There’s a stark difference between the electronic gaming machines of today and those that lined the first casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. Gone are the crank handles and spinning reels—they’ve been replaced with towering, lifelike screens that often feature games that seem more akin to the latest video game rather than a traditional slot experience. The evolution of gaming machines’ physical hardware has been dramatic and will certainly continue as technological advances endure. Bryan McVey, vice president of mechanical engineering for Incredible Technologies, is at the forefront of this evolution.
While the gaming machines of today seem monstrous to most, they pale in comparison to the products McVey helped produce before moving to the gaming industry. McVey, a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, began his career at one of the largest construction equipment suppliers in the world. A move to smaller, more scalable products is part of what drew McVey to the gaming industry. McVey explains, “I was attracted to using other materials like plastics, designing on a smaller size scale—earth movers are huge in comparison—and at larger product quantities.”
Transitioning a career to a new industry and staying at the leading edge of technological trends is far easier with the help of others. McVey is quick to call out the help he’s received from professional mentors throughout his career.
“I have been extremely lucky in my career path in that I have always had solid managers who have believed in me, were flexible, and cared not only about my work output but my long-term development,” McVey says. “My current manager, Larry Hodgson, has been a tremendous mentor, especially with his long and successful history in leading product development to make hit games and cabinets.”
Making the switch to the gaming industry wasn’t exactly easy for McVey. In fact, he faced one of the most difficult challenges in his career during the early days of his life in gaming. McVey was one year in as a design engineer when his managing director unexpectedly left.
“The company entrusted his position to me to build a new team for the future,” says McVey. “I had never hired anyone, let alone worked in a director position. I went into it with a bit of fear and hesitation, but also optimism and the feeling of being supported by my new leadership.”
Despite the daunting professional challenge, McVey made the most of the opportunity and helped build out his new team. As he explains, “It felt like an even better fit after I got some experience… and I also was lucky that we were able to hire some great and experienced people to our new team.”
Omar Torres was his first hire as a mechanical engineer from WMS, and McVey credits Torres’ industry and design experience in greatly helping to shape IT’s innovative product offerings over the last four years.
Having successfully climbed the ranks within the gaming industry himself, McVey is happy to share advice to others who are just starting their career in gaming.
“Learn your customers, what draws them, and extrapolate and innovate from there,” says McVey. “They all have needs and wants. The more you can understand and meet these needs, even anticipate them, the better.”