Station taps Thunder Valley execs

Apr 22, 2003 7:04 AM

Las Vegas-based Station Casinos, which is preparing to open a Native American casino in Northern California this summer, recently announced several key appointments to the casino’s executive management team.

Heading the list will be general manager Scott Garawitz, who has been directing the property’s pre-opening operations and brings more than 20 years of experience in the gaming industry to his new post.

Garawitz comes to Thunder Valley from Station Casinos’ Las Vegas operations where he began in 1992 as the director of food and beverage for Palace Station and worked his way up to vice president and general manager of Barley’s Casino and ultimately the Green Valley Ranch Station Casino.

Prior to joining Station Casinos, Garawitz held management positions with Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino and the Sands Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.

David DeLucia joins Thunder Valley as vice president of casino operations. DeLucia has more than 26 years of experience in the gaming industry, including 20 years as vice president of casino operations for Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Bill Anderson has been named vice president of player development having previously served as director of VIP services at Harrah’s Reno and casino marketing director at Hyatt Lake Tahoe, Incline Village.

Ann Holland-Mennenga is Thunder Valley’s director of marketing. She worked in the casino industry for more than 18 years and has been involved in the opening and management of four Native American casinos in California, New Mexico and Louisiana.

John McCormick joins Thunder Valley Casino as director of operations, having spent more than five years with Station Casinos’ operations in Las Vegas and Kansas City. McCormick has spent the past 23 years specializing in hotel casino operations, working at the Hollywood Hotel and Casino and the Sands Hotel Casino in Atlantic City.

Lisa Grewohl has been appointed director of human resources and has an extensive background in human resource management. She was previously with Station Casinos’ operation/Ameristar Casino Kansas City, Missouri and also held similar position with Harrah’s in Nevada and Missouri.

James White was appointed director of food and beverage and comes to Thunder Valley from Bally’s Las Vegas having also spent time as director of restaurants for Paris Las Vegas and for Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut.

Located in the Sacramento area, the $215 million Thunder Valley Casino is expected to open in June, and instantly become one of the Golden State’s most successful properties. The casino will have about 1,900 slot machines and 100 table games.

Station Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frank Fertitta III earlier this year told Wall Street analysts that the Thunder Valley site compares favorably with Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, two of the world’s top money-making casinos.

"We have a long-term vision of what this property can turn into," said Fertitta, noting that the company owns 100 acres adjacent to the tribal site and an option to buy another 150 acres in addition to its seven-year deal to manage the property. "This thing can grow into one of the biggest and most complete gaming complexes in the country."

If the casino opens on time, it has been projected that Thunder Valley will bring in about $104 million in net income for about six months of operation.

Under its management contract, Stations would receive about 24 percent, or $25 million for operating the casino in 2003.