The local boy went to Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, then Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, and he spent a year at sea. He describes his childhood as “blessed” because of the opportunities he was given.
“I got some very early lessons in economy — it’s called survival,” he said this week while sitting in a conference room at Cianbro Corp. headquarters in Pittsfield. “To survive, you have to work.”
He was appointed president and CEO of the company in January 1991 and introduces himself as “Pete.”
Vigue was 11 years old when he first met the Cianchette family, who started Cianbro in the late 1940s. Members of the family were on his 100-house newspaper route. He said seeing them leave early for work and the fact that they always paid him on time and “treated him right” made the young Vigue look up to them.
He spent seven of his junior high and high school years working road construction jobs for another company, and once was given the task of cleaning out culverts in Carmel using a bucket.
After graduating from MMA, he was sent to sea. Even though he made good money, working on a ship was not the lifestyle he wanted, and he returned to the area.
He took his first job with Cianbro as a laborer on the waterfront in Portland in 1970. Over the years, he has climbed the corporate ladder and now leads the employee-owned company, which was started by Chuck, Carl, Ken and Bud Cianchette in 1946 and incorporated in 1949.
Since mid-April, a yellow bumper sticker has appeared on cars locally bearing the message “Pete Vigue, Please Run for Governor.” When asked if he has any political aspirations, Vigue said he “is fully engaged” in his work at Cianbro right now.
“I can best make a difference in the state by doing what I’m doing,” Vigue said. “That’s for today. But you don’t know what’s in the future. From what I’ve learned so far, things have a way of changing quickly.”
A copyright story from the Bangor Daily News, Saturday, June 2, 2007. BDN writer Anne Ravana contributed to this report.