Sacramento International Airport’s new Terminal B officially opens to the flying public on Thursday. But while workers were still putting finishing touches on the building and shop and restaurant owners were scrambling to stock their shelves and set their tables, I had a chance to walk through the facility.
And even though no passengers were around, I found the crew at the Famous Famiglia Pizzeria stand busy making and cutting up pizzas.
Curious – and a little hungry – I stopped to find out what they were up to. I ended up talking to John Kolaj, the company co-founder, who had come to town to make sure everyone and everything was just right for opening day. He told me, for example, that water from New York is flown to each pizzeria so that the dough will always come out just right. And he made the newly-hired employees gather together for a ‘family picture.’
Kolaj is the guy with the black shirt there in the middle. (He said some people might recognize him from an episode of Celebrity Apprentice). The young man in the orange shirt to the left of Kolaj in the picture is 19 year-old Brandon Avelar.
When I asked the crew cutting up pizzas how long they’d been at it, Avelar said he was learning this skill for the first time. “In fact,” he said proudly, “This is my first job!”
Avelar said he’d learned about some job openings at the airport and gotten a call that he was hired just a few hours after his interview. He chatted for a bit longer, but then turned his attention back to work, which involved serving up the pizza, garlic knots and stromboli – for free – to the “practice customers” (hungry construction workers) lined up at the counter.
More photos to follow…