Member Spotlight by Robert A. Polk, Director of Casino Marketing, Hollywood Casino Columbus
Tell us about your company’s mission and values.
At Hollywood Casino Columbus, we have six core values that guide everything, from business decisions, to the overall guest experience; they even support our belief in the revitalization of the Westside. This is something that Penn National Gaming takes very seriously and each property gets to establish their own core values based on the teams in place. This allows each set of Core Values to be tailored to those team members and city they work in.
What are the services you use the most (or are looking forward to using) from the Columbus Chamber?
As a proud business partner in the Westside of Columbus, we just want to play a role in local growth. We are hoping to help revitalize this area for Chamber members and residents alike. Our annual Hollywood Hustle 5K that benefits the Hilltop YMCA is a great example of how we plan to leverage our relationship with the Chamber to get people involved on the Westside. Not only is it a wonderful event that helps an awesome cause, but those who participate get a reminder of accessible the Westside as well as many offerings that can be found over here.
How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?
The gaming industry is ever changing and to understand it, you must fully engulf yourself in it. We are fortunate at Hollywood Casino Columbus to have leaders from diverse backgrounds who are all passionate about their craft and our company. We promote open communication, and from our GM to each of our front line employees, everyone has a voice. This gives us an opportunity to talk through best practices from previous work and personal experiences. It truly seems like those of us who have been in the industry for multiple years, have a thirst for studying and observing trends in our unique industry.
What is your company culture like?
Fun. One of our core values and frankly, something each of us tries hard to live; we “actively participate and continuously learn”. We fully understand that if we can’t create a fun environment for our guests, it’s less likely that they will have a good time. Working at Hollywood Casino Columbus, you get to throw the best parties in town and know that you are supported by a great team to help you clean up after.
What does it take to be a successful employee at your company?
To be successful with Penn National, one needs to have a constant focus on offering red carpet service, representing the company and property at a high level in the community and consistently learning. This industry provides unlimited opportunities to grow I joined the industry almost 15 years ago as a Security Officer on midnights. Penn National has 23 properties and we are always looking to obtain and retain the best talent available to develop.
What makes Columbus such a great place to do business?
I have to say diversity. Columbus, more so than any of the other states I have lived in, is such a melting pot of people, with different passions and pleasures. At Hollywood Casino Columbus, we are challenged with finding a way to reach this eclectic audience every week in hopes that they become as loyal to us as we are to them. I must add that Columbus has been great for my family as well. We are members at the Columbus Zoo and Cosi. I left Columbus in 2014 and was given an opportunity to come back in 2015 and we couldn’t wait, even a kid from Michigan found it very easy to fall in love with this city.
What pieces of advice have you found to be the most helpful since starting your career?
Set your goals high. Most people who have worked in the gaming industry will boast about is the upward mobility. Having worked for several companies in gaming, I can absolutely tell you, it is true! With Penn National’s focus on talent acquisition and retention we are always looking to develop and promote the next generation of leaders and if I understood the growth potential with Penn National, I would have joined much earlier in my career. We are the fastest growing company in the gaming industry for a reason.
How do you achieve a work/life balance?
First and foremost, I’m blessed to have an amazing wife. Though she understands my ambition and commitment to the company, she is always honest with me about the commitment I made to her and our three children and nothing brings me more joy than spending time with them. You tie that in with our executives here; they want the best for everyone on their team and they strongly encourage us to find that balance.
Where is your favorite place to have a meeting outside the office?
I love to bridge my work family with my passions. I have always been a sports fan and with our love for and commitment to the Westside of Columbus, I am a member of the Hilltop YMCA. I have hosted meetings with my casino teams at YMCA’s as well as other places that I volunteer, but to be honest, I enjoy the gym the most.
About Hollywood Casino Columbus
Hollywood Casino Columbus is Central Ohio’s complete gaming entertainment experience and connection to Las Vegas through an inviting and comfortable setting.