Growing up in Sacramento in the 70’s and early 80’s we had no local sports franchise to root for. We were known as the Capital of California, a farm town, a political town, who would always live in the shadows of Southern California with their beaches, Hollywood, and many other entertainment options including the Dodgers, Angels, Lakers & Clippers. Not to mention, Bruin & Trojan football.
We also continued to live in the shadows of the bay area – the beauty of San Francisco with all of its history, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, China Town, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur. The bay area had its sports teams as well with the Raiders, 49ers, The Oakland Athletics, SF Giants, and the Golden State Warriors. Most everyone followed the teams from those two market areas. If we wanted to go to a concert, circus, or major event, you would have to pack up the family and go on a road trip.
That all changed in 1985, my senior year of high school, when a team of local businessmen and developers led by Gregg Lukenbill & Joe Benvenuti moved a professional basketball team they had purchased to Sacramento. The Kansas City Kings became the Sacramento Kings, and we finally had a team of our own. Following the Kings, and going to games, was suddenly the thing to do. My Father purchased season tickets, tickets that he and I still share to this very day.
The first 12 years our teams here were pretty much mediocre, but we had an arena, we had a basketball team, and we had an entertainment venue to attract events to our city. In 1998 we caught lightening in a bottle. Our general manager Geoff Petrie and head coach Rick Adelman began putting together a team that would be nationally nicknamed by Sports Illustrated as “The greatest Show on Court”. They drafted Jason Williams to play the point, signed Vlade Divac as a free agent, and traded for Chris Webber to play power forward. Peja Stojakovich joined the team from Serbia to play small forward. This team was the beginning of a team that would play an exciting, fast paced, unselfish brand of basketball that, then commissioner, David Stern called “The Future Of the NBA”. For 5-6 years, we were among the very best teams in the league and our team was becoming a huge part of the identity of Sacramento itself.
Between 2009-2012 the ownership of the Maloof family continued to voice their frustration over the inability to secure a deal that would allow them to build a new arena, giving the franchise the stability to keep them in Sacramento long term. Every year, rumors were swirling about the possibility of our team moving to Anaheim, Las Vegas, or even Virginia Beach. Chris Hansen, of Seattle, would eventually put in a bid to purchase & relocate the team for $348 million, and it appeared that an end of an era was imminent. Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star player, and current mayor of his hometown of Sacramento knew he would have to step up his game by soliciting a group of investors to counter the bid of the Seattle group if we were to keep our team. A team of politicians led by Mayor Johnson kept fighting forward with their vision, sharing how important this team was for Sacramento, and how a new downtown arena could revitalize Sacramento’s economy. Groups of fans were building teams to show support, organize rallies, and pledge future ticket sales if the team were to stay. Teams of investors Mayor Johnson called the “whales” began coming together, including Vivek Ranadive, Raj Bhathal, Mark Marstrov, Paul Jacobs and countless others that would not only purchase the team for a then record NBA franchise valuation of $535 million dollars, but, would also invest in Sacramento, downtown, and the new arena. On May 28,2013 the NBA board of governors approved the sale to the Sacramento group beginning a new era for the franchise and for the city of Sacramento.
When final approval for the downtown entertainment and sports complex took place, Turner construction and Acco Engineered Systems were selected as the general and mechanical contractors, we knew that this selection would be a winning combination. Acco is a valued customer that Columbia Specialty has shared success with, and supplied materials for, for many projects here in Sacramento, in Long Beach, and in the Bay Area as well.
When the decision makers for both companies met to discuss the arena project, Acco wanted to know if we could maintain the same outstanding service they were accustomed to. Would we have the same attention to detail we’ve had on many other projects. Could we continue to perform & react quickly to this challenge, and its ever changing needs that always seem to occur? They simply asked can you do all of these things on a project this large? We assured them, confidently, that we could.
As a team, we proudly did just that. We buttoned our chin straps, rolled up our sleeves, and went to work. It took every member of our team to make it work. From the necessary detailed communication with our vendors to the consistent customer service and follow-through the entire team worked hard to insure that the project moved smoothly towards completion. Our shop took pride in separating the multiple materials into groups such as the lower mezzanine, upper mezzanine, practice facility, multiple air handler units, to name a few. We took time to separate & group every pallet and every crate. We put itemized shipping tags listing all materials included on every pallet and every crate. When things got extremely hectic at the jobsite with all the construction happening at the same time in every location of the arena, we color coded with marking paint every pallet & crate so contactor on site would know immediately which part of the project the material was for without having to read the label, or break open the container. We successfully coordinated deliveries to the project jobsite & to the customer’s shop for prep and prefabrication. Our controller stayed on top of all transactions and knew what was shipped, what was billed, what was staged, and what was pre-billed….It truly took our whole team to be successful.
In only 6 months we will be opening the NBAs “techiest” arena, a 21st century coliseum, that will attract some of the best performers and entertainment in the nation. Already under construction is Downtown Commons which will include shopping, restaurants, pubs & social clubs, and hotels directly across from the Golden 1 Arena. There is lots of planning underway for future growth and renovations both downtown and at the old rail yards that should keep things exciting for many years to come.
I look back at all that has taken place in the 30 plus years since the Kings moved to our community, and I realize that none of this would have been possible without countless teams and individuals working tirelessly with a common goal in mind.
Our role as a key supplier on this project was no different. It took extreme focus, sweat, and determination from each member of our team over a whole year to successfully do our part. We are most proud of the fact that it was our reputation, and, hard earned, existing relationship with one of our many respected customers that would earn us this opportunity in the first place. Our ability to follow the direction of our company’s leaders, not only in our market, but the entire state of California consistently results in premier customer service and satisfaction.
Each of our branches, each of our teams, have been programmed to put our best effort forward, to be acurate and efficient, as well as expedient. We are trained to find the safest, right way, to accomplish a task, and do it that way…..not sometimes, not most of the time, but every time. We know we will not lose any job on service, and will package our shipments and deliver our materials in the way we would want to receive them if we were the end users… organized, labeled, palletized, wrapped…as our company president frequently reminds us, “put a bow on it!”
We are aware that for our customers to be successful, we must perform at the highest level, and must be in a partnership with them. It is this understanding, this passion, this pride, and this determination and practice of winning habits that make any team a champion.
Sacramento and Columbia Specialty Proud,
purchasing manager / estimating
Columbia Specialty Company, Inc.