In the year 1976, Frank Fertitta Jr. opened a small off-Strip locale aptly named The Casino, a casual inviting place for his fellow casino workers to call their local place to play, a place where its guests and team members quickly became an extended family. A few years later, The Casino evolved into Bingo Palace, adding new amenities along the way including a buffet, a beautiful new bingo room and one of the city’s first Race and Sports books. On Nov. 22, 1983, Bingo Palace would transform into Palace Station, laying the foundation for what was to become Station Casinos. Forty-five years later, Station Casinos remains a family run business with the same vision, to be the local favorite. Station Casinos unveiled a campaign highlighting the company’s diverse, long-time and new team members – some team members that have been with the company for over forty years to generations of families that all call Station Casinos home. The campaign features portraits shot by The Collective You’s Dennis Gocer, a photographer known for his stunning black and white portraits. Meet our family:
“Day One: Wednesday, October 6, 1979. I was hired at Palace Station, I’ve been employed there 42 years. I love my job, I love what I do. You gotta love what you do and who you do it with.” Bernice Boykin has been in the Station Casinos family since she was hired by Frank Fertitta Jr. “We are one of a kind, we’ve always been one of a kind, because we were taught by the greatest man in Vegas. Frank Fertitta was a loving person, he treated us like family. We are family because he taught us that way.”
-Bernice Boykin, Guest Ambassador, Palace Station
“You’re not just a number here, you’re a real person. You’re wanted, not just needed, and Station Casinos gives you the opportunity, creativity, and freedom to grow. I’ve been here 11 years but I don’t see myself in the same position 11 years from now. I want more, and I know the company is providing those opportunities for me. There’s so much I can do. I don’t feel the need to go anywhere else.”
-Sean Rodriguez, Senior Engineer Sunset Station.
“I came from Palace Station, I worked there for 10 years, went to Red Rock Casino – 15 years, now at 25 years, standing strong. Station Casinos is an amazing place to work, the Fertittas are just one of a kind. They take care of everyone at all times. I don’t have family that works [with me], because they’d be jealous of the family I have here! I just love my job and I love Station Casinos. Thanks again to Frank and Lorenzo and family, they’re No. 1.”
-Anne Valdez, Server, Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
“Locals that have lived nearby for a long time, this is their first stop. If they want to go to the movies, if they want to get something to eat, or if they want to see people they know, their first stop is Boulder Station. I’ve been with Station Casinos for 30 years, I’m looking forward to another 30. The first 30 years went by fast because it feels like I’m with my family. My guests are my family, my team members are my family. It doesn’t feel like I’m going to work. Even guests that have moved away, when they return to Las Vegas to visit their first stop is always Boulder Station. We see them, and even though it’s been a long time, we remember their name. They haven’t seen us for five years, and we still remember their last name, and the names of their children and family. That makes a difference.”
-Christopher Sanglay, Valet, Boulder Station
“When I moved back to Vegas 10 years ago everyone told me, ‘Go work for Station Casinos, they are the best company.’ And they were right! What is there not to love? I truly work for the best company in Vegas! They treat you like a family because we are family, they encourage you to grow and give you chances to do so. They appreciate you for your hard work and they show it. I enjoy going to work!”
-Allissa Sanders, Bar Host, Wildfire Anthem
The Yalda and Reyes Families
“We’re always looking for people who have that spark,” says Station Casinos Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Bob Finch. “We find them, help them grow in the company, and that’s what makes us exceptional.” Station’s commitment to its employees has inspired generations of families to join their ranks. Director of Marketing Maria Katrina Reyes, pictured on the left alongside her father, Guest Slot Ambassador Joven Reyes, was the first in her family to go to college with a Station Casinos scholarship. On the right, Vice President of Guest Experience Joe Yalda, who began his career at 16 as a busser at Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, sits with his brother, Director of Pool Operations Jon Yalda, and sister, Retail Manager Jenn Comer. “Our whole purpose is to welcome everyone to our family, because at the end of the day, it’s not only our home, we want it to be their home as well.”
