Greg Lee, left, President, and Andre Carrier, Chief Executive Officer, of the Eureka Casino Resort unveiled the Eureka Community Foundation, Tuesday, May 15. Photo courtesy of www.eurekamesquite.com.
Conventional wisdom believes that trying to get the government or any large agency to do something is a useless task most often characterized by the agency asking for people's participation, then saying, “thanks for the input, now good-by,”with nothing ever being done.
Not so for the Eureka Casino Hotel and its management team, Greg Lee and Andre Carrier.In late March, they held several focus groups at the Eureka Casino to answer the question “what kind of community do we want to live in here?”The question was prompted, in part, and brought to the attention of Lee and Carrier by members of the community who felt that over the past few years it was hard to get anything done in Mesquite.
That was the challenge Lee and his staff took on by inviting about 50 random members of the community as well as several of his own employees, from waiters to management, to find an answer to that question.
“We wanted to work in partnership with the men and women of this community to make a better Mesquite,” said Lee.“We wanted to be more informed citizens, more informed business leaders, and really listen to what people had to say.”
The focus groups identified the best traits of Mesquite and those not-so-good traits.In general,most people love Mesquite and identified many fine things. But they also identified problem areas, such as limited job opportunities, lack of signature events, and lack of activities for children and teens making Mesquite a tough place to grow up.There were many other factors mentioned but these were some of the most common.Group members said a water park was needed, as well as scholarships and internships, national competitions held locally, and a specific branding of Mesquite.
“This gave us a starting point for what we heard our community saying they wanted for Mesquite,” said Carrier.“It was a place we could contribute to a better Mesquite.”
“These are just the first steps, but doing this together with community support will be more powerful,” said Lee.“What we learned was that as much as we try to listen and be involved, it's not enough. We need the community.But, we know where we can make a difference and that is why we came up with these ideas and are willing to take the leadership role.”
The starting point that Lee said would contribute to a better Mesquite involves creating an infrastructure for success and advocating for Mesquite at every opportunity.
First, Lee will create the Eureka Community Foundation.
The Foundation will listen to the ideas and needs of the community directly and then act.Action will not be taken without active listening and knowing where it can really make a difference.
Within the Eureka Community Foundation, Lee proposes to make an impact on education by creating a Eureka scholarship for students at the Virgin Valley High School.Beginning in 2013, the Eureka will offer scholarships to the UNLV School of Hotel Administration and to the UNLV School of Business.
Second, the Eureka will create a premier culinary education program in Mesquite at the high school level. That will allow local students interested in a culinary career the chance to earn above average income in the culinary field.These ideas will help keep young people in Mesquite and have them return here after college.
Continuing with the education theme, the Eureka will create a tutoring exchange using the Eureka infrastructure to facilitate student exchange programs.“Many times people are willing to give back to the community by tutoring but they may not have the facilities to do it,” said Lee.“We are willing to try something different to assist with the success of that idea.”
The Eureka will also create and market a comprehensive ATV/four wheeling map of the Mesquite area to attract off-road enthusiasts. The company will follow that up by creating and hosting a world-class ATV jamboree in Mesquite.
To serve veterans and Wounded Warriors, the Eureka will expand the Five Million Dollar Hole-in-One shootout with the idea of attracting nation players to Mesquite.
To provide a one-stop location for people who want to know what's going on in Mesquite, the Eureka will expand marketing of Mesquite through it's magazine, The Red Mesa. The idea is to supply information on a wide range of activities and with the vision of Mesquite in one single place.“If you've got it, flaunt it, will be the idea,” said Carrier.
For 2013, the Eureka will continue and expand its very popular and family friendly Fourth of July celebration by sponsoring the Rockets over the Red Mesa fireworks celebration along with the Nevada POPS symphony orchestra.The event will continue to be free. However, the Eureka will provide the community with a vendor village where local charities can have a chance to earn some money through concession sales.
“These are just starting steps,” said Lee.“There is no reason why Mesquite can't be a model for other Nevada cities.What we learn from all this will make a better Mesquite.”
