Casino honors 2013 Employees of the Year
Security Systems Administrator Rodger DeVore, 63, and Executive Casino Host Ruby Mendez-Anderson, 24, each won two prizes worth $3,000 and coveted parking spots at the 2013 Supervisor and Employee of the Year banquet held on Feb. 12.
DeVore lives in Amity and Mendez-Anderson in Dallas.
The recognition program started in 2010 to honor excellence in two areas, said Candy Scranton, Human Resources Information Systems manager and Training manager.
"One is spirit, referring to the external guest experience, and the second is about pride, referring to staff, who are called internal guests" Scranton said, emphasizing the importance of treating staff as if they are casino guests.
"It was something that Spirit Mountain Casino was looking to do," Scranton said about recognizing employees for guest service.
Winning the awards comes from success in meeting casino guidelines and standards, which are described to all new employees in the Spirit of Excellence program from the casino's Human Resources Department.
This is DeVore's first award in his four years at the casino. He started as Security Systems technician.
"I am still deeply honored, amazed," he said. "My department affects every other department at some level. The bottom line is access control. We need a secure environment and we must maintain that, but at the same time it is important to make the system easier to use for other departments, make it easier for them to do their jobs.
"It's not always possible," he said, because of casino security requirements.
"I'm here to work with them. The number one job is communication. If we make key changes in key boxes, for example, I want them to know what keys they have access to and what time they can check keys out and how long they can have those keys out. It is important to relay that information ahead of time to all departments, and then to follow up.
"I visit all areas of the casino. I'll walk about and get feedback. Give them all the information I can. They might not have time to let me know about things that would make their jobs easier, and I'll let them know if we can't provide the service. I'll let them know why. It just comes down to customer service."
As supervisor of the year, DeVore won a $2,000 travel voucher, $1,000 in cash and the coveted Supervisor of the Year parking space right up front.
Everybody's been asking, he said, but he still doesn't know what he will do with the travel voucher. "My wife and I are not long-range travelers," he said. "It might just be a place on the coast."
More than the gifts, DeVore said, "I appreciate the fact that the Tribe offered this job to me. I'm happy that they've put this facility here to help a lot of people, and it really does."
For Mendez-Anderson, this first award comes after two years with the casino. She started as a slot attendant on the casino floor and was promoted to host in July 2013.
"My recognition," she said, "is nothing less than having great co-workers. Companywide, I have had the opportunity to meet some incredible people who I am lucky to call my friends. There are so many incredible people who work here, I was very lucky to be among the candidates of 2013.
"The best part about my job is getting to know our guests on a personal level. As a slot attendant, one of my best accomplishments would be helping guests find lost tickets. Our casino has great abilities that aid us in helping our guests in this way. Unfortunately, lost tickets happen on a daily basis, but usually the team is able to recover them.
"As a host, I enjoy helping our guests work out any reservation needs they have. Sometimes it can be difficult with our weekend occupancy, but if I am able to help one guest, I feel like I've accomplished something.
"It's really the little things in a guest service industry. Everything we do right creates a more pleasurable visit for our guests. That is our goal here; not sometimes, but all the time. That is what I keep in mind in the day-to-day activities I complete at work."
Mendez-Anderson won the same prizes as DeVore, and said of the front row parking space, "It may seem like a little detail, but if you've ever parked at the casino on a difficult night, it's awesome."
She also has not decided on her vacation. Mendez-Anderson, a Tribal member, is attending school full-time, finishing her transfer degree and ultimately aiming to earn a bachelor's degree in business.