenge and the biggest reward throughout your journey?

Matt Galvin: The business is not static. The market, the business opportunities, the environment is constantly changing. This is part of what makes this business, this company so engaging and rewarding. We are constantly seeking ways to improve our processes, our products and how we support our employees.
It is also the relationships. Our leadership team has worked together for over 20 years. The average tenure of our location managers is nearly 13 years. Collectively, we have grown up together.

Hmong Flower Farmers with bouquets during the pandemicMichelle Galvin: The pandemic was challenging. It was a scary time for employees, customers, and our business with so many unanswered questions. Our leadership team mitigated as much as stress as possible by meeting every day and clearly communicating all the changes in our operations across 900 employees.

It was also one of the most rewarding times in retrospect. Our team is highly capable and creative, and we really relied on our Jesuit roots by taking care of the whole business—the employees, the customers, and even our community to get through [it].

We developed a program of Community Giveaways during the pandemic where we purchased goods (cookies, coffee, hot sauce, candy, bagels, etc) from others in our community and gifted them to our customers.

I ran into a business owner we had purchased 3,000 treats from who tearfully thanked me. She said she was at the point where she didn’t know how she was going to pay her rent when I called. We also hear from customers that tell us the Community Giveaways gave them something to look forward to during lock down and our employees loved to treat our customers.

Michelle Galvin, co-owner of Pagliacci Pizza

Success is a combination of hard work and creativity so while you work hard building your career, don't neglect activities that might spark the next great idea.

Michelle Galvin Co-owner, Pagliacci Pizza MBA '98 and Chair, SU Board of Regents

What, if anything, did you learn at Albers that has helped you in running the business?

Matt Galvin: Michelle, our CFO, has an MBA from SU and the expertise she gained has helped shape how we tackle business challenges and opportunities.

Michelle Galvin: We are a company built on doing the right thing. It is one of our core values. SU helped me understand this on many levels. When learning about negotiating as part of my MBA, we talked a lot about using empathy to understand what the other side really wants and to figure out a way to turn negotiations
into a win/win scenario rather than a winner takes it all mindset. I’ve used this repeatedly in my professional career.

What’s next for the business?

Matt Galvin: We will continue to grow and expand Pagliacci Pizza and [partner business] Macrina Bakery in the Seattle area. We think there will remain opportunities for both businesses to grow and open new locations. We are always keeping our eyes open for new businesses to help develop and expand.

If you were to recommend one thing newcomers should taste, what would it be?

Matt Galvin: The OG. Try our Original Cheese pizza. The recipe hasn’t changed since Dorene developed it 45 years ago!

Two-sentence advice for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Matt Galvin: Define your personal goal for your career/business and stay relentlessly focused on getting to this end state.

Michelle Galvin: Success is a combination of hard work and creativity so while you work hard building your career, don’t neglect activities that might spark the next great idea.
The Galvins established the Pagliacci Pizza Scholarship in Albers which supports Albers students to do Study Abroad. There are many ways to give back to Albers and nurture the next generation of business leaders. Contact Wendy Kelley at to find out more.