“I came on board not expecting to be here much longer than the hotel opening, and, fell in love with the industry.” he recalls.
On advice from Art Frank, Harry took his involvement with Casino Rama one step further by becoming actively involved within the table games department in 2004. “I believe I brought them organizational skills, strategic direction skills, and communication skills; and they taught me table games. It was a really good marriage.”
By the time Art Frank made his transition to Niagara Casinos in 2006, Harry was primed and prepared to step into Casino Rama's lead role. In the six years since, Harry's knack for leadership and passion for relationship building have imbued Casino Rama with a clear strategic direction and a customer-oriented philosophy that is shared by all levels of the organization and its external partners.
“Mr. Oshanski has not only been able to retain top talent at all levels of employment at Casino Rama, but also directly created a working atmosphere wherein each employee is recognized and valued from the top,” says Chief Sharon Stinson Henry, “Mr. Oshanski is a beacon of integrity and leadership who eschews the spotlight for himself in favour of Casino Rama's overall success.”
In addition to strengthening Casino Rama's relationships through consistent communication strategies and employee-centric programs, Harry has contributed to the industry's growth through his involvement with the Canadian Gaming Association, his partnership with local colleges, and his role in launching the First Nation Gaming Awards. Speaking to one of his many past successes, Harry notes: “I'm very proud of my relationship with Rama First Nation. What I did is approached it with fresh eyes and renewed vigour. I said 'the past is the past', and what we want to do now is work collectively with the stakeholders in the same direction for the good of the business. That's how I approached it, and it's worked really well.”
Driven by a passion for people, customer service, and operational excellence, Larry Flynn is a respected name in the Canadian gaming industry and a continual source of inspiration and growth for his team at Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). As OLG's Senior
Vice President of Gaming, he works tirelessly to enhance the workplace experience for the thousands of staff that populate the many gaming sites, facilities, leadership teams, resorts and aboriginal casino properties under his watch.
“I've known Larry and the Flynn family for many years now”, says OLG Board Chair Paul Godfrey. “But it was only after I arrived at OLG that I really and truly came to realize Larry's great strength as an executive and leader. When you see him interact with his employees, you come to understand how he inspires and brings out the best in them”.
Larry started his career with OLG a decade ago, joining the organization as Senior Vice President of Marketing after spending over 27 years in progressive senior leadership roles with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. In 2004, his skill for creating and implementing marketing strategies for OLG earned him the title he enjoys today. Over the following years, he has dedicated his efforts to increasing employee engagement through numerous employee training, education, and development programs.
“There is nothing that makes me prouder than our employees’ dedication to our customer service culture,” explains Larry, noting, “I am also extremely proud of my Gaming Executives' focus and dedication towards the training and development of their teams. As a result, from general managers to part-time employees, we have amazing employees who know what it takes to 'wow' customers.”
Larry's focus on people extends to OLG's customers and stakeholders. He has always strived to enhance the guest experience through projects like the recent slot pricing strategy. This resulted in more time-on-device and entertainment for patrons. Larry is also co-chair of the Gaming Cross Jurisdictional Committee, a forum that unites North American gaming jurisdictions for the purpose of sharing best practices. Through this, and his many other leadership roles, Larry has been key in maintaining strong relationships between OLG's stakeholders, vendors, First Nations partners, and community leaders.
“Larry is passionate about people. This passion has been the catalyst for much of the growth in this division,” says Adriana Spatzner, Vice President of Gaming Marketing. “He builds relationships with each and every
stakeholder to ensure the continued success of the business.”
Larry's strong feelings for his employees are obviously returned in kind. It was Spatzner and the other members of OLG's Senior Gaming Executive Team that nominated him for this award.
For his next challenge, Larry is set to apply his decades of successful leadership experience to his job as Executive Sponsor of the Gaming Management System (GMS) project, a key deliverable in Ontario's modernization efforts.
“This is currently the most rewarding part of my job,” he reflects, explaining, “The transformation of a public sector agency to private sector will enable us to drive OLG’s customer focused culture and provide a higher level to the benefit of our customers.”
No doubt, the near future looks busy for Larry. For now, he's taking a moment to appreciate this latest honour. “I'm thrilled and humbled that my Gaming Executive Team nominated me. If I am deserving in their eyes, then I truly feel accomplished as their leader.”
From blackjack dealer to industry leader, Darryl Schiewe's rise through the Canadian gaming ranks has outfitted him with the knowledge,
wisdom, and expertise to excel at any challenge that crosses his path. It's this hard-earned experience that makes him an asset to the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) as its Vice-President of Casino System Implementation, as well as an ideal candidate for the Industry Leadership and Outstanding Contribution Award.
“I've had the privilege of working with Darryl for just over four years, and it's quite amazing how much he's taught me about the industry,” says Michael Graydon, President and CEO of BCLC. “Working with him and watching just how much he understands and knows about the
business is just amazing.” Darryl began his ascent through
the industry as a blackjack dealer in Edmonton's Silver Slipper Casino in the early 1970s. He soon turned his part-time job into a full-time career, moving through the ranks to become to become a part owner of a casino. In the 1990s, he moved to British Columbia to pursue the equity side of the industry through part ownership of bingo halls through the province. In 1998, after selling his properties, he came on board with the BCLC as a Gaming Control Manager, where he once again climbed the ranks to assume the role of VP of Casinos and Community Gaming.
Reflecting on his comprehensive career, Darryl says he's proud to see his former properties flourishing, and to have formed as many relationships as he has, saying, “It's been very satisfying to continue to be a part of the industry and see all the changes. You get to meet a lot of very intelligent people and it has allowed me to be a small part of incredible teams that helped me grow.”
Darryl's career is far from over. Recently, he assumed the role of Vice President of Casino System Implementation to oversee the implementation of a new gaming management system across all of its properties; a $100 million capitol expenditure designed to enhance player interactivity and enjoyment throughout BCLC's facilities and provide the organization with comprehensive player statistics.
“Darryl's got such a strong understanding of the business, but he also has a very strong technology acumen. Knowing this, we moved him out of running the casino and community gaming division and put him in charge of the implementation of this major project,” explains Michael Graydon.
Looking forward, Darryl is eager to sink his teeth into one of his greatest challenges yet. Looking to the moment, he's also proud to have been selected for this most recent accolade.
“Humbling is one of the adjectives I'd put to it for sure,” he says. “I really appreciate the recognition of the industry.”