“Everybody does a little bit above and beyond, and that’s how we make ourselves stand out.” For 22 years, Anne Debenedetta has given guests a reason to smile, first at Boulder Station and now as a server at Tides Oyster Bar at Green Valley Ranch, where she has worked since the day it opened. “My ultimate goal was to end up at Green Valley Ranch, and I stay because I love my guests. Just seeing them on a regular basis, it feels like home.” Anne’s secret? “I can anticipate the needs of my guests before they even ask for what they want.” Whether it’s her co-workers, her guests, or her two daughters that also work at GVR, Anne is always surrounded by family. That’s why it hardly feels like work!
– Anne Debenedetta, Food Server, Green Valley Ranch
“The customer is very nice. They all love Station Casinos.” Eddy Sudiana is a 26-year veteran of the Station Casinos family. He joined in 1994 when Boulder Station opened and now serves as a Floor Supervisor of table games at Santa Fe Station. Why does he stay? “They treat us very fairly and friendly, we have an open-door policy.”
-Eddy Sudjana, Floor Supervisor, Santa Fe Station
“When I started working for Station Casinos just under a year ago as a social media specialist, I immediately noticed the amazing company culture. One of my favorite things about my job is getting to meet the people of Station Casinos. Every day, I have the opportunity to visit different Station Casinos locations, and each time I meet a new team member, I feel like I have known them for years. I can tell how passionate, proud, and happy they are to work here. I’ve met team members from different departments, old and young, and ones that have been here from the beginning. The excitement that these team members have to come in to work every day is indescribable, and it’s the reason I’m proud to call Station Casinos my home.”
-Andrea Sookiassian, Social Media Specialist, Corporate
“I actually met my wife there. All of us used to get together and play horseshoes and have barbecues, we all connected really well.” Family has many meanings to Robert Higdon, a 28-year Station Casinos employee and cook at Palace Station’s Oyster Bar. “I want my customers to know what they’re getting, the same taste they’re used to, when they walk in the door they know what it’s gonna taste like, and I try to make sure they get it.”
-Robert Higdon, Cook, Palace Station
“August 2021 will be 27 years at Boulder Station. It’s a great place to work. Being a local place, you see the same people. I know who I’m going to see on what day of the week and what time of the day. I’m like ‘You’re late! You’re early. You’re throwing me off!’ We’ve got great management and great upper management and that makes it easy to do your job.”
-Nanette Houston, Beverage Server, Boulder Station
In the five years that he’s been a part of the Station Casinos family, Josh Leiserowitz has risen from Hotel Manager at Red Rock Casino to the company’s Management Development Program. When asked what he loves about the company, Josh points to three things: People, Culture, and Opportunity. He’s had a chance to experience the best of all three in his time, and Josh is certainly one of our best!
-Josh Leiserowitz, Management Development Program, Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa
A family-run business for 45 years, Station Casinos truly keeps it in the family. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Bob Finch, who joined the organization as a dice dealer in 1983, is pictured alongside Palace Station Bingo Manager Christal Thomas, her mother, Guest Slot Ambassador Jami Bradley, and sister, Bingo Agent Latoya Grant. Combined, the three bring 44 years of experience to Station Casinos. On the right, 22-year Station veteran Anne Debenedetta is seated between her daughters, Courtney and Candace Elliott, who have joined their mother as servers at Green Valley Ranch.
“I was the executive chef for a small nonprofit – 50 employees – and when I moved from L.A. to Vegas I never really thought I would find a major corporation that cared for me the way my small nonprofit did. I’ve been with Station Casinos since I moved here, I’ve never really known anything other than Station Casinos, and I don’t plan on knowing anything other than Station Casinos. I know all of the corporate people, the executives, and they all genuinely care about us as people and individuals. They let us have free reign to create our menus, make our food, and present what we want. As a chef, that’s what you live for, and you don’t always get a lot of that in a corporate setting. I started as Assistant Relief Chef, then Assistant Manager. Now I am a Room Chef. My next step will hopefully be Assistant Executive Chef. I have tons of room for growth, and Station Casinos really believes in my potential. That’s a really cool thing.”
