I come from the great state of Texas. I was born and raised there, and my parents still live in the first house they ever bought, just east of Waco. While I grew up in Baylor University Bears territory, I attended college at Texas A&M University. When I grew up, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I was always intrigued by oceanography and marine organisms.
What led me to my current job is my previous work relationship with Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen. Jim was working as general manager at a casino in Colorado and I was the shift manager. He went on to open many other casinos, but it was when he came to Florida that he gave me a call to come work with him. I was on the next plane.
My business philosophy is simple: always happy, never satisfied. I treat people with honesty and respect, while continually exhibiting integrity. Additionally, I always push myself to try to achieve my objectives. I believe my best quality is being a good listener, which shows someone that you respect them and their ideas. Building that respect is the key to good leadership.
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing people succeed and grow within their careers. Also, it’s important to be able to give back to the community. Simply stated, the culture that we instill at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa should reflect what we do in the Tampa Bay community. The most challenging part of my job is dealing with everything that Seminole Hard Rock Tampa is involved with. We have so much happening each and every day, both internally and externally, that requires my utmost attention. You also have to be able to adjust and handle any new issues that may arise.
The pandemic taught me, from a business perspective, plenty of things that I hope I never have to use again. Personally, it taught me the depth about how much people really care and how much they will do to help others. The sheer emotion that was brought out from so many different people with different perspectives are all valid and need to be respected. It was very eye opening.
When describing the Tampa Bay area, I say it’s a melting pot with a very diverse community. There’s always a place to go and it’s an incredible pro sports town with the Rays, Bucs and Lightning. It’s a pleasure going out anywhere.
I would describe Gasparilla (for which Hard Rock is the title sponsor) as an unbelievable spectacle. I don’t think you can clearly describe the event to someone who has never attended. You have to see it for yourself. My favorite memory of Gasparilla is seeing just how huge an event it is. I’ve only been to two, but one of my memories was getting off the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa float at our VIP tent and having to walk to Ybor City from Bayshore Boulevard because I couldn’t get an Uber. Gasparilla was my first real major event after I relocated to Tampa Bay.
When I travel, the one thing I always do is try the local food. One of the best meals I’ve had outside of the country was in South Africa. My favorite place to visit is probably Colorado. I lived there for 10 years and I like to go back to visit my place in the mountains on the river. While I really like to travel, I don’t get to do it as much as I would like.
Most people would be surprised to know that I am an avid hunter and fisherman. Both activities are very relaxing. My most surprising hobby is cigars. After all, Tampa Bay is the cigar capital of the world.
The biggest honor of my life has been my family, children and friends. Working for the Seminole Tribe has been a privilege and an honor for nearly 20 years.