OHM Concessions Group is holding a jobs fair at Pensacola International Airport this week, ahead of the Missouri-based firm’s takeover of the airport’s food and beverage operations next week.
Applicants fill out the paperwork and are interviewed in a second floor conference room at the airport. Among the company representatives there on Wednesday, the middle day of the three-day fair, was Milan Patel – OHM’s President and CEO.
“We were pleasantly surprised,” said Patel. “(Tuesday) we interviewed about 125 candidates. Today (Wednesday) seems to be pretty busy, and we’ll see what God has in store for us tomorrow (Thursday).”
OHM is working to fill a number of restaurant positions -- servers, bartenders, crew members, managers and assistant managers. Patel says the newbies will join those currently working at restaurants inside the airport, who want to remain.
Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward last week unilaterally awarded the contract to OHM. That came as no surprise; the Mayor had supported the firm at the January Council meeting where the contract failed on a 4-4 deadlock.
Joining the Mayor for the announcement were Council members Jewell Cannada-Wynn, Andy Terhaar., Brian Spencer, and Larry B. Johnson – perhaps an indication that the six-vote super-majority needed to override when the Council revisits the contract Thursday evening – will not happen.
In bidding for the ten-year contract, OHM promised to create around 100 jobs at the airport over a 10-year period. OHM also offered the airport at least one million dollars more than the nearest competitor for the contract –Creative Food Group of New York – which represents local restaurants The Fish House, Bagelhead’s and Varona’s.
Normally, OHM would have a few months to staff a new operation. But CEO Milan Patel says in this case, they only had 12 days between getting the contract and opening temporary facilities next Tuesday, to replace outgoing Verona’s Restaurant.
And late word today (Thursday) that the Federal Aviation Administration has approved the airport’s contract with OHM, in a letter to Airport Director Greg Donovan. That, in effect, removes one of the opponents’ main contentions in calling for the deal to be voided.