-Cassandra Northwick, Room Chef at Santa Fe Station
“People just like to be recognized. To me, I know it’s important to certain players, especially the ones I know, that if they’re around a bunch of people at their tables, or at a restaurant, to go say ‘Hi’ to them.” Palace Station General Manager Dave Horn has been a member of the Station Casinos family for 15 years, going back to his days as a casino host at Santa Fe Station. “You couldn’t ask for a better environment, you really can’t. You come to work each day, and you’re talking to your friends – at work and in the casino.”
-Dave Horn, General Manager, Palace Station
“Station Casinos is not just a part of the community, it’s a part of us.” We couldn’t have said it better. Christal Thomas began her career in housekeeping and today she serves as Bingo Manager at Palace Station. Over the seven years that she’s been a member of the Station Casinos family, Christal has gotten married – at Palace! – and she also earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees with help from Station’s tuition reimbursement program. “Everything is Station Casinos to me, it’s stability,” she says. Even work is a family affair. Christal’s mother, Jami Bradley, has been with the company for 28 years and works with her daughter as a Guest Slot Ambassador; while her sister, Latoya Grant, has been with the company for nine years and works as a Bingo Agent at Red Rock Casino. That’s a combined 44 years of valuable experience and a forever commitment to the locals we love!
-Christal Thomas, Bingo Manager, Palace Station
“Throughout my time at the company, I’ve always felt at home.” John Schumacher has worked at Station Casinos for four years and described his sense of pride from the company. “I love that our philosophy on hospitality extends to our team members. I have a sense of pride knowing our company’s actions and what we do for our teams, truly treating them like family.”
– John Schumacher, Director of Interactive Marketing, Corporate
“I love dealing. I love the personal connection with players. Some of these people have been coming here since day one. I love when they come in and ask for me, because I love people. I love getting to know more about them and their families. Players will run to get coffee and they’ll ask, ‘Sharon can I get you something?’ It just makes my day.”
-Sharon Harris, Dealer, Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
Being a member of the Station Casinos family is like having another set of parents to nurture you and take care of you, says Sunset Station cook John Burrell, a 24-year employee. And what happens when you leave the nest? You can always come back. “Once you’re gone you say, ‘Wait a minute, you know what? That was probably one of the best places I ever worked.’ Even though you left, when you come back those same people recognize you, remember you, know your name. It’s a great feeling.”
-John Burrell, Cook, Sunset Station
“I had just moved here and my neighbor recommended I check out this company. I started at Boulder Station for a few years, and then I opened at Green Valley Ranch. So I’ve been a part of Station Casinos for 23 years. This is my second home. We have amazing management. We have an open door policy. And we have a passion for what we do. That’s my philosophy: be positive and have a passion for what you do. I love my job. I have guests that are still here and have been coming since we opened. They love the service we provide. It’s not just about winning. They come here to relax.”
-Luxmi Davidson, Guest Service Agent, Green Valley Ranch
“When I graduated high school, my dad encouraged me to apply for a scholarship. Station Casinos gave me a scholarship so I could learn about marketing and business. I went to UNLV on my scholarship, and now I’m able to pay it forward. When I got the scholarship, his boss told him first. He called my mom, and she told me, and we just started crying. I’m the first born in my family and the first one to go to college in my family. Everything that I do, everything that I am, he’s touched every single part of my life, and I want to make my parents proud. I’ve also been so blessed to learn under great directors and managers. Those are people that are still my mentors to this day. I’ve been here for seven years, and over the years you get to know the guests, get to know your co-workers, and even for someone like me who has moved around to several properties, I’ve always gotten to know the ‘family’ there, from the general manager down to the frontline team members. What really makes it fun is the team. Every single team member is smiling and greeting each other and the guests. It’s that Cheers environment and you feel like you’re welcome. From the moment a guest steps on property, that’s when the memories start.”
