By: Ryan Tejero
Being a community leader and a business owner is quiet challenging. With his unwavering passion and dedication, this FilAm leader has brought in success in everything he handles where he puts his mind and skills altogether. Leo Madanguit is currently the President of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Greater Chicago (UPAAGC). He continues the legacy of previous leaders in the alumni group to keep UPAAGC visible in the FilAm community in Chicago. His goals for the organization is to keep a positive image of the organization, and make it an active partner in the community. UPAAGC’s line up of fundraising activities include the annual golf outing, 5K run/walk and summer picnic, and the annual Christmas Gala Dinner. Leo is also working on raising a 25K donation to his home college, the UP School of Economics in UP Diliman campus.
Leo and his officers have been spearheading different ways to attract more UP alumni in the Chicago area by going to bigger public venues like Seafood City to promote UPAAGC. His goal is to increase the membership of the organization.
As a business owner, Leo made history in Chicago by opening one of the Filipino’s best restaurants – the Max’s Restaurant. It was opened to public in December 2019. The restaurant became an instant haven of Filipinos who love fried chicken and other authentic delicacies that Max’s is famous for.
Shortly after the grand opening, the pandemic surged in. Leo said “We have to close indoor dining in March 2020 because of the pandemic. It was challenging but we were able to reopen on September 2020, with limited indoor seating. Our goal was to continue bringing the best food in town to our patrons. Max’s is a franchise, and is known for Max’s Fried Chicken, hence our tag line, The House That Fried Chicken Built.”
Leo’s success in handling Max’s Restaurant makes him feel the need to expand. The market of selling good food is very profitable and appealing to the general public. Leo said “We are planning to open a second and third locations. We are in the process of looking for strategic locations that will make sense and where we can reach out not only to Filipinos but also the non-Filipino consumers.”
As Leo continues to inspire the community as a promising FilAm leader and a successful entrepreneur, he reaches out to the public to share his success journey in life. He said “To those who want to start a business, my advise is to be resilient. The pandemic has taught us a very valuable lesson. Rise above the competition. Be different. Give your customers or clients the reason to choose you over the competition. To those who want to open a restaurant or go into the food business, find your niche, serve good food and do good service.”
Max’s Opening in 2019. (L-R) Lynne Agpasa, Roslyn Agpasa, Gino Viola, Bill Rodgers (grandson of Max), Jeff Dennis, Leo Madanguit
Leo, with wife Liberty and two sons Louie and Lance Rodgers (grandson of Max), Jeff Dennis, Leo Madanguit