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Donor Spotlight: Joe Laham

Joe Laham is the President of Premier Companies, which he founded in 2000.

He began working in the automotive industry in the 1970’s at his dad’s service station in Westwood. “I would work at my father’s gas station all through high school,’’ Laham says. “One thing led to another, and I would start repairing mini bikes and motor scooters and motorcycles. Then I started to buy and sell them, and that led to buying and selling cars.’’

In 1979, 21-year-old Laham, and his older brother opened a used car lot on the West Roxbury-Dedham line called Laham Motors. “While most kids were going to college, I was running a business,’’ Laham says.

Laham’s business grew and he ended up in business on the Automile on Route 1 where he converted a gas station into Auto West, before he took over several dealerships in the 1980’s and 90’s.

In 2000, Laham decided to sell his stores and relocate to the Cape. Now he has 5 Premier dealerships on Cape Cod, and has “a couple hundred people” on his payroll.

Joe Laham and Paula Gangemi
Joe Laham and Paula Gangemi at the Cape & Islands United Way's Best Night gala in June

What attracted you to the cause?

I was attracted to the United Way because of their board members and their staff. The commitment is strong. The staff are not working there for the money. They are working there because they believe in the cause and believe in making a difference. They take their jobs seriously, and as Cape Codders we owe their good leadership a debt of gratitude. The Cape & Islands United Way offers all good things to our community.

What is the most important work that this organization does?

Everything the CIUW does is strategic. They make good decisions and plant the seeds for change. And we will harvest from it. It’s not instant gratification. It’s careful, considerate changes that will affect the long-term health of our community.

The Cape & Islands United Way offers all good things to our community. They make good decisions and plant the seeds for change.

Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?

My children and grandchildren are my proudest accomplishments in life. They make me so happy. I don’t want awards or any recognition for charity. I don’t want notoriety for that. I don’t advertise it. I give from the heart because it’s the right thing to do. We’ve been blessed and it is our responsibility. ‘Much is given. Much is expected.’ Cape Cod is our back yard, our community, our clients, our employees. I’m honored to help my people.

What compels you to give year after year?

The Cape and Islands United Way is our main charity of choice for the local community. We will always be there to give to the United Way. They are a bunch of special people focused on our community and collectively work hard every day for people who need some support.

What do you hope the Cape & Islands United Way will achieve in the near future?

I hope the organization continues to grow and achieve success every year so that we can build a better community of equal opportunity.


In addition to Joe's personal support, The Premier Companies have sponsored several CIUW fundraising events, including Best Night and the annual golf tournament at the Hyannisport Club. They also host the annual Community Baby Shower at Audi Cape Cod, offering a welcome space for more than 75 expecting families in need to come for much needed resources and community support.

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