The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Gaming Enterprise, responsible for both Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and Little Six Casino, announced that Angela Heikes is its new president and CEO.
Heikes has spent most of her 22-year career helping two Minnesota tribes build on their gaming resort success. Over the past five years, most recently as chief operating officer of the Gaming Enterprise and previous to that as vice president of strategic planning and analysis, Heikes provided strategic planning and performance analysis to SMSC leadership.
Specifically, Heikes directed the SMSC’s development of a master plan for the Gaming Enterprise and tribal community. She also led the SMSC’s growing partnership with nearby Mall of America by leading the development of JW Marriott Minneapolis Mall of America, which is owned by Hotel Development LLC, an SMSC enterprise.
“Angela has played a key role in our Gaming Enterprise enhancements, our economic development, and our planning for the future,” said Todd Brooks, chair of the Gaming Enterprise Board of Directors. “As we embark on Mystic Lake’s 25th anniversary and Little Six’s 35th anniversary in 2017, we are excited to have Angela take on the leadership of our Gaming Enterprise.”
Prior to her work for the SMSC, Heikes worked for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, rising to the tribe’s highest corporate post, overseeing Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Grand Casino Hinckley, and a number of smaller businesses. She also worked for Grand Casinos, Inc., opening casinos in Mississippi and Las Vegas.
Heikes is known by Minnesota lawmakers and industry insiders as a central and highly credible figure in protecting the state’s Indian gaming industry in its first 25 years. A University of St. Thomas graduate, Heikes is also a 2015 “Women in Business” honoree of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, one of Global Gaming Business’s “25 to Watch,” and a 2010 recipient of Finance and Commerce’s “Top Women in Finance” award.
Heikes replaces longtime president and CEO Edward Stevenson, whose 40-year gaming career was highlighted by 20 years of leading the SMSC’s casinos and helping develop them into the Midwest’s largest tribal gaming operations. Stevenson was instrumental in defining and executing the leadership succession plan that led to Heikes’ selection.
“When the SMSC hired Ed, the tribe knew that his significant background in law and gaming would be crucial assets to our Gaming Enterprise, and that has held true for two decades,” said SMSC Chairman Charles R. Vig. “Ed has led us through the growth of our Gaming Enterprise and major development projects outside of the reservation, while recruiting an outstanding management team.”
Stevenson will continue his association with the SMSC to formalize a long-term economic development plan as the Community’s economic development officer.