Arizona’s Gila River Resorts & Casinos last week announced the leadership team for the new Santan Mountain Casino in Chandler. The team includes:
General Manager Blake Katnelson. Katnelson has been with the enterprise since 2009. He has worked his way up through the marketing and player club departments and is currently the general manager of Lone Butte. His combination of operational efficiency and strategic marketing along with his enthusiasm for mentoring his team has contributed to his appointment of this new role.
Director of Table Games Aaron Bayne. Bayne has worked in the gaming industry for more than 27 years and has been with Gila River for nearly 20 years. Aaron began his career at a tribal casino in Detroit and moved to Arizona in 2003 with the expansion of table games. He has worked his way through the ranks and is currently the director of casino games at Wild Horse Pass. He will continue to oversee table games and the sportsbook at Wild Horse Pass through the transition to Santan Mountain.
Director of Food & Beverage Sera Ribble. Ribble has more than 13 years of experience with Gila River, beginning her career opening the Shula’s Steakhouse. Her talent quickly led her to director of F&B roles at both Wild Horse Pass and Lone Butte. She has been an integral member of the enterprise while growing as a leader.
Director of Facilities David Baughn. Baughn has more than 25 years in facilities management with 15 of those years in tribal facilities. He has worked with Gila River since 2020 and prides himself in his relationship skills ensuring team efforts are executed to meet goals of the enterprise.
“At Gila River, we have an amazing reputation of building lifelong careers. Making the investment in personal and internal growth has proven to be valuable, as countless team members have dedicated years to our guests and the Enterprise ,” said Kenneth Manuel, CEO of Gila River Resorts & Casinos. “We are proud of the Santan Mountain leadership team and are excited to see their continued and well-deserved growth at Gila River.”
The southeast Valley was selected for the fourth casino location as this area’s growth aligns with the enterprise’s expansion in Arizona. In partnership with architectural and interior design firm Steelman Partners and the Penta Building Group, the project broke ground in October. This modern desert oasis will feature 360 window views around the property and highlight the breathtaking mountain views. Santan Mountain will have more than 800 slots, live table games, BetMGM Sportsbook, dining and bar options along with a function space. Hiring for the new location begins in July with 700 open positions available.