Among the Lead Supervisor and Supervisor roles at Knighted, we have over 60 team members who help manage the day-to-day of our casino operations, as well as work closely in the development and growth of their teams. For this month’s Supervisor Spotlight, the Knighted Writer would like to highlight Supervisors Keith Van Nyhuis of Napa Valley Casino and Joseph Shumsky of Bicycle Casino. Whether you work with them or not, read on to learn more about these awesome team members. Can you guess who wants to take a road trip across the state and who wants to visit Japan?
Do you have any cool nicknames?
KV: No. (Maybe Napa Associates can give you one!)
JS: Most people just call me “Joe” or “Shumsky”. Some of my close friends have a variety of nicknames for me “JTip”, “Shumdog”, and “The Kid” to name a few.
How long have you been in the industry?
KV: Since September of 2014.
JS: I have been in the industry now for almost 6.5 years, the first 1.5 years with another corporation and the past 5 years with KV.
What casinos have you worked for?
KV: Casino 580 initially, but moved to Napa Valley Casino as soon as its contract was acquired.
JS: So far I’ve worked at Hollywood Park, Normandie, and The Bike.
What is your favorite casino game and why?
KV: Baccarat. The busyness of the game, the excitement on the table is palpable while the pace of the game is generally steady enough to keep one engaged at all times. VIP or Squeeze Baccarat typically add another element requiring even more attention to detail. Because of these elements, I am quite satisfied if I ever end up on one of these tables.
JS: For me, it’s easily Tiles, the game is just so engaging. There is constant player interaction, selling them color buys and action buys. The game also presents much more challenge, having to deal with comparing the hands multiple ways and dealing with buyouts. Many of the issues and advantage plays happen on Tiles more than any other game.
What are the top 3 values/traits/characteristics that you look for in your team members? WHY are they important?
KV: Dependability, a willingness to learn and/or seek improvement, and strong interpersonal skills. I believe these three are important for many reasons.
Dependability is a necessity in all that we do: first of all, when individuals are responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars we have to be able to depend on them to perform to the best of their ability as a simple mistake could cost the company greatly. Second, as many of the locations we work at are open 24/7 (or almost) we need to be able to depend on individuals to come in when scheduled (and sometimes when not) to allow for the games to continue as well as to relieve others in a timely manner. Lastly, when things are simply not going as planned, we need to be able to depend on others to put up with the grind and go the extra mile so that we can finish the day the right way, (late/early lunches/breaks, overtime, additional shifts, or straight up shift changes).
A willingness to learn is another exemplary characteristic to hold within the company. Regardless of whether an individual has that willingness or not, we are going to put in the time to help individuals learn and move on to new games, however, when that willingness is there we can move ahead at a much greater pace. Not only does this trait benefit the individual (increased gaming engagement, prospects for advancement, etc.), but it also benefits the needs of the team greatly by allowing for greater depth in scheduling/coverage needs.
Last, (but not least) are strong interpersonal skills. We as gaming associates must interact with other players daily and we have to be able to get along well with many dealers as well as our co-workers. We must also be able to navigate stressful environments and know how to act/react during certain scenarios on the table. Without an understanding of these skills and how to work with one another effectively, our job would be immensely difficult–Without effective communication, we would not be able to do our jobs properly.
JS: Attendance – It’s kinda cliche, but if you aren’t here you can’t do your job, no matter how good you are.
Integrity – Trust is such an important thing to have in this industry, you need to be able to trust the people you put into difficult situations to do the right thing when tough scenarios present themselves.
Leadership – By this, I mean being someone that people enjoy working for. It’s important for me to make work an enjoyable experience and being someone that people want to follow and can trust.
Who has been your biggest inspiration and why?
KV: My wife, Kendra. We both moved here from small-town Iowa several years ago and I would have never done so if not for her; she is literally the reason I am here. She had to deal with a lot of adversity when younger, but she was able to overcome it all and find something that she wanted to do: Currently she is attending UC Berkeley and working on receiving her Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology, (Study of music and culture similar to Anthropology–currently studying East Asian music or South Korean indie rock specifically), but her journey has not been easy. Seeing her struggle and succeed time and time again (especially when learning Korean) has motivated me to put my everything into my own profession so that I can help support her endeavors. Fortunately, doing so has really motivated me to strive for better things in my own profession as well.
JS: I can’t really think of a specific idol or person that has inspired me, but I have always been a type of guy that pushes myself to be the best person I can be and accomplish as much as I can.
Tell us about your most memorable experience volunteering and giving back to others?
KV: While working towards my MPA several years ago I served on the board of directors in a student-run, non-profit, organization that we helped create. Our goal was to help raise funds for the local food bank and we were able to do so for class credit as part of our Business Administration Class. There were many obstacles to overcome, however, the journey was extremely rewarding as we had a hand in all aspects of how to accomplish our goal. Our big project was ‘Prairiefest,’ a local music festival in the small college town of Vermillion South Dakota which we were responsible for organizing. We were able to book many local bands, get several local vendors involved, and we had many undergraduate students participate by selling wristbands to friends and families. Preparation took a full semester, but fortunately, the festival was a success. After everything was said and done we were able to amass over $15,000 for our food bank of which they were grateful for. I have participated in other volunteer programs/initiatives since then, however, nothing came close to the feelings I shared upon the completion of that event.
JS: I really enjoyed the Turkey Giveaway event that I participated in while working here with KV. We gave out so many turkeys to families in need so they could have a more enjoyable Thanksgiving. By giving turkeys to the families personally, you get to see how appreciative they are and how much it means to them.
If you had enough PTO and could go anywhere for summer vacation, where would you go and why?
KV: Japan. I have always been a big fan of all things Japanese: food, culture, animation, games, etc. and after my recent visit to South Korea, it has reaffirmed that wish. I almost had an opportunity to do so already, however, when I finally do go, I want to take the time to really explore all aspects of the country.
JS: I would like to take a road trip across the U.S. and visit all possible states. I want to see all the famous landmarks, enjoy all the food the states are known for, and see if there is any state that I particularly enjoy that I might consider moving to in the future.
Open Question: Is there anything that you would you like to say/share with your casino team?
KV: It has truly been a pleasure to be part of the KV team in Napa Valley. I have appreciated your efforts and your contributions during our times of need and am thankful for all that you have been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. I hope going forward everyone continues to better themselves and continues to exemplify the tagline of the Napa Valley Casino: “The friendliest casino in the nation.”
JS: I just want to thank everyone for all the hard work and dedication, and being there for us when we need you during all the long nights and extra hard work.