As a big fan of the Orlando Magic, Eugene Roberson, Jr. took great pride in having his Orlando-based company install the seats inside the Amway Center -- seats he'll someday sit in as a Magic season ticket holder.
But Roberson's pride in being involved in the massive construction project of the Amway Center also stretches well beyond his love for the Magic. It's also a dollars and financial sense issue for his DEM Development Corp., Inc. "Without the job at the arena we'd be dead in the water," Roberson said rather bluntly. "Before the recession I knew of so many companies that were doing well, but now I can list then on one hand. I've been absolutely blessed to get this contract work because it has helped us stay afloat.
"Before this job we were scratching and scrambling just to try and stay afloat," Roberson continued. "But this opportunity kept us afloat and now I can pay off my bills and keep looking for other work."
DEM Development installed the seating and the black-out curtains in the sparkling Amway Center. The building seats 18,500 for NBA games, 19,700 for center-stage concerts, 20,000 for NCAA basketball games and 17,200 for hockey/arena football events. There are 60 suites, 1,400 club seats and 68 loge boxes (328 seats).
The construction project has provided work to companies that would have likely been adversely affected by the nation's sagging economy. And it's been a boon to minority and women-owned businesses in Central Florida.
The contracts afforded to DEM Development Corp. Inc., were in line with the mission of the Orlando Magic and City of Orlando that the construction of the new facility serve as employment opportunities for several local minority and women-owned businesses.
Roberson, for one, couldn't be happier about being involved in the project. "Are you kidding me? This is off the chain for us," Roberson said. "We're excited and honored to be a part of helping build a facility that this area will get to enjoy for a long time."
DEM Development Corp., Inc. and Orlando-based company since 2003, used 20 employees to install the seating inside the Amway Center. Roberson, DEM's owner, rarely misses a Magic game and hopes to be in the Amway Center this season when Orlando could be potentially raising a championship banner.
"What we did the last two years really set everything in motion," Roberson said. "Now all of the national newscasters give the Magic more respect. What better way to start next season with a new arena."