Grady Gratitude: Kevin Maggiore helps future students fly high
Kevin Maggiore (ABJ ’79) grew up in a family who are as comfortable in the air as they are on the ground. Maggiore’s father was a Navy fighter pilot in World War II and the Korean War.
“He took me to my first air show when I was three years old and took me in the air when I was five,” Maggiore said. “I got my first camera at age 10 to photograph the Blue Angels. The only thing I wanted to do was be a fighter pilot like my dad.”
Maggiore pursued an undergraduate degree in radio, tv and film, along with a minor in speech and acting at Grady College. He never intended to actually enter the communications field. He simply wanted an undergraduate degree required to enroll in flight school.
One of the required skills of any pilot is the ability to maneuver through unforeseen circumstances and land the aircraft safely. Maggiore has continually honed that part of his skillset, just not always in the air. He was unable to go to flight school because the Navy cut back training fighter pilots after the Vietnam War.
Since he could not pursue his love of flying at the moment, Maggiore changed course and pursued his other love: photography.
Beginning in 1980, Maggiore worked in every facet of the photography and broadcasting business. He was quick to learn new crafts. The inner pilot in him was always preparing for the turbulence that emerging technology wreaks on the ever-evolving communications field.
“One of my professors at Grady told us: ‘if you don’t know how to do more than one job in this business, you will not survive it,’” Maggiore said. “I’ve had to re-invent myself multiple times in my 42-year career.”
That career spans from local television and national syndication work, on shows including “PM Magazine”, in Georgia, Kentucky, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. The end to many of the stops on his resume were due to station layoffs, managerial shifts and program cuts.
Maggiore returned to his home state and began working with WSB-TV as a photographer, editor and producer. He got a full-time role in the same capacity with WAGA-TV, covering several historic events over nearly a decade including a presidential inauguration, Democratic National Convention and Major League Baseball World Series.
He joined The Home Depot’s corporate team as a producer and director in June 1996 just as the Olympic Games were taking over Atlanta. He loved his work and envisioned being with the company long-term. But in 2002, Maggiore and his department were informed the company was being realigned. He again was forced to maneuver.
Maggiore founded Major Productions on April 1, 2003. For 16 years, he has produced corporate and commercial programming for a variety of outlets including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Fox Sports, CBS Sports and High Noon Entertainment, the production company responsible for many programs on HGTV and Food Network. He has also been involved in multiple documentaries. Most recently, he was the videographer behind “The Golden Isles at War.”
Along his journey, Maggiore did find his way back to the skies and got his commercial instrument multiengine pilot’s license. He would fly Mooney airplanes to rural airports to get footage of local factories for “Unwrapped,” a Food Network show. He was finally able to combine passions of flight and photography, and even added underwater photography to his arsenal of skills.
“If you want photography by land, sea or air– I am your guy,” said Maggiore.
The endurance and agility required for his career was first developed at UGA.
“My career started when bought my first Canon AE-1 35-millimeter camera and began taking photographs for the Red & Black,” Maggiore said. “Those are my fondest memories at UGA.”
Maggiore is helping future students have similar experiences by giving a planned gift to Grady College of $250,000 in the form of a perpetually endowed scholarship. The Kevin Maggiore Scholarship Fund will be available to juniors and seniors studying entertainment and media studies.
“I wanted to provide a gift that keeps on giving,” Maggiore said. “I am lucky to have spent my entire career in journalism. I hope this can help others have a head start in this business and hopefully do the same.”
Like his father who instilled a love of flying in him, Kevin Maggiore wants to not only inspire future students with the marvels of his career, he hopes to enable them to pursue their own adventures in the next wave of visual storytelling.