ON THE JOB
R &I : What was your first job?
Bus boy at a fine dining restaurant.
R&I : How did you come to work in this industry?
I sent a resume to Harrah’s Entertainment on a whim. It took over 30 hours of
interviewing to get that job but it was well worth it.
R &I : If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?
The Chinese citizen (never positively identified) who stood in front of a column
of tanks in Tiananmen Square on June 5th,
1989. That kind of courage is undeniable and
that image is unforgettable. I hope we can all
be that passionate about something at least
once in our lives.
R&I : What emerging commercial risk most
Cyber risk, but more narrowly, cyber-extortion.
I think state sponsored bad actors are getting
more and more sophisticated and the risk is
that they find a way to control entire systems.
R&I : What is the riskiest activity you ever
Training and breaking horses. When I was in
high school, I worked on a lot of farms. I did
everything from building fences to putting up
hay. It was during this time that I found I had
a knack for horses. They would tolerate me
getting real close so it was natural that I started
working more and more with them.
Eventually I was putting a saddle on a few and before I knew it I was in that
saddle riding a horse that had never been ridden before.
I admit I had some nervous moments, but I was never thrown off. It taught
me that developing genuine trust early is very important and is needed by all
involved. Nothing of any real value happens without it.
R&I : What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?
Setting very aggressive goals and then meeting and exceeding those goals with a
team. Sharing team victories is the ultimate reward.
R&I : What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?
Disney World. The sheer size of the place is awe inspiring. And everything
works like a finely tuned clock.
There is a reason that hospitality companies send their people there to be
trained on guest service. Disney World does it better than anyone else.
As a hospitality executive, I always learn something new whenever I am there.
The risks that Disney World faces are very similar to mine — on a much
larger scale. They are complex and across the board. From liability for the
millions of people they host as their guests each year, to the physical location of
the park, to their vendor partnerships; their approach to risk management has
been and continues to be innovative and a model that I learn from and I think
there are lessons there for everybody.
R&I : What is the risk management community doing right?
We are doing a much better job of getting involved in a meaningful way in our
daily operations and demonstrating genuine value to our organizations.
R&I : What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?
Educating and promoting the career with young people.
R&I : What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?
Being able to tell the Pinnacle story. It’s a great one and it wasn’t being told.
I believe that the insurance markets now
understand who we are and what we stand
R&I : Who is your mentor and why?
John Matthews (Now retired, formerly
with Aon and Ceasar’s Palace). John is an
exceptional leader who demonstrated the
value of putting a top shelf team together and
then letting them do their best work. I model
my management style after him.
R&I : What is your favorite book or movie?
I read mostly biographies and
autobiographies. I like to read how successful
people became successful by overcoming
their own obstacles. Jay Leno, Jack Welch,
Bill Harrah, etc. I also enjoyed the book and
movie “Money Ball.”
R&I : What is your favorite drink?
Ice water when it’s hot, coffee when it’s cold, and an adult beverage when it’s
R&I : What does your family think you do?
In my family, I’m the “Safety Geek.”
R&I : What’s your favorite restaurant?
Vegas is a world class restaurant town. No matter what you are hungry for, you
can find it here. I have a few favorites that are my “go to’s” depending on the
mood and who I am with.
If you’re in town you should try to have at least one meal off the strip. For
that, I would suggest you get reservations (you’ll need them) at Herbs and Rye.
It’s a great little restaurant that is always lively. The food is tremendous and the
service is always on point. They make hand-crafted cocktails that are amazing.
My favorite Mexican restaurant is Lindo Michoacan. There are three in
town and I prefer the one in Henderson as it has the best view of the valley. For
seafood you can never go wrong with Joe’s in Caesar’s Palace.
“We are doing a much better job of getting involved
in a meaningful way in our daily operations and
demonstrating genuine value to our organizations.”
Pinnacle Entertainment’s VP of enterprise risk
management says he’s inspired by Disney’s approach to
risk management and offers insider tips on the best places
in Las Vegas to get a great meal.
Vice President, Enterprise Risk
Years in Risk Management: 7
Previous Position: Director, Risk
Management at Interstate Hotels
Place of Birth: Ottumwa, Iowa
Alma Mater: California State University, Long Beach
Degrees and Certifications: B.S., ARM