-Maria Reyes, Director of Marketing, Santa Fe Station
“I came to Station Casinos with zero experience in the gaming industry but I loved the complexity of casinos and how all areas within the company interact and form a unique ecosystem that provides an incredible experience for guests. Witnessing the steps that Station has taken over the last couple of years have solidified, for me, why it is such a special place to work. The quality I have come to love the most over the last three years is the company’s constant pursuit of ‘better’ in all aspects – from our business practices to our guest experiences and, most importantly, our commitment to creating a joyful and safe place for team members. I am thankful to be a part of it.”
-Pat Gordon, Management Development Program, Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
Yun Sun (Han) Johnson
“This was my first job after we moved from Korea. I’ve been here 23 years. This is my lifetime job, and it’s been really good to me. Where else can you be when you’re so happy? This job has been really good to me. Through the years I’ve gotten to know all of my team members, my management, they’ve been nothing but nice to us. All of the guests, they treat us like family. We know their first names, and I love when new guests come in and I can make them comfortable, because they’ll be my future family.”
-Yun Sun Johnson, Guest Service Agent, Barleys
“I have been with Station Casinos for 24 years. Before that, I had never worked in the gaming industry. I had just moved here from California, and I decided to give it a try. And now I have a career. I look forward to work every day, and I love taking care of the high-end guests. I’m humbled by the fact that I’ve even been chosen for this, because it’s a big responsibility and I enjoy it. When our guests come in, they feel like they’re taken care of and they enjoy the culture of Station Casinos. People even say they come here because of us. They know me by name, I know them by name, and they feel totally comfortable. There are quite a few guests that have been coming here since we opened, they still play here. They love the atmosphere, and they love to win here. We appreciate that. We do our best at making them feel comfortable, and I think we’re great at it.”
-Brenda Trice-Allen, Guest Service Agent, Sunset Station.
“I’m originally from Boston and I moved to Las Vegas in 1979. I met my wife, married, and joined the family in 1981. In 1983, I became a dice dealer at Bingo Palace. Frank Fertitta Jr. had put me in dealer school and started me in dice. Originally, many people started in blackjack and other easy games and never migrated to the more difficult ones. Frank made sure I started in the tough one and worked my way up. I was at Bingo Palace until 1986 and in ‘86 I left and went to the Las Vegas Hilton. He sent me there to get Strip experience and come back to the company so I could bring some of those same experiences.
I wound up staying at the Las Vegas Hilton for eight years, and I came back to the company as a shift manager at Palace Station. I then went to Missouri and did riverboat gaming in the St. Charles area from ‘95 to ‘98. Then I came back to the company and was briefly an assistant general manager of Boulder Station, taking over as General Manager toward the end of ’98.
I was there for two years and then I went and transitioned to the Fiesta Rancho. I went on and worked at the Wildfire and Barleys properties. I went to Fiesta Henderson as the General Manager, and then I went back to Boulder Station to be a general manager as well as Green Valley Ranch.
After some time, I became the General Manager at Santa Fe Station for about a year, and then I went to Green Valley Ranch again, and in 2019, was asked to be the Chief Operating Officer. So almost 40 years of experience with the company and so much growth. So I’ve worked through, and been at, every opening and at every step, twist, and turn.
Frank Fertitta Jr. raised me in the business. So when I took over as COO it was my mission to get us back to the way it was at the beginning. We wanted to create a place like Cheers where everybody knows your name. Everybody knew everybody. You knew their family history. You know, we’ve celebrated birthdays, anniversaries. So people who worked in the industry would have a place to go eat and play and be around people like themselves; almost like going to a sports bar. We are the local place to go. And Frank created that.“
-Bob Finch, Chief Operating Officer, Station Casinos
The Ortiz Family is built on love and togetherness which is what Station Casinos stands for. Maria del Socorro Bejar De Ortiz and Tomas Sandez Ortiz get to see their son Emmanuel Ortiz grow and progress through a company that keeps them close and allows for memories to be made. “My family brought me into Station Casinos. Several of my family members work for the company, my mother works in housekeeping, and that’s what I love about working here. It’s a family environment. Everyone I work with – we’re all close and we work very well together.” Station Casinos will continue to be a place where they can not only feel like family, but be a part of the family.
