With a phone to his ear, dozens of workers at his command, and unknown pressure mounting towards a July 4th deadline – Auggie Santore is as cool as they come.
You wouldn’t know his name, or his face, but his shoulders are newsworthy – they’re the ones taking the blame for San Diego's busted Big Bay Boom Fireworks Display of 2012. That's when thousands of fireworks went off in 15 seconds within minutes before the show was supposed to begin -- disappointing thousands of people who were camped out to watch the display.
“Freak glitch, yeah freak glitch,” said Santore whose 123-year-old family company is footing the $125,000 bill for this year’s show because it is “the right thing to do” given last year’s computer glitch and epic fail.
“There were no demands and no contentious nature. Just a sheer pledge on our part unrequested. We stand by what we do. We’re very good at what we do,” said Santore who is overseeing the final preparations of four barges filled with thousands of fireworks.
They are all scheduled to be fired off in millisecond increments from San Diego Bay during the county’s largest Independence Day display in what’s being called the most anticipated pyrotechnic sequel ever in San Diego.
Given the circumstances you might think there is some pressure building.
“We take every precaution in every instance and certainly we understand there is extra scrutiny here, but I can’t put people under that type of pressure, because anytime you work under pressure, if you’re so nervous, then you start to make mistakes,” said Santore.
Mistakes are something he and Garden State Fireworks cannot afford.
The busted display of 2012 was followed by bad publicity and vicious online attacks, one person even writing through Facebook they wished his plane would crash.
Santore says no one wants this year’s show to succeed more than him.
“I know the type of preparation, when it was 2 a.m. in May and when everyone was sleeping, I was up working on millisecond increments of this display last year, so if anyone was to be disappointed that would be me considering the amount I invested from my life in the process,” he added.
It’s a process with more hype than ever.
Santore is just looking forward to watching San Diegans point fingers again – this time, at the sky.