July 2, 2008
Who’s going where and doing what in the gaming industry
Buffalo Thunder Resort, a combined project of the Pueblo of
Pojoaque and Hilton Hotels Corporation, has had several staff changes. Duff Taylor has been named as executive director of
gaming operations for Buffalo Thunder Casino; Mike
Allgeier has taken the role of general manager of the casino; Kelly Toscano has assumed the role of director of
casino marketing; and the company also named David
Oakeley as executive director of marketing.
Taylor’s new duties include managing all aspects of gaming, including casino floor operations, casino staff, security, revenues, promotions and the Lightning Rewards Player’s Club. Taylor brings more than 30 years of management, development and consulting experience in the gaming industry to his position at Buffalo Thunder Casino. He has opened numerous casinos in gaming markets around the United States, including the Fiesta Casino & Hotel in North Las Vegas and Hyatt’s Grand Victoria Casino & Hotel in Rising Sun, Ind. He is a former manager of Howard Johnson & Company, the River Palms Resort Casino in Laughlin, Nev. and was most recently the vice president of casino operations at the Crystal Palace Casino in Nassau, Bahamas. Additionally, Taylor was actively involved in bringing tribal gaming enterprises to California and Washington state in the early 90s.
In her new capacity, Toscano will oversee marketing for the new casino and the existing Cities of Gold Casino and Sports Bar Race Book & Casino in Pojoaque. Her direct responsibilities include promotions, group sales, Player’s Club and player development. Prior to joining Buffalo Thunder Resort, Toscano held top-level marketing positions for leading clients in various industries and has nearly 15 years of experience in strategic planning, integrated marketing campaigns, creative direction and new business initiatives.
In his new position, Oakeley will oversee all marketing operations for Buffalo Thunder Resort Casino, Cities of Gold Casino and all other Pueblo of Pojoaque enterprises. Oakeley, a native New Mexican, has managed the marketing operations for Cities of Gold Casino and Hotel, the Sports Bar Race Book & Casino, Towa Golf Course and all Pueblo of Pojoaque-owned businesses since 2000. His background combines 30 years of experience in media and public relations, including 10 years in radio and television broadcasting. He is a former press secretary for the New Mexico Governor’s office and directed the marketing, promotions and in-house broadcast operations for the athletic department of New Mexico State University for nearly 10 years. Oakeley has also managed marketing, promotions, public relations, special events such as concerts and open-air market operation for the New Mexico State Fair.
The Choctaw Resort Development Enterprise, a
business enterprise of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, announced the
appointment of financial veteran Lawrence Kovach
as the new chief financial officer of its resort portfolio, Pearl River Resort.
Kovach will account for the overall financial operations of all the properties
in the CRDE portfolio, including the Silver Star Hotel & Casino, Golden
Moon Hotel & Casino, Geyser
Park and Dancing Rabbit
Golf Club. With more than 40 years of experience, the last seven of which with
a Tribal gaming organization, Kovach is a seasoned veteran of the financial and
Ellis Gaming & Entertainment LLC announced
the recent addition of several new hires to the training development team.
Ellis Gaming & Entertainment focuses on tribal gaming and economic
development in the United
States and holds both consulting and management
agreements with a number of tribal organizations.
John Prpich has been appointed corporate director of human resources, training and development. His career spans more than 15 years and includes such high-profile organizations as McDonald’s Corporation and Ameristar Casinos. As director of training and development for Ameristar he implemented and facilitated culture orientation sessions for 1,400 employees while reducing turnover by 11 percent and increasing departmental goal achievement by 80 percent.
John Milligan and Vickie Kolias have each been named to the position of director of training and development. A graduate of Temple University with a BA in Business Administration, Milligan began his casino career in 1995 working at Resort’s International Casino in Atlantic City. His leadership abilities were quickly recognized, prompting a move to the Foxwoods Casino for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation where he worked in both beverage management and later as a human resources training specialist. After 10 years with Foxwoods, Milligan was appointed director of human resources for the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma.
Kolias spent a decade with Ameristar Casinos and six years as training resource manager prior to joining Ellis Gaming. At Ameristar, she collaborated with training departments and strategic partners to analyze needs of the organization and set training objectives. She developed training materials, structured and validated courses and evaluated the effectiveness of courses.
MGM Mirage announced the
appointment of Patricia
Norman as director of diversity relations. In her new role, she
will assist with the implementation of the company’s diversity initiative and
manage the numerous local and national strategic alliances that help the
company satisfy its diversity business objectives. Prior to her appointment, Norman served as director
of administration for the Corporate Diversity & Community Affairs
department where she was responsible for overseeing human resources and
diversity administration, including the development of training programs and
budgets. She held that position since 2004.
JoAnne Gipson has been named program
manager of gaming management programs for Extended Studies at the University of Nevada,
She replaces Connie Rehard, who retired in March
2008 after serving more than 20 years in the position. Gipson has worked within
Extended Studies and the gaming management program for five years and has
extensive experience in program coordination, business administration and human
resources. In her new position, Gipson will oversee financial and program
administration, and help identify increased opportunities for serving the
gaming industry with
management training and other educational offerings.
Youbet.com Inc. recently
announced its board of directors has appointed Chairman of the Board Michael Brodsky as
its new president and chief executive officer. Brodsky, who will retain the
chairman title, will replace interim CEO Gary W. Sproule, who is resigning
from the company. As a result of this appointment and in compliance with NASDAQ
director independence rules, Brodsky has resigned as a member of the Audit Committee.
Pritzker will assume his place on the committee. Brodsky joined
the Youbet.com board as a director in June 2007 and became chairman in February
2008. He has been the managing partner of New World Opportunity Partners, a
public equity investment firm, since June 2005.
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