CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Rudi Schiffer

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Choctaw spirit and leadership bode well for Pearl River

13 October 2009

CHOCTAW, Mississippi -- Making difficult on-the- job decisions is not anything new for him. He made tougher calls while flying 160 combat missions as a command pilot over Viet Nam and Southeast Asia. Meeting Major General Paul A. Harvey (USAF Ret.) for the first time, one would never guess that this quiet gentleman put in 5,000 flying hours, many of them under deep duress.

In all General Harvey spent 32 years on active duty for his country and held numerous command positions in the U.S., Europe, Africa and the Middle East before serving as the commander for Keesler Air Force Base, retiring in 1991.

That experience helped in his appointment as Executive Director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission from 1993 to 1998. That, plus many years in various executive corporate positions, all serve him and the Mississippi Band of Choctaws well, where as President and Chief Executive Officer, he is now making decisions to take Pearl River Resort through the difficult economic downturn that has had a significant negative affect on the gaming industry.

"It is not just about managing and directing a large operation with two casinos and hotels, and all the wonderful amenities this resort offers, but different in that we must help sustain the 10,000 member Tribe and distributions to its members. " he said. 'At the end of the day, the Choctaws make up 36 percent of the large work force here and keeping our operation viable and profitable helps insure those positions."

One of the first tough steps that had to be implemented was the downsizing the work force and closing the high-end Golden Moon casino and hotel during the week from Sunday nights to Friday noon.

"The challenge when we made this decision was the "management of people," said Gen. Harvey. "Now, months later, maintaining our operation and planning for the upturn occupies our time."

An outside observer might take all the changes at Pearl River Resort to mean it was in trouble but the opposite is quite true. "Actually we are doing quite well as a regional market, "said the General. The Choctaws, under Miko Beasley Denson, state unequivocally that the total operation is the most profitable among Mississippi's 30 casinos.

"The strength of our Silver Star casino and hotel, with its loyal clientele, leads the way as we move forward," said General Harvey. "We have made a significant reduction in our monthly operating expenses and with a manageable work force, we can be more nimble then casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City when the nation comes out of the current financial and credit mess."

Changes now being made or planned for include the rebranding of some the 11 restaurants on the property, planning some capital expenditures and continuation of aggressive and targeted marketing. In addition, the Tribe is planning to be a leader in the move to server-based gaming."

Long term the Golden Moon is viewed as an important active operation when it returns to a full-time schedule.

"When you list all the amenities that this Resort offers, it has a lot of attraction power that will make it much sought out when the economy recovers," said General Harvey.

Those supporting amenities include the highly rated Dancing Rabbit Golf Club, recently named the top golf facility in the state by Mississippi Magazine, Geyser Falls Water Theme Park, Lake Pushmataha, The Choctaw Museum, and the large 30,000 square foot convention center and entertainment theater.

In addition, some of the edge has been taken off the bad economy by the 150 acre Choctaw TechParc, which is the headquarters of the Tribe's global business activities dedicated to supporting the needs of today's high-tech, high speed companies.

By nature, the Choctaws are a resilient people, and facing and overcoming challenges is nothing new for the Tribe. That independent spirit and strong, battle-hardened management, will combine to lead the Tribe through the difficult times into a brighter future.

Rudi Schiffer

Rudi Schiffer is a long time columnist and contributing writer for Jackpot Magazine, the South’s leading gaming publication, and for casinocitytimes.com, the world’s leading casino industry internet news distributor. He is also owner and co-host of the 20-year-old Goodtimes Radio Show, now simulcast on Fridays from 3-6 PM Central Time from Country Classic 1180 AM, Memphis networked with KMIS 1050 AM, and 103.9 KGLU FM from Kennet, MO covering parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. His radio show is also archived at audiovegas.com. A Boston University Journalism graduate, he resides in Memphis, TN. Known as the "Voice of Tunica" for his support the gaming jurisdiction for two decades, he was also recently named to Memphis Business Quarterly Magazine’s 3rd annual “The Power Players, Who’s Who” of Memphis.He is also a contributing writer for Southern Gaming & Entertainment and Mississippi Gaming.

Rudi Schiffer Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com
Rudi Schiffer
Rudi Schiffer is a long time columnist and contributing writer for Jackpot Magazine, the South’s leading gaming publication, and for casinocitytimes.com, the world’s leading casino industry internet news distributor. He is also owner and co-host of the 20-year-old Goodtimes Radio Show, now simulcast on Fridays from 3-6 PM Central Time from Country Classic 1180 AM, Memphis networked with KMIS 1050 AM, and 103.9 KGLU FM from Kennet, MO covering parts of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. His radio show is also archived at audiovegas.com. A Boston University Journalism graduate, he resides in Memphis, TN. Known as the "Voice of Tunica" for his support the gaming jurisdiction for two decades, he was also recently named to Memphis Business Quarterly Magazine’s 3rd annual “The Power Players, Who’s Who” of Memphis.He is also a contributing writer for Southern Gaming & Entertainment and Mississippi Gaming.

Rudi Schiffer Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com