“We are very blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people,” said Carrier.“We want to reflect our appreciation for that blessing in more than just words.”
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 Nice start from Mr. lee. To make this an even better community could he please try to make one section of his casino non- smoking. The area in the slot parlor outside of Gregorys would be perfect. He could give it a six month run to see if it works. Thanks for considering this, and smokers, no worries, as there are less than 50 machines in this area. By: J
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 I think J is right. How about an area of NO SMOKING? How about installing a few smoke eaters throughout the casino? The Lee Family is a good company and thanks for your help in making Mesquite a little bit better By: ralphedwards
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 Great job Mr Lee and Carrier. You guys really "walk the walk." This is a model for how we all should get things done. The people of Mesquite are proud of you and the kids that benefit from your generosity will never forget the Eureka. By: Vic M
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 What a bunch of jerks! The Eureka does something fantastic and all you old fools can do is complain about the smoking. What a bunch of jackasses. The Eureka shouldn't bother with this suggestion, it is another topic. People are such rude complainers. By: Bill
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 Hats of the the Eureka. How nice that you do this for the community (when you did really have to even bother) and share in making this a great place to live. I am proud of the Eureka, too. By: Dave
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 My hat is off to the Eureka too. Good jobs guys. Can't wait for the jamboree. By: Yuri
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 Thanks so much for all your efforts in making Mesquite a better place to live. The Eureka does more or this town than the city council and mayor ever has. The should take a lesson away from this, asking those in the community what suggestions they have for Mesquite. The Eureka rocks!!! By: justme
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 Gone are the days when health consious people travel to a toxic-smoke filled environment to loose their money. The future, for gamblers and families alike is in virtual gaming, where individuals can immerse themselves in lifelike experiences for gain or simply fun. The current gaming model is too expensive, and hazerdous to ones health to last for much longer. Lee would be well-advised to look at his business model and bring it into the 21st century. This focus group is just an attempt to re-direct the conversation from what the majority of residents and visitors have asked for: smoke free gaming environments. By: mmcgreer
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 I love the Eureka! By: Tom
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 See how well private business can operate. They don't need government help they just need to get out of the way. More good ideas from this group then chamber, council and the new Economic Development Commission combined. How lucky we are to have people who care and are do-ers not just talkers. By: Mike Young
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 I would say this is exactly the kind of thing the Chamber of Commerce should have been doing for several years. That is the problem when you put unqualified people in position where they don't know what they are doing. Very good job, Eurka. Smart thinking & smart business leadership. By: Eddie
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 Bill you are right. I stand corrected. By allowing all the smoke to infiltrate the lungs of every patron in the casino the Lees are ensuring more business for the health industry, as well. I agree with mmcGreer this is a diversion to get the talk away from the casino. With this one little gesture, the Lees would go a long way towards satisfying this old jackass fool who chooses to support the Casa because it doesn't stink as much! By: J
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 Good work Eureka, please keep it up. And send all the complainers over to the Casa that does nothing for the community. You guys are awesome, keep doing what you're doing. By: Henry
Posted Date: 05/16/2012 Terrific ideas guys. You're on the right track. By: Georgia
Posted Date: 05/17/2012 Providing a smoke free area in the casino would attract alot of people who now stay away. By: Lorne
Posted Date: 05/17/2012 Yes, please go smoke free. Colorado Casinos did and their business increased. Your employee health insurance costs would go down, you would have happier employees and you would have less to clean up since most smokers don't use ashtrays!!! By: Ava Scudder
Posted Date: 05/18/2012 Congratulations to the Eureka for making the effort to improve Mesquite.
However, I agree with those who favor a smoke free environment. Also, they might want to look for ways to offer better quality food at a reasonable price. Their food is mediocre at best for the price. Maybe they can find more creative chefs from their scholarship graduates. They sorely need cooks who can prepare tasty AND healthy selections. Let the heavy cream/cheese sauces and excess sodium be on the side. Healthier customers will keep on coming back! If their lungs and arteries are filled with toxins......
Another thought....Water parks can be a risky venture. My understanding is liability is a big problem. By: penny