If you’re going to work in the casino gaming industry, and especially on the supplier side in game development on a product like slots, a technology which revolves around luck, it helps that luck comes along in your job.
“I would attribute a large portion of my success to luck and mentors,” says Meredith McEvoy, engineering operations director at AGS. “I learned early in my career to find a place where your boss or someone in your reporting structure feels like a mentor.”
McEvoy oversees the execution of the entire slot products portfolio strategy. Based in AGS’ Atlanta game development campus, she works closely with the hardware team and AGS’ game studios across the globe to launch new slot products.
“One of the reasons I’m so passionate about my job is because I get to work across so many departments at AGS,” McEvoy says.
While she spent some of her childhood years in Flemington, New Jersey, McEvoy considers herself an Atlantan. She got her bachelor of science and master of science in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech.
She landed a job at Lockheed Martin doing research and implementing new technologies to improve the manufacturing process. The defense contractor transferred her to Dallas, but she and her husband missed Atlanta, so she searched the job market and signed on with AGS in 2016.
McEvoy has encountered few obstacles in her career. “I’ve been fairly blessed,” she says.
She’s had a few small bumps along the way: a male student at college not liking that she got the higher score and using her gender as the reason; learning what work-life balance looks like, and facing time-management challenges.
“In the end, though, all of those obstacles were about defining who I am, what matters to me, and how I would react to a challenging situation,” she says.
Her first impactful mentor was at Lockheed Martin. “He taught me to build a good relationship with customers by being open and honest about the issues that impact them, listening to them, and executing your plan,” says McEvoy, whose moments of Zen come in horse stables, where even a mundane task like cleaning tack or mucking stalls leaves her more relaxed. She keeps her horse in a barn outside Atlanta, where she practices the art of dressage.
In the gaming industry, she credits the person that hired her at AGS—and her current boss—Sigmund Lee. As chief technology officer, Lee taught McEvoy how to be “obsessed with the game” (the AGS slogan) and why it’s important. “He showed me that in product design—whether hardware, software, or games—you need to know more about your industry and your competitors than anyone else thought possible.”
When you know the industry that well, you can easily answer the “what” and “why” of a good design, McEvoy says.
She expects to remain involved with innovation in the future. “I came from an engineering background, and although those problem-solving skills can be applied to many things, I enjoy seeing and touching what I’m working towards. I see myself continuing to broaden my knowledge in design and development,” McEvoy says.
McEvoy, who enjoys nature walks with her husband and young daughter, has some advice for those who have an interest in some aspect of the gaming industry.
“Read, ask, and learn everything you can. To get closer to the R&D process like me and my team, pursue higher education in related fields or understand how the skills you have apply to the hardware, software and slot games.”