CHOCTAW, Mississippi – Pearl River Resort, the Southeast’s premier luxury entertainment and gaming destination, has announced several new hires and management promotions that enhance the resort’s strong leadership. The new and newly-promoted personnel all bring more than 150 years of combined leadership and skill and will be spearheading a number of new initiatives to enhance visitors’ overall experiences.
Pearl River Resort, located in Choctaw, Mississippi, is the Southern United States’ first comprehensive luxury gaming resort. The resort features the Silver Star and Golden Moon, two exciting hotel/casinos with nearly 5,000 slot machines, more than 100 table games, 1,074 hotel rooms, 16 restaurants, European spa facilities, shopping and live entertainment. Also featured is The Dancing Rabbit Golf Club with two championship golf courses and Geyser Falls Water Theme Park.
Dale Hipsh, chief operating officer and executive vice president, Pearl River Resort
Dale Hipsh was named the chief operating officer and executive vice president of Pearl River Resort in January. As such, Hipsh oversees gaming and hospitality operations at the properties, including the Silver Star Hotel & Casino, Golden Moon Hotel & Casino, Geyser Falls Water Theme Park and Dancing Rabbit Golf Club. A seasoned veteran of the hospitality industry, Hipsh has more than 25 years of national and international casino hotel experience, including the openings of the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, Grand Hyatt Wailea, Ritz-Carlton Bali Resort and Spa, Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, and the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort. Most recently, Hipsh worked with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to launch the Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Florida, where he then took on the role of vice president of operations for the Hollywood property.
Lawrence Kovach, chief financial officer, Pearl River Resort
Financial veteran Lawrence Kovach joined Pearl River Resort in April as the chief financial officer and will account for the overall financial operations of Silver Star Hotel & Casino, Golden Moon Hotel & Casino, Geyser Falls Water Park and Dancing Rabbit Golf Club. Kovach brings more than 40 years of industry experience to Pearl River Resort. For the past seven years, he had been the primary financial executive for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon. In that role he directed the Tribal government’s accounting practices and financial planning. At the same time, Kovach was interim CFO for Spirit Mountain Casino as well as CFO for the Grand Ronde Food and Fuel Company, Spirit Mountain Management Consulting, Inc., and Spirit Mountain Development Corporation.
Jason York, executive director of Marketing, Pearl River Resort
Jason York has been promoted to the executive director of marketing for Pearl River Resort. York has been with Pearl River Resort for more than a decade, holding several positions across many departments. Drawing on his marketing experience and intimate knowledge of the property, York will oversee all aspects of resort and database marketing, including advertising and public relation efforts promoting restaurants, lounges, entertainment and gaming.
Susan O’Connell, general manager, Golden Moon Hotel & Casino
Susan O’Connell has joined Pearl River Resort as the general manager of the Golden Moon Hotel & Casino. O’Connell is an experienced gaming and marketing professional with more than 20 years in the casino and resort industry. She has served as vice president of marketing strategy at the Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as well as vice president of marketing at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Most recently, O’Connell has assisted Pearl River Resort as a consultant with Mercury Gaming. Susan will oversee gaming and hotel operations at the Golden Moon while also managing marketing efforts resort-wide.
Leah Downie, director of Casino Marketing, Golden Moon Hotel & Casino
Leah Downie joined Pearl River Resort in April as the director of casino marketing for the Golden Moon Hotel & Casino bringing more than 20 years of casino experience to the position. Most recently, she was director of casino marketing for Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Previously, she had served in several marketing capacities at the Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, including working as director of player development and director of casino marketing.
Ken Davie, general manager, Silver Star Hotel & Casino
Gaming and hospitality veteran Kenneth Davie joined Pearl River Resort this month as general manager for the Silver Star Hotel & Casino. Davie will oversee the day-to-day operations at Silver Star. Prior to joining Pearl River Resort, Davie served as the vice president of table games for the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. In this role, he was responsible for the day-to-day operation of 300 table and 100 poker games. Before that, Davie was a vice president in the casino division of the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, Minnesota.
Marcio Azevedo, director of Hotel Operations, Silver Star Hotel & Casino
Marcio Azevedo brings more than 20 years of experience to his new position of director of hotel operations for the Silver Star Hotel & Casino. In this role, Azevedo manages hospitality activities and services at Silver Star. Prior to this, he served as area general manager for Bentley Hotels, where he oversaw the rebranding of the Bentley Beach Hotel in Miami’s South Beach to a Hilton property. Before that, Azevedo was the general manager for Vincci Avalon Hotel in New York, where he oversaw the Spain-based Vincci Hoteles’ first foray into the United States.
Juan Rivera, director of Hotel Operations, Golden Moon Hotel & Casino
Juan Rivera has been brought in as the new director of hotel operations at the adjacent Golden Moon Hotel & Casino. Rivera brings more than 15 years of hotel managerial experience to his new job. Most recently, he served as director of hotel operations at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Prior to this, Rivera served as house manager at the SoHo House New York.
Michael Denson, Table Games director, Golden Moon Hotel & Casino
An asset to Pearl River Resort since 1998, Michael Denson has been promoted to the table games director of the Golden Moon Hotel & Casino. Denson has served in a variety of roles within the table games department, diligently working his way up from dice dealer to floor supervisor and other managerial positions. Most recently he has served as the interim director of table games for Pearl River Resort.