Pete Sala, assistant director of facilities operations at the Carrier
Dome, emerges from the tunnel opening up to the Dome floor and directs
student employees to different sections of a giant jigsaw puzzle,
better known as the SU mens basketball court. He and his crew
piece together the 217 interlocking wooden panels to create the
seamless playing floor. In a similar fashion, Sala brings together
the various parts of his job to lay the foundation for efficient
operation of Dome events. Now in his 21st year of service at the
Dome, he works diligently, sometimes even through the night, so
that events run smoothly. I dont have the typical 9-to-5
workday, Sala says. No two days are alike, and its
great to have that variety.
who grew up in the Syracuse area, remembers when Archbold Stadium
was torn down in 1979 to make room for the Dome. He began working
at the Carrier Dome in 1982 as a production assistant while on vacation
breaks from the University of Massachusetts. I started at
the bottom and worked my way up to my current position, he
says. Thats how you learn all the aspects of such a
students who act as production assistants for Sala consider him
their boss, but more importantly, a friend. Pete is really
understanding of students responsibilities, and hes
willing to accommodate the needs of his student employees,
says Jayson Weinstein 03, who worked with Sala for three years.
He makes the job fun and understands that people are people
first and then employees.
stadium, which seats 50,000 and is the largest on-campus sports
venue in the country, requires a great amount of caretaking. Sala
oversees all of the Domes maintenance requirements, as well
as the setup and tear-down of events. Anything that goes on
at the Dome comes to me, he says. Im responsible
for making sure it gets done right. That responsibility leaves
Sala with a full schedule. Along with SU football, basketball, and
lacrosse games, the Dome also hosts such events as concerts, NCAA
tournaments, convocation ceremonies, and the annual Martin Luther
King Jr. celebration.
says his most rewarding event is the NCAA basketball tournaments
East Regional. We know well send a team to the Final
Four, he says. We work hard to make this place look
like a million bucks for the tournament. Concerts are also
a highlight, even though they require a tremendous effort, he says.
Since his start at the Dome, Sala has been around for a number of
shows and loves the behind-the-scenes work that comes with hosting
a concert. Setting up dressing rooms and helping roadies construct
monstrous stages for such musicians as Billy Joel and Garth Brooks
add to the excitement. I like the people I meet through Dome
events, he says. The job allows me to interact with
people from all over the world.
with his work at the Dome, Sala spends many weekends during the
football season traveling with the team to assist on the field.
He remains on the sidelines at away games to ensure coaches can
communicate on their headsets without any technical difficulties.
After each road trip, he looks forward to coming home to his wife,
Laurie, and their 4-year-old son, Jake, who occasionally gets treated
to an insiders view of the massive arena.
so many pieces to put into place each day, Sala has learned to appreciate
the job and its opportunities. I like my position because
I perform so many different functions, he says. I could
be setting up for the Empire State Games one day and then getting
ready for football practice or an alumni dinner the following day.
Yvonne Buchanan |
Eclectic by Design
Buchanan, professor of art and design at SUs College of Visual
and Performing Arts, is passionate, eclectic, productive, and ambitious.
Known mainly for her drawing, she has illustrated six childrens
books, including Fly Bessie, Fly (Simon & Schuster, 1998)a
biography of Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman aviator.