Given Brian Decorah’s success in each of his management roles in casino operations, one may be surprised to learn that one of his favorite jobs was his first: security officer. According to Decorah, he enjoyed learning gaming behavior while working the graveyard shift at the Ho-Chunk Casino in Nekoosa, Wisconsin, back in 1995. The job also provided him with his first opportunity to observe multiple levels of casino operations. This experience would instill the passion that led to Decorah’s current position as the senior vice president and assistant general manager at FireKeepers Casino Hotel.
Having joined the FireKeepers team in January 2013, Decorah credits the success of FireKeepers to the leadership within the tribe and casino.
“In addition to the strong leadership of the Tribal Council, the mentoring opportunity with FireKeepers CEO, R. Bruce McKee, is one of the reasons I took my current position,” he recalls.
McKee has over 30 years of gaming experience, including 10 years at Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, Inc. Specifically, Decorah appreciates the high level of expectations that are set for everyone at FireKeepers. A commitment to structured mentorship throughout the company helps the staff meet these standards, and has inspired Decorah to also mentor five managers throughout the casino.
“Although it can be difficult, everyone carves time from their busy schedules to discuss and teach all aspects of the gaming industry, from internal operations to industry trends,” Decorah explains.
It is this broad knowledge of the casino industry that makes Decorah a leader in the gaming industry. He has had various roles in a number of casinos and gaming corporations, from the Ho-Chunk Casinos in Wisconsin to Seneca Gaming Corporation in New York, and then to Cliff Castle Casino in Arizona, before being unanimously selected by the Mohican Tribal Council to serve as general manager at North Star Mohican Casino Resort. During his tenure at North Star, the casino received numerous accolades, including being named “Best Casino of Wisconsin” in 2012. Promoting into rewarding positions with different gaming entities has allowed Decorah to see that there are “many ‘right ways’ to get the job done.” It is no doubt that the many roles Decorah has engaged throughout his career will serve him well as the casino industry continues to grow and evolve.