Damian Magista, AJAC Regional Program Manager

5 Questions With Damian Magista

Meet AJAC's New Regional Program Manager

Damian was recently hired by AJAC to grow and expand apprenticeship opportunities in Southwest Washington and Oregon. Working with new and existing employers to ensure communities from Olympia to Portland can utilize our model of training to skill-up their workforce.

Most recently, Damian was a member of the Business Services team at the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce. In this role, he managed pre-apprenticeship cohorts and engaged with businesses to assess employment needs, working with stakeholders to create meaningful talent pipelines.

Get to know our newest team member in our latest “5 Questions With…” series!

What’s Your Greatest Achievement and How Has It Shaped You? 

I think the one that had the deepest impact was being profiled in Esquire by one of the most well-respected food writers in America, Joshua Ozersky. He was a guy that Anthony Bourdain admired. Josh understood and validated what I was trying to achieve. He just got it. We became friends when he and his wife moved to Portland. His support gave me the confidence to trust in myself. Tragically, he died three months later, and his loss is still deeply felt to this day.

What’s the best part of your job so far? 

Aside from the awesome team we have at AJAC, it’s providing a pathway for people to achieve their goals. That’s why we do what we do, right? Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone succeed, and our job is to create those opportunities. That is, hands down, the best part of the job.

What’s the #1 most played song for you right now? 

Right now, it’s “Abdominal Snowman” by Big Business. Music has always been an important part of my life, from listening to bands to playing in bands. I grew up in an environment where the local music scene was exploding, and we all played in bands and listened to music obsessively. My taste runs the gamut from classical to obscure art rock punk bands and just about everything in between.

If you could bring one musician back from the dead, who would it be and why? 

This is a tough one. There are so many. I would bring back Glenn Gould. Gould was a prodigy classical piano player. His interpretation of Beethoven’s bagatelles is sublime. Bagatelles are short compositions, think of them as a musical sketch. Gould’s unique ability to understand melody and feel is unlike anyone else. He was able to tap into a very deep creative well.

What is your perfect pizza? 

I’m from NYC Bronx Italian stock. You best come correct with the crust. It must be thin, crunchy, and foldable. Toppings are pretty much secondary.