Student Spotlights

Alumni Spotlight: Vincent LaVolpa

By Guadalupe Santos-Sanchez, Managing Editor

Vincent LaVolpa is the owner of Green Joe Coffee Truck and a CNM alumni who has led an eventful life and is soon to add author to his list of accomplishments that started when he first enrolled at CNM.

“My story began at CNM and that’s kind of cool,” LaVolpa said.

LaVolpa dropped out of Highland High School and soon after enrolled at CNM to receive his GED.

He then enlisted in the Army but not before receiving a certificate in Call Center Operations from CNM, then TVI, he said.

He did a tour overseas in Iraq and Germany, and a year after returning home, enrolled again at the CNM paramedic program.

“I was an EMT basic, I had no experience and I was the only one in my class that they let through with no experience,” he said.

He worked for the Albuquerque Ambulance as a paramedic until 2013 and after was a lead paramedic at MD Urgent Care, he said.

He also went on to get his bachelor’s degree at UNM in the same field, he said.

“It had been about 10 years at that point that I went from the combat field to the emergency medicine field and I was just tired of kind of seeing people kill each other,” he said.

LaVolpa wanted something different, so the thought was to open up a coffee shop, he said.

He had been working as the operations director of a local nutrition fitness company 70 hours a week, 6 to 7 days a week, he said.

“It paid well but I never got to see my wife and it was just a mess, so I remember having the conversation with my wife, very specifically saying, I think I want to open a coffee truck,” he said.

Green Joe in Italian is the Guiseppe Verde, and the Guiseppe Verde was a transatlantic passenger ship that made voyages from Italy to Ellis Island and brought his grandfather to this country, he said.

“So I named the coffee shop after that vessel because that was the vessel that he used to follow his American dream, and this is the vessel that I’m using to follow my American dream,” he said.

LaVolpa gave the truck an Italian feel with the canopy, the shutters, and the red and white checkered floor, he said.

And the whole idea behind the old newspapers on the ceiling of the truck was to have a little bit of America’s history up there, he said.

“The whole concept behind this was to follow your dreams basically, which is a big jump sometimes, it’s not easy to leave a steady paying job,” he said.

The coffee truck does deliveries for staff, they can text LaVolpa their order and location, he said.

They give discounts to teachers and staff, public service, prior and current city of Albuquerque employees, all medical staff, social workers, volunteers, and single parents, he said.

They serve free coffee to Purple Heart veterans and cancer patients, he said.

“I think if someone can take a bullet for the country or go through chemo and radiation, they deserve a cup of coffee on me,” he said.

The Green Joe Coffee Truck can be contacted at 505-385-2663 and at the website http://www.greenjoecoffee.com.

The e-book will be up for sale on the website, iBooks, Kindle, and a couple other e-book platforms, he said.

“I’ve been working on it since the beginning of the truck and I’ll have that on the website hopefully in the next 30 days,” he said.

It is going to be a document with pictures and videos and information on how to build the floors, how to install plumbing and how to make different espresso drinks, he said.

It will be a resource for people that are looking into getting into the coffee truck business and something that they can start off of, he said.

“And to be honest, if I could have bought an e-book when I started this thing it would have saved me $4,000 because I made so many mistakes, like I’ve burned out generators from too much wattage and I put in this floor twice, this was a penny floor at one point and I had to put tile over it because it was a mess,” he said.

LaVolpa likes coffee because for him it is all about community, he said.

This community has been really good to him and he has enjoyed taking care of them as well, he said.

“I call coffee the fuel of passion. When someone comes to get a cup of coffee it’s because they got something to do, they’re on a mission and coffee is like this catalyst of people’s dreams, and I’m stoked about that,” he said.

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