The average tenure of the core team members who make our dough is 31 years.
Edgar Bobadilla began making pizza dough at Pagliacci 40 years ago. Dorene Centioli-McTigue, Pagliacci’s founder, hired him. “When Dorene hired me, she described it as a marriage. Maybe she was right,” Edgar says with a laugh. He made dough in the morning and delivered it in a green and white 1967 Volkswagen bus with no first gear. “Slap it into second and get it to go,” says Edgar.
Today, Edgar heads the team with the most experience at Pagliacci: the Commissary team. Edgar tops the list at 40 years with Pagliacci, but his core leaders are not far behind: Alan Lehman, 36 years, Todd Weyand, 26 years, and Ken Keeling, 21 years.
“I learned the dough-making process from the original five people involved in starting the company,” Edgar says. “We only had three stores then, way less volume. With growth, we’ve had to figure out how to maintain consistency along with improving efficiency. When I started, I wasn’t working in a temperature and humidity-controlled kitchen. We learned things the hard way back then. Every problem you overcome teaches you valuable tricks. That experience gave me a lot of knowledge.”
Todd Weyand, Commissary Associate Manager, says, “It’s not just us with experience. We have a lot of managers out there who have been with the company for a long time. The staying power, it speaks for the company.”
Way back when, the commissary was where our Madison Valley store is now. As the company grew, the commissary moved to a succession of larger places, each better than the last. As the company continued to grow, production needs outpaced the capacity of each facility. Today, they work in a climate-controlled production facility in Kent with all the space and equipment they need. The trucks now have loading docks—and first gear. What has never changed: the dough. Same recipe, same slow-rise, same light, springy texture and extraordinary flavor.
Covid posed challenges, of course, but the crew has maintained rigorous standards and there have been no positive cases. One busy but satisfying challenge for Edgar and his crew was distributing all the items for Pagliacci’s giveaways (if you don’t know about them, check out this article by King 5). Edgar and his crew took on the big job of getting all the merchandise to our stores for delivery to our customers. “We knew how our customers and other businesses were hurting and this was something we could do to help them,” Edgar says. “It was a lot of work for us to pull it off, but seeing how grateful the small business owners were for the support sure made it worth it to me.”
And how is it working with the same crew day in day out for decades? “We know each other,” Edgar says. “We get into situations once in a while, but we get over it. The biggest thing is we know we can count on each other. We trust each other to be there.” With a smile, he adds, “No marriage counseling required.”