Captain Paul Tuite poses with two teammates from Seneca Gaming Corporation at the 2009 Chase Corporate Challenge in Buffalo. Tuite formed Seneca's first team three years ago, and this year's team will exceed 150 members.
Corporate Challenge a way to connect with
workers, community for Seneca Gaming Corp.
Corporate Vice President of Operations Chuck Kilroy enjoys a burger at the Seneca Gaming Corporation tent in 2009. Camaraderie was just one reason the company wanted to be part of the event. “We're well aware that proceeds from the Chase Corporate Challenges always support a worthy endeavor,” said Tony Astran, Publicity Manager for SGC. “As one of Western New York 's largest private employers, we feel a tremendous sense of community spirit and are eager to join fellow employers in giving back to those in need."
BUFFALO, May 24, 2010 — With three world-class gaming facilities, hotels, a soon-to-open golf property and more, the Seneca Gaming Corporation has quickly become one of Western New York's largest private employers. It also has a workforce that is extremely spread out, which makes the Chase Corporate Challenge® in Buffalo a special opportunity.
When the 30th edition of the second oldest race in the 12-city JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series is held on Thursday, June 10, the Seneca Gaming Corporation will have a major presence on the grounds of Delaware Park. The team had grown to 151 members by late May, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Company Captain Paul Tuite, who started running to improve his fitness in 2007 and worked up to run the Buffalo Marathon in 2008. He asked about forming a team three years ago.
“I have been the team captain all three years,” said Tuite. “When we first approached our executive team about the idea to participate, they absolutely loved it.
“Our challenges in getting a team together are simple, yet tricky,” added Tuite. “We operate three casinos all-day year-round, and our Allegany property is more than an hour away. Nevertheless, we generate a great deal of interest through fliers, cafeteria message boards, team meetings, and e-mail reminders.”
Despite the difficulties, the Corporate Challenge is such a good fit in a number of ways for Seneca Gaming Corporation that it is not surprising the team has shown growth that mirrors in some ways the growth at the company itself.
Seneca Gaming Corporation was chartered in August 2002 to manage the gaming operations of the Seneca Nation of Indians, which had just entered into a compact with New York for three Class III gaming facilities in Western New York. The result has been explosive growth, including the
Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel (in Niagara Falls) and the Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel (in Salamanca), which feature two of only three hotels in Western New York to have earned the AAA Four-Diamond Award. The next opening for SGC in July will be the new Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course in Lewiston, N.Y., with 18 holes of championship-level golf on a challenging PGA-style terrain designed by world-renowned course architect Robert Trent Jones II. The course will be open to the public, which can pay cash or use Seneca Players Club Points to play.
It all adds up to a lot of growth — and employees — in different areas in a short time, which is one reason why an event like the Corporate Challenge is such a good fit for SGC.
“We have many activities that allow employees to stay connected to one another, such as volunteer events in the community through our ‘Team Seneca Cares' program, a team dining room area, and quarterly meetings for all staff,” said Tony Astran, Publicity Manager for SGC. “However, it is harder for employees of different properties or different time shifts to connect. The Chase Corporate Challenge is a great way to bring together people from all properties, all levels of management, and all shifts.
“Our senior management actively participates,” added Astran. “Our chief operating officer, Cathy Walker, was gunning for (a great race) last year. She is back this year and ready to go.”
SGC takes full advantage of a hospitality-friendly venue at picturesque Delaware Park.
“We celebrate a great day of camaraderie among team members as we enjoy food, beverages, and memorable post-race story-telling,” Astran said. “The Chase Corporate Challenge generates memories that will last for a long time.”
The event is also important for other reasons to SGC. One is that, in a demanding service-oriented business that is open 365 days a year and 24 hours per day, fitness is important.
“The health of our employees is a top concern,” said Astran. “We not only deeply care for their personal well-being, but want them to be on top of their game when providing five-star service to our valued guests. We actively promote good health throughout the organization — such as having numerous hand sanitizer stations and a free employee fitness center on site.”
Another reason the event is important for SGC is that, while the corporation is only eight years old, the Seneca Nation of Indians has roots in Western New York that stretch deep into history. The Seneca Nation has seen the Corporate Challenge in Buffalo become a true community event, with hundreds of companies from Western New York filling Delaware Park each year and contributing to local charities through their participation.
“We're well aware that proceeds from the Chase Corporate Challenges always support a worthy endeavor,” said Astran. “As one of Western New York 's largest private employers, we feel a tremendous sense of community spirit and are eager to join fellow employers in giving back to those in need.
“The Corporate Challenge is, perhaps, the premier event each year in Buffalo for those looking to be active outdoor," added Astran. "All walks of life in the business community converge as one, and we're proud to be part of the cause. Simply put, it's the right thing to do.”
As the growth and interest in the event at Seneca Gaming Corporation has since proved, participation in the Chase Corporate Challenge in Buffalo has been a great bet for the gaming corporation to make.