This is it. The last week. The last week of the Condors tenure of one Mr. Justin Fahsbender. I’ve known Fahzy for a while now, almost as long as I’ve known the city of Bakersfield. And I’m proud to say that he earned his Condors wings as an unpaid intern in the press box on game nights, helping with media and broadcast duties. He is now the Condors VP of Operations, and wears so many hats that his duties, after he’s gone, will be divided up amongst half of the remaining staff. Simply put, he’s a cog. He was once named “Team Captain” in the office. Fahzy will be missed around here.
And let that be a lesson to everyone out there, especially the graduating seniors at CSUB. Find something you want to do and go out and find the job. Even if it’s not the ideal gig, getting your foot in the door is the most important, and hardest thing. But I digress.
I’m going into my 10th season of Condors hockey, and a lot of folks have passed through these doors over the years. So here I am, at the risk of hurting someone’s feelings by leaving them off the list, putting here on this page (website) my five favorite ex-co-workers here in Condorstown. See if you remember them (and I’m not including my fellow ex-broadcasters).
5. Matt Riley – Am I losing it? Doesn’t Matthew Riley (1998 – present) still run the Condors?? The answer, of course, is yes. But the one that runs the Condors now is much mellower than the energetic, single, round-the-clock sheriff that was here when I started. Maybe that’s a secret I shouldn’t be sharing. But you either tried to outwork the boss back in those early days, or you updated your resume. Quickly. In my first two seasons I thought I was going to be fired at least five times. On my first day I was told that he stood by the front door ready to fine people who arrived late. He kept everyone on their toes, and built an empire in Condorstown. I miss that guy. Although, I suppose he could still fire me whenever he wants.
4. Bethany Moore – Bethany (2007 – 2011) was here a long time, and greeted folks when they came through the door with a smile. Even though she was prone to wearing her unprofessional “I like parties” sweatshirt while she was here and occasionally drew my ire by walking around without her shoes on, B-Moore enjoyed helping and enjoyed talking to our fans, and I think they enjoyed her. She is now the bride-to-be of former Condors radio guy Bob Mills and they live in the Chicagoland Area. Ah yes, a real-life Condors love connection.
3. Jonathan Daillak – “The Rigo” manned the Condors website and creative services for four seasons (2000 – 2004) and played a huge role in establishing the brand of the Condors early days. He was also my first friend in town when I moved here in 2001. Anyone who knows Daillak knows that he can be a bit ornery at times, and it added to his charm of being a co-worker. He once threw a chuck a puck at my desk and obliterated a plant I had, exploding dirt all over my desk and work area. I was furious, naturally, and ordered him to clean it up. He refused, saying that he felt bad initially when it happened and had every intention of cleaning it up, until I barked the order at him. Dirt littered my desk and floor for three days. I thought we were going to fight right in the office. He never cleaned it up. He’s a jerk, but I still miss him around here. He now works at UCLA.
2. John Ayre – John Ayre (2002 – 2005), a.k.a. “The Godfather”, is another one who started as a press box intern, and then turned into a brilliant Community Relations guy that organized the position and made it what it’s become today. Not that you reading this needs to know that, or cares… But anyway, John Ayre was an effervescent chap that was liked by everyone and had boundless energy and a need to bring the office together. He brought flowers in for the ladies on the staff. He brought snowballs down from Tehachapi on chilly mornings for me to throw at Daillak. And he and his kids and his wife are dearly missed by everyone who knew them here. They live in the Bellingham, Washington area now.
1. Deric Voelker – DV (1997 – 2003) used to be the radio/PR guy for the Fog. As his personal situation changed over the years he became the ultimate utility man, managing travel, helping with hockey operations, overseeing projects, events and office endeavors, and I swear to you, memorizing every single game and player during his tenure in Condorstown. He was never afraid to tell you if you’re being ridiculous, he made me go golfing when it was 108 outside, he led the charge to the pub after games for a Murphy’s or a Guinness, and he is without a doubt the most voracious eater I have ever known. He once put down a large fry, Chicken Nuggets, Filet-O-Fish and a Big Mac and large soda in about 10 minutes. No joke. We sometimes wondered if he was human, or sent here from a faraway place. If Condorstown had a mayor, he would have been it. Now he fancies himself a bigwig for the Las Vegas Wranglers.
An organization is a reflection of those who work for it. All of these people, and so many others, put their heart and heads into what we do here to an extent that most will never know. When Fahzy leaves he will join this list. He’s a good friend and a great co-worker. I miss all of these folks and so many more. Just wanted them to know that!
Kevin Bartl is the Vice President of Communications and part of the broadcast team, entering his 10th season in Condorstown. His blog comes out every Tuesday, or whenever he gets around to it. For not-always-hockey-related tweets, follow him on twitter @KevinBartl.