Riverwind Casino takes pride in the individuals who help make our facility a one-of-a-kind experience for everyone who visits – whether it comes to gaming, dining or entertainment. Justin Yahola, who was recently named the new general manager of Riverwind, will be a great leader for our team and will continue to create a positive, friendly and upbeat atmosphere for guests and employees.
Justin is going into his 22nd year with the Chickasaw Nation and in his transition to general manager of Riverwind, he ensures that each employee is celebrated, oversees marketing objectives and so much more. Justin plays a key role in our organization, so to give you the chance to learn a little more about Justin, we asked him a few questions about his role at Riverwind.
Describe your role at Riverwind.
As the general manager of Riverwind, I oversee and monitor many different things. One of the key objectives is to ensure we are providing the right mix of games for patrons to enjoy. With the many amenities Riverwind offers, it is imperative to ensure we are meeting the customers’ expectations. I also oversee many of the marketing objectives set for the year and see how we can continue to improve. We have a great staff, and one of my main goals is to prepare our younger managers to ensure they succeed, develop and strengthen their skills.
How did you get into what you do? Was it something you always wanted to do or was it something that found you?
I was introduced to gaming while I was looking for a part-time job in college. At the time, I did not intend to stay in gaming, but after college the opportunity came when Riverwind initially opened back in 2006. I quickly realized this was something that I enjoyed and was passionate about. It is great to see how far the Chickasaw Nation has come from the opening of Riverwind, to where we are now. I am going into my 22nd year with the Chickasaw Nation, and I have truly enjoyed being a part of the experience and growth. I am passionate about working with people on a daily basis, entertainment and seeing the Nation grow each year.
What does the typical day in the life of a general manager look like?
I have to start every day with coffee! Then, I head the floor to conduct a walkthrough of the facility and meet and greet our employees. The remainder of the day usually consists of meetings to keep the communication going for all projects, progress and facility details. I like to ensure that I get as much time as I can to make it to the gaming floor to see patrons and employees and make sure we are meeting our customer’s expectations. I also spend time focusing on the financial aspects of the property to guarantee we are meeting our goals and objectives.
What is your favorite thing about Riverwind?
Without question, it is the employees! The commitment that I see within each department does not go unnoticed. I believe this is one of the great qualities that sets us apart from other facilities. Our employees know and understand the importance of customer service and the employees create an exciting and positive atmosphere.
Riverwind has some great acts coming to The Showplace Theatre. Anyone you’re excited to see?
I’ve been a fan of all the acts since I’ve been here and have been fortunate to be working during the scheduled events to see each performance. It is a goal for Riverwind to continue to provide a variety of shows for our guests to enjoy, so there are acts for people with various interests. I am looking forward to a particular show in late July, but I can’t say since it hasn’t officially been announced yet!
Tell us a few fun facts about yourself? Any interesting hobbies?
Some interesting facts about me… Let’s see, I am a huge OU fan and love football season. My wife and I love to travel to away games as much as we can. I was born in Muskogee, OK., and I love to play golf. My favorite movies include Caddyshack, Fletch, Man on Fire and The Godfather. I love to laugh and be around positive people, which is one of the reasons I love working at Riverwind!
If you happen to see Justin around the casino, be sure to say hi and tell him you saw him on the Riverwind blog!