In most non-fiction books, there is a seldom-read section in the front or back known as “Acknowledgments”. For most readers, it’s of little interest. But, it is the author’s way of thanking those who made their work possible by contributing content, guidance, advice or just moral support.
Recently, the folks at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming held their annual EKG Slot Awards and were kind enough to induct me into their Slot Operations Hall of Fame. The Acknowledgements section below is not meant to boast about that honor (maybe just a little), but rather to recognize some of those who made it possible for me to learn, grow and become a little bit better every day. It is also a testament to the positive power of sharing and openness to learning.
As noted above, most readers ignore these recognitions. However, if you are fortunate to spend any amount of time with one or two of the folks listed below, I guarantee you will become a better casino professional. Every category listed is in alphabetical order since it is impossible to rank that which is invaluable. While this may appear like a giant name-dropping exercise, it is truly heartfelt. Each and every individual on the lists were key to my development, and they are worth seeking out for yours (while a few have passed, their work and inspiration still exists either online or in legends you should hear).
Please note that many not mentioned (including the wonderful floor operations teams, the game designers and, of course, my family) also played a major role in my success.
Five individuals are worthy of special note since they continued to offer me advice and counsel since the day I started: Denny Garcia, Nick Greenwood, Mike Meczka, Terry Oliver and Tyler Sciotto. I try to repay my debt to them by paying it forward to others new to the industry.
Key players on the leadership teams at the six major properties where I spent most of my full-time career are listed below. But I’ll begin first with those who help me expand my technical knowledge in this ever-changing world of slots:
John Acres (AGA HOF 2016), Kiran Brahmandam, Andrew Cardno, Ryan Chartrand, Kevin Coghlan, Walt Eisele, Jim Eller, Ron Galloway, Obed Garza, Nick Hogan, Rob Jackson, Stan Jones, Ted Kennan, Kylie Koerner, Karen Koetz, George Levine, John Link, James Maida (AGA HOF 2020), Derik Mooberry, Fritz Mumm, Mukesh Nayak, Ram Patrachari, Patty Phillips, Jesse Porchas, Shawn Quick, Clair Rogers, Rich Schneider, Ramesh Srinivasan, Brianne Niemic and Bill Watson.
Next, and no less important, are the many vendors who were kind enough to share their wisdom, regardless of whether I bought, or rejected, their products. They were all so instrumental in my development: Jim Bates; Lauren Eble-Bates, Harry Bedell, Mike Beezley, Keith Black, Beena Blake, Rob Bone, Jim Bott, Cath Burns, Rob Cinelli, Josh Collins, Jim Coleman, Jeff Compton, John Connelly, Kelly Cropper, Bob Dancer, John Daley, Skip Davis, Victor Duarte, Brooke Dunn, David Durst, Todd Eilers, Bill Engle, Mike Fields, Ted Files, Dave Forman, Bob Gibson, Kyle Gryzanoski, John Hafezi, Kip Haverman, Walt Hawkins, Mark Henderson, Tom Howell, Gavin Isaacs (AGA HOF 2022), Aki Isoi, Steve Jackson, Mark Jones, George Joseph, Chris Korpi, Knute Knudson (AGA HOF 2021), Sal Lambert, Jesse LeBel, Frank Legato, Mary Loftness, Tonette Lucas, Dave Lucchese, Mike Magrisi, Danny Malaty, LeAnn Maneto, Toni Martinez, Ron McKown, Travis Merit, Pat Minnix, Dallas Orchard, Mike Owen, John Peterson, Jesse Pierce, Mick Roemer, James Starr, Benny Sum, Ken Swanson, Jean Venneman, Joann Vrbancic, Steve Warner, Casey Whalen, Matt Wilson, Tom York, Matt Young and Mark Yurcisin.
I gained both leadership skills and solid management advice at each “bricks and mortar” stop in my career. Fitzgeralds: Joe Collins, Phil Griffith, Phil Hannifin (AGA HOF 2018), Paul Manske, Terry Oliver, Maxx Page and Steve Trounday; Eldorado: Rhonda Carano, Rob Mouchou, Rick Murdock and Tony Perreira; Atlantis: John Beucus, John Farahi, John Geggie, Steve Ringkob, Darlyne Sullivan and Randy Wike; Stateline/Silversmith: Jerry Anderson, Mario Palafox, Mac Potter and Jose Prieto; Viejas: Andy Asselin, Norm DesRosiers, Lee Gelwicks, Mindy Letourneau, Frank Riolo and Bob Scannell; and finally Pechanga: Bill Anderson, Samantha Archer, Randy Boutell, Tjeerd Brink, Tony Chartrand, Jeff Durler, John Kenefick, Mike May, Neng Moua, John Palinkas, Rudy Prieto, Victor Rocha, Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Zamora
There were always great ideas and inspirations to emulate (or steal) from great competitors and future HOF members: Robert Allen, Don Ayers, Tom Borland, John Clausen, Mark Curtis (Sr. and Jr.), John Dinius, Jeff Goodman, Chuck Hickey, Russell Kinney, Charlie Lombardo (EKG HOF 2021), Ralph Margolis, Ken Moberly, Warren Nelson (AGA HOF 1989), Skyelar Perkins, Barry Phillips, Melissa Price, Rick Rothenberger, Randy Reedy, Oliver Shoemaker and Kevin Vicary.
Lastly, I love to read … especially about gaming. My knowledge has been enhanced greatly by the excellent works of Anthony Curtis, Sally Denton, Bill Eadington (AGA HOF 2011), Marshal Fey, Marian Green, Peter Mead, David Schwartz, Buck Wargo, and especially John L. Smith and Howard Stutz.
My apologies to all those who were unintentionally omitted due to bad segments of my RAM array. Thank you all. Sincerely.