Ronnie James Gallegos
“I started as a cook and now I’m a room chef. This was my first job straight out of culinary school. I had a friend that worked at Station Casinos, and I had the opportunity to start at Texas Station, and it took off from there. Now, it’s like a second family. Throughout the 15 years I’ve been here, you build relationships with team members and management, and they give you the opportunity to succeed. They want to teach you and see you grow. Starting from a cook and rising all the way up to room chef, and possibly higher, there’s so much opportunity to succeed here.”
-Ronnie James Gallegos, Room Chef, Palace Station
“I was 17 years old when I started with the company. When you’re young, to take us in like their own children and to guide us and mold us into the professionals that we are, I think that’s important. I take that leadership skill to my team, even during the pandemic we had a group chat going, and if anyone was missing anything we went out to the grocery store to get tissue or whatever, and drop it off at their home to make sure everyone was okay. Because we ARE a family.”
-Lakeita Ahern, Director of Ancillary Gaming, Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
“The feeling of family is real and runs deep at Station Casinos. My job can be stressful, but I never feel alone because I have my teammates and managers are there to help me. Everyone is friendly, everyone says hello, and no one is above another.”
-Ingrid Santana, Housekeeping, Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
“Growing up here, I watched the company grow and Las Vegas grow. I raised my kids while working here. It’s a family property, it feels like family walking in. I do bingo, so I’ve had many of the same guests for 20-25 years. You get to know them over the years, because they come in every day and we talk. I’ve watched them grow. They’ve watched me grow. It’s a real community, and everyone in Bingo knows everyone else there.”
-Barbara Renfro, Shift Supervisor, Boulder Station
“Going into this company, I went in as a kind of part-time job and it very quickly turned into a career and I’m just so humbled and grateful for it. It’s just been an amazing ride and I hope it just keeps going and going. I love the people that I work with, and I love the way the Fertitta family runs the company – like a family. People I work with make the job worthwhile, going to work every day and working with the same people – good, great people – it’s just been an amazing experience and I’m truly blessed.”
-James Cirac, Guest Services Supervisor, Palace Station
“I’ve always loved @StationCasinos, since 1988 when I started, and I still do.” The next time you walk into Boulder Station, say hello to Norman Lindhorst. One of Station’s longest-tenured employees, Norman is that bartender you can always rely on for a drink and pleasant conversation. “A lot of friends and family come here, I see a lot of really nice people. Talk about family, my wife used to work at Boulder Station with me too!”
-Norman Lindhorst, Bartender, Boulder Station
“I love my guests, I look forward to seeing them every day. They’ve told me on occasion, “Sometimes your smile is the only smile I see all day.’” For Lori Riccobono, the last 32 years haven’t felt like work. “It’s a good day every day,” she says of her career as a beverage server at Palace Station. Like all members of the Station Casinos family, Lori tries to make every guest experience the best, because we love locals. “I’ve had 32 wonderful years here, it has been an amazing journey in my life.”
-Lori Riccobono, Beverage Server, Palace Station
“I had just retired from a Fortune 500 company in the Bay Area and relocated to Las Vegas. I had gotten a job at another property, and one of the players kept asking me about my work history. On his third visit, he said, ‘I’d love for you to come work with us.’ He was the Table Games Director at Boulder Station. The more I learned about the company, the more I liked it. The people are just amazing, it’s such an incredible environment. One of my first bosses has been my mentor and every time we see each other it’s like it was 21 years ago. It’s so great to have these friends, it’s an extension of my family. On top of that, I’ve had the great opportunity to train new hires, and I’ve trained more than 500 so far. And I never expected to be working as long as I have been. 21 years later I’m still doing it, and it’s been an incredible ride. I’ve enjoyed it so much, it’s a really good feeling. You’re not just a number here.”
