Education

AVI Owners Give YSU $500K for Sports Media Center

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Payiavlas Family, owners of AVI Foodsystems in Warren, is donating $500,000 to Youngstown State University to name the classroom that is part of the new sports media center at Stambaugh Stadium.

“We thank John Payiavlas and the entire Payiavlas Family for their continued commitment to the Mahoning Valley and to Youngstown State University and our students,” YSU President Jim Tressel said in a statement. “This gift by one of the Valley’s most prominent and generous families means that thousands of students will enjoy the benefits of state-of-the-art educational facilities.”

In recognition of the donation, YSU will name the classroom in the Don Constantini Multimedia Center at Stambaugh Stadium for the Payiavlas Family. The center (see rendering above) will be constructed atop the east side of the stadium and include classroom space for YSU’s sports broadcasting program.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to make this gift to a great institution that has had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on the lives and careers of thousands of individuals across our Valley,” said John Payiavlas, company founder.

His son, Anthony Payiavlas, president and CEO, added, “The Mahoning Valley is our home; this is where we started, and we remain dedicated to our community and its people. We thank President Tressel and YSU for its continued commitment and are thrilled to be able to partner with the university as it moves forward.”

AVI Foodsystems is the largest independently owned and operated food service company in the nation, providing hospitality and food services in 46 states. Its operations serve thousands of clients and millions of customers daily through contemporary cafés, innovative micro markets, vending programs, health-care patient dining, catering services, concession venues and beverage and coffee systems.

With thousands of employees, the company also provides services to businesses, universities, government agencies, hospitals and other institutions, ranging from Amazon, FedEx, General Motors and General Electric to Ohio State University, The Julliard School, Smucker’s and Mercy Health.

John Payiavlas, the son of a working-class Greek immigrant family, traces the company’s beginnings to 1960, when he purchased a small vending company, Automatic Vendors.  The company began with just a few vending machines as a side business to Payiavlas’ small diner, the Village Café, in downtown Warren. In the mid-1980s, the company added enhanced business dining and catering services, expanded to new geographic markets and, in 1988, changed its name to AVI Foodsystems.

Soon, AVI began providing services to colleges and universities, health care facilities and sports and leisure complexes. The company now serves some of the most widely known and recognized businesses, universities, health care and leisure facilities in the world.

Payiavlas and his wife, Marisa, have two children, Patrice Payiavlas Kouvas and Anthony. John is founder and chairman of the board of directors, while Patrice is vice chair and Anthony is president and CEO.

John and Marisa Payiavlas were honored in 2006 with the Cleveland Clinic’s Distinguished Fellows Award. In 2000, John Payiavlas was inducted into the Inside Business Magazine’s Business Hall of Fame of Northeast Ohio. He is a lifetime chairman emeritus of the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund and an Archon Depoutatos of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

SOURCE: YSU News Center

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.