J.T. Foley has been in the Las Vegas Sands Corporation Government Relations and Community Development group since 2007. Now a director in the organization, the 31-year-old is the archetype of an emerging leader who has made a decisive and immediate impact in the gaming industry.
Foley came to Las Vegas six and a half years ago from Omaha, Nebraska without any previous exposure to the casino industry. Learning quickly from his self-described mentor, LVS Senior Vice President Andy Abboud, he has since been involved with such diverse efforts as new gaming and destination resort development, standards compliance, advancement of gaming legislation, destination resorts, and other related lobbying, political and community affairs initiatives.
With such a remarkable resumé of responsibilities, it speaks volumes about his character and willingness to help others to hear him describe the greatest accomplishment of his career to date. “The most gratifying experience I have had here relates to my contributions to our company’s ‘Salute Our Troops Weekends,’” Foley explains. “(LVS?CEO?Sheldon) Adelson had the idea to give back to our nation’s veterans and wounded warriors, so we began hosting VIP events scheduled around Armed Forces Day and Veterans Day to thank our American heroes for their service.
“We coordinate transportation on Mr. Adelson’s private jet, provide complimentary rooms, arrange poker tournaments, schedule celebrity appearances and more. I have been involved with organizing six of these events to date, and can’t begin to describe the feeling I get watching dozens of deserving veterans and their families be greeted by a thousand flag-waving employees from Venetian and Palazzo. It still gives me goose bumps.”
The veterans typically spend an extended weekend at one of the LVS properties, and employees like Foley have the opportunity to engage in quality time with them.
“I have had the pleasure to meet so many individuals, whether it was shooting a game of pool at Lagasse’s Stadium or escorting our veterans and their guests to a show,” he says. “I know when we have hosted a successful weekend when these special guests don’t want to leave. I have kept in touch with several of them throughout the years, and it has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my role here.”
Only 24 when he arrived in Las Vegas to support the political initiatives of one of the world’s gaming giants, his position proved to be a perfect fit for his generous nature, outgoing personality and networking capabilities.
“Senior management made it clear from the outset that I needed to be comfortable outreaching to heavy hitters at a local, state and federal level,” Foley explains. “Whether working with consultants, lobbyists or legislators, the ability to connect, build and leverage relationships with these individuals is vital. We work in a very competitive industry, and establishing trust is the foundation of a successful and satisfying career. It is a requisite of the LVS culture, and undoubtedly one of the traits that has helped advance me in this position.”
Foley credits the LVS organization and mentors like Abboud for giving him the opportunity to get ahead in gaming, and looks forward to the opportunity to return the favor to those following in his footsteps.
“The gaming industry is quickly evolving and fast-moving,” he says. “Young and inexperienced? You have no choice but to jump in, learn from others, ask questions and get your feet wet. That was my approach and it is paying off in ways I never expected.”