New GM is an enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, making him Pechanga Resort Casino’s first Native American top executive
Pechanga Resort Casino announces its new general manager, Brian Decorah. With nearly 25 years in the casino industry, all of it within tribal gaming establishments, Decorah brings a wide breadth of experience to his new role in Southern California at the west coast’s largest resort/casino.
Decorah comes to Pechanga most recently from a tribal casino outside of Seattle. He has served in executive level positions including general manager and CEO for resort/casinos in Washington, Wisconsin and Michigan, with other casino management roles at casinos in New York and Arizona. Brian looks forward to working with a team and a property at Pechanga he describes as “a leader in Indian country with an inspiring level of sophistication and a commitment to excellence.” Decorah is an enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, making him the first Native person to hold this position at Pechanga Resort Casino.
Decorah first visited Pechanga Resort Casino in 2007 and returned again after the $300-million-dollar expansion in Spring of 2018, which added approximately 750 additional employment positions.
“A lot of us in the industry have watched Pechanga’s phenomenal growth from the outside. It has truly been inspiring to see Pechanga continually set and raise the bar for the industry,” he said. “One of the things that most impressed me and made me want to be part of this team is that tribal leadership has managed to not only maintain, but strengthen the family-feel of the operation. As operations continue to expand, they can lose the intimate feeling of inclusiveness that comes with a close-knit business. Pechanga hasn’t lost that. They’ve enhanced it, which gets me most excited about being part of this team.”
“We are excited to have Brian join Pechanga Resort Casino,” said Jared Munoa, President of the Pechanga Development Corporation Board of Directors, which oversees the Pechanga Resort Casino. “He had the right experience, perspective and set of ideas that will help us to continue providing the best overall experience for our guests.”
The casino world came calling for Decorah at the age of 20. His father worked in surveillance at the tribal casino that back then was called Rainbow Casino. Today, it’s Ho-Chunk Nekoosa, one of the six Ho-Chunk properties and located about 130 miles west of Green Bay, Wis. Decorah’s biological father helped him get his foot in the casino’s employment door as a security guard working the graveyard shift.
“I was really grateful for the opportunity. It gave me the chance to begin in an entry level position and work my way forward. Throughout my career, I’ve had incredible opportunities to be taught and absorb the casino business while working in positions across the operation, and at almost every level of responsibility. I think that experience helps me relate to the team, and make more informed decisions that benefit the operation, while taking the team into heavy consideration.”
He spent more than two years on the front line in the security department. During that time, he amassed a collection of guest feedback so when he was called to attend casino meetings in place of an absent supervisor, suggestions for improvements came free-flowing. More time in these meetings elapsed and soon he was offered a marketing manager position. He credits the growth of tribal gaming in the 1990s as helping propel his career forward, though he continued taking on new and different opportunities within the industry. Director of Entertainment, Director of Compliance and more are all titles under hiscurriculum vitae.
Decorah’s rise up the ranks of tribal gaming came full circle back to Ho-Chunk Nekoosa when he was offered the role of general manager, 15 years after starting out there as an overnight security guard.
“The initial feeling of starting as a general manager is one of excitement and reserved anxiousness,” said Decorah. He recalled feeling that way at the Wisconsin casino and beginning at Pechanga Resort Casino. “You want to be able to make a good fit with the team in place, and to make smart and impactful decisions. It’s great to be a part of the synergies created by people who want to work together to make their teams stronger and enhance the overall culture. And, I really believe in making connections for yourself and the team because all of our hard work goes into sustaining a people – by helping the tribes to achieve self-sufficiency and to build clinics, schools, wellness programs, language and cultural preservation programs, and that list goes on. It’s beyond satisfying.”
Outside of his executive duties, he enjoys traveling with his 11-year-old son, as well as finding time to help coach his baseball and basketball teams. He stays active through working out and golf. He admits he didn’t have much in the way of luxuries growing up. Decorah says he looks for ways to give back to his community whenever he can, which recently included an idea made viral by friend and former Seattle Seahawk, Richard Sherman. Decorah paid off the student lunch bills before Christmas for all the kids on the free and reduced lunch program at the school he attended in Necedah, Wis. He also supports cancer fundraisers and charitable causes that assist gold star families from the special operations community in the military.
About Pechanga Resort Casino
Pechanga Resort Casino offers one of the largest and most expansive resort/casino experiences anywhere in the United States. Voted the number one casino in the country by USA Today and rated a Four Diamond property by AAA since 2002, Pechanga Resort Casino provides an unparalleled getaway, whether for the day or for an extended luxury stay. Offering more than 5,000 of the hottest slots, table games, world-class entertainment, 1,090 hotel rooms, dining, spa and golf at Journey at Pechanga, Pechanga Resort Casino features a destination that meets and exceeds the needs of its guests and the community. Pechanga Resort & Casino is owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. For more information, call toll free (877) 711-2946 or visit www.Pechanga.com. Follow Pechanga Resort & Casino on Facebook and on Twitter @PechangaCasino