-Curtis Ching, Dealer, Green Valley Ranch
“There was a general manager that I had worked with previously, and he said ‘Come on over’ to Boulder Station. I really didn’t know much about Station Casinos at the time. I quickly found out how well they treat their team members, and how much they want us to feel like family so we can turn around and treat the guests like family. I was on the opening team at Boulder Station in 1994, and it was just amazing, I’ve never been a part of anything like that. I loved it and I’ve been there ever since. My co-workers are a big reason why I’m still here. I enjoy working with them, hearing about their families. Whatever it is, they let you in. You feel comfortable sharing yourself with them, so it’s like family. And I met my husband here!”
-Teresa Wright, Casino Shift Manager, Boulder Station
“I’ve been working as a Bell Man at Red Rock for nine great, wonderful years. The reason why I am still here and why I love it here at Red Rock and Station Casinos is the great, positive vibes, wonderful atmosphere, and It’s just a loving place to work where you feel like you have no stress and you can be you. That’s why I love Station Casinos, that’s why I love Red Rock.”
-Demarcus McCullmum, Bellman, Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
Maria Hernandez, a GRA at Santa Fe, joined Station Casinos 20 years ago during a period of her life in which she and her husband needed work and her family was struggling. “I was looking for a job and ended up finding a new family,” she recalls. “I love EVERYTHING! The company is like my marriage, it gives and receives. Sometimes my husband even gets jealous!”
-Maria Hernandez, Guest Room Attendant, Santa Fe Station
Mike has worked for Palace Station for 36 years now. He is a Senior Engineer and is proud to work with an “awesome engineering family.”
-Mike Hermann, Senior Engineer, Palace Station
Cindy Jo Ramirez
For more than 20 years, Cindy Jo Ramirez has called Station Casinos home, first at Fiesta Rancho and now as a Super-Writer at Green Valley Ranch. She remembers first applying to join the company: “I had heard a lot of great things that Station Casinos does for team members, and how the Fertittas treated you like family. My team members and guests are like family, Stations has always been good to me, and they’ve helped me grow.”
-Cindy Jo Ramirez, Race and Sports Superwriter, Green Valley Ranch
“I am the first female Security Director for Station Casinos. I moved here from Southern California in 2006, started as a porter, then transferred to hostess at the Grand Café. I left briefly, for just a few months, and I yearned to come back. In any capacity I would have come back, and I came back in security. That’s where I found my niche. Sunset Station hired me in 2010 as a security officer. I’ve been a supervisor, and now I’m back at Sunset Station as director. I’ve come full circle. What they teach us here has helped me grow in my career and as a single mother. My son has now joined the company. He is at Santa Fe Station, the first property that I worked at, and I’m so proud. I told him you have the opportunity to grow. If you don’t like doing what you’re doing, try something else, and this company gives you that opportunity. I don’t know where his role will take him, but I’m just glad that I was able to give him a foundation, just like Station Casinos gave me. As the company’s first female Security Director, I feel like I can inspire others and be a role model. I’ve always remained humble and I never forget where I came from.””
-Candace Wofford, Security Director, Sunset Station
“This company takes you and makes you the best version of yourself, provides you the opportunities and tools to get there, and you kind of control your own destiny,” says Station Casinos Vice President of Guest Experience Joe Yalda, a 15-year employee who started his career at 16 as a busser at Tides Oyster Bar inside Green Valley Ranch. For Joe, Stations is family, and it’s “a dream come true” for him to have his brother, Director of Pool Operations Jon Yalda, and sister, Retail Manager Jenn Comer, working alongside him. “We are so close, it’s that same type of bond that you build with the guest,” Joe says. “Our whole purpose is to welcome everyone to our family, because at the end of the day, it’s not only our home, we want it to be their home as well.”
-Joe Yalda, VP of Guest Experience, Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa