COB alumna returns as new Board of Visitors member

by Stephen Briggs

City Hall - Staunton - 2018

SUMMARY: Maggie Ragon’s (’82) career path has taken her from hospitality to small business ownership to Commissioner of Revenue for Staunton, Virginia—and now to the JMU Board of Visitors.

Photo of Maggie Ragon courtesy of City of Staunton.  Photographer: Kevin Blackburn

CoB Alumni Maggie Ragon - 2018When Maggie Ragon graduated JMU with a B.B.A. in marketing, a data-oriented career in public service wasn’t on her radar. “I began working in the hospitality industry right after graduation and did that for 18 years in various companies in various states. But I really enjoyed the valley during my time at JMU. I met someone in San Antonio who was opening a franchise hotel here, and they offered me a job to return to the valley.” 

After her return she also began teaching hotel management in the hospitality program at JMU before opening a small boutique wine shop down the road in Staunton. After 13 years as a small business owner, and given the political climate, she decided to run for local office—and she’s been Commissioner of Revenue for the City of Staunton for 12 years now. “I’ve always been a very community involved person. I’ve always volunteered for non-profits and served on boards of directors. That’s a good thing about the valley—you can get involved and leave an impression on the community.” 

About her current vocation, Ragon notes, “Tax assessment is a data driven culture. On any given day, I may query up to six or eight different state and local databases to mine the information I need to make a uniform and equitable assessment of property.” But that doesn’t mean it is all dry or boring. She finds fun in it too. “At times when the information I need isn't readily available, my job can include a little detective work.” 

Her latest accomplishment is her appointment to the JMU Board of Visitors. “It is an honor to serve and very pleased to have a conversation with Governor Northam. When his administration came in, I was looking for an opportunity to serve, and I realized there was space for someone in the valley who is a JMU alumna who is able to represent the area. I applied and was very pleased to be appointed to serve. The new construction of the Learning Complex and the whole expansion of the COB is very exciting to me, so I am looking forward to being a part of that.”

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Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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