April 29, 2012

Amanda Smith ’10 Applies Deep Economic Analytical Skills to the Casino Business

As an operations analyst for Station Casinos, headquartered in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin, Nev., Amanda Smith ’10 mines a host of performance metrics to guide the company in its decision-making.

Amanda Smith '10 at Station Casinos

Amanda Smith '10 at Station Casinos

“An operations analyst provides intelligence about how properties are doing financially and makes comparisons among them,” she says. “We’re a company that prides itself on sharing information so properties can benchmark against each other.”

Despite the recent tough economic times, she says that Las Vegas and Station Casinos are prospering. But, unlike the Las Vegas strip, Station Casinos is focused on local residents.

“There’s a huge retirement community and a lot of retired people like to play video poker, which is where we make a lot of our profits,” she explains. “When the economy declined, people weren’t willing to spend that extra discretionary dollar. However, we have persevered, and we’re now seeing steady growth.”

An economics & business and art graduate, Smith was recruited by Station Casinos in her hometown of Henderson, Nev. In January 2011, she joined the company as a property analyst at Fiesta Henderson Casino Hotel. The 46-acre site features more than 77,000 feet of gaming and hotel space, including 1,600 slot and video poker machines, 20 table games, a 300-seat bingo room, 137-seat race and sports book, and eight-seat keno lounge.

“As a property analyst, I figured out how to squeeze the most money out of our facilities by digging deep into certain analytics,” says Smith. “Watching labor was a big part of the job—you make recommendations when it comes to overtime, hiring, and staffing for special events.” In addition, property analysts look at performance and placement of individual machines and the gaming mix on the floor. They also track individual customer preferences to inform company decision-making, guide global marketing efforts, and offer individualized incentives.

Smith, a member of the basketball team at Lafayette, says her experience as an EXCEL Scholar helped prepare her for her career challenges. She collaborated with Lew Minter, retired director of the art department’s media lab, on a series of projects, including the digital restoration of a more than 500-year-old altarpiece by Italian Renaissance painter Antonio Vivarini.

“Learning from Lew about how to manage time and collaborate on a project definitely prepared me for any job,” she says. “He taught me about more than just art. He taught me about life.”

Knowing Station Casinos’ reputation for shuffling and mentoring employees, Smith wasn’t surprised when she was offered another position a few months into her tenure with the company.

The franchise owns eight major gaming and entertainment complexes and five smaller casinos. It also owns and/or operates gaming/entertainment properties in Nevada and California and has development agreements for facilities in California and Michigan.

posted in Alumni, Alumni Profiles, Alumni Success Stories, News and Features

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  1. “Watching labor was a big part of the job” indeed, Amanda! Here too I have to watch over the the editorial staff and find the right balance between the routine/creativity. In the end, unfortunately, routine remains the most efficient way to get things done.

    says Monika Hansen
    January 14, 2014 at 3:07 am
  2. Nice portrait. A good example for Lafayette students.

    says jonathan
    January 9, 2014 at 4:19 am
  3. Real nice write-up Amanda. Good job.

    says Grandma & Grandpa Peot
    May 6, 2012 at 9:53 pm

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